This review contains spoilers.
2.7 The Hope Too Bright To Last
I’ve finally figured out the secret of Copper: it’s a marketing tool. For Prozac.
Yet we keep coming back to have our hearts ripped out and stomped into the ground like it’s some sick addiction. Other shows are off-putting when they lay on the tragedy too thick. Copper has a knack for executing the worst possible eventuality with morbid finesse.
Ellen is spiraling back into a dark mental place, and her attempt to inform Corcoran of her pregnancy is thwarted when she spots him with Eva. Finally, Sara goes to the precinct office to tell him herself, but Corcoran runs home to find that Ellen has hanged herself.
Corky has lost both his wife and unborn child in one needless act of self-harm fed by misunderstandings and failed struggles to forgive. The worst part of it is that Ellen has ended not only her own life but that of her child, and Corcoran’s too—again. The episode title A Hope Too Bright to Last pretty much sums up this entire series.
Kudos to Tom Weston-Jones for the wonderful, heartbreaking reaction to finding his wife’s body. That one silent look says it all. It may be the most striking single image in the series so far.
With that dismal affair out of the way, let’s move on to happier things: like the mysterious disease in the water supply, the Morehouses losing all their money, and that part where Robert and his father try to kill each other.
People are getting sick from a pathogen that Freeman discovers in the water. This contradicts the diagnosis of a white doctor, who is pissed off at being challenged by a black man—just your average daily Copper racism. Things get interesting, though, when a black man accuses Freeman of bowing to whites by becoming one of them. Freeman smartly informs him that progress is not just for whites. This is an interesting and important look at how members of a discriminated-against group can perpetuate the discrimination.
The Morehouse family follows up their happy reunion last week with a big old argument after Norbert (Daddy Morehouse) tries to convince Robert (Morehouse Junior) to get in on a fraudulent scheme to save some bad railroad stock. Norbert goes through with the scheme behind Robert’s back, and some crude comments about Mommy Morehouse put the men at deathblows. Elizabeth, who is getting more badass by the episode, breaks it up, but Norbert promises he’ll be back to exact his sweet revenge (or something to that effect).
Donovan and Eva partner up to take down one of Donovan’s rivals for an aqueduct project. (If he had a name, I don’t remember it, so we’ll call him Aqua Man.) They come up with a brilliant plot to drug Aqua Man, get a naked guy to sit on him, and take pictures of it. The plan fails, but Donovan is cool with it. Then there’s some really awkward sex. (Is doing that with a pregnant lady even allowed?) The point of this all seems to be to demonstrate the dangerous alliance forming between Donovan and Eva, and also to hint at a history. The two certainly are like-minded, and each holds his/her own brand of power. They could go far in Five Points.
Prior to his traumatic end to the episode, Corky spends most of this week playing patriarch to the McGrath family, who were involved one of his cases a few episodes back. With Donovan’s help, he non-violently gets a pervy landlord off Mrs. McGrath’s back. He also steers her son Michael off the path of murder and offers to teach him to box. Corcoran has a compulsive need to play the father figure – a need that only compounds the tragedy of the loss of Ellen and the baby, just as it made Maggie’s loss all the more painful. The need seems to stem from the need to atone for Maggie’s death. What is this new loss going to do to him?
Corcoran hit it off with Mrs McGrath, and she seems nice and stable. Could she be a piece in Corcoran’s future? It’s terrible to be thinking of new relationships so soon after Ellen’s death, but there were some romantic undertones between he and Mrs McGrath, so things may be headed in that direction.
If over the next few days you experience feelings of hopelessness, uncontrollable sobbing, or uncharacteristic urges to curl up in the fetal position, don’t worry, the Copper team has the answer: just whip up an 1860s-style alcoholic concoction. Maybe next episode will be better. Or maybe you should just plan to have a pitcher ready.
(Special thanks to my dad, Mike Peters, for letting me use his TV in a pinch so I didn’t miss this week’s episode! You are a zillion times better a dad than Daddy Morehouse.)
Copper will take a one-week break and return August 18th.
Please, if you can, buy our charity horror stories ebook, Den Of Eek!, raising money for Geeks Vs Cancer. Details here.