In this week’s episode of BULL, the team takes on the case of an elite video gamer, Jace, who’s suing his former team manager for defamation after he accuses him of throwing a championship match. It’s also an hour-long advertisement for the videogame Titanfall—we see countless people rhapsodize over how amazing and life-changing it is while playing. I mean, get that sweet, sweet sponsor money, CBS, but it was a little distracting. I also can’t imagine there’s very much overlap between the people playing Titanfall and the people spending their weeknights watching CBS. However, this show has always been strangely focused on proving that it’s young and hip, and there’s nothing the youth like more than videogames, right?
Bull and Chunk attend a videogame convention to watch the championship round of Titanfall. Millions of people watch e-sports—it’s a big business, the next frontier in sports, as this episode constantly reminds us. Jace’s team is heavily favored to win, with 25-1 odds. But the team is defeated, quickly and decidedly, seemingly all due to rookie mistakes on Jace’s part. It’s such a shocking defeat that team manager Vin comes to the conclusion that the only reason they lost is because Jace threw the game. He says as much to the media and throws Jace off the team. However, Jace strikes back with a defamation lawsuit. Vin’s comments have caused him to be unofficially blacklisted from competitive video gaming.
Jace is represented by Abigail, a beautiful blonde attorney who immediately strikes up a flirty power struggle with Bull. She wants the ability to make final decisions whenever they disagree, which Bull agrees to, as long as she takes the blame if she ignores his advice and things turn out badly. They’re immediately presented a challenge when they learn that the judge has ordered a blind strike voir dire in order to save time. Both the prosecution and the defense make a list of jurors they’d like to strike, then submit it to the judge. Bull’s side won’t know who the other side is striking, which means that they could waste a strike on someone the other side also wants out—the dreaded double strike.
Bull wants people on the jury who have problems with authority, preferably people with horrible bosses, as they’ll side with Jace over Vin. He and Abigail butt heads right away, as Bull wants to strike Connie, an old lady who’s devoted her life to saving animals. Bull thinks that means she’ll dislike Jace for taking lives, even virtual ones, but Abigail wants to strike Arlo, a VP at a cosmetics company who’s fired dozens of people. The thing is, Bull thinks that the other side will strike Arlo, as he talked about his love of Frisbee, which is similar to Titanfall—this comparison makes no sense, but ok. Abigail doesn’t want to risk it, so she strikes Arlo. Of course, Bull is right and the defense struck him too, so now they have Connie to deal with.
Bull has Danni look into the bets made on the championship match, to see if there’s any possible way that Jace profited off the loss. He also has Cable analyze every moment of the game, to make sure that Jace didn’t make a mistake on purpose. Bull thinks that Jace is too competitive to throw a match, but he wants to make sure. Danni learns that someone bet $500,000 against Jace, spreading it out among different shell companies that were all funded by the same offshore account. Bull confronts Jace with the information, but determines he isn’t lying because his nose didn’t redden—apparently every time someone lies, the skin around their nose grows red, which definitely does not seem true.
Cable enlists her ex Wes, a Titanfall developer, to analyze Jace’s game play. Cable and Wes broke up because Wes became too addicted to the game, so later she invites him to coffee at the same time as the Titanfall regionals. He chooses her over the game. This would be a touching moment, but Bull’s employees haven’t developed past their week-one caricatures, so it’s hard to care. Wes’s findings are even more shocking than Danni’s—the mistakes Jace made seem to suggest that he might be suffering from a neurological disorder.
Bull informs Jace of this and in a dark turn, we learn that this 25-year-old man has early onset Parkinson’s. They come to Vin with a proposition—he’ll reinstate Jace to the team, with a raise and benefits to cover his Parkinson’s treatment. If Bull brings up the fact that he has Parkinson’s in court, it will definitely win him the defamation case, which would cost Vin more than simply reinstating Jace. They agree, and it’s revealed that the person who bet against Jace was one of his fellow teammates. His movements suggest he was trying to throw the match. So, this guy was trying to throw the match, but they only lost because Jace messed up. It doesn’t make much sense, but does this show ever?
Season 1, Episode 13 (S01E13)
Bull airs Tuesdays at 9PM on CBS
Jennifer Trofa | Contributor