introduces the titular character's father and nemesis in this episode entitled "Enemy of My Enemies." While I anticipated we'd find Blue Backstrom to be an extreme A-hole, I found him to be rather pleasant... until he displayed his true colors in the last five minutes. Rather than seeing some kind of saccharine familial healing that would advance the plot and spread unicorn farts all over the place, we got something better: A rapier sharp image of a self-serving, consummate liar who puts himself ahead of his children.
Amy reappears all too briefly in "Enemy of my Enemies" as well to advance her storyline. Though it looks like things are going down hill in the end of the episode, I submit that progress has been made in that it's clear there is interest between them, but that Backstrom must figure out how to bridge the gap of their past to their present. Here's how it went down.
Who Blew Up The Gopher?
Someone blew up the unfinished underground pump station connected to the Liberty Pipeline and made a huge mess. The opening footage of the explosion brings back memories of Bill Murray's goofy antics trying to exterminate the dancing gopher in classic Caddyshack-fashion.
The local sheriff labels the crime, which resulted in the fatality of security guard Harlan Brand, an act of vandalism perpetrated by activist Sabine Weiss rather than a murder, and asked specifically for the assistance of Portland's Special Crimes Unit.
The Cooch County sheriff has identified that Sabine was around when this 'act of vandalism' occurred and seeks the crime unit's help in finding her and bringing her in. Backstrom, of course, finds this utterly ridiculous.
The Idiot Sheriff Is Backstrom's Daddy
Introducing Sheriff Blue Backstrom (Robert Forster, Last Man Standing) as Everett's father. What the hell kind of name is Blue? Apparently it's the first name of the douchebag wanker who sired our fun-loving Pollyanna-esque lieutenant Everett Backstrom. How's that for extreme snarkism? Backstrom hopes daddy blows up in the next pipeline explosion and refuses to work with him despite how good it would look as cooperation between law departments. That is, until Niedermayer brilliantly recommends that Backstrom exorcize his demons by solving this case before Daddy Dearest does. Backstrom is energized by this gauntlet being thrown.
Sabine was given a scholarship by the Environmental Defense League of Women. Backstrom assumes this means she and her environmental group are lesbians.
Jewish Indian Bleeding Heart Lesbian Funded By Michelle Obama
The scene with Gravely and Backstrom meeting environmentalist Eleanor Deering is priceless. Gravely interrupting Backstrom is classic, and Backstrom is in rare form with his offensiveness in every comment. The writing in this show is powerful and tight. I love it!
Deering reveals that Sabine was both Indian and Jewish, which leads Backstrom to the Oxbow Indian Reservation where he assumes she must be hiding out. Moto and Backstrom head out to the reservation and run into an old acquaintance of Backstrom's from a previous case; a tussle ensues. The two are overcome by a group from the tribe and who walks in but Blue to break it up.
We Are Not Family
Backstrom and Backstrom have a bit of a pissing contest on the reservation. Blue seems to be offering some kind of olive branch toward his son. Everett is having none of it. It is clear whatever this man did to Everett has caused such corrosive acid to crawl backward up his throat that he can barely stand breathing the same air as his father. This is a major point in the Backstrom mythology in that we get to see the origin of the fully developed adult character. Through Everett's physical reaction and his comments, we get a rather colorful image of the kind of father that man was and it ain't pretty. I made a lot of mistakes, especially not respecting you.
Everett refuses to shake hands with Blue and spits his distrust as he asks if Blue is dying -- for why else would he look for an opportunity to work with his son, which is what he claims to be doing. Blue agrees to give Everett 24 hours to find Sabine.
Through a brief conversation with ex-future wife Amy Gazanian, we learn that Everett and Blue have been up against each other numerous times as adults, the last time resolving in Everett landing in a drunk tank in the Yucon. Amy visits Everett under the guise of a complaint from the Oxbow reservations, but she's really there to see how he's doing since this case involves Blue.
Build a Better Bomb
There's no way a woman like that could have made that kind of bomb, so the team begins looking for an accomplice. Paquet uncovers a geeky techno dude by the name of Graeme Hellman who had a mad chubby for Sabine. Everett suspects Hellman designed and constructed the bomb for Sabine. Of course, Everett is correct, we soon learn.
Attempting to drag info out of the geek bomber, Backstrom holds the kid's laptop out the window threatening to drop it, but then hilariously albeit accidentally drops and destroys it when Hellman's boss, Jim Klassen (Alex Carter) enters the room. Since the Special Crime Unit now has to pay for the computer, they get to keep it and who knows what kind of juicy junk they might learn from it?
Everett allows Klassen to offer a reward for any clues that help find sabine. This results in a huge influx of calls to the station. Out of the mess of leads, Backstrom figures out she's gotta be hiding with someone who's too loaded to want the bounty. It just so happens that environmentalist Eleanor Deering, the gal who funded Sabine's college education, has a nice home in the exact area where Sabine is suspected to be hiding. Coincidence? I think not.
Upon searching Deering's compound, Everett finds Sabine's hiding place cleverly hidden behind a fake wall in a tool shed. Derreing, of course, plays the shocked academic. Do we believe her? Backstrom doesn't. He insists Sabine is two-timing Deering with a man -- lawyer Sanford Einhorn from Eagles for Enterprise, a right wing advocacy group. His goal in life is to sue the pants off the government. Sabine and Einhorn have been seen in the same locations, so this theory has merit. Everett sends Paquet to go under cover and approach Einhorn.
Paquet approaches a highly suspicious Einhorn and throws herself at him, and seeming to fail miserably, but she does manage to upset him.
Everett Hires Blue to Kill Niedermayer
Everett is tickled to death at the prospect of sending Niedermayer to get to know Blue. "My dad is going to kill Niedermayer for me," Everett tells Gravely. Niedermayer and Blue have some interesting back and forth, but they don't seem to hate each other right off the bat. As a matter of fact, they end up in an Indian sweat lodge together. Niedermayer sees Blue negotiating a trade with the people of Oxbow. This doesn't seem to be any big deal yet, but later it turns into something significant.
If At First You Don't Succeed, Bomb Again
A second bomb is found in relation to the first pipeline bombing, but there's no way Sabine could have detonated it, supporting Everett's theory that she wasn't a lone bomber as Blue had suggested. Backstrom figures out that Sabine didn't detonate that first bomb either; he suspects it was the dead security guard Harlan Brand. He also fingers the chubby geek Hellman as the detonator of the second bomb, but then changes his opinion when the team figures out that Klassan has a grudge against the pipeline company for devaluing his family's farm.
Klassan Was Sabine's Puppetmaster
Backstrom and Gravely visit Klassan at his lovely and lush home. While Backstrom pretends to be Klassan, Gravely stakes out the upper floor and finds Sabine escaping through a window. Gravely chases and apprehends Sabine as Everett joins them from behind and does his little mind trick on Sabine. He proposes that Sabine realized she couldn't trust the security guard and rigged the bomb detonator to kill him as well. Per usual, this information falls on Sabine as true and she runs. Gravely gives chase while Everett tries to take aim at the backside of the criminal. Afraid he will hit Gravely instead, he fires into the air. Sabine escapes capture and the team returns to the station.
Backstrom's Got Gravely's Number
Back at the station, Backstrom illustrates how well he has figured out Gravely's thought process. Sabine got away because neophyte cop and eternal optimist Gravely wanted to believe Sabine was more redeemable than criminal. Everett and Gravely have an interesting discussion about the level of trust between them and the value of hope in the line of duty.
Bomb geek Hellman's destroyed laptop has an incriminating photo showing that Klassan has an airplane. Paquet reports that the plane was headed for the Oxbow Indian Reservation. Backstrom calls Niedermayer and everyone descends upon the reservation as the plane is about to take off. Out come Sabine and lawyer Einhorn. Sabine holds the detonator to a bomb that will blow up the entire pier and everyone there. As Gravely and Everett try to get Sabine to put down the detonator, Oxbow's Captain Rocha roars onto the scene with lights and sirens blaring. Everyone's pointing guns all over the place while Everett and Rocha have a brief jurisdiction dispute.
Enter Blue and his men. What took him so long to get here is a mystery, but there you have it. Blue pulls rank on Rocha since Sabine is now a terrorist and therefore under FBI jurisdiction which supersedes everyone else's badges.
Blue has a grandfatherly chat with Sabine and she gives up the detonator. Everett tries to take over, and Blue pulls rank on him as well, almost cackling as he drives off with the criminal booty.
All Males Must Slay Their Fathers
As Daddy Backstrom rides off into the sunset, it is clear to everyone, especially Everett's team, that Daddy Dearest really is the a**hole they suspected he might be. He used his son to drive his own prey into his own net. Then he swooped in and took the collar right out from under Everett's nose, claiming the glory for himself. What a dick.
Everett asks if anyone checked to see if Blue really was a marshall, asserting he was most likely lying about that as well as everything else. By the end of the episode everyone wants to slay Everett's father. Now we have to question absolutely everything the man said. Was he lying about why he hit Everett in the head with his gun? Most likely. How about that he did a good job with all the other kids except Everett? Probably. What a piece of work.
Amy Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Amy shows up at Everett's barge to offer solace. She's genuinely concerned, but Everett brushes her off, then kisses her. She shoves him off eventually with a look of disappointment in her eyes, then calls him an idiot and leaves. Is it because she doesn't love him anymore? No, it's because Everett doesn't get it that you can't cure 10 years of estrangement with sex and some take-out. She cares about him. That's why she's making the effort. How interesting that Everett sees straight through everyone else, but is blind to what makes Amy tick. More accurately, he suspects what makes her tick but lacks the finesse to execute a reconciliation. Perhaps it will be the threat of the final loss of her affections that will move him to make some changes in his life.
Backstrom airs Thursdays at 9pm on FOX.
(Images courtesy of FOX)