Saturday, August 6, 2011

Franklin & Bash end on a high note with "Go Tell It On the Mountain"

     TNT's Franklin & Bash ends season one with "Go Tell It On the Mountain." In the episode, the body of Infeld's (Malcolm McDowell) long-missing best friend is found, and it is clear Infeld killer him. Franklin (Breckin Meyer) and Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) try to defend their boss, even after Infeld admits to being guilty. Their job is not made easy as a senior partner from New York (Tricia Helfer, Battlestar Galactica) arrives, and tries to play Damien (Reed Diamond) and Hanna (Garcelle Beauvais) so that she can take over the office. In the meantime, the titular duo also help a Mexican wrestler (Danny Trejo, Grindhouse), who seeks to keep his character. Franklin takes an interest in the wrestler's daughter.

     Infeld is an eccentric in the tradition of Denny Crane, but killing a friend makes things a tad more serious than the series usually treads. The fact that he did so to save the rest of their party makes it an acceptable action, but still regretable. The plot thread for this final story actually begins in the penultimate episode, giving it a bit more heft and importance. Helfer's character coming in and perfectly creating chaos surrounding the Infeld trial is nearly flawless, and this makes for easily one of, if not the, best episode of the freshman season. It's why I am so happy that Franklin & Bash has already been given a second year order.

     While Franklin & Bash is a lot of fun, there is some real character development as "Go Tell It On the Mountain" brings things home. Damien and Hanna have some growth, and they have motivations outside of just winning the case of the week. It makes them seem more real and fleshed out in a way the show needs to continue. Of course the main duo have already been given their due, but they are not the only stars of the show. Using Infeld, Hanna, and Damien in wonderful episodes like this one will give the show a much longer shelf life, and keep things interesting enough for viewers to continue tuning in.

     Besides the drama unfolding, a handful of wonderfu guest stars really sell the episode. As mentioned before, Helfer is fantastic, as she usually is. Hopefully her character will return to create more headaches, as she is in a great position to do so. Trejo plays more calm than normal, and keeping his character in a mask almost the entire episode helps. It's not so easy to dismiss the man who makes cult films when some people may not even realize who it is. Plus, it lets Trejo stretch a bit more as an actor. Finally, Star Trek: The Next Generation's Gates McFadden is solid as the judge in Infeld's case. It is very nice to see her back on television, and hopefully she will also return in season two.

     Franklin & Bash will return next summer to TNT.

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