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The Player - A House Is Not a Home - Review: "Every Pit Boss was a Player"

9 Nov 2015

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A man with a toolbox walks into a bank and blows up a lawyer. The Feds assume this is a terrorist. The House gets the security footage first allowing them to provide Alex with better information about the bomber.

The Bet: Can Alex apprehend “The Chicago Bomber” before the Feds?

Alex is a little taken aback to be flying to Chicago with Mr. Johnson. Johnson informs him that, since he’s got business in Chicago, he’ll provide ground support while Cassandra stays in The House.

Cassandra provides Alex with a cool gadget that makes the Fitbit® look like simple jewelry. This bracelet analyzes vaporized residue and gives Alex a 24-hour jump on the FBI’s investigation. Cassandra and Alex prove once again that they are a great investigative team. They come up with the name of the bomber.

Alex deduces that the bomber, Javier Cruz, is not a terrorist, but a vigilante with a target list. After talking to Cruz’ wife, he realizes a reporter is the next target. This reporter promised to publicize the fact that the bank was illegally dual-tracking its mortgage holders, but dropped the story unexpectedly. The bank bought off the reporter.

Mr. Johnson gruffly cautions Alex that the bet is about catching Cruz, not saving his family. But we all know the reason The Gambler’s love Alex is that they know the bet is never Alex’s priority. This is illustrated when Alex finds the reporter wearing a bomb. He lets Cruz run right past him in order to save the reporter. Which he does spectacularly.

The rescue leaves Alex unconscious and needing another rescue from Mr. Johnson. Cassandra neatly nips Johnson’s threat to “terminate” Alex, if he ever breaches the secrecy of the game, in the bud when she reveals that being popular with the Gamblers is a life insurance policy.

We get a look at the Player’s Hall of Fame. The number two player was a woman! What I find really interesting (yes, I paused and studied the leader board, didn’t y’all?) is the fact that number 4 on this list had a nearly even number of wins to losses (84 w – 85 l). Number 1 on the list is, as I bet some guessed, Mr. Isaiah Johnson. He was The Player for 8 years with 192 winds and 1 loss. (Does anyone have a clue what B.O.G could stand for?) Alex is on target to surpass Mr. Johnson’s ranking.

We also learn that all Pit Bosses were Players.

Cassandra, who spent the bulk of the episode proving that she is excellent at multitasking, finds Javier and his last target. His last target is the CEO of the crooked bank. Listening to this guy plead for his life by claiming that he doesn’t make any policy decisions left me cheering for Cruz to push the button.

Alex talks Javier into surrendering. He tells him that he’s not beyond redemption. Javier hands over the detonator. It’s Mr. Johnson who pushes the button that destroys the CEO’s house. I wonder…was Johnson as emotionally involved in his Games as Alex is?

Johnson stops in to visit the judge, Samuel Letts. This is the first time we’ve seen Johnson seem pleasant. For the first time I believe Mr. Johnson is capable of friendship. Samuel warns Johnson that someone is coming after The House. He has people trying to get more information. We also learn that Johnson did not recruit Alex. This, taken with the connection between Agent Nolan and Cal, has Letts very concerned. Also, there is a council that governs The House. Is it made up of Gamblers? Yet another group? Who? There was so much information in this scene.

At Samuel’s suggestion, Johnson returns to the house he grew up in. Whatever happened in his childhood was so bad that, even after all these years, none of the neighborhood kids will hang out on its stoop. That explains a little about Johnson’s contained demeanor. A neighborhood kid gives him a note setting up a clandestine meeting with Letts. In the mausoleum Mr. Johnson finds Samuel Letts’ body. This actually shakes Johnson, something we’ve never seen. In the wake of this, he calls Cassandra and almost begs her to drop her side project and stand by him. Someone is coming after The House and he needs her to stand by his side. She doesn’t really give him an answer.

This week Cassandra was the one that made the most progress in Ginny’s story.
She discovers that the video that Johnson presented to Alex showing Ginny in Miami about to enter the airport was faked. She figures out where it was actually filmed and the location to Ginny’s safe house. I’m thinking there were look outs in town, because the house was cleared out moments before Cassandra arrived.

Something that Ginny’s mother said made her disappearance from the hideout much more curious to me. She shows up at Alex’s place to get his signature on the papers to sell Ginny’s house. Alex offers to buy her half of the house and she tells him that her daughter, Ginny, was a liar who didn’t live an honest day in her life. Between that revelation and the fact that Ginny, seemingly, took off when Cassandra arrived to rescue her, I’m back to wondering if Ginny is complicit in her kidnapping. Did the group responsible for Alex’s becoming The Player orchestrate her kidnapping?

The bet this week wasn’t the element of the episode that had me the most intrigued. We got a lot of background on Mr. Johnson and moved closer to finding out the truth about Ginny. Other than the bummed feeling of knowing some of these questions will never be answered….I look forward to hearing what you guys thought? Did the episode have any affect on how you look at Mr. Johnson?

About the Author - Prpleight
Prpleight is a screenwriter and senior software engineer with solid geek cred. When not writing code, screenplays, or watching TV (sometimes she does all three at the same time), she uses her broadsword Bessie to battle evil. She's been a frequent contributor to the SpoilerTV discussion boards for several years now.
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