Notorious recap: Season 1, Episode 4
Jake and Julia deal with the murder of a college football player while Levi deals with Oscar
Ever since the first episode’s jaw-dropping end, it’s felt like Notorious has been trying to recapture that OMG moment, but coming up a little short. After the post-Grey’s promo referred to Daniel Sunjata as “David Sunjata,” I feared the worst. Could ABC’s little slip-up be an omen of the episode to come? Fortunately, that was not the case.
First off, let me start by saying, this was the first episode where the Oscar/Sarah drama took a backseat to one of Jake’s cases, and it felt like a much-needed breather. Sure, we got to see Oscar in full prison garb giving an interview to Louise (Can we talk about how he still managed to look SO put-together despite being in prison? Like, is there a prison stylist?), and we got the first glimpse at an off-the-rails-and-spiraling Levi. But for the most part, this episode was about the murder of Jason Moore, a California college football player whose body was found in the San Fernando Valley.
Because teens will be teens, rumors begin to fly very quickly among the hipster Cali crowd, and soon, people are accusing Jason’s friend Dax of his murder on a popular app called Tell Me a Secret that lets users anonymously post anything they want and broadcast it to people nearby (think Yik-Yak — if you don’t know what that is, consult your nearest middle schooler). Despite the fact that Dax is totally the guy who locked his door after school so he could be left alone to listen to My Chemical Romance and flat iron his hair in high school, he maintains his innocence, as does his sister Chloe and their friend Finn, all of whom were also tight with Jason. Because Dax also just so happens to be a drug dealer, there’s already a warrant out for his arrest, and he is eventually arrested for Jason’s murder. He’s just so misunderstood.
Of course, Jake and Julia’s paths have to cross at some point, so Julia invites Chloe on LHL…only to ambush her by ALSO inviting Jason’s asshole frat boy football coach, who has been slamming Dax in the press and accusing him of murdering Jason. This guy is The Worst. Chloe attempts to defend her brother, saying that he writes songs and reads books and only sometimes wears guyliner, so he’s definitely not a murderer. But the coach is not having it, and the two go back and forth like a Trump-Hillary debate before Chloe eventually storms out.
Now, with a murder mystery to be solved, it’s no surprise that Fred and Daphne are hot on the trail! Because last week’s Chinese-food-on-the-hood-of-a-car date wasn’t romantic enough, this week, Ella and Ryan take their romance to a college football stadium and chow down on french fries. Ella makes her best attempt at being a #Relatable teen, and downloads Tell Me a Secret to try to get someone to…well, tell her a secret. In an anonymous post, she writes that the police have figured out who killed Jason and are on their way to make an arrest, hoping that whoever reads it will think the police are coming for them and attempt to make a quick getaway. Like clockwork, Ella and Ryan see two of Jason’s football buddies fleeing in a convertible, and after a quick confrontation, the two admit to a hazing incident gone wrong, and that the entire thing was a total accident.
NEXT: Pshh, as if this thing is over
But… it can’t be that easy, right? Despite the confession, there’s more to the story. Bradley, because he is a wonderful human who can do no wrong in my book (see below), cracked the secret of the original rumors that Dax was the killer, and managed to trace it back to Dax’s friend, Finn. Jake also realizes that Jason called Finn the night of his murder… after his football friends had hazed him, meaning there’s no way they could have killed him.
It doesn’t take long for Jake to crack Finn like an egg (is that a phrase?). Finn was upset with Jason that night because Jason referred to his football friends as “real friends” despite the fact that Finn and Dax had had his back for years. Jason called Finn a loser, and that was the final push: Finn threw a rock at Jason’s head, accidentally killing him instantly. Finn blamed it on Dax because the dude was weird, and people would believe it. Talk about real friends.
With that story line neatly tied up, Ella invites Ryan over to finish their fast food date — at her motel. Yes, that’s right — she lives in a motel. She explains to Ryan that she moved around quite a bit as a kid and buying her own apartment felt way too permanent, so she moved into her motel. He doesn’t seem to mind, though, and within minutes, the two are all over each other — finally!
Meanwhile, Julia’s down in the dumps because the date that would’ve been her one-year anniversary with Scumbag Eric from episode 1 is approaching, and she can’t help but miss him even if he did bang a bunch of escorts on the side. Luckily, her pal Louise knows a thing or two about heartbreak (as we learned last week), and the two enjoy a girl’s night out, where they talk about which one’s a Carrie and who’s the Samantha burn a bunch of photos and mementos of the relationship. Yay for moving on!
One person who can’t move on? Levi. Just as everything seems to be working out, Julia receives a video e-mail from a very unstable, drunken Levi demanding that she learn the truth about the Sarah/Oscar situation. Julia, who must have learned her decision-making skills from watching scary movies, does the totally sane thing and heads to the deranged man’s house alone at night. There, she finds Levi sitting in an Oscar shrine reminiscent of Helga’s for Arnold on Hey Arnold!, and quickly realizes that Levi was going to such great lengths to break up Sarah and Oscar because he has feelings for his longtime friend. Before she can talk him through it, though, he puts a gun to his head and blows his brains out all over Julia’s fancy coat. Woah. Now there’s that OMG moment I’ve been waiting for.
This episode felt like a step in the right direction in that we’re finally starting to connect more with the characters and understand why we’re supposed to like them. I’d love to see more of what Jake and Julia are like outside of work and how they got to where they are. We don’t even know how they met yet! It makes it hard to invest in them and care about the things they’re doing. Hopefully we see more development on this front in coming weeks.
And one more thing…
- BRADLEY’S BACK! I love Bradley and have missed him the past few weeks. I love that his role is just to explain things to Jake and that he’s only ever around sometimes. I like to imagine that when he’s not on screen, he’s just out having a good time, doing Nice Guy things for fun, like participating in a charity softball league or helping old ladies cross the street. Is this just me?
Episode grade: B
What did you think? Were you shocked by ending, or did you see it coming? Do you inexplicably love Bradley as much as I do?