This week’s episode of TRAINING DAY had quite a few less cheesy cliche lines and scenes (though they’re still in there) and kept things moving at quick pace, which was much appreciated. Bill Paxton is of course a pleasure to watch, though the rest of the cast still need to prove themselves in my eyes. However, for all these reasons, I have to say the second episode was better than the pilot.
We open on Haley, a high school senior, getting dropped off by her driver at a school on the West side. Pretty soon that driver is dead though and Haley is being pulled by bad guys into a black SUV at gunpoint. Sounds like a job for Kyle and Frank!
We pick back up with Kyle visiting his mom, not long after Frank dropped the bomb shell on him last episode that he knew his father, and that he has always known he wasn’t just killed in a random hit and run. Kyle’s mother confirms this, and that she knows Frank. Kyle is initially wounded by her having kept this a secret all these years, but she quickly shoots back that she had no idea who was going to come for them and she had to protect her son. She kept her mouth shut. “I can’t lose you, too,” she says in the first cliche line of the episode. “I”m not a little boy anymore, Mom,” Kyle responds in the second.
But soon Frank and Kyle are called in by the Chief Deputy Lockheart (the one who put Kyle undercover on Frank–what she ACTUALLY expects to happen here is unclear, as Kyle is pretty much just going along with whatever Frank does for two episodes now). Turns out Haley is the daughter of the Burns family, who are dear friends of the mayor. We meet Valeria, the detective on the case who brings Frank in specifically for this high profile job. They need to save this girl, and illegal things may need to be done to do so. Most of all she doesn’t want to know about them. Frank’s her man. She also says “We need a monster to hunt monsters” which I think was like a direct line from last episode, and I also saw a derivative of that in the scenes form next week, so either the writers are intentionally putting this in same line or an iteration thereof in every episode OR they need to be fired. It’s one or the other.
Anyway, Frank and Kyle are on the case and headed to Bel-Air to talk to the Burns. It’s clear that whoever took Haley is someone who knew how and when she got to school every day. You know at LEAST one of the parents is on it at that point, if not both. The phone rings and it’s the ransomers. They want two million dollars. Frank just hangs up. When the kidnappers call back they are willing to negotiate it down to $750,000. “Sepulveda Damn, one hour,” they say and hang up. And Frank and Kyle are off. As the deal goes down, the ransomers get their dufflebag of money and Haley is about to go with Frank and Kyle. But we KNOW this isn’t the end of the episode because CBS has about forty-five more minutes until Chicago Med comes on. So of course at the last minute both kidnappers are picked off by a sniper, new bad guys roll in, take Haley and the money back, and demand an additional five million bucks. Yuh-oh.
The new bad guys are a couple women from out of town. Kyle recognizes their dialects from his time as a marine in Afghanistan. He also could tell she had military training. Through some internet searching and powers of deduction, they determine their new enemies are a group of women Muammar Gaddafi had as an armed guard, trained in small arms and martial arts. Being the world renowned gentleman he was, Gaddafi more or less used these women as a human shield, figuring people would have trouble shooting a woman. So why are they in the states? “Give us your tired, your poor, your lethal,” cracks one officer (which is oh so ironically timely). Turns out once Gaddafi was killed they turned into work for hire, and there’s plenty of work in the States. They recall that Papa Burns didn’t really press them to ask the ransomers any questions about who they were. Seeing this as suspicious, they know what they have to do.
Next thing we know, Mr. Burns is kidnapped himself, straight out of his car, tied up to a chair, and facing Frank, Kyle, and the gang. “You think your secrets are worth more than your daughter’s life?” Frank asks. Burns spills his guys. The woman who took Haley is Lina Farzan. She works for an Iranian investor in L.A. When Burn hit hard times, the Iranian had the cash to keep him afloat–IF he agreed to launder it. Problem is, he doesn’t know who that is. He was connected to him through a third party.
That third party is Counselor Ken Patterson (aka Ted Beneke from Breaking Bad!). Frank goes to him and blackmails him into telling him the name of the Iranian Burns spoke of. Turns out Patterson is a frequent customer of Holly, the Hollywood madame we first met last episode and who makes a brief appearance earlier in this one. They have pictures of Counselor Patterson’s junk they can put on Instagram. Wanting to avoid a full-on Anthony Weiner career meltdown, he agrees to give Frank the information he needs. “They’ll kill me,” Patterson says. But Frank promises he can keep Patterson out of it and make Lina go away.
This puts Frank on the path to a man named Javeed, the former adviser to the Shah of Iran who has been living in the States for a while. Frank calls him on having money-laundering connections with Robert Burns, and explains that there’s a rat in his outfit. Frank tells Javeed his will name the rat, if Javeed can help get Haley back.
At the deal, Frank tosses Lina and her other deadly “nuns” a duffle bag of mostly blank stacks of paper and some real bills in it. Lina is furious. When she goes to kill Haley once and for all, Javeed shows up and saves the day. His armed men get the best of her and they take her away. Frank makes Javeed promise, no more kidnappings. “This isn’t the middle east,” he says. Later we see Javeed walking Lina at gunpoint to an unmarked dug grave.
When Frank and Kyle speak to Chief Deputy Lockheart, they keep all the shady Iranian dealings and Burns’ involvement out of it. After Frank leaves the room, she asks Kyle “What isn’t he telling me?” Kyle doesn’t give him up, though he does tip her off that he got the idea Burns was in the know somehow, though he has no proof. He also mentioned how the Chief herself said not to ask any questions to begin with, calling her motives into question. She tells him he’s playing a dangerous game. They had to make the Chief a bad guy sooner or later, I just thought it would be later. This is episode two.
In a surprise twist at the end, Lina calls Frank’s phone. We see Javeed is in that grave instead of her. “If you run, I’ll have to come find you,” Frank tells her. She says if she were him she wouldn’t look too hard. Why’s that? “Because I used your gun,” she says, throwing it in the grave on top of Javeed. So now Frank’s connected to an Iranian’s murder. Interesting.
The episode moved and was fairly entertaining. One thing I will say is, just search how many times the name Frank appears on this page, versus how many times the word Kyle does. This show so far is ALL Frank (aka Bill Paxton) and Kyle is not a character being proactive at all. He’s simply following Frank around, occasionally calling him out, but for the most part going along with every insane thing with minimal resistance. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind if the show lost Kyle completely and this show just became about Cop Bill Paxton screwing over criminals in highly illegal ways. Call me when that’s a show.
Season 1, Episode 2 (S01E02)
Training Day airs Thursday at 10PM on CBS
In Los Angeles, a city where streets are overrun by drug dealers, those who have sworn to uphold the law are breaking them to clean up the streets. Paul is a veteran TV reviewer whose methods of writing TV reviews are questionable, if not corrupt.
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Paul Gulyas | Contributor