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Chance - Triple episode(!) premiere - Review: "Winter is Coming. Ryan Winter."

12 Oct 2017

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Hello, friends! If you were a fan of Shooter or Animal Kingdom, you may have been missing my reviews lately. Well, good news for you: I'll be here with you through this season of Chance! If you haven't been missing my reviews, or if you've never had the mis-fortune of reading one of my reviews, we're all in for a real treat for the next few months! I'm really looking forward to digging into this show with you guys, so even if you decide you don't want to read a lick of what I've written below, please feel free to comment and share opinions; it gets lonely discussing shows with myself!

Patient History
Last season we were introduced to Dr. Eldon Chance (House's own Hugh Laurie), a brilliant neuropsychiatrist, who could definitely use a little from a mental professional as well. In fact, he had a bit of an issue with stalking in his past, but he has since moved on from this. Always looking for a way to help people, Chance was instantly intrigued by a new patient, Jaclyn Blackstone, whose cop husband has abused her, bringing about the creation of a "new" personality, Jackie Black. Though Chance initially sent the case elsewhere, a chance encounter (pun 100% intended) brought Jaclyn back into his life, for better or for worse. Spoiler alert: it's for worse. While still trying to navigate through his own divorce and maintain a relationship with his daughter, Nicky (who has had some stalking issues, like her dear old dad), Chance was pulled into Jaclyn/Jackie's world and eventually teamed up with furniture repairman/super-scary-guy, D, to help free Jaclyn of her crooked cop husband, Raymond. Sound like a lot? It should, cause it was!

As Chance continued to try to help, he also developed a romantic relationship with Jaclyn, leading him further down the rabbit hole, both physically and metaphorically. Through his time spent with both Jaclyn and D, Chance began to behave more erratically than usual, and at one point even hoped he had a tumor as a way to explain his own behavior. In the end, though, and after Raymond had kidnapped and returned Chance's daughter, Chance embraced this new side of himself. After attempting to get some help from Hynes, a good cop Chance was sure would be able to assist, it was decided that killing Raymond was the last option left. With D's planning, Chance was able to murder Raymond and set Jaclyn free. Over burgers, the season ended with Chance admitting to D that he felt exhilarated for being the one left standing.

This Session

Multiaxial System
In what's looking like a solid second season, we are introduced to an entirely new world for Doctor Chance. He is now working at a level one trauma center as a neuropsychiatrist for victims of violent crimes. Over the course of the first episode we're introduced to several of his patients who have been making positive steps forward. We also learn, however, that the reason for these positive strides is that our friend, D, has been violently taking care of the people causing the problems in the first place. What an exciting development! Also exciting: Chance's old assistant, Lucy, is back and has landed a nice assisting job at the hospital. She brings with her some nice levity for the series, immediately picking up and commenting on the relationship between her new boss, Dr. Kirsten Clayton, and Chance. Outside of the hospital, Chance is seen being a much more confrontational person than we're used to. As a stranger aggressively blames another man for running into his car, we watch Chance step in and dig at the accuser, to the point where the man is ready to hit Chance. Luckily, Nicky is nearby and pulls chance back before the incident gets worse, and judging from her reaction, this isn't the first time he's been in such a scenario. He later decides that he's going to attempt a less violent approach to one of his patient's problems, a man who stole money from the patient's father, leading to the father's suicide. Chance meets him at a bar and asks the man to meet him in a dark alley behind the bar where no violent things ever happen. Of course, Chance's intimidation techniques fail spectacularly and Chance ends up beating the man senseless. In the words of D, "I wouldn't say that went well." Towards the end of the episode, Hynes pops back into Chance's life to force some help out of him. Hynes has a case that's been bugging him for a while, a series of murders he's convinced were perpetrated by a rich man by the name of Ryan Winter. His personal connection to the case is in the disappearance of his confidential informant, Travis, who he's sure was murdered by Winter. Why would Chance help out with this? Well, you see, Hynes is pretty sure he knows exactly what went down with Raymond Blackstone's murder, and it would probably only take him a little closer investigating to figure it out and get some proof. Of course, if Chance helps out with this case, he'll gladly look the other way. So, Chance is once again pulled into a world he's not ready for, and after a brief consultation with D, Chance decides that his first plan of action will be to attack Winter in the middle of the night and leave him there, assuring that he'll end up at the conveniently located level one trauma center that includes a psych unit where victims of violent crimes can have some counseling.

A Very Special Onion
Part two of our premiere picks up with Ryan Winter waking up at the hospital as the doctors try to examine, with Chance watching on the sidelines. Winter almost immediately becomes violent, and Chance rushes over to talk him down while the doctors attempt to sedate him. Before he slips back out of consciousness, he says, "This is how Stevie felt," and we instantly know we're heading for some dark places with this guy. D, meanwhile, is breaking into Hynes's apartment to check him out more, and discovers a very detailed timeline of the murders and supposed connections to Winter. On his way out, D notices Hynes has set up a sort of alert system with a magnet that picks up a strategically placed quarter when the front door is opened. D replaces the quarter and exits the apartment, leaving minimal trace of his presence. When Winter is back in the waking world, Chance introduces himself and initiates a mental stability test by asking Winter to describe a few pictures. There's certainly something off with this man, though at first glance it's hard to tell if it's part of the character, or just Paul Schneider. I've since decided it's a healthy combination of both of these things. When Chance shows Winter a picture of a woman facing away on the floor draped over the front of a chair, he gets aggressive and insists that Chance leave the room. When he goes back to check on Winter later, Chance finds him hidden away in another patient's room listening in on the discussions being had in the room. As Chance walked him back, he insists he was just doing what Chance does: finding out who people are without them knowing. Winter then decides he'd like to be discharged and leaves Chance to going about his day. D is currently out following Hynes and listens as Hynes gets a phone call that deeply upsets him, and D follows him to a crime scene where Hynes begins to privately break down next to his car. Carl is brought in to help later when Hynes is drinking his sorrows away at a gay bar (surprise(?), Hynes and Carl are both gay) and the two talk for a while. Turns out Travis was more than just a CI to Hynes and the very recent discovery of Travis's body (the crime scene) has left Hynes with a broken heart. To Chance's surprise, Ryan Winter shows up after being discharged and wants to take advantage of the help they can provide him, and he is admitted into a group session run by Chance. Winter behaves very strangely, seeming to enjoy the dreadful tales of sorrow these people are describing, and incites one patient, Josefa, to delve deeper into her situation. After a later meeting with Hynes where Chance secretly records their conversation to ensure mutually assured destruction if Hynes releases what he knows, Chance grows concerned when Josefa does not show up to their session. He decides to head over to check on her and runs into Winter on his way out. Winter is acting sketchy, has some scratch marks on his neck, and tells Chance he was coming to talk. After momentary internal debate, Chance tells him they'll talk another time and heads to Josefa's place, only to discover cops everywhere. Running into the building, Chance checks to see if his fear are realized and discovers they are; Josefa has been murdered. Even worse, she was positioned the same way the woman was in the final picture Chance had shown Winter not too long ago.

The Flitchcraft Parable
Our final premiere chapter sees Chance determined to not let Josefa's husband, Ronny, go down for the murder he knows Winter committed, not because he wants to see Ronny go free, but because he wants justice for Josefa. This proves difficult, of course, due to the man's long history of abusing Josef, and the police's readiness to accept the easy closing of the case. As Chance meets with D and Carl to figure out a way to help confirm Ronny's alibi, Hynes shows up, having followed Chance. After he talks through fitting some pieces together involving the events around the Blackstone murder, Chance lets him in on Josefa's murder and Hynes says he knows an attorney who will help get the husband off. Before leaving, Hynes throws D a quarter and tells him not to break into his place ever again. Later that night, Chance, D, and Hynes head over to a hangout of Ronny's to see if one of the men there will testify for Ronny. Things turn more violent though and all the men scatter, except for one who approaches the trio and offers to testify to make sure Ronny pays him back what he's owed. Back on the Winter case, Chance takes Winter to a cafe for a chat while D breaks in to Winter's house and moves things around to throw him off later. On his way out, D passes the housekeeper in the kitchen as she's making some lunch, but she just calmly watches as he opens a jar of mustard for her and then leaves the house. At the cafe, Chance reveals some MRI scans to Winter, showing that Winter has a predisposition to being a little psychopathic, to which he replies, "So it's not my fault." When Chance tries to press for more, however, Winter redirects. Nicky is dealing with the fallout of everyone at her new school (including this guy she was super into) finding out about her stalker days back at her own school. Her only friend at the moment seems to be Pepper, who insists they go get pizza after a long day of school. Once there, however, Nicky sees a text pop up on Pepper's phone from a girl at Nicky's former school. She puts the pieces together and realizes that Pepper spread the news about her and causes a scene at the pizza place before storming out. On a search for her dad, Nicky ends up at the shop where D gives her a little pep talk, saying that she should stand up for herself and thank her bullies for helping to make her stronger, because the world doesn't get easier as it goes on and she needs to learn to fight for herself now. When Winter discovers that things in his house have been messed with, he immediately calls Chance, playing right into our hero's hand. When Chance arrives, Winter describes his hatred of feeling like a victim, then describes an event he witnessed when he was 8 involving a woman throwing a child off of a platform in front of a train. He says he learned to cope with the trauma, but when Chance asks how, he says he's done for the day. Ronny gets released on bail and is sitting on the roof talking to a friend on the phone when he hears a strange noise. Instead of staying on the phone with his friend while he investigates, Ronny instead decides to hang up and call back later. As soon as the call is over, Winter appears and throws the man off the roof, which the city is more than happy to rule a suicide to wrap Josefa's case up in a nice little bow. D stakes out Winter's house again and is approached by the housekeeper, telling him she doesn't care about what he's doing, but that she needs to keep her job in order to take care of her child when it is born. I should mention there may be a spark or two flying around these two. While Chance arrives at his office and discovers a celebration honoring Ryan Winter for donating $1 million to the unit in Josefa's name, Nicky tries to study in a library while her bully laughs with some friends, prompting Nicky to whack the girl in the face with an Encyclopedia-sized book and say "Thank you," before walking away.

Final Analysis
While I did enjoy the first season of Chance, I must admit that so far I am enjoying this outing a lot more. There's an entirely new energy to the show this season, and despite my reservations about Paul Schneider, I'm really liking what he's bringing to the show. I don't know what it is about him, but I've always found his characters to be a tad off. I've yet to see him actually be Paul Schneider, though, so I think I'll end up watching a few interviews and then seeing how I feel about the character. I'm actually very happy to see the Jaclyn is gone this season. I never really liked her from the moment I saw her, and I yelled at Chance every time the two of them were together. That being said, I'd 100% like to see her come back for an episode or two just to watch Hugh Laurie play with what effects that would have on Chance.

It seems like they may be trying to add a few more comedic elements this season, which I'm very excited about, and the brighter lighting effects are a welcomed addition as well. While the first season was definitely engaging, it felt much darker and seemed a little draining to watch it quick succession. After these three episodes in a row, though, I feel the exact opposite of drained, I'm counting down the hours until I can watch more. I'm also excited that it seems we'll be seeing a bit more Carl this season. All in all, this was a very strong step forward for Chance and a strong beginning to what will surely be an exciting season!

How thrilled were you to see a triple episode premiere? What are you most excited to see moving forward? Is Ryan Winter creepy because of the character or because of Paul Schneider? Sound off in the comments below!