's "Love Is A Rose And You Better Not Pick It" the bloom is definitely off the rose as Backstrom receives the most devastating news yet and his angel mother is knocked clear off her pedestal. I questioned in my 'Backstrom is a Big Dick
' rant that I didn't know how, in the name of all that is holy, were we going to see any glimmer of hope for the full Backstrom package in the remaining few episodes. What was I thinking? Has Backstrom
creator Hart Hanson ever let me down? Further, has the full Hanson-Persson duo ever not delivered?
Backstrom Recap: Backstrom Learns the Shocking Truth About Valentine >>>
In the last couple of episodes we've learned that Backstrom's drinking ruined his relationship
with Amy, that Backstrom desperately wants her back and that Valentine
is -- gasp -- Backstrom's brother by another mother. In "Love is a Rose and You Better Not Pick It" the other shoe drops: Backstrom learns a harsh truth about his own mother. At this point I am literally gagging to find out what happens in the last three episodes because this show is as thrilling as any one of Persson's storylines and even better when married with the multidimensionality the writers and Rainn Wilson bring to the table. This show better damn well get renewed for a second season.
God's Perfect Flower Besmirched By a Morbid Mystery
Beady-eyed and mealy-mouthed Assistant District Attorney Kines is back covering the mayor's backside by insinuating himself into a murder investigation for which Backstrom quickly provides a politically friendly solve for before getting down to the business of crime solving. Gravely reminds the team that Kines is an ass, but brownie points with the politicos is never a bad thing. Moto is smelling the roses and Backstrom announces that the victim must be a hooker.
Immediately, groundskeeper Norman is nabbed for the crime, aided by the bloody shovel Niederman finds in the garden tool shed. Backstrom knows that Norman is guilty of something and we shortly learn that he is not wrong in a twist that ends up solving the case.
Nervous Perv Norman's Booby Pics Are His Salvation
Norman's interrogation nets only a cache of images off of his phone: Images of garden patrons' chests. This tells Backstrom that the guy isn't the murdering kind. As it turns out, the victim, Larissa Moscovitz, is a prostitute of sorts, but not the usual kind. Then things start to get really interesting.
Princess Dmitri Hired a Sex Surrogate for Some Hands-on Life Coaching
This totally normal-looking guy, Dmitri "Princess" Green, patronized Larissa, the sex surrogate, trying to rid himself of the need to dress up like Cinderella in order to get sexually aroused. What? Man, it takes all kinds to make the world go round. Who knew?
Girlfriend Claire "Princesses-Are-A-Big-Turnoff" McGrail says the guy is not a killer. Later we learned that she knew about the sex surrogacy thing the whole time and actually appreciated Larissa's help. Apparently, Larissa helped Princess Dmitri lose everything but the tiara when he needed to get it on with Claire. Claire is humorously effusive about how improved Dmitri is in the sack and I'm starting to wonder exactly what he was doing in there to make Claire effusive about her satisfaction.
Backstrom Seeks Sex Therapy to Overcome His Fear of Butt Spiders
So, a sex surrogate is a real thing. No surprise there, but how will the team get a list of Larissa's
johns clients? Nadia comes up with the perfect solution once Niedermayer suggests that Larissa must have had a pimp supervising psychotherapist: Send Backstrom to Dr. Morton Fleck to pretend he has serious psychological sexual issues. Perfect.
Backstrom is perfect as he sits on Fleck's therapy couch describing his inability to have sex without rubbing himself with peroxide beforehand to ward off the creepy crawly things that might want to crawl inside his exposed orifices during the act. My god, this scene has me howling. The faces Wilson makes -- and his delivery of his lines -- are priceless. Notice his expressions as Fleck gets all up in Backstrom's business.
Backstrom freaks out when Fleck gives a five cent analysis of our titular character's whole psyche: He has an inability to love, he brags to compete with other guys, he pursues pleasure without vulnerability through food, alcohol and sex, where the only foreplay is a credit check. Backstrom is phased by the whole thing and actually takes the card of the sexual surrogate Fleck hands him.
Gravely, following along with the Fleck interlude via earbud, hears the entire exchange, though she later denies it to Backstrom. Her reactions to Backstrom are always awesome and this time is no different. She does give the lieutenant a ribbing when she asks him if he got any good advice though. Gotta love Gravely. Also cool about Gravely is that in response to Kines' balking about Backstrom's unconventional methods, she tells him to get lost so he doesn't witness them. Gravely just Backstromed Kines!
Backstom's Only Saving Grace Is His Vulnerability
Throughout the Backstrom franchise, Wilson has imbued his character with extraordinarily naked psychological depth through his reactions to others' astute observations. From the interrogation room to crime scenes, ballrooms and fire escapes, Backstrom gets these introspective looks where he goes completely inside his own head and has absolutely no idea what his face is doing. It's marvelous to watch. Juxtaposed against his unquestionably damning behavior -- making passes at Nadia, encouraging Moto to lie on the stand, lying his face off to Dr. Deb and using Amy's 30-day chip to do it (could you hear my voice going up an octave with that last item?) -- this naked vulnerability is Backstrom's only saving grace.
Backstrom Gets More Sex Therapy From Surrogate Good Breast
Backstrom invites licensed sex surrogate Sandy "Good Breast-Bad Breast" Hale-Cooper to the Rub-A-Dub-Dub-Tub for a session/interrogation. She explains about going all the way back to the breastfeeding experience as a way of working through mommy issues. She recommended Backstrom create a shrine for his dead mother. Backstrom is stunned. Later, with Valentine, we learn that Everett's mother died in childbirth. Ouch.
Baby Backstrom's Mother Made Him a Beautiful Bowl before Dying
Valentine encourages the shrine thing. Backstrom digs through his stuff and comes up with a tiny ceramic bowl that his mother, a ceramics artist, made him. The bowl is adorable and probably the exact shape of his mother's breast. Painted on the bowl is an image of a little boy flying a kite in a field on a sunny day. Whoah. Remember Bella the Kite
from the episode where his childhood bullies finally told Backstrom where they had hidden it? Very interesting.
Take a look at a close-up of Everett's treasured baby bowl.
Backstrom isn't yet ready to put that bowl in a place of honor, so he rewraps it and puts it back in his tool chest. Bummer.
Moto Follows the Roses
We finally learn that Clarissa wasn't surprised her boyfriend was seeing Larissa. She even met her and gotten to like her. Clarissa is a bust as a suspect, but she directs the team back to one of Larissa's clients, young wheelchair bound Joshua Larimer who points them toward Backstrom's own sex surrogate who was upset when the patient-therapist relationship didn't work between herself and Joshua.
Fleck is a lecherous turd who makes passes at all his underlings, so we're back to the good bad doctor again. Turns out Fleck was '"Flecking" Larissa. Backstrom and Gravely get a subpoena for Fleck's files and DNA.
Valentine Makes Backstrom Cry
Val visits Backstrom at the station with news that Backstrom's mother didn't die giving birth to him. Turns ou, Marie Backstrom committed suicide with her husband's gun a couple months after Backstrom was born. She abandoned her infant son. Backstrom is devestated by this news and we see him actually cry. Did that really just happen? The veneer just cracked, people. Bazinga.
Even Sex Surrogates Need Real Love
Turns out Larissa had sex just for fun right before she died. Backstrom figures out that Larissa had extended her relationship with young Joshua Larimer because she was in love with him. That's why she had unprotected sex with him. Unfortunately, this was getting in the way of Joshua having normal relationships with normal girls who would spend time with him without a meter running. But did Joshua kill Larissa for having sex with him? Hell no. Then who did?
Mommy Dearest Felled By a Boobie Picture
Joshua's mom found out that Larissa was in love with her son and vowed to put an end to it. She followed Joshua to the garden and must have seen the two bumping the uglies. She waited for Joshua to leave, then clocked Larissa on the head with the garden shovel.
It isn't spoken, but Backstrom's gotta be wondering if his mother would kill for him. At least, that's what I heard handing in the pregnant silence following the interrogation.
When there is no proof that Mama Larimer was even at the gardens when Larissa was killed, Backstrom remembers way back to Perv Norman the groundskeeper of the rose gardens. Backstrom sees the necklace hanging around Mama Larimer's neck and runs to the images Nadia had captured from Norman's phone. There he finds all the proof they needs: An image of Mama Larimer's check and necklace time stamped to match the exact time of Larissa's death. Case closed. This time Moto gets to make the collar.
Backstrom Confuses a Memorial Shrine with a Funeral Pyre
Back at the Rub-A-Dub-Dub-Tub, Backstrom is self-medicating as he considers the breast bowl his own mother made for him. He's visibly holding back his anger, which we all know is just a cover-up for pain and fear. He throws the bowl into the fireplace, shocking Valentine who covertly rescues the bowl. (You know that's going to show up in one of the next three episodes, don't we? As we say here in Fargo, you betcha.)
I wrote it in my recap of "Give 'Till It Hurts"
and I'm gonna say it again here, people: Maybe Valentine is the key to Backstrom getting his life back together. Though he is not the only person who loves Everett, (Amy does as well), but he's the only one who knows the inside of Backstrom as well as his slovenly outside. I have to admit I freaked a little in that episode when Backstrom told Valentine to move out. Val is one of the best parts of this show. He's very effective as a vehicle for showing us the tender underbelly of our central antagonist-protagonist.
"Love is a Rose and You Better Not Pick It" is one of the best episodes so far. This reveal was killer. What on earth are we going to find out next week? I can't wait to find out.
airs Thursdays at 9pm on FOX.
(Images courtesy of FOX)