APB Review: “Fueling Fires”

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It was an almost entirely forgetful episode of , with a mission of the week that just was not that compelling, and an even more lackluster B plot that had me yawning. The one redeemable quality of the episode was the carry-on plot from last week with Gideon’s chief financial officer and lover Lauren urging the tech billionaire to pivot his latest “cop hobby” into a privatization of the police force which could equate to billions. I like how that storyline ended. We’ll get to that soon.

First we start with a cut of a potential TV commercial for Prime, the new app and private business Lauren wants Gideon to give a speech on at the shareholders conference. He’s not sold on the idea–he doesn’t really like the fact that with this, rich people would get all the benefits of a highly efficient police force, and poor people would be sh*t out of luck. They’re about to have the conversation when Gideon gets a text. Surprise! He’s needed at a crime scene.

He meets Captain Conrad and Murphy at the scene of a building that has just been torched, which they assume is due to gang warfare in the 13th District. They want Gideon to contact the mayor and ask him to shut down the streets before they have more buildings set ablaze and innocent people dying. Gideon of course has a better idea. Taking a sample of the ash from the fire, his high tech gadgets can do a chemical analysis on what was used to start the fire. They can then identify the accelerant used and can have their smart cars sniff out the stuff. Their cars can detect minute measurements of chemicals used in “bomb stuff” as Gideon puts it. And so the 13th District police cars go hunting.

This leads them to a series of false alarms, embarrassingly banging on the doors of innocent families and elderly people. But then, after accidentally knocking on another wrong door, smoke starts to fill the air. The building is on fire! Murphy and the rest of the cops try to get everyone out to safety on top, with Gideon shouting “Move! Move! Move!” safely from the police department. They do get everyone out, but Murphy meets a girl from Honduras who had been living there and now has no place to go. Murphy generously offers for her to stay at her place, and the Honduran girl agrees.

Murph is convinced something is up here with these fires that they don’t know about. For one thing, she’d never seen a fire move like that before, spreading so quickly. For another, she’s not convinced it’s a gang war at all. She and Gideon sit down with Andre, gang leader of the Green Street Kings, who knows that the fires have not been due to his or anyone else’s gang’s warfare. But still, after his boy died in the last fire, Andre is being compelled to “retaliate” against his rivals or else be perceived as weak by his underlings. Murphy gets him to agree to wait a day before he retaliates. They now have twenty-four hours to find who is really setting these fires.

Using a life size full 3D replica utilizing the footage from Murphy’s body cam, Gideon and Murphy “walk” through the apartment building that went ablaze while Murphy was inside. They notice that the flames were moving through the heating and AC ducts. Whoever rigged up the fire had to have worked on HVAC in those buildings. They take it to a local Heating & Cooling business, where the owner denies their request to look through his files of his employees; he tells them they need a warrant. Gideon’s solution? Just buy the business. He writes the guy a check for half a million dollars and tells him to leave. So that was easy. Not long after, Murphy finds a man named Duke Johnson in the files that works for both buildings that had been torched. They look on the schedule board and see exactly where he is right then.

They track down Johnson (conservative radio blasting) and confront him. He attacks Gideon, knocking him down, then tries to choke Murphy. He hops in his van and escapes, but fortunately for our heroes he also dropped his smart phone. Somehow they use the info in the phone to track him down to an abandoned warehouse (SERIOUSLY?! HOW MANY ABANDONED WAREHOUSES ARE THERE IN CHICAGO, IT’S LITERALLY EVERY EPISODE). When they bust in they see “white power” and swastika signs galore. Turns out it wasn’t gang warfare–it was just a really racist dude trying to burn immigrants, like the Honduran girl Murphy took in. When he realizes he’s been caught, Johnson sets his own place on fire and runs, trapping Murphy.

Guess how Gideon saves the day this time? If you guessed “with drones” you would be betting pretty safely as that’s how half the episodes’ stories are conveniently wrapped up. And you’d also be right! He sends in a drone to clear a path in the raging fire for Murphy to escape. Huzzah!

The next day, Reeves is at the shareholder conference introducing Prime. Lauren stands just off stage rooting him on. Gideon begins talking privatized policing, a pay as you go or subscription based service for elite, wealthy clientele (they would have to be to afford it). He then sees Murphy in the crowd. He shakes his head and suddenly starts going a different route with his speech. He says he started in a garage with nothing and built an empire worth 48 billion dollars, and for a long time he was only concerned with making that number greater. Gideon goes on to say he’s looked at some new numbers. There were 3,248 shootings in Chicago last year, over 500 homicides, etc. Gideon’s now only concerned with making those numbers smaller.

It was actually a quite triumphant moment in an otherwise less than remarkable episode.

Season 1, Episode 8 (S01E08)TB-TV-Grade-C+
 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.
Follow Paul on Twitter: @paulgulyas
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