In these last three episodes of SHUT EYE, the show starts to have some fun as it plays fast and loose with everyone running around like a chicken with their head cut off. Charlie (Jeffery Donovan) and Linda (KaDee Strickland) face their problems head on as they now must come together and figure a way out of this for not only themselves but for their son Nick as well. These last three episodes “Five of Cups”, “Wheel of Fortune” and “Ace of Swords” are the best of the series and highly entertaining. Does it reach a satisfying conclusion? Well…
Linda is just not that smart. She hatches a new con with Gina (Emmanuelle Chriqui) as they go to Nadine’s (Mel Harris). Gina uses the hypnotic drug and, under hypnosis, Gina and Linda have Nadine empty out her bank account. Gina however double crosses Linda and takes off with the money leaving Linda with a still hypnotized Nadine. Gina is about to skip town when Fonzo (Agnus Sampson) pays her a visit. Linda’s son Nick (Dylan Schmid) went out on his own after Charlie visiting Dr. Nora White (Susan Misner) to now deal with his visions physically. He finds his wife at home and he’s understandably pissed. Linda then confesses that she pulled the con on Nadine with Gina. Thinking Fonzo knows about the money and Gina, they leave and confront Fonzo who decides to insult the Haverfords. After punching Fonzo and knocking him to the floor, Charlie’s vision recurs about the bleeding rose and burial leading him and Linda to run off to the construction site where Charlie has a breakdown after digging for Nick. Linda then gets a call from the police as Nick was arrested and that’s why he was so distressed in Charlie’s vision and why he was running.
However, Fonzo left something for Charlie and Linda in their new planted rose garden and it’s Gina. Charlie digs her up and tries to figure out the next move as he chastises Linda for becoming a mark and being so naïve. White Tony (Zak Santiago) pays the Haverfords a visit in the middle of their squabble, and is mad that they are not earning their share. He warns them to start earning and not to cross him. Nadine has gone to the police after returning to bank for her money. After reviewing surveillance footage, Nadine recognizes Gina from the Haverfords house leading the police and her to come knocking. After proving Gina acted on her own as the Haverfords have a strong alibi and no evidence they took the money, the drug that Gina used on Nadine is the same exact one given to Emma (Roan Curtis). Bad news for Nick as Emma has been found to have semen present. Nick now needs a lawyer as he can be tried for rape and murder, even though the sex was consensual and he had nothing to do with her death. With Charlie distraught, Linda confesses to how Emma’s death happened and how she covered it up. Eduardo Bernal (David Zayas) shows up to help move Gina’s body. Eduardo has been scammed out of one million dollars by the other two guys he had chained up and they ran off (how convenient) and he wants Charlie to pay up as he blames him for being a fraud. Charlie then gets the idea to clean up Gina’s body and leave it in a car in a residential neighborhood. Linda identifying the body is told her real name is Clarissa Segal. Since the drug was only in her possession and was used on both Nadine and Emma, Nick is dropped as a suspect and the Haverfords are in the clear as they claim they didn’t know her very well.
Charlie comes up with one last con to pull off on Fonzo’s and White Tony’s children’s wedding day which takes care of all their Romani problems as well as Eduardo. Charlie proposes he does a magic trick as a gift to White Tony on the day. Finally, the day comes and as Linda and Charlie set up their trick they slowly fuel the animosity between Fonzo and White Tony using the money Fonzo took from Gina. This all leads to another Romani council meeting with the Romani making Fonzo hand over the money to White Tony who stashes it in a safe. During the ceremony, as further insult to Fonzo, Rita (Isabella Rossellini) is not allowed to tie the hands or place the veil on the bride. Once it comes time for the trick, Tony’s dead cousin is left lying out for all to see instead of the proposed wedding cake. Charlie who had told Eduardo of the wedding and all of the money and jewelry at the wedding shows up and robs everyone of everything they have. During the ensuing chaos, Fonzo kills Tony using Rita’s hammer that was supposed to be a gift to his daughter. I know you’re probably asking “why?” Well, earlier Fonzo has come to realize that she only follows orders when it suits her and claims to do it for the family despite having her granddaughter, who is fourteen years old, to be sent off to be married and touched. Fonzo emotionally tells Rita why he wishes he had a son instead of two daughters which Rita throws back in his face telling Fonzo she too wished she had a son. As cold as this was, she has a point. Fonzo’s constant drinking and his short temper landed him in this situation. Hence why he set her up for Tony’s murder just as the police arrived and his daughter’s wedding now incomplete.
Fonzo anticipating the Haverfords had something up their sleeves leaves a nail in the bag of money that they managed to lift from Tony and himself, thus correlating with the visions Charlie has been having all day. It is then revealed yhat Eduardo and Fonzo have been working together the whole time staying one step ahead of the Haverfords.
In retrospect that last twist was given away when Eduardo tells Charlie he lost a million dollars, the same amount from the con he tried to pull. I enjoyed these episodes until that last moment where it felt like a cheap “Gothcha!” moment. There’s some things left unresolved in this season and I don’t know if it will ever be resolved as Jeffery Donovan has even stated he doesn’t know if there will be a second season. The problem is the show doesn’t really find its stride until the sixth episode and I’m not sure I could recommend anyone should sit through five episodes to get to the strong second half of this season since where it ends up left me shrugging hard. Everyone is doing great work in this, with good performances that are fully committed. Not to mention it’s kinda hard to care for any of these characters for the first half of the season and to then watch them make increasingly poor choices as this show goes on.
These last three episodes are a solid B-plus as it is hard to deny how entertained I was plus episode nine, “Wheel of Fortune”, ends with one of the best songs of 2016 by two of my favorite artists combining forces in DJ Shadow’s Run the Jewels featured “Nobody Speak” off his underrated album The Mountain Will Fall. Hearing El-P and Killer Mike’s dirty lyrics fit with what had perfectly transpired in those last moments was great. And to be followed by the season finale “Ace of Swords” which was great until those final moments was good writing. As for the season overall I’d give it a solid C plus. I still don’t know if the show is worth going on the journey with. There’s room for improvement as I’ve seen a show that was decent in its first season that improved drastically in its second such as The Leftovers. The second season of The Leftovers is some of the best directed, acted, and written storytelling I’ve seen in any capacity, so I don’t wanna write off Shut Eye just yet. It’s just this could’ve been so much better than what it is. No, it SHOULD have been much better than
Season 1, Episodes 8-10 (S01E08-10)
Shut Eye airs Wednesdays on Hulu
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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) .
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Brandon Norwood | Contributor