Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Frequency loses momentum by juggling a few too many timelines

Illustration for article titled Frequency loses momentum by juggling a few too many timelines

Okay, I’ve been up all night with the Cubs, so maybe it’s the sleep deprivation talking, but I keep watching this episode and I’m having an awfully hard time tracking the four (four!) separate timelines: Present day, 1996, 2008 with Frank, and 2008 without Frank. It’s a lot. Even for non-baseball fans, it’s too much.

The convoluted nature of this episode makes it clear why Frequency swapped out this episode for last week’s Nightingale victim paralleling Raimy and her mother. Here the twin murder scenes are certainly compelling, as they’re almost identical, eight years apart. Raimy is paralleling herself, in a lot of ways, but unfortunately so many elements just don’t add up.

First up, if Stan is still the corrupt bad cop, how is Frank still just walking around in 2008, or 1996, for that matter? Obviously he has a lot going on, but wouldn’t the syndicate of corrupt cops by interested in squashing him by now, now that his police detail is gone? Especially since apparently, Satch is in on it? That’s certainly one of the darkest turns yet on a pretty bleak show, leaving Raimy with no one on her side except the guy she talks to on the ham radio. And a rarely sober Gordo. But Satch has consistently been paternal and protective toward Raimy, so is he just trying to keep her away from the corruption to protect her? Or is he just playing her to protect Stan and himself?

It’s still admirable how Frequency manages to weave a case of the week in the midst of all this: Here a drug dealer that Raimy found murdered in one of her timelines (I forget), who in turn murdered young Gina Vitale. Have to point out that Peyton List is doing a great job of portraying young Raimy: Certainly not as jaded as the Raimy we see in present day, but on her way there (well, she is her father’s daughter, after all). We don’t need a heroin pack with a scorpion on it to know how corrupt Stan is, but it’s interesting how quickly Raimy picks up on it, and how much she knows that a cop like Stan wouldn’t be able to forget a face anyway.

One valuable element that at least one of the 2008 timelines brings us, though, is the chance to see grown-up Raimy and her dad in the same room for once. Rookie Raimy may squawk, but Frank is an excellent training officer for her, much better that the shady, inattentive Stan, who’s ready to throw her into a room first to soften it up. Loved the father-daughter bickering over the driving, the gun, and what to do with a door.

Because another welcome parallel this episode is the two Frank-Raimy meal scenes, both involving milkshakes. Their relationship is obviously the heart of the entire series, but when we first meet them, they’re farther apart than just 20 years. Frank has his issues, but we get to see through the Raimy flashbacks what a good dad he is, protective of her but ready to let her make her own mistakes, especially as a rookie cop. That kind of trust will become even more important as the two edge closer to the Nightingale case, which Frequency, surprisingly, is doing a decent job of inching us toward as it stretches this improbable ham radio scenario across the course of a season.


Stray observations

  • “Two memories gives you two crime scenes, which gives you just as much evidence.” At least there’s one advantage to the competing timelines.
  • I’m guessing that Raimy isn’t really that bad a liar, but wanted Stan to know that she knows what’s up. Which seems like a dangerous game to be playing, frankly.
  • “Coach Ted task force.” Heh.
  • Richard Jewell Olympics reference! That’s a name you don’t hear every day.
  • I use the “can of corn” analogy almost constantly, in baseball and elsewhere, to indicate anything that could resemble an easy fly ball.
  • Is it just that Raimy only has one gray shirt, or many gray shirts that look increasingly similar?
  • It’s still bugs that Julie was so ready to kick Frank to the curb, but she did sell that final breakup scene well. The worst part for Frank is that it just makes it that much harder for him to protect her from her future killer.
  • “Better judged by 12 than carried by six.” Hokay.
  • Next week: Looks like Curtis Armstrong can also communicate with the future, which would be another welcome Frequency twist.
  • Cubs win! Wooooo! You have to appreciate the cast of Frequency trying to drag some fans over on Twitter during the rain delay.