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Training Day - Faultlines - Review – “Surfer Dude”

What an interesting journey it has been, following the development of Training Day as each episode airs. It's been an up and down ride, starting out with a loud, boisterous bang, which I didn’t particularly enjoy that much, but because of a good cast and a great deal of promise, I stuck with it.

And my patience is paying off, particularly with the last few episodes. While the late Bill Paxton (Frank) is the undeniable star of the series, it has been the episodes where his generosity as an actor allowed him to step back and let his guest stars and co-stars take the spotlight. We learned of Rebecca’s (Katrina Law) troubled past and her connection to Frank in “Trigger Time” (1x03) and last week we felt sympathy for killer Jeff Kullen (guest star Brian Van Holt). This week’s solid episode, “Faultlines” follows in that practice.

When the episode starts, Frank tells his team of tip on a beach side arms deal going down, a motorcycle gang, the Black 23, is selling arms like the ones that killed Kyle’s (Justin Cornwell) original partner, Jennifer Mitchell (Lindsay McKeon). You initially think this is going to be an episode about Kyle’s need to avenge his partner’s death.

Then, when the deal goes bad and Frank’s team steps in, instead of holding his man at gunpoint, Tommy (Drew Van Acker) ends up wrestling in the sand with the delivery man driving the truck that delivered the guns. When we learn the delivery man is Tommy’s childhood friend, Evan Carolla (Rene Rosado),you realize that this is Tommy’s story. You know from previous reviews that I can’t abide clichés. And up until this episode, my opinion of Tommy was that he was going to be a cliché’ character, the California surfer dude with little substance.

I am happy to say that, with this episode I was wrong, and there’s so much more to Tommy than meets the eye. You find that despite being part of Frank’s rag-tag team of rule-breakers, he’s a fairly honest man, he’s a loyal friend, and a good partner to Rebecca. Van Acker does a nice job in this episode showing us more of Tommy's many layers.

Back at the station, before Frank and the team can interview Evan and learn more about who was in charge of the group supplying guns, he’s whisked away by ATF Agent Gerald Lynch (Jamie McShane). Lynch takes both their witness, saying Evan was working for him. Despite having outstanding issues with his friend, even normally cool headed Tommy goes after Lynch. He knows that by whisking Evan away so blatantly, Lynch all but labeled Evan a snitch to the Black 23’s and put a target on his friend’s back.

And he’s right, when the van transporting Evan stops and the agents inexplicably leave him alone for a pit stop along a deserted road. Two members of the Black 23’s show up and are about to execute Evan when Tommy and Rebecca (who’d been in search of the van on Frank’s orders so they could talk to Evan) show up and save him, spiriting him away not only from the gang, but also from the ATF agents.

Tommy knows he’s crossing a line, and tells Rebecca she can walk away. By this time, we know Rebecca well enough to know she’s going to back her partner. Once on the road, Evan tells them the information they’d been looking for, the person in charge of supplying the guns was Agent Lynch! Frank tells Tommy and Rebecca to go off grid, as he shares the information with Kyle. It seems that instead of sending guns confiscated in ATF raids to be recycled as per procedure, Lynch had gone into business for himself and was re-selling the guns.

Evan tells Tommy and Rebecca he knows a place they can hide out, but Tommy doesn’t trust him. Eventually though, they head to Evan’s hideout because there’s nowhere else to go. While on the road, Rebecca pushes Tommy and Evan to tell her why there’s issues between them. They tell her the story of their childhood and another friend of theirs, Luke.

Luke, Tommy and Evan had been fast friends in their teens enjoying a summer of fun and surfing, until Evan convinced them they should try to steal surfing gear from a local surf shop. Tommy wanted no part of it and had walked away, but Evan talked Luke into going with him, with dire consequences. The shop owner caught them and as they were running away, Luke was shot.Tommy is still angry that instead of staying with their friend, Evan ran away and Luke died on the street, alone. Evan says he was 17 and scared and upset that even after he was caught and sent to prison, Tommy never came to see him and that’s how he ended up with the Black 23’s.

When they arrive at Evan’s hideaway, Tommy’s mistrust is found true, when Evan bugs out with the motorbike, bag of cash, and gun he’d stashed there. He rides away, then he stops to look back and sees Lynch and his agents from the van about to arrive and confront Tommy and Rebecca. Instead of going back to help his friend to make up for not helping in his past, Kyle stays true to form and runs.

Meanwhile, Frank and Kyle had learned there was a new shipment of stolen guns and artillery due to be shipped to the recycler that they knew Lynch would be after. Frank wants to bust in and take the guns, but Kyle suggests a different approach, they pose as recyclers and steal the shipment, worth $300K, out from under Lynch to use as leverage to help Tommy and Rebecca.

Frank calls Lynch to make the deal, only to learn Lynch has a counter-offer, his guns for Tommy and Rebecca, whom Lynch and his cohorts now held hostage. The deal is made and the exchange is to take place at the same site of the original arms deal, by the beach. As usual though, Frank being Frank, has a plan up his sleeve, or rather around his finger, as he’s got a trip wire to one of the mines in the case of weapons wrapped around his finger, then pulls it.

The resulting explosion, smoke and confusion allow Tommy and Rebecca to escape and Frank and Kyle get into a gunfight with Lynch and his men.
When one of Lynch’s gunmen is about to shoot Tommy, Evan rushes in and takes the bullet for his friend and dies, but not before he and Tommy have made peace.

Meanwhile, Frank gives Kyle a moment alone with Lynch, at which Kyle proceeds to give Frank his proudest moment. Kyle tells Lynch to remember the name Jennifer Mitchell and then punches Lynch. Never before in the series has Kyle appeared more a part of the team than in this episode.

We saw none of Deputy Chief Lockhart (Marie Jeanne-Baptiste) but her presence was felt with a series of very angry texts to Kyle about his failure to bring her any dirt on Frank in the two months since she’d sent him there. Still knowing that Frank was the key to solving his father’s murder, Kyle had asked Frank to give him something to feed her so she wouldn’t pull him out.

Frank sent Kyle to record archives for a file on a case called Water Street. Kyle gets angry with Frank when he learns the case involved an Internal Affairs investigation on his father for planting a gun on a killer the department had been after for years. Then Frank points out something Kyle had overlooked in the file, the entire operation, to plant the gun on the killer in that case had been approved by Frank and Billy’s then commanding officer – Joy Lockhart! So, instead of making Kyle think his Dad was dirty, Frank had given him the perfect ammunition to get Lockhart off his back.

What did you think of Faultlines? Do you think Kyle will use the information against Lockhart? Discuss in the comments below.

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