RUSH HOUR Review: “Prisoner of Love”

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It’s been a while since last aired, but the show finally returned last night and is set to air its remaining episodes each Saturday. To me, the most successful episodes of the season have involved a strong plot that has gone beyond the streets of L.A. Some of these have incorporated Detective Lee’s sister, Hong Kong, and the show’s more serialized elements, but others have been more procedural. One of the reasons why last night’s episode, “Prisoner of Love” works fairly well is because of its scope.

On the East Coast, we open on a prisoner, Steven Baker (A.J. Buckley), and a priest at a table. Underneath the table is an explosive device. Baker grabs and detonates the device and a riot breaks out. In the mayhem, Baker manages to escape. Back in L.A., Carter and Lee are tasked with keeping an eye on Pam Sanders (Sprague Grayden) and Cristin Sanders (Emily Alyn Lind), Baker’s wife and daughter. Didi gets our detectives up to speed and explains that the Sanders women are in witness protection. Baker used to work as muscle for business mogul Elliot Vaughn (Chris Mulkey), but later went down for his crimes. Before he went down, though, Baker also implicated Elliot’s son.

A pretty interesting backstory.

Unlike in other episodes, while Didi is doing her exposition routine, she also demands more respect from Carter who too often takes her for granted. I like this new Didi, but would’ve preferred if there was something specific we saw in this episode that Carter did that motivated this change in attitude.

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Carter and Lee head to the Valley where the Sanders women reside. Mother Pam appears to be resentful of her estranged husband and is confident that he won’t be able to find them, even if he does come to L.A. Daughter Cristin pretends to have her headphones on, but secretly listens to the adults in the room. Lee has a heart-to-heart with Cristin and notices that she likes journaling with a green-inked pen.

The Detectives next head on over to Elliot’s huge compound and warn him about Baker’s escape. Elliot thanks them but as soon as the detectives leave, tell his men to get ready for Baker. There’s a break in the case when Baker arrives in L.A. and steals a car at an auto dealership. Carter and Lee interview a witness. Lee also discovers a letter written in green ink that he’s convinced Cristin sent to her father. The return address, oddly, isn’t in the Valley but in another part of town.

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Lee and Carter head over to the address and find a dead woman there. Is this Baker’s doing? The Detectives race back to the Sanders’ address but they’re gone. But Baker’s there, however. Carter has him cornered but doesn’t take the shot. Baker tells them that he’s innocent and is only trying to protect his family from someone far more dangerous. Baker flees but Lee’s hot on his trail. Baker fights with desperation and eventually escapes in Carter’s precious convertible.

Before Baker fled he dropped a letter. Carter and Lee read that letter and it appears to prove Baker’s innocence. The Detectives still are unsure who Baker is trying to protect his family from, though. Gerald arrives and picks our now stranded cops. Gerald’s latest money-making scheme? An Uber-like taxi service.

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Detectives Carter and Lee make their way to a floral shop where Elliot holds the Sanders family hostage. He wants revenge. As it turns out, during Elliot’s son’s prison time, he was killed. Elliot blames Baker for his son’s death. Like I said earlier, this is a pretty interesting backstory. It mostly works for me, but I don’t find it completely credible that the son of a wealthy business owner wouldn’t be in, say, a minimum security prison or something that would’ve been safer. I think part of the problem might be that the show never fleshes out exactly what Elliot and his company were convicted of doing.

In any case, Carter and Lee corner Elliot, who refuses to go down without a fight. In the end, Baker takes a bullet for his family but survives. I should also mention that there’s a running gag in this episode with Lee not knowing who Denzel “the greatest movie detective of all time” is. Carter gives a Denzel impression and later, at the episode’s close, sits down with Gerald and Lee to rewatch Training Day. Carter and Gerald are on the edge of their seats, but Lee’s not so impressed. Not cool, Lee!

TB-TV-Grade-B
Season 1, Episode 9 (S01E09)
Rush Hour airs Saturdays at 9PM on CBS

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writes about the philanthropy of billionaires and millionaires by day, and writes screenplays by night.
Twitter: @derekadeniji

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