Ben's surprise deal with the FBI leaves his future with Alice up in the air.
Shondaland series are known for their O-M-G moments, and they were certainly on full display in tonight’s season 2 premiere of The Catch. From Ben’s on-and-off deal with the feds to a surprise murder (or two!) — not to mention the episode’s final moments — it’s clear the show knows what’s expected as part of the heavy-hitting TGIT lineup. And since I know what’s expected of me as a recapper, I think it’s time to jump right in, don’t you?
When we last saw Alice, Ben, Val, and the rest of the Anderson Vaughan gang, everyone’s favorite career criminal had just turned himself in to save his fiancée from being arrested. Now behind bars, Ben wakes up and gets shackled before heading to his daily visit with Alice. Though he could be looking at 10 to 15 years in prison, Alice tells him Agent Dao is working with his FBI supervisor, Justine Diaz (Gina Torres), to get Ben a deal for three to five years. It’s the least they could do, really, considering he handed them the (former) head of the Kensington firm. Though Alice offers to find Margot in an attempt to spare Ben a lengthy sentence, he convinces her to stay away for her own safety.
Speaking of Margot, the new leader of the biggest crime family in the world has called an L.A. meeting of Kensington lieutenants — who, it should be said, are all men. (RIP, Felicity.) She’s dismayed to see that three lieutenants didn’t even bother showing up, and the rest seem less than thrilled to be working for Margot. When one guy has the audacity to get up from the table to take a call, Margot shoots him. I think that got everyone’s attention.
Meanwhile, Alice and Val’s once-thriving private investigation and security firm isn’t doing too well, since they’re under investigation by the FBI and all (and their files, computers, and server have been seized). Seth Hamilton, their last remaining client, comes by for a visit only to tell them he’s parting ways. It’s then Danny gets an alert that someone’s broken into Alice’s home. (It’s about time girl got a security system!)
As it turns out, it was only her brother, Tommy (Grey’s Anatomy‘s T.R. Knight in his triumphant return to Shondaland), who’s visiting his big sis to ask for a favor. For some reason, there’s a bank account in his name containing a cool $3 million, and he wants to know where it came from — but mostly, he just wants to see if he can keep it.
Back in the big house, Agent Dao and Diaz are visiting Ben with an enticing offer: Go undercover with the FBI for 18 months and they’ll get him out of jail tomorrow. Though Ben initially turns them down — he wants to do his time and get straight so he can marry Alice — the promise of a generous expense account and earlier-than-anticipated freedom proves too tempting for the con man, and he accepts.
When the pair informs Alice of the deal, she’s a bit peeved Ben said yes without consulting her first. A few minutes later, we see Ben get shivved in the shower, collapsing in a pool of watery blood. Like Alice, I assume someone must have found out he’s in bed with the feds — snitches get stitches, right? — but like most things on this show, it turns out to be a lot more complicated.
No, I’m not talking about Slim Shady — it’s Rhys, Ben’s sociopathic-yet-charming former partner who made a secret deal with Alice to keep Ben out of jail at the end of last season. He hired a “very gifted serial killer” on the inside to stab Ben deep enough (though without hitting any major organs) that the jail would have to call an ambulance — one that would be intercepted by Rhys in a prison break I wish had played out onscreen. Like always, there’s a catch (see what I did there?).
In exchange for the shivving, Rhys has promised to complete a job with the help of Ben, who just wants to call Alice and the FBI to let him know the prison break wasn’t his idea. Rhys will only let him call Alice; after their brief exchange, an angry Diaz tells her to tell Ben their deal is off. “When he goes back to prison, he’s going back for good,” she says. That was a pretty quick change of heart.
Meanwhile, Margot’s visiting her mum in the slammer, convinced Sybil’s working behind bars to sabotage her daughter’s new role in the family business. After she tells Sybil about the arson at one of the firm’s 5-star hotels, she realizes her dear mother isn’t to blame — she’d never destroy that hotel because millions of dollars were secretly stashed within its walls. Before he died, Margot’s father hid the money there as an insurance policy for the family. It’s up to Margot now to find out who’s targeting the Kensington firm, Sybil says.
Back at Anderson Vaughan, Danny and Sophie — who had their long-awaited kiss in the season 1 finale and recently made plans for a date — are helping Tommy with his $3 million mystery. He’s being super-chummy with the hacker/singer, and the obviously jealous Danny doesn’t like it one bit. Later, Alice tells her baby bro over bourbon everything that’s going on with her, and the Vaughan family’s black sheep tells Ali that for the first time in their lives, her life sucks more than his. For her part, Alice can’t help but agree.
Rhys is busy telling Ben about the mark in their new job. It’s Gainda Mangels, the estranged wife of a competing gangster who wants the pair to steal a titanium briefcase containing some mystery material his former paramour probably plans to use against her hubby in their upcoming divorce. Rhys tells Ben he’ll be posing as a massage therapist, but Gainda’s the kind of client who wants more than a deep-tissue rub, if you get my drift. Ben refuses, though he can’t help but laugh when Rhys quips, “She gets her happy ending, we get ours.”
One of the best parts of season 1 was seeing how Ben & Co. pulled off their cons, but before we get to tonight’s job, let’s check back in with Tommy. When a rundown of his various jobs over the past 16 months helps the team figure out which employer stashed the $3 million in Tommy’s name, Danny and Alice go investigate only to find the Kincaids — for whom Tommy was a dog walker — dead in their home. Seeing as how this adds a new element of danger to Tommy’s case, Alice insists he leave the money alone until they figure out what happened.
But as an excited Tommy heads out to retrieve his millions, Alice threatens to call the FBI and have them freeze the account. She’s looking after his safety, but an angry Tommy thinks she wants to keep him down so she can continue being the “good one” in the Vaughan family. He leaves in a huff as Diaz arrives, just before she threatens to charge Alice as a co-conspirator in Ben’s prison escape unless she works with the FBI to track him down. In exchange for access to the “gifted serial killer” who attacked Ben in the shower, Alice agrees to give Diaz the phone number from which Ben called her.
Anyway, back to tonight’s con. Rhys and Ben arrive at the Mangels’ mansion; Rhys is tasked with disabling the home’s camera system while Ben convinces Gainda to let him in by claiming her usual masseuse, Thor, gave him “explicit instructions” on what to do. (Naughty, naughty, Benjamin!) Just because he’s a crook doesn’t mean he’ll cheat, though, as he proceeds to knock out Gainda with a mixture of chloroform and essential oils. (Side note: I was super giggly over the blurry squares that covered up Gainda’s naked bits during these scenes.)
Rhys and Ben retrieve the briefcase from the safe, but before leaving, Rhys wants to take a sneak peek inside to see if it’s something he can use against Mangels. That Rhys, always wanting more. While they’re distracted by the discovery that the briefcase contains a sample of Mangels’ sperm, Gainda regains consciousness and trains her gun on them. Not wanting to die and all, Ben throws her the vial of swimmers, which crashes to the floor and breaks. I’m no doctor, but I’m guessing that sperm is no longer good enough for insemination.
Just as Gainda’s about to shoot, Alice walks in and saves the day — with Diaz and some other agents behind. If the feds can find enough to put Mangels away, Ben’s deal is back on. In another comical moment, Rhys warns Diaz to be careful in her search of the house: “You don’t wanna slip and get pregnant.” Not sure that’s how it works, but thanks anyway, Rhys.
All is (seemingly) well: Anderson Vaughan gets their stuff back from the FBI, Alice and Ben are reunited, Val and Dao are celebrating his new promotion (even if it comes with a relocation to D.C.), and Tommy returns and agrees to help Alice, though it’s only because she changed the password to the bank account.
In the episodes’ final moments, Margot — whose earlier tryst with Jamison was rudely interrupted when a mysterious assassin shot poor J in the head — shows up at Anderson Vaughan. “I suddenly found myself in need of a private investigation and security firm. Are you available?”
What did you think of The Catch‘s lighter tone? Do you think Alice will agree to work with Margot? (Read Mireille Enos’ thoughts here.) And is Tommy as bad as my gut tells me he is? Sound off in the comments!
Odds and Ends
- “Very impressive. Now put it away before you put someone’s eye out.” —Margot, to a naked Jamison
- Rhys: “He really is magnificent, isn’t he?” (to Margot about Jamison)
Margot: “Oh, you have no idea.”
Rhys: “No, I do.” (Just how many sex partners do these siblings have in common?!)
- Alice: “You can’t come over to your PI girlfriend’s house when you’re out there pretending to be a mobster.”
Ben: “Then you’ll have to come over to my place.”
Alice: “What about Rhys?”
Ben: “That’s a good point, he’ll want to have a three-way. You can’t come over.”