APB Review: “Pandora’s Box”

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Things are heating up in Chicago’s 13th district with the penultimate episode of APB being one of the best episodes yet, with long boiling plot lines culminating in surprising ways and with big character pay offs, certainly the biggest we have seen for the series main man Gideon Reeves.

As we know from past episodes, Ada’s old friend/nemesis DV8 has a bone to pick with her employer Gideon. He thinks Gideon is intruding on peoples’ rights to privacy, calling him a “technocrat” and saying he is looking to construct a police state in Chicago. This week begins with five tough looking guys meeting in (you guessed it, an old abandoned warehouse, but the final one of the episode, I promise). They are spoken to through a speaker hanging on the ceiling, and the person speaking to them uses a voice modulator so as not to be recognized. The men were called together to do a job, but as one of them notes this isn’t just any job, word is they are going against the cops. A gun mounted on the ceiling quickly guns him down and the voice asks if anyone else wants to haggle? Nobody does.

At the station, Murphy calls Gideon in to check out the latest APB calls, which he complains about–why should the man in charge be called for every little thing? But as she points out, these aren’t just any APB calls. Gideon himself is the target. And there is a masked man in a video using the same voice modulator we heard earlier saying “I am coming for you.” There’s also been chatter around town that something big is being planned for today. Captain Conrad tells Gideon he’s sending him home, as it’s better to err on the side of caution and keeping Gideon at the station puts cops in danger. Not sure I’m following this logic, pretty sure if I was the target of a terrorist group, I would want to stay put in the police station. But ANYWAY. Conrad sends Gideon away with Murphy.

Brandt and Goss are out responding to calls and keeping their eyes peeled for anything suspicious. The whole masked villain in a video isn’t sitting well with Brandt. He served in Fallujah and the last time he saw a video like that it was Islamic terrorists. He doesn’t understand what kind of person in the States would do this. Now, usually Brandt and Goss’s storyline is either tangentially connected to the main plot, or totally separate. This week is a little different as they serve a major role in the climax. We’ll get there.

Gideon takes Murphy to his penthouse home outside the city, where Cuban music plays when they walk in. Gideon explains he has a “smart home” that recognizes faces of people he knows and plays music/displays images to their taste. Gideon also introduces her to Gertrude, the first robot he ever built. Murphy wants to see the security system he has, and it’s an impressive one. The whole house is wired, and security cams work on a neural network figuring things out for themselves.

Meanwhile, back in the 13th distract the APB app is going off about some suspicious activity in the City Services building. The station sees video of six masked individuals carrying backpacks into the building. Brandt and Goss respond and arrive to see a bunch of backpacks lined up in a row inside the building sitting unattended. Conrad calls in the bomb squad and the building is evacuated. Goss and Brandt keep an eye out for who could be behind this. Sitting at the station Ada says to herself “Is it you, Danny? Tell me you’re not behind this.” OF COURSE HE IS. Are you kidding me? Who else would it be? He basically TOLD her that he was planning to make a move against Gideon Reeves. Who else would it be??? Also you could totally make out his creepy eyes behind that mask. But, okay, I’ll suspend my disbelief for now.

At Gideon’s penthouse, Murphy asks if he’s expecting a delivery. She watches on the security cameras as guys in masks and automatic weapons raid the front porch. Not good. When they try to call for back up Gideon quickly finds the phone lines are down and the signal is being jammed. They only have one option seeing as they are on their own now: hide. Luckily, Gideon has a sort of safe room. There is a secret lab behind a library book shelf that he and Murphy escape to. They try to send a message via internet from there but the wireless and fiber optic connections are all down. That’s when the drilling of the door starts. How can they get a message out for help? Well, there is some one else in the house: Gertrude.

Gideon is able to use the “guts of his smart home” to send a signal to Gertrude and get her outdoors and outside the range of the signal jam. As he’s crossing his wires and working his Gideon magic to pull this off, Murphy asks why Gideon has a secret lab to begin with. Gideon suggests they save the philosophical discussion about research transparency for later. He finally gets a signal to Gertrude but one of the masked men is coming straight for them. Murphy suggests cuing up the Cuban music to distract the guy and it works. Gertrude gets outside, gets the signal 99% sent, when one of the masked men break it. Did it transmit? We don’t know.

It’s time to start considering negotiating with the men who have nearly drilled through the door. Gideon says he knows why they’re here. There’s something he didn’t tell Murphy. From this secret lab he’s been working on a sort of surveillance tactic. Essentially, he’s stealing data to identify criminal patters, based on peoples private info, social media, etc. Murphy points out that this is COMPLETELY illegal. “We’re supposed to protect people when it’s hard, not when it’s easy,” she says. They can’t let the criminals get their hands on this. They need a weapon. Gideon has an idea “but you’re not gonna like it,” he tells Murphy. He has a huge battery and if he puts enough charge in it, it will explode, torching everything… even them.

At the station, Pete gets a diagnostic request from Gertrude and asks Ada about it. Ada realizes that Gideon and Murphy are trying to get in touch with them! Also, it turns out the bombs at the City Service building were all fake and it was just a distraction. Conrad orders cars to rush to Gideon’s, now!

As promised, Brandt and Goss get there first and they bang on the door, interrupting the drilling of the secret lab door. Gideon and Murphy can see them on the security cameras and know they are walking into an ambush. Gideon once again sends a message through Gertrude, but can only put nine characters on her screen. Murphy suggested “3AMBARDEN” which Goss recognizes as military code for three armed men with assault rifles in the den. They go in, get the jump on the bad guys JUST as Gideon’s battery bomb blows. Miraculously nobody dies, and all the men are apprehended. Gideon and Murphy are safe. The secret lab and Gideon’s illegal surveillance device with it.

They question the men at the station but Ada says it’s not necessary; she knows who is behind it. DUH, ADA. She clues them in to her hacker friend DV8 and how he had blackmailed her. Gideon is hurt she hadn’t told him, saying she thought she handled it. She says she’s willing to resign, but Murphy tells her they are past that; she’s looking at jail time. That’s when Gideon is called into the main room. The hackers hacked past their firewalls and a live video is up. A masked man tells him that they are going to start waking up this city to Gideon’s little fascist nightmare, even if it kills them. Then the villain takes his mask off and its… DV8, as anybody who has watched the show should have known long ago. “Mask off, gloves off, game on,” he tells Gideon. “Come and get me.” Gideon tells everyone he’s got a new plan.

We’ll have to wait for next week to know what that is. But I applaud this episode for being exciting, thought provoking on important privacy issues that we are all facing these days, and setting the show up well for the finale. This may be the first A- I’ve given the show. Let’s hope the season finale can keep it up and it ends on a high note as I highly doubt we’ll be seeing a second season of APB.

TB-TV-Grade-A-Season 1, Episode 11 (S01E11)
APB airs Monday at 9PM on Fox

Read all of our reviews of APB here. 
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Paul is a notorious tech billionaire who is using technology he created to write and review TV shows more efficiently, in order to avenge a friend who wasted weeks of his life watching shows that were inaccurately reviewed.
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Still quiet here.sas

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