The unhappiest memories are the ones with the most power. This episode of Battle Creek proves that to be true, when Danny is haunted by the murders of his parents right in front of him when he was a child. Will this new obsession bring him closer with Guziewicz? Let’s find out out.
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The episode begins with a flashback, of a young boy being put into a closet by his very nervous mother as an angry man bangs on the door. Once the guy busts in, blood splatters on a wall after the sound of a gunshot. The boy looks through the tiny holes of the closet door in terror. This boy is Danny, the commander’s adopted son, and after he shakes off the memory, he puts on a crisp shirt and tie and goes to see Milt.
He tells Milt that the guy in prison for killing his mother might not be the guy who did it. Milt curiously asks why he couldn’t go to the commander with this revelation, and he shares that they are not on the best terms at the moment. So Milt and Danny head out to Danny’s fave basketball court to talk deets. Danny says he overheard a guy in a jail cell (while he was waiting for his recent arraignment) repeat over and over that he “didn’t kill those two people in that motel room.”
He was near the guy who served the time for his parents’ deaths, but is now wondering if that was even the right guy. Milt goes to see this guy (Clarence) in prison and has a chat with him. The guy denies the whole thing, and says he was outside of the motel at the time of the murders with “Prelude Pete.” Pete apparently had wavy hair at the time, a weird mustache, and drove a white prelude. So Milt has to track Pete down after 17 years in order to get anywhere with this. Great.
Guilty Until Proven Innocent
Milt meets with the officer on duty (Pritchett) with the commander the day of the murders. He runs through the whole case, and though the biggest hole is that they asked a young Danny to identify the murderer by showing a picture of Clarence (leading the witness), everything else seems pretty air-tight. Witnesses confirmed that Clarence carried a gun on him that matched the bullets used on the victims. The victims owed him money at the time. Three witnesses even confirmed they saw him running out of the motel right after the shots were fired with blood on his clothes. Oh and they never tracked down a Prelude owned by anyone named Pete, so there’s that.
The commander practically charges at Milt in the hallway, demanding he drop the whole thing. Milt refuses and says he needs to keep his promise to Danny. The commander tells him that it’s an order. Milt points out that she isn’t his boss and walks away.
When Commander Guziewicz goes to see Danny, she’s pissed he went behind her back to reopen his parents’ case. Danny stands his ground and is determined to know why they were killed in the first place. After pressing him on why he’s so obsessed, he tells Guziewicz that if his parents didn’t die for being drugged out losers, then maybe he doesn’t have to either. She tells him to grow up, let it go, and get clean.
Russ and Milt track down an owner of a locally registered Prelude from 1997 and turns out, Pete was his brother! He gave the car to Pete when he went off to college and Pete did in fact, have a strange mustache. But Pete OD’ed a few years ago, so that’s a dead end.
A Series of Suspects
They go visit the motel owner (who still owns it today), and Danny is there when they arrive. He wants to tag along. Both Milt and Russ say no. The motel owner remembers the couple fondly. He gave them a room and hired Danny’s mom as a maid. They were starting to get back on their feet…. then they met Clarence. The owner is positive it was him. Russ asks if Clarence didn’t exist, would there be any other suspects? The owner’s wife mentions a teenager named Eli, who used to break into the rooms and steal things. Maybe Danny’s parents caught him and he killed them to ensure their silence? Seems like a stretch, but it’s the only option they’ve got.
Eli grew up to be lawyer, and a seemingly brilliant guy. He said Danny’s mom was actually a prostitute, selling her body to keep money coming in for Danny’s junkie father. He thinks Clarence did it, but if the police got it wrong, they should look at the motel owner, because they were getting free rent in exchange for sex. When Danny’s dad starting earning a decent living, they decided to move out of the motel. Danny’s mom told the owner, and the next day, they were killed.
Russ questions the motel owner, and he admits to sleeping with Danny’s mom. He’s playing the bad cop, and he’s laying it on thick. The motel owner admits to cheating on his wife, but never before Danny’s mom and never again after. He doesn’t admit to the murders, and says he needs to get a layer.
The only thing left to try is a technique on the only witness (Danny) to access the part of his brain holding detailed memories of the day. They put him back in that very closet, have him hold the stuffed bunny he had with him that day, and ask him questions while he focused on a single unmoving object. He doesn’t recover a physical description of the murderer, but he does remember his mom fighting the guy off.
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DNA Saves the Day
They agree to exhume her body and test the DNA under her fingernails. It doesn’t match Clarence. But it doesn’t match the motel owner either because he’s not in the system. However, he was chewing tobacco when Russ questioned him so he might’ve left his disgusting spittle cup behind. Score?
Nope. Not a match. But they compared the DNA to family members to rule out whether or not she accidentally scratched her husband or Danny. The result indicated that her husband was not a match, but Danny was a partial match. This mean that Danny’s biological father is still out there…. and is probably our murderer. GASP.
They show up where they think Devon (Danny’s real dad) is they find a crack house with a bunch of drugged out lowlifes. Devon is one of them and when Milt says he’s under arrest for the murders, he says, “Man, you guys are slowwwww.” Boom.
Case = Solved
Danny faces him. Guziewicz stands behind him. He asks him why. Devon says he went to see her and see his son. He found her with a new man and that set him off. He shows little remorse, and Danny flips out. Devon gets real and says he’s not Danny’s dad, just a guy who had sex with his mom too many times.
Clarence goes free and Pritchett has to publicly apologize. He treated Russ like garbage and now he has to thank the entire Battle Creek team for their hard work on solving this case. He intentionally skips Russ and thanks everyone else by name. Later, Russ takes Pritchett’s portrait and smashes it in his office.
Guziewicz goes to visit Danny and gets real with him. She tells him that her dad used to beat his mom, and that abuse turned Guziewicz into a drunk. So she has her own demons and she’s battled through them. Danny is not alone. They have a sweet parental moment and seem to be on solid terms now.
Meanwhile in Battle Creek…
Holly’s new boyfriend invited her on a five-day tropical cruise. They’ve only been on three dates so that’s kind of soon, no? Jacocks thinks so, and offers to do a background check on the guy. They find nothing more than a traffic ticket on him, but stumble upon a sealed juvie record on Holly. What, WHAAAAT?!
White and Jacocks track down Holly’s high school boyfriend and he recounts the story of Holly beating a classmate with a baseball bat in the middle of a school day. Apparently this guy had asked Holly’s friend to go for a walk during a party, and for the following week, her friend wasn’t in school. So Holly took matters into her own hands and beat the crap out of him. Color me impressed. Jacocks gives her the green light to go on the cruise, because she’s obviously more of a threat than her boyfriend. But will she actually go? And how will Russ handle that?
Until next time, folks.
Battle Creek airs Sundays at 10pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)