As much as I liked “Beholder,” the word “anti-climactic” immediately comes to mind.
This whole season has been building to a showdown between Eleanor and Sonya. But when the two formidable women finally face off, it is, dare I say, disappointing. Sonya asks Eleanor why she let Kyle’s friend live. “Did he remind you of someone you lost?” she says. While Eleanor wonders what Sonya’s mother ever did to her that she would allow her mother to live drug-addicted and homeless. Eleanor talks about how her mother didn’t help her, as her father continued to sexually abuse her.
“I’m really sorry about what happened to you,” Sonya tells her. But I was expecting more when these two women finally confronted each other.
We have confirmation that the woman Sonya visited a few episodes ago is indeed her mother. Last season we heard about her mother’s addiction to drugs and men, but to see that her mother is living homeless in El Paso while her daughter is a detective is jarring. Like Eleanor, I wondered what lead up to this point. Sonya has clearly given up on ever helping her mother. Even when she gives her mother money to get out of town, Sonya has to be at least 90% sure all that money will go to drugs.
This was a showcase episode for Ramon Franco, as Fausto had his Tony Soprano moment. In one scene he’s shooting a hostage video to send to Cerisola. And in the next, he’s crashing a Quinceañera, wanting only to celebrate with the young woman and her family. There’s real sadness in his eyes as he realizes everyone at the party is terrified of him. He doesn’t want to be the monster he is. I know I haven’t talked enough about what a fantastic performance Ramon Franco is turning in this season. To make a ruthless villain more than just a ruthless villain is not easy. Franco infuses Fausto with depth, and makes him a fully realized, fully dimensional character. His performance takes the show to whole other level.
Elsewhere, things are getting very confusing. Adam Arkin pops up as a CIA agent interrogating Sonya about what happened at Red Ridge. I have to think he’ll be back. CIA spook Alex Buckley, the personification of creepy, releases Eleanor into federal custody presumably taking her to federal prison, but—in actuality—discussing with her how they can fix things. “This needs to be fixed immediately. You understand? That’s why you’re out,” he tells. Does the CIA know what Alex is up to, or is he rogue?
Daniel and Adriana break into Agent Joe McKenzie’s garage and steal his case files. With each passing episode, I worry that these two won’t survive the season.
Marco enlists the help of the Marines to get Fausto—he knows where he’s hiding because it’s where his father used to go with Fausto. He arrives at the hideout, but Fausto’s snipers are there. They kill one marine and injure another. Marco surrenders and the sniper’s gun is aimed at his head.
The only part of the series that continues not to work for me is Eva and Steven. I suppose the intention is to offer some sort of reprieve with this tender love story. But their scenes remind me of that old Sesame Street song “One of These Things is Not Like the Other.” Whether their plotting revenge against Eva’s perpetrators, or she’s tenderly shaving his beard, the duo belongs on a different show.
Other thoughts on “Beholder:”
•Eleanor is a Mexican national. Interesting.
•I’m relieved Hank is alive, but I’m still worried about him.
•I really like Detective Tim Cooper. He’s a totally underused character.
•So glad we got an update on Lucy, although it’s sad that Adriana had to break up with her.
•It’s interesting how Fausto isn’t all suspicious of Robles when it’s Robles who revealed his hide out.
•Are we going to get any closure on Eleanor’s abuser, now that he’s no longer with Fausto?
Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and a regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.