by H. (email@example.com)
What an interesting episode! I enjoy most those shows that are particularly revelatory about the characters (some that come to mind: 'The Deal', 'One Good Man' and 'Asylum' for Ray/Ray, 'The Gift of the Wheelman', 'The Edge', and 'Easy Money' for Benton). This one shows Ben Fraser operating in a way we don't normally associate with his character, but which in fact has been present from the beginning. This is the Fraser that toyed with Frank Zuko and Michael Sorrento in 'Juliet is Bleeding' - calculating and manipulative. Paul Gross has always maintained that Fraser is 'wily' (and considering he has spent the last four years bringing the character to life, it is the height of absurdity and arrogance to suggest anyone else would have a more profound understanding of what makes Fraser tick!). Far from being naive, he uses his openness as a weapon. Fraser is not Candide. more like Good Soldier Schweik, the nominally stupid Polish soldier who is in fact more cunning than anyone else around him. I always like it when that facade that Fraser presents to the world is chipped away a little, and we see more of the flesh and blood person beneath. (We also get to see Sexy Fraser, in a very seductive scene at the consulate...featuring the red longjohns, but not in the way one would imagine!)
This being Due South, there is an strong element of send-up in the Big Poker Showdown - less Western, more James Bond-ish. The poker game scene is very well acted by Paul Gross. he always does well with monologues, and this largely plays that way. Once again the Feds come in for some stick (and was I the only one reminded of David Duchovny when Agent Exley is practising flashing his badge?), and once again the minor characters get to have some fun - particularly Camilla Scott. I found Thatcher something of a caricature in the second season. Camilla must have enjoyed being able to show Thatcher with a sense of compassion (Perfect Strangers), a sense of humour (MOTB) and, now, a sense of uninhibited, inebriated fun!
Lastly, this episode really works well in terms of the relationship between Fraser and Kowalski. Their genuine offscreen liking for each other is translating beautifully to the screen, and there is real warmth and concern in their exchanges with each other. After the brave, but (in my opinion) largely unsuccessful 'Dr. Longball', this latter part of the third season is shaping up extremely well, with 'Easy Money' and now 'Odds' proving yet again how delightful this show still is.
I didn't like this episode. Somehow, it was all very predictable. What did they think we were thinking? Fraser's not stupid or something.
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Last updated: July 1, 2001.
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