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WashingTelevision: Crisis Recap, Episode Two, “If You Are Watching This I Am Dead”

An elaborate plan involving the Pakistani ambassador revealed some secrets buried underneath DC.

This is hopefully the amount of money Gillian “Scrooge McDuck” Anderson is getting paid to be on this show. Photograph by Chuck Hodes for NBC.

Forgive me if I’m wrong, but did the unfortunately ponderous and not altogether cheering title of last night’s Crisis occur at any point during the show? Was there a videotaped ransom note or message from the grave that was originally intended to be spliced in somewhere? Speaking of spliced in, did everyone appreciate the shot of Meg and Susie chatting outside FBI HQ with the Capitol and the Washington Monument in the background, apparently right next to each other? Would one not have sufficed?

In case we were in any doubt, Crisis = still confusing. There were fewer twists this week, which was partly a relief and partly a removal of the show’s most compelling characteristic, but there was the introduction of something called the Lennox Program, which is possibly/probably why Gibson masterminded this elaborate plot to cut off his pinkie and thrust his daughter into the arms of the First Hunk. The Lennox Program has something to do with the Americans who were being kept medicated in a shiny secret room underneath the Pakistani Embassy, whom Agent Finley found because this is Washington and nobody gives a crap about international jurisdiction when you’re in the GD capital of the GD US of A, sir.

Judging from Gillian Anderson’s glassy stare, immaculate ringlets, and monotonal affect, Meg Fitch has spent the time since last week responding to the kidnapping of her daughter/niece with Xanax rather than actual human emotion. Nonetheless, she authorizes her very-unhappy-about-it lawyer to access $25 million in untraceable bills to send to the kidnappers. Gibson, disguising his voice on the phone, directs her to a parking lot in a neighborhood where the people who work for the people who work for her live, in a scene that was kind of like when Katie Holmes sent Bruce Wayne down into the narrows to understand what real suffering looks like. A man not wearing a mask takes her SUV full of bills and gives her the keys to a beat-up Honda, and in the trunk is . . . a picture of her daughter holding a newspaper. A little disappointed but apparently not that much, Meg goes to see Susie and comes clean about the money, handing the picture over to her sister. And, surprise, getting the picture (and its attached tracker) into the FBI turns out to be exactly the thing the kidnappers wanted her to do, maybe because it wiped all their computers or something? I’m not sure.

It’s not a great week for Susie, because in addition to her sister lying to her and her niece/daughter being missing, her boss insists that she work with Agent Finley, even though she was horribly snotty to him at the beginning of the episode because the producers of this show desperately want her character to be more Carrie Mathison and less Carrie Underwood, hence the lack of eyeliner and the boring suits. This week the pair gets assigned to investigate Hearst, the Secret Service agent who shot Finley and has been working with Gibson in his secret hacker room of doom. Turns out Hearst’s partner, the one who called in sick and got Finley his first day on Kyle’s security detail, is missing, and without too much ado Susie and Finley find him in a bare room, gagged and tied to a bed.

All this leads to the information that Hearst took a whole hour off (call the lunch police) to hang out around the Pakistani Embassy, which means Finley and Susie hotfoot it down there to find the ambassador acting rather strange. Susie, sharp as a tack, guesses that he’s received one of the same manila envelopes her sister did, and immediately demands to know what’s going on. And it turns out Finley wasn’t bad at his job, after all, because he deduces that the security agent whom the ambassador was supposed to kill to get his keycard could be whacked on the head instead with the exact same results and no murdering. THEN after he and Susie find the Americans in the secret room and are about to give them over to two paramedics, he recognizes the voice of one of them as one of the masked kidnappers who’d taunted him about his terrible first day on the job, and he and Susie shoot them both.

In other news, almost all of the kids respond to their continued kidnapping with the same bored apathetic face one imagines Meg uses when she gets a parking ticket, with the exception of the girl who’s going to miss her Juilliard audition, who freaks out for no discernible reason and starts muttering about sonatas. It’s funny watching these children of privilege try to figure out how to approach unfolded, un-dry cleaned clothes, though. Oh, and Beth Ann and her “indie” artist friend decide no one will pay their ransom so they should try to escape and make loud noises when they hear the sound of a drone overhead. This is awkward because (a) the drone noise is a ruse to root out the troublemakers and (b) one of the men in masks has to whack the daughter of his boss in the face as punishment. That Gibson might be nerdy and oddly unattached to his digits, but at least he doesn’t believe in nepotism.

Some other thoughts:

Kyle hates his dad, too! Which is going to be VERY IMPORTANT next week when his father possibly sacrifices him for the good of the nation.

Beth Ann’s mom once locked Gibson out of the house and he has flashbacks about it. I really, really miss when Dermot Mulroney was Jess’s boyfriend in New Girl.

Some kid who wears a lacrosse shirt is an arrogant jerk. Call the newspapers.

“Why would I not do what I think is best? What good would that do?” Never change, rich people.

Apparently each episode from now on is going to have a plot of the week involving a different VIP parent and an elaborate plan to make them do something. Oh, good. That won’t get at all tired.

What did you think of last night’s Crisis? Let us know in the comments.