If there was an Emmy for Best Effort, it would surely go to Toni Collette, who keeps really trying to make Hostages work.
But for a show like Hostages to work, viewers have to buy into its world. The series missed this crucial step early on when all the characters behaved so irrationally and ridiculously, it was difficult to believe in anything that was happening. So when Duncan sent Archer to jail it just seemed like another absurd move. It was revealed in “Hail Mary” that Archer was purposely sent to prison to take out the guy involved in Angela’s murder. On another show, this could have been a great twist. But on Hostages, it’s too little, too late.
Likewise was the reveal that Duncan’s father-in-law is the same lawyer who helped Ellen when she let a rapist die 15 years ago. These supposedly shocking moments land with a thud. But the show is desperate for intrigue, so viewers meet the President’s sister-in-law, Vanessa, who is an ambassador. The President has cheated on his wife with Vanessa. Could the First Lady be the one behind trying to kill the President? I think so. Do I care? I think not.
And I still don’t understand why Ellen and Brian sent Morgan to the doctor the minute they found out she was pregnant. Ellen is a doctor. It didn’t occur to her that another doctor might find Morgan’s myriad of bruises suspicious? I’m thinking the doctor’s appointment could have waited until the hostage crisis was over.
When the show first premiered, I loved the fact that there were so many different directions for it to go in—from Ellen’s complicated family life to the political intrigue to Duncan’s crew and their motivations. But now the series is a wobbly mess collapsing in on itself. The show keeps throwing Hail Mary passes to no avail.
The episode ends with Brian attacking Duncan with poison as a horrified Ellen, who now knows that if Duncan dies, they all die, looks on. It’s hard to buy Duncan as a criminal mastermind when he leaves the poison to kill the President out in the open. Shouldn’t it be locked up in a safe somewhere until Ellen needs it?
Next week, Ellen will have to save Duncan. Probably with nothing more than a Q-tip and a Band-Aid.