Darn you, Conviction, for interrupting what started as a mega-hot makeout session between Hayes and Conner at the end of last week’s episode. Granted, breaking news about the pair’s secret deal to spare Hayes jail time in exchange for putting her at the helm of the CIU might spell disaster for both of them, but couldn’t we have seen a bit more kissing first? Especially since said kissing might not happen again for quite some time, if the last few moments of tonight’s installment are any indication.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, let’s start at the beginning: Episode 4 opens with a compilation of news reports and soundbites all about the former first daughter’s bust for cocaine possession. The camera cuts to the apartment Hayes shares with her brother, Jackson (the delightful and underrated Daniel Franzese of Mean Girls and Looking fame), who’s sweetly offering words of encouragement for what Hayes is about to face. “You ready?” he asks, and the two down some espresso and head outside to confront the waiting press corps.
Jackson ushers Hayes into a car, but before the door is shut, Hayes turns to the throng of media and casually remarks, “It’s all recreational use, people,” as Jackson shoots her THE LOOK. You know, the one all of us have given a friend, sibling or significant other when it’s time for them to just shut up already.
Case No. 4: Penny Price
When Hayes arrives at work and asks her team to pitch the CIU’s next case, they balk — apparently, they didn’t prepare because they weren’t sure if she’d show up (i.e. they assumed she’d be fired). But Tess, ever the overeager boss-pleaser, comes through with the case of Penny Price (Teri Polo, The Fosters), a mom sentenced to 20 years for second-degree murder in the death of her son, Owen. The severely autistic 12-year-old allegedly died of a sodium overdose, which the prosecution claimed happened on account of Penny force-feeding him an entire bottle of soy sauce.
The jury found Penny guilty after less than an hour of deliberation. We learn she came across as “cold and unemotional” on the stand — she didn’t cry or act the way grieving mothers are “supposed to,” I guess. Penny’s video blog (aptly titled “Mother’s Little Burden”) reveals Owen flew into rages and physically abused his mother, but one vlog entry gave the prosecution its ace in the hole: A bruised Penny — the hint of a smile on her face — confessing to the camera “Sometimes I just wanna kill him” a mere week before Owen’s death.
Maxine and Sam pay a visit to Penny in prison, where she maintains her innocence but admits she deserves what’s happened to her. Not for killing Owen, but for neglecting to keep him safe. No matter how much Owen hurt her, she says, he was her responsibility and she failed. Sam, whose presumption of Penny’s guilt is more than obvious, asks why she thought about killing Owen (she said as much in her vlog, he points out). It was just gallows humor, a way of coping, she admits: “A week after I made that stupid comment, my son, my beautiful baby boy, died, and I will never… I will regret saying that every day for the rest of my life.”
NEXT: Justice isn’t always black and white