Saturday, March 10, 2012

Not even a hurricane can stop The Finder

FOX's The Finder uses a hurricane to excite in the last episode before taking a little over a month off. "Eye of the Storm" finds the characters hunkering down to ride out major wind and rain, but a televised report of a missing girl makes Walter (Geoff Stults) spring into action. Limited to any hunting he can do from his bar, Walter makes use of those trapped with him, as well as Isabel (Mercedes Masohn), who remains in town. Despite the challenges, Walter manages to solve the case.

OK, so finding a missing girl in a hurricane is a little far fetched. Making light of it with scenes of Walter and Timo (Toby Hemingway, Black Swan) struggling in and out of the door to the bar may also be a little tasteless. However, those things do not prevent "Eye of the Storm" from being a great episode. The threat of the storm, and the cleverness it takes to get anything accomplished around it, make the case of the week quite exciting. It also allows for great visuals and humor, as handled with the light-hearted tone of the series. This is enough to overcome any complaints about the premise.

The major B-plot is incredibly cliché and predictable. Willa's (Maddie Hasson) seemingly tough probation officer, Christina Farrel (Amy Aquino, Harry's Law, Brothers & Sisters, ER), gets trapped in the bar with them. Of course, she sees Willa break several terms of her probation, including using the internet and associating with Timo. But, caught up in helping find the missing girl, Christina exposes a softer side of herself, and all is forgiven, with a recommendation that the court allow Willa supervised computer access.

Yes, there is little originality in Christina's story and character because it's been done a thousand times before. However, Aquino is such a fantastic actress, that those things are forgotten about throughout most of the episode. Every time a "twist" involving her occurs, viewers may remember that they already knew that it would happen. But then Aquino's performance takes over again, and keeps the plot enjoyable, no matter how unoriginal it may be.

That's kind of the story of The Finder at large. There isn't a lot of unique things in it. It's a crime series with quirky characters, something extremely prevalent on television today. Yet, by putting together this particular cast, and bringing in great guest stars like "Eye of the Storm's" Aquino, Laura Slade Wiggins (Shameless), and M.C. Gainey (Lost, Justified), The Finder soars. Add to that great gags, like Walter printing out an entire internet site for them to puruse, and the show somehow manages to be fresh and worth watching. It must be the magic influence of creator Hart Hanson, who accomplishes a similar victory with his other show, Bones.

Besides the above happenings, Michael Clarke Duncan continues to deliver a riveting performance as Leo, who doesn't always say all that many words, but exudes a presence that carries every scene he is in. Also, the relationship between Walter and Isabel is developing nicely, and Willa's inevitable break from her gypsy family is played wonderfully. All around, The Finder is making itself a show to watch.

So make sure to watch The Finder when it returns to FOX on Fridays in April.

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