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FBI - Prey - Review - Who Are We Looking For?

Halloween might be a few calendar spaces away, but this episode blended realistic horrors with suspense well enough to make you check your calendar. "Prey" focuses on particularly unsettling crimes, approaching them more thoughtfully than the cases in its first two episodes. There is also some new insight into the workings of the show's FBI branch. It takes a moment for those observations to sink in, though, what with the jump scares and all.

A family's morning routine is interrupted by a severely injured young woman begging for help. It turns out that she was stabbed thirty times, buried alive (a mistake on her would-have-been killer's part), and dug herself out of the grave. Later, Maggie tells this girl Hailey that she is strong enough to rebuild her life. No kidding! The FBI are summoned when police find that eighteen other graves where Hailey was buried. The first thought is, of course, that a serial killer is at work. However, when the bodies are examined, they are found to all have the same disfigured brand. Hailey and the others were victims of human trafficking. Hailey tells them girls were taken away if they got sick or acted out. She asked a "client" for help after hearing that her younger sister Brooke was ill. They were orphans from Europe who moved to America after hearing about job opportunities.

Human trafficking is a $100 billion dollar monster, per limited estimates. Just last year, the FBI rescued several dozen child trafficking victims. The show makes some good points about how this particular area of crime isn't something that the media wants to cover. Special Agent Mosier comments to OA that people would rather dwell on less commonplace atrocities, like the acts of serial killers. The episode fumbles a bit by using the case as a way for OA to drop some clunky exposition. At one point he looks at the screen showing the before and after photos of the young women, these girls lured into horrific abuse, and basically says "This isn't something a guy with three sisters should be seeing." It's awkward, because it's not spoken to anybody really. Just thin air. And the episode goes on to squeeze in two more mentions of his sisters in random places. It doesn't come up naturally. Would it have been hard to have OA talk to Maggie about how seeing those girls made him think about what dangers his own sisters face? I think that would have been a better way to get the character details in there.

The clock is ticking to find the people who run the ring and to rescue the other girls. A particular target is the man killing the "problem ones", a real piece of work the girls called "Snake." Their first clue comes from Hailey's repeat client who did call 9-1-1 after her plea but took no other action. Maggie and OA find him at the fire station he works at. Not hot, firefighter! He does give up the location they had their encounter at. The basement is empty, but there are clues, pieces that give them a glimpse of what life was like down there. Dirty mattresses on the floor, a wall covered in pictures drawn and colored with makeup. Pictures of happy, free animals mostly. And a nightmarish surgical suite. Hailey confirms that a doctor would come in to perform procedures. They're able to track him down, though Snake has already killed him and escapes after a violent altercation with Maggie.

It comes down to an undercover operation with Jubal getting out of the office to pose as a client. OA wanted to be the one undercover, but Mosier said they couldn't risk him on something like this, with his previous undercover work. This could become an ongoing frustration for OA, if he is left out of more dangerous ops. But it comes across here is just a way to utilize Jeremy Sisto more. When the girls came, Jubal stalled for time by cracking some jokes that went completely over their heads, which would have been funny if the whole thing wasn't so sad. This gave Maggie and OA opportunity to smash some glass and grab the driver who turned out to be Snake. Mosier sends Maggie in to interrogate him, and she is able to manipulate him into giving up the location of the other girls. In perhaps the most twisted bit of irony, they are being held in a pristine white beach house.
Maggie visits Hailey at the hospital later, reunited with Brooke, and walks away holding back tears. It's an effective ending, appropriately unsatisfying. They have rescued these young women. Their captors and abusers will be punished in some way. And yet the world has so many more dark places that Hailey and Brooke will have to navigate. We have so many shows that focus on rescuing a victim or putting a patient back together, but we almost never travel with them down the road of what happens next. Human trafficking especially is an evil that, to paraphrase Mosier, people don't want keeping them up at night.

"Prey" not only handles a troubling topic capably, but it also continues to build those bridges within the team. Little moments such as Mosier asking for Maggie's feedback and OA calling Bell "Mags" go a long way towards bringing a show to life. This was also the first episode where Missy Peregrym really owned every one of her scenes. The Snake interrogation scene particularly let her out of the box. More episodes like this one will help FBI distinguish itself. It has only improved each week.

Observation: It was interesting to note Maggie and OA's different approaches during their fight scenes. Maggie swings faster, pushing out from the elbows and using her lower arms/fist strength. OA is more precise, striking out from the shoulders, and fond of a headlock.

Also, dream casting for OA's mom and three sisters? Leave wishes in the comments.

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