If last week’s episode of Briarpatch felt like a series of exposition dumps meant to lead Allegra from one point to the next, “The Most Sinful MF-er Alive” certainly lives up to its punchy name and delivers an explosive outing that balances pure thrills and plot advancing reveals. When the lights go out in San Bonifacio, things really start to light up.
After a fun cold open that coasts on the simple charms of watching Alan Cumming intimidate teenagers, we pick things right back up where we left them; Allegra discovers that Lalo is helping migrant families in the abandoned brewery with Jake’s assistance. All that Jake asks in return for helping is that some of the adult men serve as his faux protection, so he can give the illusion that he’s ready for any battle that Clyde Brattle brings to his door. Just as Pick gets the skinny on the strange agreement, a blackout sends San Bonifacio into chaos. Of course, Brattle is behind the power outage, and he decides to test Jake’s defenses under cover of darkness.
Defending his gaudy mansion with a nose full of coke and a head full of confidence, the whole siege on the Spivey mansion gives Jake a chance to shine. He delivers a rambling pep talk, shows some impressive skills with a hunting knife, and even gets a chance to throw down one on one with his replacement in Brattle’s crew. All the action is a nice change of pace, and it’s all shot with flair by Emmy winning TV director Colin Bucksey. The attempt on Jake’s life does allow us to see that he was a competent soldier, but the more interesting information is gleaned during Allegra and Daphne’s chat in Jake’s safe room.
Allegra reveals to Daphne that she served jail time, covering for Jake, after the pair attempted to blackmail a Florida congressman back when Allegra was working as a stringer in D.C. It helps explain her weariness toward Jake despite their history. We also learn that Jake is broke, with all of his money tied up in shell companies and real estate deals. Jake needs the plea deal that Allegra offered so he can retain his assets, so it makes little sense why didn’t roll on Brattle while he could, especially now that Brattle is coming for his head so hard. Jake survives the attack on his home, though not unscathed, before Allegra realizes that the armed siege was only a distraction.
The real target of Brattle’s plan is the brewery. Brattle already knew that Jake was using the space for private means, so he stages the blackout so he can orchestrate a fire at the brewery while the police are tied up elsewhere. Brattle knows that Spivey’s reputation won’t be able to recover after police find a group of scorched migrant bodies on a property that Jake owns. Luckily, Lalo and the rest of the folks inside are a resourceful group, and they’re able to escape just in time, not leaving any person behind. Allegra arrives to offer the group a place to hide out until the morning, but Lalo turns down the help, telling Allegra that he’s broken the migrant family’s trust beyond repair. He decides to stick around to deal with the police when they arrive, but Clyde Brattle finds him first.
Brattle needs some sort of death that he can lay at Jake’s feet, and he allows Lalo to fit the bill. Still, I don’t understand how that would work, since Chief Raytek is at Spivey’s home immediately following the assault on the compound and knows that Jake couldn’t have possibly been responsible for Lalo’s death. But perhaps Brattle isn’t the person we should be worried about here, as Raytek is clearly up to something fishy, which is punctuated by her oddly timed mayoral candidacy announcement the morning after the blackout. While Raytek is delivering her phony speech, Allegra is learning from Singe that Freddie Laughter planted the story about Felicity being a crooked cop on Raytek’s orders. We knew that Raytek was a suspicious figure, but now she looks like the prime suspect in Felicity’s death.
The only cop that doesn’t seem like he has something to hide is Colder, who seems completely outmatched and out of his element the entire episode. Brian Geraghty is really doing underrated work here, bringing a sad, yet funny physical element to Colder’s haplessness. After being disrespected and left out of the loop by Raytek, then shamed by his wife, it leads him directly to Clyde Brattle. He offers his services, probably seeing that he’s being left on the outs by everyone around him. Or maybe he’s starting to suspect Raytek in the death of his beloved Felicity too. Regardless, watching Geraghty and Cumming as scene partners should be highly entertaining.
Highly entertaining is pretty much the logline for “The Most Sinful MF-er Alive.” I mean, a guy gets distracted by a giraffe and blows himself up with a rocket launcher. What more can you ask for? If Briarpatch continues with this much energy through its back half, we could be in for many more memorable moments like that.