'Backstrom' Recap: Backstrom Tells Val to Go Fly a Kite
'Backstrom' Recap: Backstrom Tells Val to Go Fly a Kite
Catherine Cabanela
Catherine Cabanela
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Since this is Backstrom we should not be at all surprised that "I Like to Watch" opens with Backstrom yanking a nose bra off Valentin's face and then scratching said face and scalp with his newly repaired testicle ball scratcher. Oh, yes it was a ball scratcher, or didn't you pay close enough attention? I'm pretty sure the Backstrom Fairies will back me up on this. Next, Backstrom admits he has not started making the kite Valentine paid him $200 to make. 

Remember Bella? Remember last week's baby bowl featuring a little Everett flying a kite that spelled out his name? Interesting theme stringing this whole story together, huh? What might it all mean, she asks herself as she absently taps her index finger on her chin. IT has to be something about being denied freedom of self-expression, methinks, but let us not get ahead of ourselves...

Backstrom is immediately called to a crime scene at the Here & Now Festival where performance artist, Timothy Fitch, has been shot dead with his own .357 Ruger and lies on the floor of his performance space. In true Backstrom form, Everett tosses out numerous derisive comments about self-indulgent narcissists who finger-paint their names in their own poo and call it art...and the game is afoot.

Fitch's Transformative Powers Over Women

First Suspect. Katie Holmes look-alike, Virginia "He-Completed-Me" Anderson, is the first to be accused of murder. Accountant Anderson, the victim's fiance, blubbers an effusive load of tripe about how special her guy was. Her alibi is that she has no testifiable alibi, but we'll let that slide for now because we are only four minutes and 35 seconds into the episode. 

Artists Are Passionate and By 'Passionate' Everett Means 'Stupid' 

Second Suspect. One of Fitch's previous performance art installations leads the team to an old lover who just so happens to be performing at the same installation as Fitch that weekend. Lucy "My-Privates-Shall-Be-Public" Harms (Ever Carradine, Major Crimes) claims to not have seen Fitch since their breakup three years previously. This turns out to be true, though first, Backstrom has to have some intensely awkward scenes with Lucy during which he's drawn to her and pretty much mounts her in front of a street filled with voyeurs before Moto stops him. Her "art" is to live inside a glass box being live broadcast outside the installation to a crowd she cannot see. More on this later.

Third Suspect. Before getting dead, Fitch had been drinking with his assistant Moss Brady, but there had to be someone else there, says Backstrom who determined this by making the dead man piss his pants. A dead ringer for The Artist Formerly Known As ... bla, bla, bla, Moss Fitch is found passed out under a playground structure, having been mysteriously drugged while drinking with Fitch. Before long he confesses that he and Fitch had been planning to fake Fitch's death as some sort of performance art piece. It's not till Prince, er, Moss is brought to the morgue that reality cold clocks him between the eyes and he faces reality.

Baby Sister Has Millions of Motives 

Fourth Suspect. The victim's sister Arianna "Art-Is-A-Big-Con-Job" Fitch admits to having seen her brother the night before and had a couple drinks with him. She has a motive; a hefty insurance policy on Fitch. However, she has policies on every person who helps take care of the other brother who was maimed in a car accident when Timothy Fitch was at the wheel.

Valentine Has a Damning History With a Suspect

Valentine stops by the station and learns that Moss Brady is a suspect. It turns out that Moss and Val were in juvie together many moons ago. The story goes that while in juvie, Val preemptively shanked another inmate and let Moss take the fall for it. In brief, Val owes Moss a solid and begs Backstrom to set Darling Nikki, er, Moss, free as a big half-brotherly favor. Backstrom refuses to set Moss free, but he can try to rule him out as a suspect. That is only if Val quits whining about the kite Backstrom was supposed to make him. They shake hands and Backstrom goes back to work. God, I love Val. Perfect mix of cute, tough, sarcastic, kick-ass, vulnerable, thoughtful and protective. Just what Backstrom needs to get his own dog poop back together. 

'Destruction Creation' Provides a Crucial Clue

Fifth Suspect. The team learns that several years previously, Fitch was attacked by a patron during one of his performance pieces. It turns out Artist Julien Gaynor attacked Fitch because Fitch defaced and destroyed a piece of Gaynor's art during the performance. Fitch had intended Gaynor's shock and reaction as part of the piece. Gaynor and Fitch made up when Gaynor profited from the stunt by gaining lots of new business. Coincidentally, Fitch just recently purchased another piece of art from Gaynor for $30,000 which was worth a tiny fraction of that. The question is: where did Fitch get that kind of money, and where's that painting now?

Follow the Money

The stratospherically, over-valued art points back to the fiance, Virginia "I-Have-More-Money-Than-Sense" Anderson who freely admits to being Fitch's sugar mama. She would do anything for him, she effuses. What Anderson really needs is some therapy to help her see that she doesn't need a man to be "special," but that's a whole 'nother issue we won't get into here. As long as other strong female characters on Backstrom remain -- Gravely, Paquette, Amy -- I'm okay with one slobbery Holmes Anderson chick with the personality of a paper bag. Virginia turns over the key to Fitch's storage unit where the painting is most likely stashed. 

Exploited Love is Worse Than Unrequited Love

And we're back to Moss (a.k.a. Mark Bradley, the name Val knew him by). Backstrom tells Moss that Gregory Valentine fingered him as Fitch's killer. Moss freaks out and talks about how much he loved Val, and that not being loved back isn't as bad as having that love exploited. This comes into play later and leads to the discovery of the killer's identity. 

The key to the storage unit turns up some emergency room medical records belonging to Fitch's ex-girlfriend. Gravely and Almond construct a theory that Lucy "Peeing-In-Public-Is-Art" Harms ran into Fitch at the show and took her revenge by killing her abuser. 

All Questions By the Artist Are Answered by the Audience

Backstrom confronts Harms in her plastic performance cubicle and accuses her of killing Fitch for knocking her around. Harms scoffs at this assumption and insists that all those injuries were voluntary. The pain from those injuries turned her on, or they turned Fitch on, I'm not entirely sure. This leads to another piece of the puzzle which Backstrom pieces together later, but not before a hilarious sequence in which a pasty shirtless Everett and Harms exchange flirtations and publicly make-out until Moto pulls Everett's inappropriate ass out of there. It's good humor as are the reactions of Gravely and Moto when they realize what's happening. Excellent. 

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You Can't Not Watch the Mesmerizing Artist

Back at the station Backstrom takes a lot of crap from Gravely and Niedermayer about his exhibition with the crazy performance artist lady. Niedermayer brings up the point that it's impossible not to watch Lucy Harms because she is utterly mesmerizing. Then Backstrom gets that look on his face like something just clicked ... and we get the Backstrom clap, the clap which is the closest Backstrom comes to expressing joy. 

Master Backstrom Puts It All Together

So, who couldn't resist watching Harms? Fitch couldn't. Victim Timothy Fitch could not resist the opportunity to watch Lucy perform. Bazinga. Current fiance and sugar mama Virginia Anderson had gone to the installation to visit Fitch and saw him watching Harms. Though he'd told Anderson it was over between him and Harms, he just couldn't stay away. And what's worse than not having your love returned? Having it exploited (thank you, Moss). Who was being exploited? Virginia was bankrolling Fitch's career while he was lusting over his ex. Well, that's just not acceptable, so Anderson capped her beau and, voila, the case is solved. 

A Liar, a Thief, and a Con Man Walk Onto a Barge

Back at the Rub-A-Dub-Tub, Valentine confronts Backstrom about lying to Moss about Val saying he killed Fitch. What's the point, says Everett. I'm a liar, you're a thief, and he's a con man. Gah! He's not wrong. Backstrom does tell Moss the truth and Val explains that he'd lied so they could get Moss removed as a suspect as quickly as possible as a favor to Val.

Then comes an important comment from Backstrom about how our words don't mean anything; it's our actions that show who we are. As he sits there on the barge, Backstrom is putting the finishing touches on the rocket kite he's made Valentine. It's beautiful. 

There were no bombshells in this Backstrom episode, but we do see once again that baby brother Val is the key to Backstrom's salvation. There's an affection there that grounds Backstrom, a familiarity that keeps him 'honest'. 

Here at BuddyTV we can only recap one show an evening. If FOX gives us the opportunity to preview another Bones or Backstrom episode, meet me right back here and we'll watch, absorb, rant and ponder the full Backstrom package together. I leave you with this final wistful Backstrom quote to dissect on your own; ponder its significance in the story of Everett Backstrom.

"A (kite) is just a thing that flies. That's what it does. The wind catches it and makes it fly. That's what makes it beautiful, not talking about it."

Backstrom airs Thursdays at 9pm on FOX. 

(Images courtesy of FOX)