Unlikely relationships develop as Ben and Alice find themselves at odds once again
I’m definitely digging The Catch‘s relocation to full rom-com territory, with one exception: While last year’s finale did see Rhys surprising Ben and Alice with tickets to Togo in an admirable attempt to save his former partner from going to prison, he spent most of season 1 as a primary villain, making his sudden transformation into the wisecracking (and charming) sidekick a bit hard to swallow. Let’s review some of Rhys’ misdeeds:
- He callously shot his lover, Felicity, in the head after realizing she sold him out to Margot.
- In the same episode, he unnecessarily killed Mickey Shive during an attempt to recover a stolen bracelet.
- He threatened to harm Alice unless Ben played by the rules, even kidnapping her in the season finale so Ben would finish the wedding con for the Kensington firm.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Though I can’t help but smile every time Rhys makes an inappropriate joke or suggests some outlandish cover for a new con, I wish the showrunners had time to make the character’s evolution more organic versus out of the blue.
But things move quickly in The Catch, which means nuanced character development is sometimes forced to take a backseat in service of the bigger picture. And in that same vein, it’s way past time for me to start unpacking “The Dining Hall” — so let’s get to it.
Alice and Tommy
We pick up where we left off last week, with Tommy asking Rhys for help disappearing with the $3 million. Rhys agrees, of course, and says he’ll only charge Tommy the “friends and family rate.” Back at Alice’s place, she tells her little brother about the Kincaids’ involvement in the Southland Drug Cartel and her plans to put him under federal protection. Though Tommy seems surprised, it’s almost certain he knows more about the cartel than he’s letting on.
When Ben calls, he agrees to put Tommy in touch with Agent Diaz to see if she can help. But when Alice returns to the living room, Tommy’s gone, leaving nothing but a lame “I’m sorry” note behind. As the AVI team ponders his disappearance, they quickly figure out Tommy was the one who planted the keylogger on Sophie’s computer when the offshore account is emptied just three minutes after the passwords were changed.
A little while later, a mystery man by the name of Theo Tasker enlists AVI’s help tracking down a thief who stole money from him and his associates: the one and only Tommy Vaughan. After Alice tells Tasker — who turns out to be a high-ranking lieutenant in the cartel — there’s a conflict of interest because they’re already looking for Tommy, he delivers a thinly veiled threat about “seeing them soon.” With their own lives at risk, Val insists on calling Nick, her former partner on the police force who’s now the chief of detectives. Amid some friendly banter that hints at a more-than-professional past between the two, Val secures Nick’s help finding Tommy in exchange for AVI’s assistance bringing down the cartel.
We next see Tommy agonizing over a purchase at a high-end jewelry store, presumably in search of an apology gift for Alice. Rhys calls and bargains with the sales girl to save Tommy $2,000 on a pair of diamond earrings (can I bring him next time I buy a car?) before giving the younger Vaughan his new name: Albert Ollerman. The earrings are delivered to AVI, but they’re not for Tommy’s scorned sister — they’re for Sophie, who apparently made a big impression on Tommy during their brief make-out session last week. She’s embarrassed, but it’s the first real lead the team has on Tommy’s whereabouts, so Alice takes it from there.
At the jewelry store, it doesn’t take much for the sales clerk to tell Alice about the customer’s nice friend with a British accent. She immediately calls Rhys, but he’s busy giving Tommy (er, Albert) his new documents and a first-class ticket to Slovenia. (Couldn’t think of anywhere tropical to send him, Rhys?) With no update from the LAPD on Tommy’s location, his employment with the cartel becomes clear when Val and Alice realize all his former “employers” are located within the organization’s strongholds. There’s some good news, though, when Sophie finds his flight to Slovenia, which leaves from LAX in two hours.
Tommy’s not exactly the type to arrive early, so Alice finds him in the airport’s parking garage just moments before Tasker’s about to put a bullet in his head. It turns out the cartel hired Tommy to find out if the Kincaids were skimming money off the top, which is where the $3 million (which is now missing) came from. Alice negotiates with Tasker, saying they’ll return the money if he spares Tommy’s life. He gives her 24 hours to get it done.
With nothing but Tommy’s safety in mind, Alice turns him over to the LAPD back at AVI — and though it’s truly heartbreaking to see Tommy beg his sister not to do it, it’s for his own good.
It’s no surprise Margot has another job for AVI, as I imagine the prospect of $500,000 in cash would be pretty persuasive for anyone. Though the Hammer is now on Margot’s payroll, she still needs to find out who hired him. Much to her chagrin, Val and Alice send Sophie and Danny (i.e. the “B team,” as Margot not-so-affectionately calls them) to her lavish hotel room, where they learn the ins and outs of the assassin’s payroll practices. The Hammer gets paid in two installments, one upfront and another after the client receives proof of death. Payments are sent via an ethereal network, which Sophie reverse-hacks to track where the money originated.
It turns out the deposit for Margot’s murder was made in person at a local bank, whose cameras are inaccessible online. Without knowing if the footage is stored onsite, the B team’s best bet is hacking directly into the feed so they can observe the second payment being made — which means the Hammer will need to provide the aforementioned proof of death. The suggested plan results in this hilarious exchange:
Margot: “So you’re going to have him cut off my finger?”
The Hammer: “It doesn’t need to be your finger. There’s no shortage of fingers out there. Most people have 10.”
Sophie: “You can’t just cut off the finger of an innocent woman.”
The Hammer: “Is anyone really innocent?”
Margot: “He does have a point.”
We learn two important bits of information during this scene: First, Margot hasn’t had fingerprints for years (!!!). Second, it seems even a trained assassin can’t help but be interested in trivial romantic drama, as evidenced when the Hammer asks Sophie and Danny what’s going on between them. (The would-be lovebirds have been bickering all episode about her dalliance with Tommy.)
Anyway, Margot decides that to hack the bank’s cameras, she’ll pose as a customer looking to open a safe deposit box. Danny will act as her “body man” while Sophie and the Hammer stay behind in the surveillance van. Once inside the bank, the briefcase Danny’s carrying starts releasing smoke, causing the security guards to tackle him while Margot uses the distraction to complete the hack. Needless to say, Danny’s pretty pissed at being set up.
When he later stops by Margot’s to show her an image of the woman who wants her dead — whom Margot pretends not to recognize — the two argue before suddenly engaging in what they admit is hate sex. Mmmkay.
That’s not the only unlikely connection made this week, either: It seems the Hammer was truly touched by Sophie bringing him a finger from the morgue, as he later shows up at AVI with an offering of his own. After admiring the “killer” sight lines into the office and advising Sophie to move her desk three feet to the left (he really knows how to charm a girl!), he hands over a $3,000 bottle of bourbon as a thank you gift. Despite insisting they can never be friends — after all, he kills people for a living — Sophie seems genuinely intrigued by the kind gesture. Who else bets they’ll fall into bed during the next episode?
The dynamic duo’s first job for the Feds took a wrong turn when Ben’s alter ego, William Sales, inadvertently suggested the mark — chef Kenji Yoshida — move back to Japan to escape the people controlling his restaurant. Agent Diaz is none too pleased with their efforts, until they show her footage of the real big bad heading straight to Vinzu’s kitchen to retrieve the diamonds stored inside the innards of a rather large fish. Upon further inspection, the trio realize the woman’s carrying a diplomatic pouch, which means the FBI can’t pursue her without creating an international incident.
During a brief stop at Alice’s, Ben asks his fiancée to look up the diplomatic license plates Rhys’ hidden cameras picked up. (He also sees Margot’s open file on Alice’s desk, which Alice casually dismisses, but I’m sure that ticking time bomb will come to a head sooner rather than later.) The license plates lead them to Kohana Takashi, Japan’s consul general who’s using her diplomatic status to smuggle diamonds into the U.S. With Vinzu out of business, Ben and Rhys start throwing around potential covers to convince Takashi to use their fake restaurant as a replacement. For what it’s worth, I voted for Rhys’ suggestion: a sexy financier with a taste for cocaine and diamonds.
Diaz insists the bureau won’t want to bring down a Japanese dignitary, but Ben and Rhys suggest going into business with Takashi and leaking enough info to the press to force an arrest — which convinces Diaz to get on board without the FBI’s official involvement. Here’s the plan: The only thing Takashi cares about more than work is her son, Jesse, who’s obsessed with anything new, limited, or exclusive. Ben and Rhys will bait him with a one-night-only dinner party featuring the who’s who of artists, celebrities, and tastemakers. They’ll invite everyone Jesse knows but will leave him off the guest list, which should be enough to attract his attention. It works: Jesse shows up at Rhys’ door and drops his mother’s name to score an invitation.
The party is all about the seduction, about giving Takashi a taste of what she’s missing now that Kenji is gone, says Ben — who, it should be said, apparently has a knack for a lot more than criminal hijinks. While he’s busy cooking up some gourmet fare, Rhys charms the consul general, enticing her with fugu and telling her he has a network of exclusive suppliers who can deliver anything anywhere. When his mother gets a bit too intoxicated, Jesse reigns her in — and when he overhears Ben and Rhys talking about the former’s fugu being “just like Kenji used to make,” he orders them to get rid of the guests and confess what they did to Kenji, or “Yumi here is going to kill you.”
Turns out it was Jesse calling the shots all along, and instead of being thrilled at the prospect of a new partner, he’s angry Kenji’s disappearance cost him $2 million in missed shipments. To make up for the loss, Rhys offers him $3 million, which he apparently stole from Tommy prior to shipping him off to Slovenia. In return, Jesse stabs Rhys with the knife used to cut the fugu, thereby poisoning the show’s comic relief to help persuade Ben to return with the cash quickly.
Ben heads outside to retrieve the money from Rhys’ car and promptly runs into Alice, who’s come to collect the same $3 million for the drug cartel so they’ll leave Tommy alone. Problem is, neither one is willing to give up the money. Seemingly at an impasse, the episode fades to black as they each draw their guns on the other. It didn’t take long for The Catch to once again put the lovers on opposite sides, did it?
Odds and Ends
- “Someone just graduated to the A team. Better step it up, eye candy.” —Margot, referring to Sophie and Danny, respectively
- Alice: “I thought you just came here for sex?”
Ben: “I did, I promise. That’s the only reason I’m here.”
- “But I didn’t get you anything.” —The Hammer to Sophie, after she brings him a dead woman’s finger
- Ben, arguing with Alice over the stolen $3 million: “You understand Rhys is like a brother to me?”
Alice: “And you realize that Tommy actually is my brother.”
- “All you have to do is trust us.” —Rhys to Agent Diaz in a hilarious paradox