Recap: Perception Ep 3.02 Painless


by: Veruca Salt

We begin in Daniel’s kitchen, where Lewicki misguidedly serves Daniel a croissant. But Daniel is a no-go with the white flour, plus, as Lewicki points out so nicely, he hardly needs a reminder of Paris, what with his heart being ripped out.

At casa de Kate, she’s being served breakfast in bed by her now-devoted fiancé, I’m guessing, from the end of last week’s episode. Special K, OJ, and…raisins? Okaaaay. When she spills out her bowl of cereal, out comes a lollipop ring, which she puts on her ring finger. Donnie wants to know when she wants to get married, and she suggests 12:30. Married on the lunch break. How romantic! Donnie gets a call that his expert witness has been taken to the hospital with appendicitis. They need another expert. I wonder who that could be…

Oh, look. There’s Daniel teaching a class about how the brain is hardwired to remember the negative interactions more than the positive ones, but in the end, unless you’re clinically depressed, being unhappy, may be a choice.

Haley catches up with Daniel in the hallway, quotes Lord Byron to commiserate with him about his heartbreak, and suggests going miniature golfing to get over said heartbreak, even going so far as calling him “Danny boy.” Not surprisingly, Daniel declines. Donnie waits for him outside his office.

According to Donnie, Cyrus Dunnam, “Grade-A Scumbag,” lured young girls online, got them to Chicago, cornered them in seedy motel rooms, and forced them into prostitution. Eight counts of sex trafficking, but only one of the women is brave enough to testify. The others have fallen in love with him, said he never harmed them, and feel Cyrus is being unfairly prosecuted. The expert witness who got the appendicitis was supposed to say it’s Stockholm Syndrome, so Donnie needs Daniel to step in and say it. Though Daniel is hesitant to agree to this, since he hasn’t interviewed the victims, it doesn’t matter, since he just needs to educate the jury on Stockholm Syndrome, so it’s all good.  Daniel points out that the last time Donnie put him on the stand, he outed Daniel as a Schizophrenic, so Donnie is quick to point out it’s his associate’s case. What could go wrong?

Oh, wait. The associate drops dead in the middle of questioning Daniel. Turns out, she’d been shot. That’s dedication to the job, folks. Shot in the back, and she soldiers on…

Kate comes in and is introduced to Gerald Rix, the detective on the case who was going to testify against Dunham. Donnie is also amazed by the prosecutor’s ability to keep going after being shot, but Daniel thinks she suffers from Congenital Analgesia, which means she feels no pain. She also was shot with a small gun, probably with a silencer, so she didn’t hear it. Since sepsis takes a few hours to set in, Donnie guesses she’d been shot around seven. Kate says that since the courthouse is secure, it must have happened before she entered the building.

They find the bullet hole in her car. They’re pulling the surveillance, but Kate says it could have happened any time after she left for work.  Kate tells Donnie they need to reschedule “that thing,” aka “the wedding,” and Kate looks totally guilty as Daniel’s wheels begin to turn.

Kate and Daniel go see Linda (the prosecutor’s) sister, who tells them Linda didn’t tell anyone about her condition, because she didn’t want to be treated differently. Their grandfather died at the age of thirty-eight. It turned out Linda was working on another big case. She’d brought home the files, which Kate and Daniel go through. They’re all Chicago PD closed homicide cases.

Kate goes to visit Donnie. Rix is just leaving his office, and Kate acts weird toward him. The reason for this is that she thinks he killed Linda. And the reason she thinks that, is because after going through the files, she found out all of them had Rix as the lead investigator, and he closed ninety-seven percent of them. It’s all because of someone named Nicholas Tartulo, or some variation thereof, was a witness in all of the cases. Since Rix is probably dirty, there’s no way Donnie can put him on the stand, since all of his cases are in danger of being overturned on appeal. Rix had arrested one of Dunham’s prostitutes and was going to testify she was badly beaten, but Donnie thinks he can win the case without him, what with one of the trafficked girls testifying.  Since Rix won’t testify, Kate is free to go after him, but first, she has to find this Nicholas guy.

She finds him pretty easily, and he tries to run away but is knocked down by the forklift he runs into. He claims amnesia, but Daniel quickly diagnoses him as having no concussion, just a hematoma. Nicky is a real rocket scientist, so Kate has to spell it out for him: it’s a bump on the head. But he gets real sharp, real fast. Before he spills the beans, he wants the same deal Linda gave him. Full immunity.

Kate runs ahead as she talks on her cell phone, while the chief anesthesiologist, a Dr. Napoleon Messier, stops Daniel and butters him up by saying he’s a huge fan. Then he talks about how he’d like a tissue sample from Linda, since this is such a rare hereditary condition. Daniel promises to see what he can do. Kate catches up with him and says Daniel needs to go back and testify, while she goes and arrests Rix.

Rix is being questioned. He refuses a lawyer and is not worried. He feels he won’t get convicted. He was doing a public service, since those guys might not have been guilty of the crime they went away for, but they were guilty of something.  Plus, Rix has an alibi. He was at a parent-teacher conference. Donnie thinks if he coerced Nick into testifying, maybe he coerced someone else into killing Linda. Kate is looking into an accomplice, but meanwhile, they have him on corruption, witness tampering, and falsifying evidence.

Kayla, the star witness who was going to “bury” Dunham, denies he hurt her. She also claims she lied during her Grand Jury testimony when she said he did. Dunham is clearly happy with this new development. Instead of backing up her previous testimony that he chained her to a radiator and burned her with cigarettes when she said she wanted to go home, she asks why she’d ever want to leave Dunham. She loves him. Donnie tries to get her to stick to her Grand Jury testimony, but she claims she lied to get back at Dunham, because she thought he was cheating on her, and she apologizes directly to Dunham then professes her love for him.  She also claims she wasn’t threatened or coerced into changing her testimony.  Dunham’s lawyer calls for a directed verdict, since Donnie failed to make a case. The judge agrees and finds Dunham not guilty.

Donnie thinks he can put Dunham away for witness intimidation, and Kate obviously has to find another way of finding out how he did it, because for sure Kayla is not going to testify. Donnie once again says they’re going to be late for “that thing.” But watching Dunham go free has killed the mood for Kate, so Donnie will re-reschedule it. Daniel asks Kate what that was about, and she comes clean but says she didn’t want to say anything, because it would rub salt in the wound. Daniel says he couldn’t be happier, but the look on his face as he walks into his house says otherwise. It’s about to get worse, as the anesthesiologist, Napoleon, greets him and says Lewicki let him in. A good clue that he’s a hallucination is that one moment he’s in a suit and the nest he’s in scrubs with a mask, standing next to a machine, offering to take away Daniel’s pain.

Daniel goes in the kitchen, and Natalie tells him he’s not jealous, but it does hurt to see his friends have something he can’t. With Kate tip-toeing around him, Lewicki giving him croissants, and Haley trying to make him play miniature golf, Daniel wishes they would all go away. Natalie says he wants them to “go away, closer.” It’s a double-bind. It means when two conflicting messages are delivered at the same time, so any answer or response is automatically wrong. But he doesn’t feel he’s sending mixed messages and wants to mourn the death of his relationship in peace. Then Natalie brings up Kayla, who’s in need of comfort and support, but when she said she wanted to be left alone, they left her alone.

So Daniel traipses over to Kayla’s with Lewicki and confesses to her through a closed door that he has paranoid schizophrenia, which means he’s spent most of his adult life, terrified. He knows what it’s like to want to shut the world out, but it’s a very lonely place. He’s learned that sometimes when he shuts people out, what he’s really doing is asking for help. Kayla opens the door and says she can take care of herself. Daniel says he knows, but she doesn’t have to. She’s worried because she lied to the judge, and Dunham was set free, but Daniel says they can lock him right back up if she tells the truth. She tells Daniel that Dunham called her and threatened her. Said her friends couldn’t protect her. He bragged about killing Linda and said if he could get to a federal prosecutor, he could get to Kayla.

Donnie now says he has enough on Dunham and tells Kate to go arrest him. One problem. He’s been shot a bunch of times.

Donnie doesn’t think this is a coincidence, as a little while back, a drug dealer named Victor Achoa was set free on a technicality. Linda was the prosecutor. Right after he was released, he was shot. Daniel studies the death scene photos of Dunham and Achoa and realizes “SL” was graffitied over both bodies. It’s a gang tag.

Kate brings in the head of the Street Lords, but he’s insulted she’d think that horrible tag was theirs. He says it’s “Them whack-ass bitches that run around in tights.”

Kate and Daniel watch a video by a group called “The Shadow League” who all dress in superhero costumes. They look ridiculous, and Kate thinks there’s no way they could have committed these murders. They head on over to the “Shadow League Institute” where their motto is to deter crime, not commit it.  There was one guy they had to oust, because he tried to get them to employ more aggressive tactics. Meet violence with violence. He showed up with a gun one day, and that’s when he was removed. He was only known as “The Ghost.”

Kate is walking along a dark sidewalk, talking on her cell about how she wanted a ring that wasn’t made out of high-fructose corn syrup, when a hooded guy attacks her. Another guy in a full-on costume, shows up to save her. When they ask who he is, he says, “The Ghost,” and the hooded guy, who is Kate’s FBI partner, turns around and arrests Mr. Ghost. He doesn’t look like he could murder a fly, much less a person.

Kate and Donnie question The Ghost, but he remains silent. They do thank him for updating his daily whereabouts on his facebook page. They have his gun and know he killed Linda and Victor. He finally talks, only to say he delivered justice when they couldn’t. He hated seeing crimes go unpunished. He did make friends with someone online called “Painless” when he’d been running the Shadow League fb page. She said it was her superhero name, because it was also her superpower. Then she told him about Victor and how he was cut free on a technicality. The Shadow League said he wasn’t ready to go on patrol, and he wanted to prove them wrong, so after “Painless” gave him Achoa’s address, Ghost began following him. He only wanted to take pictures, etc., but one day Achoa turned on him and asked why Ghost is following him. Achoa roughed up Ghost, and Ghost took out his gun for self-defense but wound up shooting Achoa. Still, even though it was an accident, he knew he’d done the right thing. That’s when he spray-painted the “SL.”  He emailed Painless to tell them what he’d done, but he got no reply. He traced the IP address to the actual address and was blown away to find out who lived at the house. He felt Linda had reached out to him to mete out the justice she’d failed to deliver. He thought they could be a team. Kate snarks that he means like Batman and Commissioner Gordon, but Ghost says, “EXACTLY!”

Linda gets into her car. Ghost is there and calls her Painless. He says he killed Achoa for her and wants to know his next mission. She just threatens to get him arrested. She calls him a freak. Says she’s going to take him down for murder.

Now, I didn’t go to law school or anything, and maybe I’m not as smart as old Linda, but if a guy appears in my car in a weird mask, using a weird voice, calls me a weird name, and acts weird and unstable and says he killed a guy, I would not, repeat, NOT, call him names and taunt him. That just seems like the opposite of self-preservation. You agree with the crazy man and hope he just leaves you alone. Anyway, he shoots her through the seat, and she has no idea. When Kate confronts him about Dunham, he claims ignorance. Look, the man proudly admitted to two murders. I’d believe him.

Watching all of this taking place, is Daniel. Napoleon appears to say he believes Ghost is in pain as well. Daniel insists he doesn’t need anesthesia, and Napoleon says he’s not the only one, then says his entire name. Daniel thinks the name is ridiculous. Napoleon agrees. Then Daniel realizes it’s an anagram. He writes it in marker on the interrogation room window, then rearranges the letters with his mind. “One more Painless.” Daniel bangs on the window, and when Kate comes in, she’s not pleased to see he’s written on it. Daniel says Ghost isn’t lying. There’s another killer.

They go see the sister, who is shocked to find out The Ghost killed Linda, since she thought Dunham did it. She claims to not know The Ghost as Daniel pokes her with something sharp. She has no reaction. They call her Painless. She admits she has the same disease as her sister. She’d seen an article on The Shadow League and how they weren’t afraid to stand up for what was right. When Ghost kept emailing her, she got scared she’d get connected to Achoa’s death, so she ignored him and hoped he’d just go away. Then they tell her Ghost thought Linda was Painless and that she didn’t call the police, because she knew her sister was involved. Then the sister admits to killing Dunham, because she thought he’d killed Linda. She’s arrested.

Back at the FBI, Donnie says if they hurry, he and Kate can make it to their appointment. When Daniel congratulates them, Donnie realizes Kate told him. They shake. Napoleon appears to say he can take the pain away, and Daniel says Napoleon can’t, but he knows someone who can.

As Donnie and Kate are about to go into the judge’s chambers to get married, Donnie stops her. He was happy at first Kate wanted to get married so quickly, but when it kept getting pushed back, he took it as a sign. Their first marriage was an elopement, because her dad hated him, and they didn’t make a big deal out of it, but maybe they didn’t take it seriously enough, and maybe some of that sentiment seeped into their marriage. He wants to marry her in a church in front of their friends and family. He wants to dance the funky chicken.

Daniel is teaching a class. He writes the “Sticks and stones” saying on a chalkboard but says it’s not true. The same areas of the brain are activated when we suffer a social injustice as when we spill coffee on our arm.  Scientists have come up with drugs to help our physical pain, and they’re finding the same drugs can help the emotional pain as well. So, the prescription for a broken heart may just be, “Take two Tylenol and call me in the morning.” But is numbing our pain really a good thing? But if we never felt bitterness or anger (Rix is shown), then we wouldn’t deeply appreciate our happiness (Donnie and Kate joking in bed). And if we never knew fear (Linda’s sister in handcuffs), then we couldn’t admire courage, (the Shadow League). So in order to enjoy the beauty in our lives, we must first acknowledge and accept our pain. (Daniel teeing off at miniature golf. He gets a hole-in-one at the windmill. Haley embraces him. Daniel smiles like it really did help.)




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