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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Frequency moves closer to the Nightingale killer in an effective episode

"But where are your wife and kid, Gordo?" (Photo: The CW)
"But where are your wife and kid, Gordo?" (Photo: The CW)

This episode of Frequency was supposed to run next week (episode five) instead of this week (episode four). It looks like next week’s episode will focus on Frank’s dirty cop corruption case, which is much less intriguing than the Nightingale case. So it appears that the show switched things around to try to draw more new viewers in with a more compelling episode, rather than lose them with a stab at taking down Frank’s old boss. Hopefully, that effort will succeed, because this was a great episode.

Because Frequency is interestingly a serial more than a procedural, you really have to wonder just how things are going to progress from week to week. This was an inspired plot choice: Following up with the daughter of another Nightingale victim, offering parallels between the dad-daughter dyads, and even grown-up Raimy and Ava and how their mothers’ deaths affected where they are in adulthood. It was pretty obvious from the get-go that both kid and adult Ava were hiding something, and the circumstances were left open enough that it wasn’t until her reveal that we could have predicted just what that was. Yes, Ava locking herself up was extreme (might have seemed even more extreme if I hadn’t seen Andrew McCarthy beat himself up with a baseball bat last year on The Family), but the mirror images of little Ava and adult Ava asking wistfully about the reporters outside made even that scenario make some sense. And the description of Ava that she was “so busy looking back, she can’t look ahead to the life she has to live” is only too appropriate for Raimy as well.

So Raimy gets frustrated with herself for stumbling after another wild goose chase: Considering this is only the fourth week, she better get used to it. Although all of her hesitancy about meddling in the past appears to have vanished, seeing as the next Nightingale victim is only days away from being abducted. But all work and one case makes for a fairly dull lead character, and fortunately Gordo is around to add his too-brief moments of drunken levity. (We’re really going to have to see his wife and child at some point. And possibly Gordo himself in the daytime.) Raimy has been fighting this new reality she’s in—like refusing to attend her mother’s memorial last episode—but as long as she’s there, living alone in a house that I can only imagine is creepy now that her mother and her boyfriend are no longer in it, she might as well move on as best she can. She didn’t seem go have much chemistry with Mosbey the cop guy, but I don’t think she was meant to, as it’s clear that she and Daniel are meant to find their way back to each other eventually. (But at least this week’s flashback was only a few frames of a passionate cop makeout.) Since Raimy literally only has one person she can talk to about all of this, it was nice that she eventually opened up to her dad about losing Daniel on top of everything else.

In fact, there was only one major misstep this episode, and it’s unfortunately one we’ve come to expect from this show, in an effort to drag our case out for another week, followed by more weeks. So Frank has a lead on the make of the car of the Nightingale killer. He spots said car tracking his wife. And instead of sneaking up to the guy so that he can grab him, he walks right down the frickin’ street, loudly braying and showing his badge (on foot!) so that of course the killer is going to hightail it right out of there, and torch the car, the biggest lead Frank has, Wouldn’t it have made so much more sense for Frank to write down the license plate number and track the guy that way? For like a nanosecond Frank held the upper hand with the element of surprise, and he blew it all like a first-day rookie, not a well-decorated police officer. It’s not as bad as Raimy refusing to speak to her mom on the radio, but it’s close.

Still, Frank is bound to find another lead anyway (although when he tells Raimy, ”We’re losing,” he really has no one to blame but himself). In the meantime, Raimy will try harder to make the best of this unfamiliar life that she’s in, as Frank does the same in a reality he isn’t even supposed to exist in. This episode was Frequency’s most effective yet as the show proved it doesn’t need to pull those “changing the past in the future!” shenanigans. Sometimes, just exploring the past a little deeper is enough.

Stray observations

  • “So Gordo still lives next door…” Raimy is going to have to open up to Gordo soon about the radio, right? After all, he knows the whole family, and eventually, she’s just going to need someone else to talk to about it.
  • For the Nightingale killer reveal to really resonate, does it have to be someone we’re familiar with? But since our main cast of characters is a pretty small pool for that to be a possibility.
  • Could Raimy ever wear some kind of shirt with a color?
  • Just realizing that if I was Frank, I would hardly even let Raimy off the radio as I pummeled her with questions about the future. Are there flying cars? Who’s president? What are phones like now?
  • Julie: Too hard on Frank since 1996.
  • This week’s Frequency time-travel conundrum that makes me want to have a lie-down: How did little Ava recognize that car so any times? Doesn’t seem like a thing a kid would notice. And why did the Nightingale killer take her too?
  • Also, in the original timeline, the Nightingale killer stopped being active in 1996, right? What happened there?
  • Frank’s roundabout way of getting a knife in the house through bonding with young Raimy was heartbreaking. Especially as he tried to navigate between “good” and “bad” secrets.