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Frequency - Deviation - Review: "Inevitable Fate"

12 Nov 2016

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Frequency is continuing its trend of delivering powerful episodes that serve to not only expand the story but develop the characters. Each episode serves to expand the mythology of the series and adds some new element to each character. This isn’t a show that is content with letting its characters sit around and stagnate. These writers want the characters to constantly be learning and evolving which gives me the utmost respect for them. They could so easily fall into the standard procedural trap and just allow their characters to exist without evolution. It happens, all the time on television, but Frequency seems to have figured out how to avoid that happening. Even if a character is absent for an episode or two the moment they reappear the writers charge ahead with evolving their story. I have to give kudos to the writers for constantly keeping every aspect of the story moving forward. With all of that said this was a little bit more of a low-key episode when compared to the ones before it. I felt like this was a setup episode, and by that I mean they laid the groundwork for a lot of things that are to come. That’s not to say this episode was without its high-octane moments. The fight between Frank and the Nightingale killer was very intense, but it was one of the few fast-paced moments. While I love the high-intensity moments I really enjoyed the lower key nature of this episode. The series needed this time to decompress after the past few intense weeks. Raimy even got the chance to smile which isn’t something her complicated life has really allowed for very much lately. All of the characters needed this moment to breathe while a whole new chain of events began to gear up to cause some major impacts on the lives of everyone. I suspect this will be one of the last moments they have to just live their lives for quite some time, especially with Julie’s abduction date growing ever closer.

As has become the standard for this show both timelines of the series got equal representation. On both sides of the timeline, Raimy and Frank had to deal with Nightingale taunting them. By leaving the burned out truck in a place where it could be found with a body inside of it the sick psycho was definitely sending a message. Turns out he is a super patient psycho considering he was able to wait twenty years before leaving another message for the Sullivan family. In this instance, he left an unmistakable message by murdering the very woman Frank managed to rescue from his grasp in 1996, but instead of challenging Frank this time he went after his daughter. He has it out for the Sullivan family and is definitely trying to send a message to them in both times.

As if that wasn’t enough to keep Raimy busy she also had to deal with Karl (Curtis Armstrong) who may or may not be able to talk to himself from the future. So, here’s the thing, I predicted the possibility of other cross time communicating duos a few weeks back before the description of this episode was ever released, and I would like to claim some sort of prophetic ability, but I’m not sold on Karl’s claims. I think he’s out of his mind, that’s not really up for debate, but a lot of what he said did make a lot of sense. The one thing that television has taught me is that the crazier someone sounds the more you should listen to them. There is a reason that the writers introduced a character like him.

No matter how totally insane he seems his babblings could actually give us some insight into one possible future path for Frank. If Karl really did talk to his future self and killed only because he knew the future then it is safe to guess that while he was neurotic he perhaps wouldn’t have gone to such an extreme had he not had that knowledge. He said that he tried everything he could to avoid having to kill the man, but it became his only choice turning him into a cold-blooded murderer who went off the rails. So, circling back to Frank, if he does actually kill the Nightingale, as Raimy suggested, in order to save Julie could that break him like it broke Karl? Now, in Frank’s defense, he’s a lot more stable than Karl, but some big traumatic event like killing another person has the potential to break even the strongest person. He is a very moral man who believes in doing the right thing. Could he mentally survive such a drastic action? Raimy has asked a lot of her dad, but this takes things to a whole new level. I understand her logic, after all, it’s one of the few things that Karl said that made sense, but is she really willing to risk her father’s sanity in order to save her mom? Even if Frank does succeed in killing the Nightingale does the story really end there? They can only stretch out the Nightingale chase for so long and inevitably they are going to have to have a big showdown between the two men and surely Frank will come out on top, but the cost could be so steep that it completely morally destroys him. I’ve got a really crazy theory percolating around in my brain, but I need more facts before I dare throw it out in one of my reviews. I will say that I think the writers are setting up some huge twist in the story.

Despite all of Karl’s crazy ramblings, he did give Raimy a good lesson on the technical aspect of how she and her dad are able to communicate through time. One thing still bugs me, I get the concept of being able to communicate through time, that makes sense to me, but what I want to know more about is what makes Raimy so special. Why is she able to remember all the different iterations of the timeline, but no one else can? Daniel messed with her dad’s old radio in the pilot and his tinkering mixed with the lightning strike opened up a doorway to the past. He interacted with the radio yet wasn’t able to retain any memory of the original timeline. Is there something genetically special about her? Did someone purposely put this power in Raimy’s hands knowing she had the ability to change the past?

That’s a very curious question which leads me back to Daniel. I still believe that there have to be other people besides Karl and the Sullivan’s that are able to communicate with each other through time, so the question is, could someone with future knowledge have arranged for Raimy to be set up to communicate with her dad in the past? If so, could Daniel have been the person to make it happen? Could he have been given the task to make the right tweaks to Raimy’s radio at the exact right time to allow all of these events to unfold? Perhaps he wasn’t even fully aware of what he was doing when he did it, but I can’t see the way things played out as just one great big coincidence. In the pilot when Raimy told him about talking to her dad, he really wasn’t all that surprised. I just feel like Daniel’s place in Raimy’s life wasn’t as coincidental as the series originally led us to believe.

I hope Daniel really is on the up and up, but after Satch’s betrayal last week I’m a bit wary of everyone. Even with that in mind, I can’t help but root for these two. I like Kyle (Rob Mayes), but the chemistry between List and Daniel Bonjour is so palpable that it’s almost inevitable that their characters will find some way to be together again because writers never waste that kind of chemistry. The way Raimy looks at him shows how much love still lives inside of her for him. Even he’s starting to come around to her as their interactions become slightly less awkward with each meeting. It will be interesting to see just how deeply the writers will choose to ingrain him in the story. Will Daniel just remain the love interest or will his tinkering from the pilot prove to be more than we can yet imagine? The writers have been so mysterious with him that I can’t help but theorize that there is way more to his story that they are just waiting to hit us with at the exact right moment for maximum impact.

Through this episode, we got to delve more into what the next step in the Nightingale’s plan is. Now that Frank is on his radar he seems content to toy around with him. When he took down Frank he could have so easily killed him, but instead he took a single photo from his wallet and held onto it for twenty years. By the point, he brought the picture back out he’d already killed Julie and Frank was already dead, so why go after their daughter by taunting her? Much like Raimy and Frank we have pieces of the puzzle but not the most critical pieces that would make the Nightingale’s motives make sense. He’s a complicated man who doesn’t do what anyone expects from him. It’s almost as if he has some foresight into the future himself.

It was very interesting that Frank was able to save Amanda Baldwin (Amber Friendly) in his time yet she still ended up dead in Raimy’s time by the same killer. This notion of not truly being able to change the future permanently and what happens is meant to happen is surely really going to mess with them in the coming weeks. Given how hard they are working to save Julie they now know that even if they avoid her first tango with death they could still yet lose her. Despite everything, Frank Sullivan is a right and moral man who will never take a life if there is another way for him to accomplish his goal. Though, as much as he is likely to fight against it, his daughter does have a point and the only way to guarantee that Julie, Amanda, and all the other women like them will survive is if Frank can bring himself to murder the Nightingale. He doesn’t want them to compromise their morals and save Julie just to risk one or both of their souls in the process. More importantly, he doesn’t want Raimy to have to compromise herself in order to stop this murderer. He knows the dangers of getting too involved in a case and the potential long-term consequences of it.

That part was made evident when Stan revealed some of Frank’s undercover secrets. I just can’t fathom Frank cheating on Julie for any reason. Even if they were separated I don’t think he would have intentionally gone behind Julie’s back and slept with another woman even for a case. Like most things on the show I suspect, there is more to those pictures than meets the eye. Every time he is anywhere near Julie he looks at her with so much love and admiration and even though he knows his marriage is trending towards a definitive end he can’t stop loving her. Their interactions are a poignantly painful thing to watch unfold. It’s made all the more powerful by the insane chemistry between Riley Smith and Devin Kelley. They have to save Julie simply because I don’t want the beautiful scenes between these two to ever end. Through them, they have brought to life every bit of love and pain that exists between these characters. Julie still can’t refrain from falling into Frank’s arms and he can’t stop himself from holding her close. Even knowing that she is dating he can’t stop himself from loving her nor can she stop loving him. I think that should they find a way to save Julie that they can still save their marriage. There is still too much love between them for their marriage to truly be over.

What would be truly ironic is if they do save Julie only for Frank’s undercover antics to pull them apart again. Stan has it out for Frank so if he can’t kill him I do believe that he will do everything in his power to make Frank’s life hell. I’ve said this before, and I’ll likely keep saying it, but I hate everything about Stan yet I still love everything about Anthony Ruivivar. He makes Stan easy to hate yet does it in such a way that if someone just happened to flip that channel during one of this scenes they’d think he might actually not be a bad guy. It’s the little nuances mixed with sly smirks and stern looks that give the character the extra punch he needs to stand out as a corrupt cop and all around bad person. I firmly believe that no one else could play Stan the way Ruivivar does and bring out so many little things about him simply through basic movements. He’s a detail-oriented actor who seems to put great thought into each move he makes in order to show off just how conniving his character is. I hate Stan, but can’t stop being in awe of Ruivivar’s portrayal of him.

While on the topic of Stan I have to bring up Satch. I am so conflicted about this character after the big reveal last week. Every time he was on the screen in this episode I was questioning everything he was doing. From the outside, it looked like he was helping, but was he really? Mekhi Phifer is determined to drive the audience crazy by being so precise in his acting that it’s impossible to fully determine what Satch’s angle is in all of this. If he knows he’s certainly not letting anything slip through in his performance. Outside of us knowing he is in communication with Stan he still seems like he wants to help the Sullivan’s. As I said at the start of this, these characters have so many layers that it’s impossible to truly know what any of them are up to until the writers chose to reveal another layer.

My only qualm with this episode is that it was yet another week with no Gordo. Shows usually don’t like to let series regulars drop off for more than two episodes, so hopefully that means he’ll be back in the mix next week. I enjoy the light that he brings to Raimy’s life when he’s around. Plus, I really enjoy watching Lenny Jacobson work his comedic genius. He’s not alone in that, though, his co-stars also have incredible timing that allows for humor to be found in even basic moments. The moment at the start of the episode where Raimy ran into the garage pulling on her clothes only to be grilled by her dad about having a boy over. The awkwardness made the moment so funny, but the way Smith and List volleyed the dialogue back and forth really sold it. This was yet another incredible episode and I can’t wait to see where the story goes from here. Many things were set into motion this week, so as they start to tackle each of those things I think Raimy and Frank’s lives are about to become even more complicated than they already were.

This show takes pride in crafting brilliant television each week. Why the ratings aren’t better than they are continues to baffle me. It’s a bigger mystery to me than who the Nightingale killer is. People need to be tuning in and watching this enthralling show. As I keep saying, don’t stop talking about this show. I think if people hear enough good things about the show they’ll give it a shot. Each new viewer we can help find their way to this show brings the series that extra step closer to being able to tell their story for another season. The entire team behind this show deserves the chance to keep telling this story, so let’s help make that happen.

Frequency is firing on all cylinders week in and week out and continues to be a shining example that great time travel shows can exist. Don’t miss the next episode on Wednesday, November 16th at 9/8C on the CW.

Hit the comments with your thoughts about this episode. Why do you think the Nightingale didn’t kill Frank when he had the chance? Can Daniel be trusted? Can Satch be trusted? Will Frank be able to kill the Nightingale in order to save countless lives including Julie?