Reconvo: The Mysteries of Laura S1 Ep. 12 The Mystery of the Fateful Fire


L.T. Milroy and Veruca Salt

With the appearance this week of an old girlfriend of Jake’s, we get some backstory on the Laura and Jake relationship. It’s useful information that fills in some blanks. We also get some growth on their part, but let’s see how long that lasts…

LT: As the show opens, Laura appears to be questioning a dirtbag perp.

01 mad

But she’s not at work, she’s in a coffee shop, and the dirtbag is the counter guy who gave her the wrong change.

02 calm barista

He asks if she has her receipt. She plops her gun and badge on the counter, which is real subtle.

03 gun and a badge

Then she empties the jumbled contents of her purse and digs out the receipt before she hands it to him, to the applause of those on line.

V: How many weeks in a row are they going to do a close-up on Laura’s face and try to fake us out? We already know it’s a fake-out if you do it every week. Freaking-A. And if you’re telling me the dude wouldn’t have coughed up the money once he saw the gun and badge, I don’t believe it. As stated, he isn’t a dirtbag perp. He’s a freaking barista who should be freaking intimidated by the lady cop with the gun.

LT: Not to mention it’s also not wise business practice to berate a customer like that, particularly over a couple of bucks. Give her the freaking change, already. In the future, I’d patronize a different establishment, to get coffee without the attitude.

One of the other customers compliments Laura on her fine form in handling short-changers. Turns out, her kid goes to school with Laura’s lovely urchins. The mom mentions the school’s upcoming winter carnival and adds how she saw Laura’s name on the sign-up sheet. Unbeknownst to her, Laura has volunteered to run a class booth. She didn’t sign herself up, but she thinks she knows who did.

Should I even mention that after the woman compliments her, Laura says it’s good to hear, because her kids called her the worst mother in the world that very morning. They did so because there was no milk in the house. Or bread. Or toilet paper.

Once again, the show chooses to make the point that Laura is busy and overworked by having her be a terrible mother, and I guess we’re supposed to think it’s cute. But really, no milk, bread, or toilet paper? Sounds like she just wholesale stopped going to the store and forgot about the homefront completely. Since Laura’s character is supposed to be both cop and mother, I’d like to see her take both seriously. Her neglect of the kids isn’t cute and funny.

V: AGREED! Laura has a nanny now. The woman takes the kids to their classes and everything. Surely she could pick up a few things at the market. And why would Laura tell a stranger she neglected to supply her children with the most basic of necessities? That woman could have been on the phone to child protective services right after she left. And Laura is a cop, so, you know, that could be kind of a problem. And she wasn’t even embarrassed when it turns out the woman kind of knew her. Seriously, show, stoppit.

LT: Like last episode, the introduction of the case of the week is a bit delayed, but here it is, in the form of a burning building. There’s a crowd outside, including a woman screaming for Shawn. As there are explosions inside, a man comes running out the front door, carrying a child. The woman runs over and thanks him profusely, as she hugs the kid.

04 gil saving

V: If they’d focused more on the rescuer, I’d be more suspicious of the dude. The kind of person who starts fires then rescues people to become the hero.

And why are firemen just pulling up? It’s clear the fire started, everyone came out to watch the fire burn to the point it became a raging inferno, and explosions occurred. Then there’s the duration of this scene. Where is the fire station? Guam?

LT: At the police station, Laura marches up to Jake and asks if he signed her up for the winter carnival. He says he signed them both up, because she said she wanted to be more involved with the kids. But she says she has to design and construct a booth and make a game for it, plus make decorations and cookies. She didn’t want to be that involved with the kids, apparently.

He says he’ll help her over the weekend, but she says the carnival is Friday, two days away. So he tells her to just back out, but she says she can’t. He can back out and no one will judge him for it, but if she does, everyone will judge her. He admits he messed up, so she asks for two days off. She’ll have to use two vacation days that she says she’d rather spend lying on a beach, but at least she’s making an effort on the kids’ behalf.

V: Accompanying them on field trips is as far as she’d want to go. But to be fair to Laura, Jake knows the woman can’t do ANY of those things, didn’t tell her about it, and neglected to even make sure when the carnival was. Jake: Worst Dad and Ex-Husband in the World. If this is his way of proving to Laura he’s worthy and responsible: FAIL!

Those days should go on his record, not hers.

Then Laura walks out and asks Max about these newfangled computer thingies she’s heard about. Okay, not really, but she pronounces it “Pininterest” and asks Max to pull it up. Max corrects her and says, “If Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray had an orgy at a craft store, Pinterest is their beautiful love child.”

LT: Max gives Laura a package dropped off by her not-so-secret admirer, food-truck Tony. So, Tony’s still around! Nice to see. Of course, it’s an edible gift, lobster tacos this time. Last week it was yummy cake. Gotta respect the guy, he’s got all bases covered, food-wise.

V: Now we have a problem. Tony, please stick to dessert. Or put beef or chicken in them tacos. Also, he forgot the comma between morning and beautiful.

LT: Maybe he thought it was a beautiful morning? Let’s not get into grammar sniping. We’re both beeyotches about that.

V: Two editors. Comes with the territory.

LT: A woman walks up and introduces herself as Angela Ryan, FDNY Arson Investigator. She’ll be helping out on the case. She starts filling Laura in about how the fire might be arson. There was a body found in the basement they need NYPD to investigate, so they can identify the John Doe. Then Jake walks in and sees Angela. They obviously know each other, as they enthusiastically hug, which makes Max whisper to Laura, “Do we hate her?” Laura says she’s an ex-girlfriend of Jake’s, and Max nods. “We hate her.”

30 flirty

V: There was a nauseating display of flirting that went on for a while before the hug. Yeesh. I can’t decide whether I want it to be real or some lame attempt by Jake to make Laura jealous.

LT: As Laura warily watches Jake and Angela hug, Max starts talking winter carnival. He gives Laura a glue gun she can borrow but tells her to be careful with it because he has a sideline bedazzling jeans at Barney’s. Laura speaks for all of us when she says “Of course you do.”

V: Question: If Max is basically a volunteer and can do all of these crafty things Laura can’t, and he mainly works for Laura, why can’t he take a couple of days off and help a sister out? He’d certainly be more handy than Jake, right? I mean, if Laura isn’t needed for the case…

LT: Angela then compliments Max on his sweater vest, which he eats up like it was Tony’s tacos, and he in turn tells her he likes her boots. Throw a compliment Max’s way and it appears he totally forgets that he’s supposed to hate you.

05 arson angie

V: Well, she also owns a pair of Max’s bedazzled jeans. I guess arson investigators are paid the kind of money where they can shop at Barney’s and wear designer suede boots that according to Laura say, “Hi! I’m here to impress my ex!” NOT THAT SHE CARES. Nor does she care that Jake remembers how “Angie” takes her coffee.

Oh freaking Lord. This is going to be a long episode.

LT: Laura tells Max to keep her updated the next two days, while she’s preparing for the carnival. Max thinks she’ll be too busy to worry about the job, but she says she’s great at multi-tasking. No Laura, you suck at multi-tasking. That’s why your kids have no milk, bread, or toilet paper.

V: Just about to say the same thing.

LT: Jake and Angela meet up with Billy and Meredith at the crime scene. Angela has apparently opted for the compliment route to getting on the good side of the detectives and tells Billy and Bitchface what great cops she hears they are. Det. Bitchface is as much a sucker for this kind of thing as Max. She smiles and tells Billy she likes Angela.

30 likes angela

Butt-kissing over with, they get on to the case. The woman from the night before is Gloria, and Shawn is her son. They’re the only people left in the building, which was scheduled to go condo. A few feet away from the detectives is Gil, the guy who saved Shawn.

There’s also the body found in the basement, a male teen who died of smoke inhalation. He has no ID and isn’t dressed for winter, so they think maybe he was homeless. He also has hot pepper smeared on his hands and arms. Jake and Angela talk to Gil, who lives across the street. He says he doesn’t recognize the dead kid and says he wishes he knew he was in the basement, so maybe he could have gotten him out, too.

V: Oh, they are making a big deal out of Gil. Well, then, Gil, you’re my prime suspect.  Also, we find out the M.E. is a Tim McGraw fan.

 31 ME

Billy pegs the hot pepper as flaming hot Cheetos? He thinks that stuff survived the fire? What does he think it’s made of?

LT: I wouldn’t doubt Cheetos could survive a fire. Along with rats and cockroaches, they’re probably the only thing that could survive a nuclear blast.

V: I guess all of those people standing around didn’t live in the building. And it seems the kid was all alone, so maybe child protective services will be called on Gloria, but probably not. Laura would probably think she was the best mom ever.

LT: Laura realizes quickly she needs help with carnival activities and starts calling other moms. But no one is willing to jump in at the last minute.

V: Well, yeah. Best mom in the world has missed lunch duty, etc., so the other moms have had to fill in for her. They think she’s a new mom and don’t realize she’s been there the whole year. Again, NONE of this is a wakeup call for her?

LT: Also, didn’t Jake say he signed both of them up for the carnival? He had obviously forgotten all about it, judging from how he reacted when Laura brought it up. So was it easy for him to just pull out, like Laura said? Because he’s obviously not going.

I know the point Laura was making about her being held more responsible as the mother, but in this situation, where they both have the same job, I think the school would hold them equally responsible. Lots of people have demanding jobs. If they made a commitment to the school, they should both honor that commitment, period. So if Jake begged off, he shouldn’t be given a free pass.

V: Dads do get a free pass, while moms are seen as bad moms. It’s still like that, and it’s so unfair.

LT: Anyway, it looks like Laura’s on her own.

06 crafty laura

She calls Max to complain. Max is glad to hear she’s focused on the carnival and not on Angela, and she says she doesn’t care about Angela. She does care about the case, however, even though she’s on vacation.

Max tells her about the body of the kid with pepper all over his wrists, as Laura wolfs down the lobster tacos. Those are still around? If it were me, those delicious things would have been history within ten minutes of my receiving them. She remembers a friend of her mom’s who used to rub pepper on her arthritic joints. The kid was Korean, and it’s a Korean home remedy.

V: Though Max insists the kid is not an athlete, what with his socks/flip-flops combo, Laura is insistent he has his “kicks” stashed somewhere. It’s winter, which is basketball season, so she tells Max to have them check local basketball courts to see if anybody knows the kid.

Again, why isn’t Max there with her?

LT: That sets Jake, Billy and Meredith to trolling pick-up games.

V: Yeah, see? No way Max was going to basketball games. Art auctions? Sure. Designer stores? Definitely. Basketball? No. Det. BF also knows this, and Jake immediately pegs Laura as the source of the information.

LT: At one game, Jake badges the players and walks onto the court to talk with them, but they just keep on playing.

07 jake badges players

Jake, humiliated, lets Det. BF take over, and she saunters into the game, takes the ball, and sinks a mid-court shot. Of course, the kids love that and start answering her questions. One of them ID’s the dead kid as Kevin Park.

At the station, Det. BF fills everyone in. She talked to Kevin’s mother, and she last saw him Sunday night, when they fought over school.

V: Did Det. BF and Arson Angie just bond over trigonometry? And did AA say trigonometry was her bitch, in a way that was both annoying and smug? Unlike everyone else, I cannot stand this woman. She just has “try hard” written all over her. I am over Arson Angie.

LT: I know they say opposites attract and all, but no way could I ever go for some obnoxious trig nerd.

V: I love nerds. It’s the obnoxious part where she thinks it’s cool that I have a problem.

LT: Kevin’s mother told him he had to improve his grades or he was off the basketball team, and he ran out. Arson Ang says the fire was traced to a trash can full of accelerants outside Gloria’s apartment.

V: Jake, the crack detective he is, instantly surmises that a trash can full of accelerants outside of the door of the last remaining tenant, means the fire was not an accident. Now I understand why he’s the boss. He’s so on top of things.

LT: Angela is interrupted by Laura’s loud arrival. She goes to the coffee room, where Max finds her helping herself to packing peanuts.

08 laura popcorn

She says she needs them for carnival prep, but Max thinks she’s spying. Laura strenuously denies that and asks for details of the case. He tells her it was arson. Laura says that means it’s also homicide, so the detectives should be out on the street, not hanging around the office. Max says they’ll be hitting the streets, right after Angela, or as he refers to her, Fire Hottie, buys them ramen burgers. So, she’s moved from complimenting them to buying them lunch. Smooth. Laura says she thinks Fire Hottie is rekindling an old flame.

V: Let me get this straight. Rather than following up a lead to a murder investigation, they’re going for a group lunch? And yes, Max, as Laura says, PLEASE stop calling her that.

LT: Det. BF talks to Gloria, who says she was in the basement doing laundry when the fire broke out.

09 mom

She couldn’t get back upstairs for Shawn and is so glad Gil was there. She says she knows it must be the landlord, David, who started the fire. He already forced everyone else out by doing things like turning off the heat and letting cockroaches rum rampant through the building. Gloria was the last holdout, and David was pissed she wouldn’t leave.

V: How long has it been, and why are they just now interviewing Gloria? Are they too busy going out for lunch to talk to the tenants and find out this stuff? And if mom was in the building, how was it that she seemed to push through the crowd surrounding the building, meaning she came up from behind them? Shouldn’t she have been running out of the building screaming about her son?

Also, also, they’ve made quite a big point of saying the only people who lived there were this woman and her son. Has nobody questioned what Gil was doing there? Did he run into the burning building from the outside?

LT: Max is at Laura’s, helping her with some sort of papier-mâché project, and of course, gossiping.

10 duct tape tree

V: Looks like it’s supposed to be a snowman. The whole theme of the booth is snow. That’s why she wanted the packing peanuts.

Though why Max is just the guy with duct tape hanging from his arms and not the person actually putting together the snowman, is an unanswered question. If I had the crafty dude there who’s good enough for Barney’s, I’d have him doing the decorating, and I’d happily be the duct tape tree.

LT: He says Fire Hottie is “all over your territory”, talking designer pantsuits with BF, Cuban music with Billy, and working out of Jake’s office. That leads Laura to fill Max, and us, in on the history: Angela and Jake were dating ten years ago, when Angela left the country to go backpacking for three months. While she was gone, Jake entered the police academy, where he met Laura.

She insists she didn’t “steal” him:  “You can’t leave a half-decent guy alone in New York City for three months and expect him to be there when you get back.” This is assuming Jake is a half-decent guy.

V: So, a half-decent guy is a serial cheater and lousy dad? I think the guys of NY should be insulted. Particularly Alejandro and Food-truck Tony, who are single and way better men than Jake will ever be. Oh, and Billy, who is quite awesome and hot.

LT: Laura says to check out the landlord, but she expects someone like him will likely have an airtight alibi.

Jake tells Angela the next day that David indeed has a good alibi. He was in Atlantic City the night of the fire and can prove it. But David is also a scumbag. Billy dug around and substantiated Gloria’s claims about his abuse. They were echoed by other former tenants, who’d filed numerous complaints against him. Angela says maybe he hired someone to set the fire for him while he went to a place where he’d be seen by a lot of people. They decide to check out some firebugs. Then Angela says she heard about the divorce. Jake says he’s fine with it, but she knows he’s not telling the truth.

V: AA: “I can still read you like the Times.”
JAKE: “Some things never change.” Long stare.
Me: *Bangs head on desk.*

Plus, she’s a salad-eater. UNTRUSTWORTHY.

25 salad

LT: Laura is back in the coffee room, digging through the recycling bin. She’s collecting newspaper for more papier-mâché.

32 recycling

Jake thinks she’s just there to check up on him, and she blows him off.

V: She wants to get a shirt that says Get Over Yourself, and instead of Jake doing just that, he turns it into a sexual innuendo about her only wearing the shirt, complete with Bom chicka wow-wow porno music and hand gestures.

33 bom chika wow wow

As Jake’s leaving, she calls him man-child. Max hears that and comes in, saying “You rang?” You know, I like Max, but I wish he wasn’t such a huge stereotype all the time. He watches as she goes through the trash and says she’s worse than his super, who digs through his tenants’ garbage to try to get info on them.

V: That was CLUNKY. I mean, granted Laura does wonder why Women’s Wear Daily is in there, but it’s only a casual observation until Max says there’s a guy on the squad with a shoe fetish. Laura is only going through the recyclables for supplies, but Max is the one with the gossip. Thus, his point makes no sense and is only there to lead Laura to her epiphany about how the lovely slumlord might know who has a penchant for playing with fire.

LT: Max finds that David owned eight buildings in the neighborhood. He cross-referenced all the units with convicted arsonists and comes up with a guy named Jasper.

V: And while Jake knows Laura gave Max the lead, Arson Angie is too busy buttering up Max in a totally fake way to notice.

LT: Jake and Angela go to Jasper’s apartment to talk to him, but when he hears it’s the cops, he heads for the fire escape.

V: So, two partners going to get a not armed-and-dangerous suspect, and nobody thinks to cover the back? Jake breaks the door down? It must be made of papier-mâché.

11 jake kicking down door

LT: Did you see how he hesitated a moment? That door-kicking was totally to impress AA. He’s lucky he didn’t break his foot.

There’s some more of the great scenery this show likes to feature, as there’s a chase across the rooftops.

12 scenery

Jasper makes a jump to another roof. He stumbles, and Jake tells him to freeze as he draws his gun. But AA doesn’t hesitate. She jumps right over, tackles and cuffs him. She tells an impressed Jake this proves what she said earlier about the FDNY being in better shape than the NYPD. Hey, Fire Hottie, have you seen Billy and BF? They’re in pretty damn good shape.

V: Seriously. Let’s see her do that obstacle course.

Also, it looked like Jake told some boys hanging out on the rooftop to go home, thus proving he’s a better dad to strangers than his own kids.

And did you notice that even with a wool cap and chasing down a suspect, AA’s hair was still feathery perfection? Oh, and she was still wearing her cute high-heeled boots. Seriously. I’m gagging.

11.2 perfect hair

LT: Jasper the firebug tells Jake and Angela he’s innocent. He no longer sets fires, because he’s rehabilitated. To test that claim, Angela gets out a lighter and waves the flame in his face. He’s obviously transfixed and probably not rehabilitated, at least not totally.

13 blinded by the light

She snuffs out the flame and asks if he wants another. He nods, and as he’s fascinated by the flame once again, he goes on about how beautiful the fire was but still says he didn’t set it. He lives a couple of blocks away and went to watch, just like all the other neighbors did. He says he saw a guy with prison neck tattoos running from the scene, and the cops laugh at that, so he lawyers up.

When Angela goes out to the hallway, Laura is waiting. She was watching the interview from the next room. She says Jasper’s not guilty. He wouldn’t admit to being at the scene of the crime if he was, and he talked about the fire like he was admiring someone else’s work. Angela disagrees. She thinks he’s so mesmerized by fire that if he was there, he wouldn’t even have noticed the tattooed guy.

Then she gets to what’s really bothering her. She thinks Laura is there just to check up on her and Jake. Laura says she’s fine with Angela and Jake, and she’s only there for the case. She takes her job seriously and wouldn’t let it be affected by personal business. Then she hints that if Angela can’t be professional, she should get out of the way. She doesn’t come out and say it, but that’s what she means.

V: I think it’s worth quoting:

AA: I understand that we have a lot in common, including taste in men. If that’s what the real problem is here, let’s just get it out in the open.

L: The real problem is Kevin Park was murdered. I’m after his perp, but you and your do-me boots apparently are after something else.

AA: Wow. We’re going there?

L: Going there? You were the one who brought us there. Look, if you want to get back together with Jake, I am fine with that. Knock yourself out. But don’t let the case of a dead kid go sideways while you’re at it, because that, I’m definitely not fine with.

14 laura tells her off

Laura, I am SO loving you right now!

LT: I like how she handled that. Angela was a little over the line, thinking Laura wasn’t at the office about the case at all but only to be pissy about her ex. I was afraid Laura was going to be all possessive of Jake when an old GF showed up, but she really isn’t. She’s curious, of course, but not clingy.

V: I’m pleased as well. Laura has been more about trying to solve the case than spying on Jake, despite Jake and AA both accusing her of it. On Jake’s part, I think it’s harmless wishful thinking, but AA needs to get down off that horse, because it’s really high up there.

LT: Laura is back at home, continuing to address the carnival situation. She’s on the floor, surrounded by crafts and bottles of wine. Most of the bottles are empty, but there are two full ones left. Laura opens them and hands one to Billy, who’s there for some shoptalk, of course.

16 crafty with billy

She tells Billy to drink up, since she needs two more empty bottles, and they proceed to gulp. That’s no way to treat a bottle of wine, not even if it’s Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill, but they tank away. Billy disses the papier-mâché snowman Laura built, which is hardly recognizable as a snowman. Then Billy brings up Angela. Laura says she’s fine with it. And while on the subject of exes, they figure that since the fire was set right outside Gloria’s door, maybe she has a ticked-off ex looking for revenge who has a neck full of tattoos.

V: Dude, they have GOT to work on the clunky way Laura gets her epiphanies, because geez, she’s making grand-canyon-sized leaps of logic. Comparing Laura’s and Jake’s mildly acrimonious divorce to an ex being angry enough at Gloria to set fire to not only her, but her kid, gave me whiplash.

LT: Billy goes to the diner where Gloria is a waitress. He asks her about former boyfriends, and she mentions Cliff. But he hasn’t been a problem since he went to jail for beating her up. Billy looks it up and finds that Cliff was released a week previous. That worries Gloria; when Cliff went to jail, he’d threatened to kill her when he got out.

Meredith questions Cliff. He knows Gloria has a restraining order against him, but when he heard about the fire that night, he went over to make sure she was ok.

V: I guess according to Gloria, he didn’t have tattoos when he went to jail but got some huge ones on his neck while he was inside. So he was the one leaving the scene.

 17 neck tattos

LT: He says he was a paranoid drunk back then and thought Gloria was cheating on him, but he’s sober now and wants to make amends for how he treated her. He knows she was just working to keep a roof over Shawn’s head. He comes off as a nice, sincere guy. Well, as nice as a guy who used to beat the crap out of his GF can be, anyway. He says he was working in a nearby soup kitchen when word of the fire came in.

V: Way to bury the lede there, buddy. You start off with, “At the time of the fire, I was feeding two-hundred homeless guys,” you don’t wait until the police practically have you locked up before you pull that out of your hat.

LT: Yeah, incidentally, that’s called your alibi, and it’s a good one. Should have gotten that out there immediately.

Laura is at home, watching Gil being interviewed on TV. He’s been a bit glib about the hero thing and continues to be.

V: Ahhh…the plot thickens…

LT: Cell phone video shot by a neighbor is shown, of Gil carrying Shawn out of the building. He said he was sleeping when he heard Gloria screaming, then smelled smoke.

So does Laura. It’s coming from the kitchen. Her snowman cookies are burned.

17.2 burned cookies

V: It looked like she was making about five or six cookies. At that rate, it would take her more than forty-eight hours to finish.

LT: She gives up trying to be supermom and picks up the phone to place a cookie order.

V: She needed twelve dozen. Clearly she’d overestimated her oven’s capacity. Cooking five of them at a time would have put her into July.

LT: But she doesn’t call a bakery. A few minutes later, food truck Tony shows up, with platters of cookies and some wine. If Laura doesn’t stake her claim on this guy, she’s a fool.

V: Amen to that. I’m ready to mail in my marriage proposal. Why are women fighting over Jake when food truck Tony is available? No competition. He’s hot. He cooks. He doesn’t cheat. He’s not neglectful. And he’s a good kisser. You’ve won the boyfriend Olympics, Laura. Time to take your victory lap.

I’m also glad they’re making Tony a presence. I was afraid after the note, that’s what they’d relegate him to, but the man is much too pretty not to be seen.

LT: Tony asks about dinner, but Laura says she can’t until she’s out of craft jail. And there’s also the case to think about.

V: AHHHH! Neck kisses, too?

19 neck kisses

He even risks trying one of her cookies. That’s a brave and loving man.

LT: He teases her for working on vacation then admits to frying his own Fritos on his day off. I find the prospect of anything food-related being considered “work” so foreign, it’s a little hard for me to relate to Tony sometimes. But I’m trying.

V: Yeah. But I guess anything you get paid to do that others do for recreation, can be considered work. But homemade Fritos and Crème Brule. Come to MAMA.

LT: Laura tells him about the case and turns up the volume on the TV. Gil is still being interviewed.

V: This is an on-the-street interview. It has to be the longest in history. She was interviewing him before Tony came, delivered the cookies, they talked, and the interview is still going on when they go back to the TV.

But I’m okay with this, because there’s cute hand-holding.

20 holding hands

LT: Seems this is Gil’s second time being a hero. Two years ago when he was in Washington DC, a guy fell onto the subway tracks, and Gil pulled him up. The reporter gushes about him being a hero twice. “What are the odds of that?” asks Tony. Indeed.

21 gil interviewed

V: It was also kinda funny when Tony makes fun of Gil for humble-bragging.

LT: Gil is blatantly being painted as guilty, or the reddest red herring that ever redded. Or herringed.

V: Oh, no! Did I fall for the red herring trick? Darn! Foiled again!

LT: Laura meets Billy in a bar, because she doesn’t want Jake to know she’s working on the case.

b and l in bar

V: He accuses her of avoiding Angela. It is hilarious how everyone is accusing her of spying on Jake, when it’s the case she’s obsessed with. Then she talks about hot chocolate being unnecessary calorie consumption.

I’m sorry. Did they do away with the Laura, Human Garbage Disposal angle? Because this woman was eating an old burrito in the first episode. Make up your mind, show.

LT: She tells him about Gil’s subway rescue. She thinks maybe he missed all the attention being a hero got him two years previous and wanted it again. Billy says Gil knew the building was empty except for Gloria and Shawn but didn’t know about Kevin in the basement, so he wouldn’t have known to save him. Maybe the hero is the killer.

V: Nobody has twigged to how Gil lived across the street but is the only one to make it there in time to rescue Shawn?

LT: Jake and Angela are talking with Gil, who’s very cooperative. Max comes in the room with some papers he insists Jake has to sign. Then he drops some files, and while on the floor, attaches a cell phone under the table.

20 max hides the phone

Laura is on the other end, so she can keep up with the case as she crafts. Gil recounts the events of that night.

V: Gil says the fire trucks were pulling up when he came running out. I just went back and looked, and they are literally JUST pulling up at the point when Gloria is screaming “Thank you!” The sirens are still in the distance when he’s running out.

LT: But Jake says it doesn’t make sense. The timing is off. The fire trucks arrived nine minutes after the 911 call was placed.

V: NINE minutes? No wonder the place was an inferno.

LT: Jake says it would have only taken three or four minutes to do everything, so Gil called 911 then set the fire. Angela jumps in with the hooked-on-heroism stuff and how he saved Shawn but didn’t count on there being someone in the basement. Gil looks a little trapped and asks for a lawyer.

Laura, riveted by the conversation, accidently knocks over one of the empty wine bottles, and of course, everyone hears it smash. Jake looks under the table, finds the phone, and says “Really?” to which Laura answers with a lame, “My bad.”

29 crashing bottles

Outside in the hallway, Jake tells Billy that Gil lawyered up, and a confession will probably be coming shortly.

But Laura thinks something’s not adding up. She’s made a model of the crime scene with her kids’ toys, and sets a timer to see how long Gil’s rescue would take.

26 legos

Still not adding up. He took too long. She goes back and watches the cell phone video and notices Shawn says something to Gil as he’s being carried out. Laura calls a babysitter and says it’s a laundry emergency.

V: Is Lucia the name of the nanny? What time of day is it? It still looks light outside. And if the kids are there, why are they suddenly so good and quiet? Someone explain this to me!

LT: Laura goes to the building’s basement. She finds the washer and dryer broken, so Gloria wasn’t doing laundry, as she claimed.

V: Plus, Laura lost two dollars in quarters.

LT: The next day, Laura is at the diner to talk to Gloria. Shawn is there quietly coloring, and Gloria says she takes him to work during the day sometimes when she can’t get a sitter.

V: So, it is after-school time? Then the boys should be with the nanny already, right? I’m confused.

LT: The two make some mom talk, which ends with Laura saying, “I know why you did it.” She knows about the broken laundry room and that Gloria left Shawn home alone. Gil took so long to get Shawn out, because Gloria wasn’t there to tell him where he was.

Gloria admits she had to work late that night. The waitress who was supposed to take over from her didn’t show up, and she couldn’t get anyone else to cover. She asked Gil not to say anything about it because she’d get in trouble.

V: Wait. She had a sitter there who wouldn’t stick around? A sitter left a little boy home alone in a crappy apartment, and mom just thought it would be okay? And her boss threatened to fire her if she didn’t stay? Who are these people? We’re given no explanation as to why the sitter wouldn’t stay. I hate when I try to make sense of things on this show…

LT: I hate when I apparently take more of an interest in a show’s plot than the writers.

V: But I KNEW she was coming from the outside. Why the fifty witnesses didn’t say Gloria didn’t emerge from inside the building, is beyond me.

Anyway, Laura tells Gloria about the landlord shutting off the heat and how Shawn was cold and alone. Gloria freaks out. I’m surprised that Gloria’s boss would fire her for leaving when her shift ended, but he’s quite all right with the fifteen loud, crying breakdowns she’s had since Laura walked in.

LT: Laura says she needs to talk with Shawn. She sits down next to him. He’s drawing a picture of a burning building.

27 fire pic


I wonder what that means. This show can be so cryptic. Shawn admits to setting the fire to get warm, and apologizes.

At a bar, Jake, Angela, Max, and Meredith celebrate closing the case, but then Billy shows up and tells them Gil is innocent. He tells the story of how Shawn set the fire. Angela asks how he figured it out, and Billy says “Legos,” so once again, Jake figures out it was Laura. They all toast to Laura.


V: Dude, not only did they toast, but Det. BF was the one who made the toast!

LT: They’re best buds now, apparently, complete with secret handshake! At the station, Gil is released. Jake says no charges will be filed against Shawn and that social services will help Gloria find a new place to live. That’s it? I’d think she’d be in some trouble for leaving her kid home alone.

V: This is The Mysteries of Laura we’re talking about, where her not having food and basic necessities for her children is considered HIGH-larious.

And it was nice how Gil thanked Jake, but he totally credited Laura with solving the case, to which she says, “Teamwork.”

LT: It’s interesting how this case shook out. The CotW didn’t involve a crime, just some poor kid trying to get warm in a NYC winter, while his mom was out busting her butt, trying to make a modest living. This show never carries a very serious message, but I think it was trying to say something here.

V: I did like that. It’s a message that sometimes tragedy just happens, and nobody goes to jail.

LT: Angela congratulates Laura, and Laura apologizes if she ever seemed rude.

V: And calls the boots “lovely.” Oooh, backtracking-Laura is interesting.

LT: Angela then admits she may have been trying too hard to make an impression, but she was trying to impress Laura not Jake. She says she’s only been dumped once, by Jake, and she was intimidated to meet the woman he left her for. Laura is flattered.

The air cleared, Angela then goes for it and asks Laura’s permission to date Jake. That is, if he and Laura are definitely over with. Laura says they are definitely over. I’m not sure she’s telling the truth, but she sets Angela free to go after Jake.

V: The sheer number of words Laura used to say the word “over” was, ummm…overkill, so I’m going with “protest too much” here.

But I do like that Angie wasn’t a beeyotch, and she was trying to impress Laura, because she looks up to her. All in all, not the cat fight I was expecting. I’m pleasantly surprised.

LT: We end at the winter carnival. Laura is a success. Her booth looks decent, the wine bottles make a good ring-toss game, and everyone loves Tony’s cookies.

 28 carnival booth

V: Notice how the guy who signed them up for this event not only didn’t help Laura build anything but is MIA for the actual carnival. Dad of the Year, my friends.

LT: A tightass mom snippily tells Laura the PTA didn’t think she could pull it off. Shut up, bitch. Say something useful or go home.

Then the head falls off the papier-mâché snowman.

29 falling snowman

 Laura tries several times to get it back on, but it doesn’t cooperate, and she puts it back on upside down. I’m surprised no little kids expressed horror at the decapitated snowman. They’re probably too busy pounding back Tony’s cookies.

So Laura’s got Tony, and Angela is ready to go Jake hunting. All systems would seem to be “go” for them to get on with their lives, but there’s trouble, again in the form of next week’s preview. From what we were shown, Laura and Jake have a make-out session and he tells her he’s still in love with her. UGH.

V: Well, the make-out looked like part of the undercover operation, but the “I’m still in love with you” definitely wasn’t. Ugh, indeed. You thought it was going to be that easy? Don’t be silly!

So, will Laura get back with Jake? Is this the last we’ll see of Hot!Tony and his baked goods? Gosh, I hope not.

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