FW rejoins our 'trio' (yes, I include the wolf) with Ray now driving his beloved 1971 Buick Riviera (the 'Riv'), introduces us to the totally wonderful Beau Starr as RV's superior, Lt. Welsh and gives us the "Duck Boys", Tony Craig and Daniel Kash as Jack Huey and Louis Gardino (Louie to those who enjoy irritating him), Ray's peers and competing detectives. It also presents Catherine Bruhier as Civilian Aid Elaine Besbriss, primarily the first female to befuddle BF's usually calm veneer, as women in the Yukon "...aren't usually so..." (forward with men).
The opening scene is a bustling city street. With flutes and even harps in the music, we're led to believe in seconds that it is a normal business day at the office - until it's interrupted by 3 armed robbers and some pulsating 'bad guy' music. A guard is shot, the vault is looted, and the robbers get away, leaving the employees shivering. It's a done deal. Or so they think.
Throughout the rest of the ep, we are treated to nice getting-to-know-you-more and in the case of the new characters, plain getting-to-know-you scenes, accompanied with the great acoustic guitar themes that will be trademarks in future eps. Not necessarily in order, some highlights include:
- The first look we get of the Riv as Ray chauffeurs Fraser and Dief to check out possible new living quarters. We get to hear the infamous 'doh-ma-ah' chant and the Fraser/Dief guitar theme in its almost heartbeat rhythm pace as they drive down a desolate city street. While there are many buildings and a few signs of life it's interesting that it feels as close to the starkness of Fraser's former Yukon domain that he could ever find in an urban setting. (An amusing scene with Ray here as Fraser in his red serge worries if his laniard is straight while Ray insists he's only meeting with a "slumlord". A clue to our Mountie's steadfast respect of all life, and further cementing of Ray's propensity for a cynical outlook.)
- The same music theme getting 'urban/funky' in a chase scene as we see and learn what will be Fraser's preferred method of pursuit that the young purse-snatching criminal Willie can only describe as "some kind of flying boy scout?"
- Dief also proving himself good at pursuit (up and over a chain link fence!) and watchfulness (preventing Willie from escaping on a bus and giving Willie time to hot-wire the Riv to escape from the bond thieves he unwittingly snatched from).
- The back and forth and near blending from 'bad guy music' to elevator muzak to the great use of "It's All Over" (Headstones) for the ep's ultimate chase scene (horse-drawn carriage?). And the interesting use (or creation) of that song's abrupt end, continuing the scene in silence with Fraser attempting to console Ray with a pat on the back. Only indiscriminate city noises add to the sensation of futility.
- The fun single bent-note guitar twangs (?!) when the story has moments that are odd, things going wrong, or Fraser being made uncomfortable by a female.
- A really neat dialogue exchange between RV/BF in the Riv as they leave the crime scene, both thinking out loud and each speaking parts of the same sentence - the solution to where the bonds are. One can almost see the light bulbs appear above their heads. Proof that these two diverse cops are of like spirits at their core.
- And of course what becomes the legendary end dialogue when it is learned just how Benton Fraser, RCMP, feels about his uniform (in any incarnation): "She shot my hat, Ray..."
There is also an interesting opportunity Fraser takes to be a little bit smug, defending himself against the 'backwoods bumpkin' treatment he often receives from his new Chicago acquaintances. When he and Ray realize together that a man who posed as a victim in the bond theft is actually in on the crime, Ray relates his hunch method but Fraser seizes the moment to prove himself a real police officer who sees (or hears) all the details, making him an equal to his new 'partners'. It would seem to be at odds with his ingrained politeness, but also appropriate as he only takes it as far as necessary to make his point with subtlety, yet also makes Ray feel as though he's also brilliant... Nicely written, nicely done by PG and DM.
So there are just some of the things to like about this ep as it prepares us for the rest of the series. All those responsible for dS give us nice little plot twists, sights for eyes and sounds for ears. Nice 'stuff'!