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So Help Me Todd - 86'd - Review

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Compared to last week's intense yet brilliant episode, tonight’s hour of So Help Me Todd was more akin to the majority of others this season- straightforward and simple, deep enough so that the audience gets invested, but with enough comedic elements to provide levity. While the episode was certainly more melodramatic than usual, it was still a solid hour of entertainment, perfect for escaping the tensions of a hectic week. 

The case of the week had Margaret representing an old college friend of Todd and Susan’s, Lauren Park (Jamie Chung), who was suing the Michelin star restaurant where she worked, claiming it was a hostile work environment. Her claims were based on the fact that the head chef at the restaurant, Jax, was verbally abusive towards staff, as witnessed by Margaret and Allison while dining at the establishment. The case took a dramatic turn when Lauren showed up at the law firm with her hands covered in blood, announcing that Jax is dead. What’s worse, is that she was the one who found his body when picking up her paycheque at the restaurant. What appeared to be a simple lawsuit, suddenly became an attempted murder case. Despite the serious nature of the case, the investigative portion of the evening was heavy with comedic moments, the perfect amount to take the edge off. 

While at the restaurant searching for clues, Margaret managed to woo the owner, Rufus, who shared that he has Parkinson's disease, much like her ex-husband, Harry. Margaret felt drawn to Rufus and despite her assertion to Todd that she had sworn off dating, she invited him over to her condo for dinner. Todd, meanwhile, managed to sweet talk a CSI tech who was completing his evidence collection, and learned a thing or two about the case that may have been glossed over by viewers in that moment, but were important to the overall outcome of the case. 

Meanwhile, Senior partner Beverly Crest was still interviewing candidates for the named partner opening, and Margaret was on pins and needles, doing whatever she could to impress her. Beverly sat in as Margaret and the team investigated online restaurant reviews and while Margaret buckled under the pressure, Lyle demonstrated his incredible online detective skills, wowing Beverly and annoying Todd. On a sleuthing mission at a suspect's house, Lyle and Todd broke into their usual antics, bickering over Todd’s less than legal investigative tactics. Ignoring Lyle’s warnings not to break and enter, Todd walked into a storm cellar and passed out when he reached the bottom. The suspect had a molecular gastronomy lab in the basement, and the nitrogen displaced the oxygen, causing Todd to faint. Not only that, but while Todd eagerly helped himself to the amateur chef’s concoctions, he ended up eating corn smut, aka mold, and ended up sick to his stomach. This led to a hilarious back and forth between Todd and Margaret as she asked him why on earth he would eat something called “corn slut,” and he had to correct her. 

A new lead sent Margaret and an ailing Todd to another restaurant, where Todd had arranged to get in as a dishwasher. Todd was too sick to follow through with the undercover plan, leaving Margaret to take his spot and pretend to be a dishwasher, expensive suit and all. Meanwhile, the chef they were there to investigate, Sophie Keller, saw Todd wearing Margaret’s lime green suit jacket while sitting in agony in the car, and mistook him for a famous food critic. Not wanting to blow his moms cover, Todd forced himself to eat the food served to him by the chef, leading him to throw up in none other than Beverly Crest’s purse. She was dining at the restaurant with another named partner candidate and if Todd’s mishap wasn’t bad enough, Margaret was humiliated when Beverly witnessed her bussing tables in an apron. 

The case was cracked when a CSI tech that worked the crime scene, came to the firm and divulged that although he bagged 23 different substances found at the crime scene, only 14 were tested. If you thought the CSI: Portland (no, not the TV show, the real deal) fellow looked familiar, you’d be right. The show is produced by Dr. Phil McGraw and his son’s production company, Stage 29 Productions and Jay McGraw cameoed in the episode as the CSI tech. With a little help from Allison, Susan and Todd realized that the restaurant owner, Rufus, lied about having Parkinsons to cover up for the fact that he murdered Jax, who was really the one suffering from the disease. This was all discovered while Rufus was at Margaret’s cooking her dinner. Thankfully, Todd and Allison managed to get to Margaret, just as he had a knife to her throat. 

Although the show has finally taken steps towards pushing a potential Todd and Susan romance forward, the dynamic between them has failed to make an impact this season, largely due to the fact that they have very little screen time together. While a slow burn does lead to a more satisfying relationship between characters, one semi-romantic scene in an episode (if that) isn’t going to cut it. Just as viewers were made to believe that Susan would finally capitalize on her feelings for Todd after realizing that life is fleeting, this episode had the couple taking a million steps in the opposite direction. Susan was still in denial about her feelings for Todd, this time claiming that she got cold feet about getting married to Peter and needed to get it out of her system. On top of that, she belittled Todd by telling him that she told Peter about the kiss, and he was unbothered as he isn’t threatened by Todd in the least. Todd did receive somewhat of an upper hand at the end of the episode, when Lauren shared that although Susan broke up with Todd in college, it wasn’t because she didn’t love him and in fact, she was devastated for a long while afterwards. Considering the snail’s pace at which this relationship is moving, it is difficult to tell whether or not Susan will drop the facade and admit her feelings before the end of the season. Stans of the couple will hopefully get some sort of indication as to where these two are headed before the hiatus begins. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts, SHMT fans! What did you think of the episode? Comment with your thoughts below and follow me on Twitter @MiddleofCanada.

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