This Clarice review contains spoilers.
Clarice Episode 12
In Clarice episode 12, “Father Time,” Agent Clarice Starling (Rebecca Breeds) finally loses her shit and clocks someone, and the series is better off for it. The young agent who rose to the top of a media circus on her first serial killer case has been scrutinized, chastised, hypnotized, and downsized since returning to the field. She’s had to run amok straight into danger just to get a point across which will solve cases. Tonight, Clarice lashes out at everyone, packs her boxes, and runs until her legs give out. It provides the most satisfying episode the series has given so far.
Starling has even had enough of her chosen, as opposed to assigned, therapist. Dr. Renee Li (Grace Lynn Kung), is the very definition of calming. Just a few words from her mouth usually silence the lambs in Clarice’s head. But let her blame being late on a traffic cop and the Sheriff’s little deputy snaps her cuffs. Clarice sees the scars on Dr. Li’s arms, gets her fill of explanations that unprocessed trauma comes out as anger, and goes with it. She’s been getting SOS calls from her subconscious, and her therapist can’t decipher them.
It is very telling, however, how Clarice responds almost automatically to the mere validation “you’re not angry,” from the therapist. The agent is an expert in many psychiatric disciplines, and is prescribing for herself. She visibly wills herself, through the episode, to come to the conclusion Dr. Li suggests at the outset. Clarice has a memory, and she doesn’t need regressive hypnosis to bring it out of her. That would be too comforting. When it finally comes, Clarice faces the pain the therapist wants her to accept, and it stops her in her tracks.
The ViCAP unit gets official approval to raid Alastor Pharmaceuticals, and Agent Murray Clarke (Nick Sandow) is having a blast. He loves Raid Days. It would be a perfect afternoon for him if it wasn’t for the agent who can’t hold his bladder. Peeing in a bottle is unnecessarily rude, and probably another piece of unprocessed trauma for Starling. The entire episode could be chalked up as a very bad day for Clarice.
Attorney General Ruth Martin (Jayne Atkinson) is now serving a proper function: acting as a tool to work against a quickly ticking countdown. There’s a lot of money involved, and she could just as well have gone the other way and pocketed her retirement in a weekend. Her daughter, Catherine Martin (Marnee Carpenter), owns the line of fire. Their scene together is sweet, and serves to allow the audience to accept their premature bonding.
As the ViCAP team enacts an evidentiary warrant for ties to the River Murders, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Paul Krendler (Michael Cudlitz) makes Alastor CEO Nils Hagen (Peter McRobbie) do the perp walk in front of all the cameras. But the psychopathic pharmaceutical magnate does it big. He goes both Shakespearean and Jesuit, forgiving his arresting officers as he is cuffed in the round. Ready for his closeup while gasping for breath, his eyes are open now. There are bad apples in his company, he admits, and he’s going to worm his way out of it.
Agent Shaan Tripathi (Kal Penn) is consistently growing as more than a well-rounded investigator. We learn he really knows his art, the brush strokes and everything. He can tell the difference between a painting and a blank canvas. After a few words with the artist, he realizes there is something darker going on, and it’s not merely the pigments of the oils and acrylics. Marina Abramović only used pig’s blood in her massively misunderstood performance piece “Spirit Cooking,” but the mentored artist dabs from a much more human palate. Don’t tell Qanon, but there are fetal tissues of five babies in the painting of Cronus the team took from Nils Hagen’s office.
The chief executive replaces the damaging artwork by putting Joe Hudland (Raoul Bhaneja) in a frame as a still life. The entire sequence is extremely well done. From threat to cleanup, the problems facing the megamerger at the center of the crime disappear leaving nothing but further suspense.
The depths of the debauchery on the corporate fronts appears to be much deeper as ViCAP airs Hudland’s concerns about “uncovered sex stuff,” which Starling pegs as power. Her first reaction is to help what she sees as a powerless victim, Hagen’s heir, Tyson (Douglas Smith). Cronos is the god who ate all his sons but Zeus, and Clarice sees Tyson as an appetizer. The team later finds out the son is helping prepare the menu.
“This is what happens when bitches have badges,” an FBI agent says as he passes Starling after the ViCAP team are awarded jurisdiction of a compromised crime scene. The affront sets off Agents Esquivel (Lucca De Oliveira), who gets called “Taco Bell” for sticking up for his sister in arms. The situation could have given Esquivel the last drop in the law enforcement pissing match. But Clarice gets to crack the guy in the nose. It’s a good clean shot, too. We don’t have to see Murray to know he approves, and even Krendler looks like he’s biting his inner lip so he doesn’t smile out loud.
Clarice disarms and turns in her badge, but it probably won’t be for long. She doesn’t do it because of her anger. She doesn’t do it because Agent Ardelia Mapp (Devyn Tyler) and Agent Garrett (K.C. Collins) are right in naming her in their claims against the department. Yes, she got preferential treatment, and she sees how unfair it is. But Clarice turns it in because her father was more than a dirty cop. He was a bad daddy. The only thing stopping Clarice from walking back in that office to reclaim her name as a good cop is the show’s cancellation. And so, “Father Time” ends on a triple cliffhanger. The uncovered memory has to have an outcome, the son of Dr. Frankenstein is walking up the stairs, and Clarice turned in her gun.
Clarice airs Thursdays at 10:00 p.m. on CBS.