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Training Day - Quid Pro Quo - Review - "Character Moments"

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Training Day returned to the CBS lineup last week in its new Saturday night spot. While the NCAA basketball tournament was predominantly responsible for show's absence, the show being off the air for a few weeks served another purpose.

It gave everyone a chance to step back and take a breath following the unexpected death of series star Bill Paxton. Prior to the hiatus, the show's low ratings gave it little hope for a renewal, and the network could have easily used the time away to quietly remove it from their lineup.

However, I think partially out of respect for Bill Paxton and his talent, and the fact they had nothing better to air in its place, CBS relegated Training Day to what is generally considered a graveyard timeslot. They have announced they will run all of the remaining Training Day episodes filmed on Saturdays.

Whatever the reason, I am grateful we get to see more of Paxton and company in a show that might easily have been salvaged. The show returned last week with a decent episode that held a couple of surprises that even surprised me and some very nice character moments.

Once again, we're given a main storyline involving a case that challenges how far Kyle (Justin Cornwell) would go for his new team and to find out about his father's death. The show opens with an answer, pretty far, as we see Kyle, at the end of a foot pursuit shoot a man who drew a gun in a park full of children. But what has gotten us to this point.

I think by now it's clearly been established that while rooted firmly in his moral high ground, Kyle is not above pushing boundaries. We're a little over half way in this season's journey and we know no more about Kyle's father's death than we did from the beginning. It's time to push that storyline forward.

This week's case involves a series of home invasions targeting affluential neighborhoods. Two thugs take noted criminal attorney Gary Millstone (Thomas "Tom" Wilson) and his wife (an almost unrecognizable Gail O'Grady) hostage. Using a bad "don't you know who I am” act, Millstone seems more concerned protecting the contents of his safe than he is his wife, whom the thieves are threatening. Eventually, he relents and the thieves get away with some cash, a cell phone, and other items from the safe.

To his delight, (sarcasm intended) Detective Chavez (Christina Vidal) calls Frank (Bill Paxton) and his team in on the case. It turns out Frank and the attorney have a not so cordial history. A witness, a young girl, against one of Millstone's clients mysteriously disappeared and Frank was convinced Millstone was behind the disappearance

And Frank's day gets better and better when Kyle tells him that his wife, Alyse (Lex Scott Davis) has invited Frank and his lover, Holly (Julie Benz) for dinner.

Frank makes it clear to Kyle that he does NOT like that idea and informs him they will be there, eat and leave…no dessert.

In the first surprising twist, it turns out Frank was using the series of home invasions to send two men he hired into Millstone's home to help him find proof that Millstone was responsible for the disappearance of a witness he was protecting years ago. When Kyle objects, again, to Frank's methods Frank tells him that witnesses against Millstone's clients have a bad habit of disappearing and this was his only chance to prove Millstone was responsible. After having Rebecca (Katrina Law) hack into the phone, which does indeed prove Millstone hired a hitman to take care of the witnesses. He then uses Millstone as bait to draw out the hitman, leading to the opening foot chase, which results in Kyle killing the hitman to protect innocent citizens. Once again, Kyle learned, ultimately that Frank was right.

Which leads us to one of those nice character moments. After getting Millstone to confess where the girl's body is buried, Frank goes to visit her mother, finally bringing her closure and the chance to bring her daughter home, that it was time to let her daughter go. The great character moment, brilliantly shown on Paxton's face, is when the mother offers Frank solace and tells him it's time for him to let her go too.

The other great character moments of this episode, come, as has been the case for most episodes, from the women of Training Day.

At the awkward dinner with Kyle and his wife,both men are clearly not enjoying themselves, while the two women appearing to be bonding. Alyse (Davis) is clearly surprised but remains non-plussed when Holly calmly tells her what she does for a living. I'd even bet the two keep their yoga date because despite their differences they have something very important in common, they life of the man they love is the other woman's partner's hands.

Then after Alyse and Frank excuse themselves for different reasons, an honest conversation between Holly and Kyle give Benz some of her best work of the series so far. Holly knows Kyle's uncomfortable with them being in his home, she knows he's uncomfortable working with Frank, but she forges ahead telling him she knows it's not easy having Frank for a partner. She tells him how happy Frank was when he found out about he and Kyle being partners, that he was getting a second chance because he never got over losing Billy and then asks Kyle to watch out for Frank.

Deputy Chief Lockhart (Marianne Jeanne-Baptiste) has several great moments in this episode but none so striking as her final scene with Kyle. Despite throwing whatever obstacles she could in Frank's path to get him to stumble with this case, to her consternation, they solved another high-profile case. In a gripping scene, Kyle comes home to find Lockhart visiting with his wife. After Alyse leaves the room, she reminds him that don't let Frank fool him, and if he sees something he must report it to her. She tells him that she and Frank are a lot alike and that it's not Frank he needs to be scared of as she threatens Kyle if he doesn’t bring her something on Frank soon.

And the other great character moment and second surprise of the episode comes from a couple of minor scenes from Rebecca (Law) who continues to prove my contention that she is the most interesting character of the series.

Throughout the episode, Rebecca seems happy, which prompts Tommy (Drew Van Acker) to conclude there's a new man in her life. She blows off his concern, but Tommy tells her that no one knows her as well as he does. He just wants her to be happy. Later after a rendezvous with her lover, Rebecca gets up to leave. And he says that's right, your "husband" gets all of you after all, no one knows you like he does. Wait! What? Are Tommy and Rebecca married?

This was a major twist I never saw coming, and in retrospect would have liked to seen the show explore. However, a day or so after airing, Katrina Law, debunked the theory on Twitter answering a fan who'd asked about Tommy and Rebecca, saying that they were NOT married, that she'd just told her boyfriend that to keep him at arm's length. Pity, I think going down that storyline would have been interesting.

I am looking forward to next week's episode which will feature a poignant guest star turn from Paxton's son, James (The Witness). Use the comments below to discuss your thoughts on this week's episode. What do you think? Is it time for them to move forward in solving Billy's murder?

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