Minority Report recap: Mr. Nice Guy
Last week, the first ever episode of Minority Report unveiled a promising premise: a weekly procedural cop-and-civilian crime drama, set in a highly detailed and entertaining Metropolis of the Future, in which the civilian half of the central couple just happens to be an endearingly doofy psychic.
And whether you’re on board or not with this departure from the tenor of the original, brooding Minority Report — and the even more original, more brooding Philip K. Dick novel that inspired both that movie and this show — the show’s definitely taking that premise and running with it. In episode 2, “Mr. Nice Guy,” the development of a working relationship between Dash and Lara Vega (and various odd sidekicks) was front and center, with the establishment of a season-long plot arc a distant second.
Oh, and we found out why things are so weird between Vega and her boss, Blake. But that comes later.
To begin, there’s a flashback: We’re back in the heyday of PreCrime, looking down on the precog trio in their underground milk bath.
Oh, excuse me: not milk bath. Photonic containment system. Wally, who was the precogs’ caretaker back then, explains how the bath unites the siblings’ psychic hive mind, harnessing each precog’s unique ability. Agatha disassociates as she sees the murder, her mind melding with the person whose future she sees. Arthur, as we discovered last week, is a beacon for facts: names, addresses. And Dash?
“Dash sees the horror,” Wally says dramatically. Subtext: When the precogs are released into the wild, Dash is going to have the hardest time of it.
Right now, though, Dash seems fine: Not only did he stop a mass murder last week, but he’s also using his psychic skills to dominate the park chess scene. Four games at once!
Alas, like so many idyllic moments in Dash’s life, this one goes on only as long as it takes for someone, somewhere, to not-yet murder someone. A vision of death hits him, hard; he convulses, then flees. The remaining chess players look on, confused. (And I know that D.C. is a big city and PreCrime was a long time ago, but still, it’s starting to strain belief that nobody would make the connection between the retired precogs and the prescient chess-playing weirdo in the park. Dial it back, Dash! They’re going to know!)
Meanwhile, Vega is hunting bad guys with boss Blake, bantering with him about Beyoncé (now a golden oldie) in between laser blasts. Rather than accept Blake’s help, she takes five perps out with confident sass — oops, make that overconfident, as an unseen sixth pops up behind her. No big deal, it’s just a simulation (with a clear message: Vega is a lone wolf with trust issues).
We also learn that the case is not necessarily closed on last week’s murder: Vega’s body camera (yep, they’re a thing now) was not operational during the confrontation that left Mason “Murder Pigeons” Rutledge and his daughter dead, and Blake has questions.
Basically, it’s not an ideal time for anyone to be hunting another pre-murderer, but neither Vega nor Dash can resist the chance to save more lives. Unfortunately, a visit to Wally’s lair and a round with the magic precog helmet yields only fragmented images and no faces; all they can see are a series of symbols, including the logo for an area singles club, and a crazy looking shoe. Too bad there isn’t a second precog around who could give them the name of the would-be vict…oh, right.
Only Dash’s visit to Arthur doesn’t pan out as hoped. For one, Arthur wants to be pickier about who they help and how — and unlike Dash, he seems to grasp that people will eventually notice what they’re doing and come looking for them. Second, Arthur wants something in exchange for his help: an old case file.
It’s a big ask, and Vega can’t arouse any more suspicion when she’s already being watched. So for now, it’ll be just her and Dash, cop and precog, together, teammates. They stake out the club where they know the victim hangs out and where people match (or don’t) instantaneously using “microbiome analyzer” bracelets.
“People used to text, swipe pictures. There was interaction,” says Vega longingly, and let’s all have a moment of silence for the first (and hopefully last) moment of TV nostalgia for Tinder. Dash is out of his element, but he makes promising eye contact with a girl — who turns out to be wearing the shoes from the vision! So he jabs her date with a sick stick (remember those?), because obviously, he won’t be able to murder anyone if he’s too busy projectile vomiting. There’s just one problem: It’s the wrong guy. And at the bar is a man whose forearm bears a unique moving tattoo that was visible in Dash’s vision, which makes him the killer, for sure.
Cut to the next morning: Vega and Dash staked out tattoo guy all night with nothing to show for it. But we know his name (Tyson) and his occupation (professional pickup artist, and cue many, many jokes about Dash “researching” his work, ha, ha).
There’s just one problem: They still have to wait for him to make a move, because unlike in the fascist days of PreCrime, you cannot currently arrest a dude for something he hasn’t done yet. (So concludes Wally’s obligatory cameo as the voice of the show’s tortured moral center.)
NEXT: Vega makes a bold move.
While we wait, Dash has a phone visit with Agatha, who (bummer) only wants to discuss the psychological effects and ramifications of Dash killing a man last week. He points out that he saved hundreds of lives in the process. To which Agatha replies, “There are worse things in the world than murder.” (Um, really? Like what? Except overripe avocados, which are worse than literally everything.) She also repeats her warning to Dash that Vega is using him again, and then the conversation ends without further elaboration again.
But Agatha isn’t the only one worried about Dash’s post-murder state of mind. Vega also wants to talk about it, and finally, he explains:
“It didn’t feel like anything. When I killed Rutledge,” he says. “It’s not that I’m not processing it, it’s just… I’ve seen 700 murders.”
Which seems like a pretty reasonable explanation for being so non-nonplussed over having offed someone, so maybe we can all stop haranguing him about it now and move on to more important things.
Like, for instance, the fact that pickup artistry and negging are still a thing in 2065, so help us, and may God have mercy on our souls. The two are staking out an inspirational talk by Tyson the Presumed Pre-Murderer, who describes getting into a woman’s pants thusly: “When she says ‘yes,’ I fall in love… with ME.”
No longer content to stand by and wait for this skeezball to make his murder move, Vega takes matters into her own hands and puts herself in Tyson’s path, the idea being that he’ll… try to kill her instead? Maybe? It’s not entirely clear, but it doesn’t work. He knows he’s being baited (though not why) and doesn’t bite, which leaves them back where they started: needing Arthur’s help.
This puts Vega back at police headquarters in time to pick up some interesting information: a predictive policing pilot program, Hawkeye, is coming. (It doesn’t seem to mean much to her, but all bets are on this being significant down the line, so.) Akeela pulls the desired file for her, with surprising results: It’s a record for the woman who was Arthur and Dash’s mom. Why was Arthur testing Vega by asking her to retrieve it? Dunno, but apparently she passed, and he gives her the name of the victim: Blanca Garcia.
Now that they know who Tyson’s victim is, Vega and Dash return to the club to save her. Just one problem: As Vega spots Blanca, Blake — who traced activity on her police-issued lenses to the club — spots her. It looks like she’s about to get caught PreCriming, but actually, Blake just wants to clear the air: They were partners for four years before he got promoted, which would definitely explain the weird vibes between them in the pilot.
With Vega fending off Blake, Dash takes drastic measures: He goes to the bar, approaches Blanca, and negs her until she leaves in a huff. Yes! But wait: There goes Tyson after her, and they’re getting into a cab together. Nooo! And by the time Dash and Vega get to Tyson’s house, Blanca Garcia is already gone…
…back to the club to get her purse. Because yep, here’s the big twist: The killer isn’t Tyson, but the bartender at the club, Harlan, who is extremely, explosively, murderously bitter after years of watching his hot lady customers succumbing to the wiles of alpha male douche bags.
Ah, yes: Welcome to 2065, where marijuana is legal nationwide, contact lenses give you super-vision, and the Skype technology will blow your mind — but the sexually entitled “nice guys” are just as toxic as they were in the 1990s.
In other news: The future is depressing.
And finally, we get the big chase scene: Vega interrupts Harlan the Nice Guy before he can get to the stabbing portion of the evening, and Blanca Garcia is saved. But hang on, because Harlan won’t be caught so easily. First, he turns off all the lights, which leads Vega to turn on her police lenses’ nifty night-vision setting. Then, there’s a chase through the club — interrupted by Dash, who disobeyed Vega’s orders to wait in the car. And then, Harlan turns on the lights, blinding Vega, and he has a gun, and she can’t see to shoot.
Good thing that Dash is by her side, for the second week in a row: Using his psychic foresight, he tells her to stand and fire over her left shoulder in four…three…two…BANG.
“I missed,” Vega cries.
Dash replies, “I didn’t,” and together, they arrest the quivering, sniveling Harlan, who will probably, deservedly die in prison having never so much as touched a boob. (And if you hear a tiny squealing sound in the background, that would be the dying gasp of Vega’s “I work alone” trust issues.)
And while Vega wraps it up at the crime scene, Dash heads back to the park — where it seems like he’s putting the rainbow-haired girl from the opening scene in check, if you know what I’m saying.
But it’s not all neat conclusions for “Mr. Nice Guy.” We also have visions: Of underground milk baths, and murders, as the three precogs lose their freedom and serve the state once more. This is Agatha’s vision of the future, and in it, a familiar face:
“Alright,” says Vega, looming over the re-enslaved precogs. “Let’s put them in.”