Continuing the tarot card themed titles for episodes, “The Hanged Man”, “The Fool” and “The Tower – Reversed” is making things unclear in terms of if Charlie is really having for real visions or if he’s just conning people with no supernatural help. So far, I’m not sure what exactly SHUT EYE is trying to say with its characters.
Jeffery Donovan still makes Charlie Haverford an interesting character, even though now I’m not too sure if we are even supposed to be rooting for him. In episode two, “The Hanged Man” we follow him getting tests done with his too flirty doctor, Nora White (Susan Misner). Then we see a vision he had at the beginning of the show manifest itself when Eduardo Bernal (David Zayas) recruits Charlie in helping him figure if a fry cook at a doughnut shop was responsible for the drive-by. I still don’t know even four episodes deep, what Eduardo’s endgame since in episode four he gives Charlie a brand new BMW. It’s hard for me to get invested in this character as I feel he’s waiting for the opportunity to screw Charlie over or use him as a patsy. I know Charlie wants a gangster on his side to possibly help get Fonzo (Agnus Sampson) off his back, but Beamers aren’t cheap and if there’s one thing I learned watching a show like this, it’s that nothing is ever truly free. Charlie spends most of episode three “The Fool” on a mushroom trip with Nora White as a different form of treatment (by the way they now seem cold towards each other), and I’m not even sure this helped as right after Charlie uses his intuition and “reads” a Denny’s waitress to tears with no help from a vision. This made him unlikeable to a great extent and I understand that he did this as test to see if he could be successful with his con “reading” of his target, Nadine Davies (Mel Harris), which we find out in all of episode four that he is. I had thought the premise of this show was that Charlie would start to use his visions to his advantage to get out from under Fonzo and Rita (Isabella Rossellini) while making one last big score. The show doesn’t seem to know if it wants Charlie to have visions or if it’s the con all on its own. And honestly, this show is giving us very little reason, so far, to care.
KaDee Strickland makes Linda Haverford captivating, providing Charlie’s rock. Her affair with Gina (Emmanuelle Chriqui) is proving to be more useless than anything. When Fonzo finds out about the affair in episode two he doesn’t really do anything with the information which seems highly out of character for him. Saying he only cares about business interests and was just making sure Charlie and Linda weren’t double crossing him (they are), I’d figure they do something with that by now, but I guess not. Linda’s continued affair with Gina seems out of character as it proves that Gina is unstable as she keeps showing up in a seemingly unhinged fashion. It’s amazing that Linda sticks with her as well, as she has control of every situation up until the end of episode four. Also, she loves Charlie and that’s made clear, so this whole affair is laughable at best.
Lina and Charlie’s son Nick (Dylan Schmid) has a throwaway storyline that really only becomes important at the end of episode four, and to be honest it’s trite. Nick has a crush on Emma Gilbert (Roan Curtis), a classmate of his who is just the mean girl junkie to be honest. For episodes two and three it’s just the two of them scheming to get and/or sell drugs. Why Nick was so interested in a girl who seemed to only care about getting high on the hardest of drugs was beyond me, but that eventually caught up to her as she sniffs a mind control powder that Linda hid (it was gift from Gina) and, of course it not being cocaine, kills her. Or so we think. I’m actually not too sure she died. We’ll see as the show goes on. Like I said this development seems trite in that it makes Nick important now, but we’ve seen this done before. It was nice having Nick as a background character as well as Linda focusing on Gina while helping out on the con. So to saddle this on Linda really adds nothing as well as she does as expected.
Fonzo is a stereotypical gangster. These first four episodes show him to be ruthless, loyal to family and in charge of the Romani (or so he thinks). This is another character we’ve seen time and time again. Agnus is giving it his all leaning into a caricature and I can’t help but to feel sorry for him. Fonzo has really had nothing to do but be schlubby, beat people to a pulp, and be intimidating and it’s old to be honest. If this gets a season two, I hope Fonzo is gone as right now he offers nothing for the show. And that’s the same for his mother Rita. Isabella Rossellini is having a ball playing Rita and that fun is infectious. So, I was disappointed that she’s really had nothing to do for these first four episodes. But, as it’s made clear that she’s the one really running the show, Charlie and Linda are best to keep an eye out on her as she can see right through them. I have a gut feeling that she’s going to be the one to make their con fall to pieces.
As we move to the middle section of the season, I’m still wondering what Leslie Bohem’s goal is with this show. It’s not really doing anything new even though con artist psychics are something that hasn’t been explored before. It just seems as if Mister Bohem is just taking the most route way possible in telling a story that’s not fulfilling its potential. I’m still rooting for this thing to work, but now that seems less and less likely. I know I’m being hard on this but for what it’s worth Shut Eye is entertaining. In spurts.
Season 1, Episodes 2-4 (S01E02-04)
Shut Eye airs Wednesdays on Hulu
Read all of our reviews of Shut Eye here.
Read our reviews of more of your favorite shows here.
A lifelong film enthusiast since he can remember, Brandon is a indie filmmaker/screenwriter and freelance critic who resides in Trenton, NJ. Feel free to hit him up on Twitter to talk movies, shows, and music (especially hip-hop) .
Follow Brandon on Twitter: @bwood0824
Keep up with all of Brandon’s reviews here.
Brandon Norwood | Contributor