Mind Games aired its second episode, “Asymmetric Dominance” this week, and it was definitely a step in the right direction. I found the episode more enjoyable than the first one. I have to wonder whether this show will get a fair shake with viewers, however. Coming so deep in a highly competitive season, a premiere with weak ratings may be an insurmountable obstacle for the show, which is too bad because this episode really does show promise for the series.
This episode was once again written by the creator Kyle Killen and was directed by Miguel Sapochnik. Having Killen and Sapochnik team up for the first two episodes worked well to establish a consistency between the two episodes. At its core this show is a procedural, and like other procedurals such as CSI or House MD, it seems likely that the episodes will follow a certain basic structure. The team has a meeting, they get a client, there is a failed attempt at solving the problem, there is a successful attempt, the team comes together or there is a brother moment. It’s not a bad formula, and I like that the successful attempts have so far been somewhat unexpected.
What worked better for me in this episode was that Clark (Steve Zahn) was not nearly as shrill and annoyingly over the top in this episode. It was also nice to see that Claire (Wynn Everett) is not the perfect cure all for Clark – she’s supposed to be keeping him calm at the party and fails to do so. I find her irritatingly self-satisfied to this point, but the benefit to an ensemble cast is that I won’t have to put up with her too often. Perhaps my problem with her is that she seems to only be there to irritate her ex-husband and act as a plot device. Please give us women with a better agenda and purpose in life – like the client this week.
This episode didn’t feature much of that ensemble cast other than Miles (Gregory Marcel). We were introduced to the new team member, Sam (Jaime Ray Newman), an old friend of Ross’s (Christian Slater). I have to admit that I pegged her as a con artist from the moment she accosted Beth (Katherine Cunningham). Given the size of the regular cast, I’m not sure that this was a needed addition.
I did really like the use of split screen shots during the “sting.” I was also glad to see that maybe Ross isn’t a terrible brother after all. What did you think of the episode? How would you rate it against the first episode? Will you continue to tune in? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!