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S02.E12: Pick Your Poison 2013.11.25

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Major Crimes searches for a high school drug dealer after two teens die from drugs laced with cyanide, and Rusty weighs his new living options after he is busted.

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The case in this one doesn’t do all that much for me for some reason.  I don’t dislike it, and in fact I like the episode, but that’s more because of the personal storylines and some funny moments – the case in general doesn’t jump out at me.  I like Sykes telling the molesting teacher about herself, but I hate that they give her a deal that lets her slide on the sex offense and just nails her on the drug charge.

I’m in Sharon/Rusty heaven with this one, though.  I love her calling his bluff when he declares if she won't let him read the new letters, he's going to boarding school.  I also love that she clearly hasn't told him she has also received some threatening letters, too.  Given his perpetual fear of being a problem for Sharon, he would a) feel guilty and b) possibly do something stupid.   So, for both reasons - especially since she doesn't believe she's in any actual real danger; if something happens to her, he goes into Witness Protection and Stroh can't find him - she doesn't tell him.  I wonder if he ever finds out; I'll have to pay attention in subsequent episodes.

(As a side note, I didn’t realize until this viewing that a month has passed between the events of last episode and this one, because he got a security detail at the end of that one, and in this one Taylor says he’s given them the slip four times in the last month [escaping from PAB each time, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in their skills].)

And then the follow-up to last episode’s “Whatever happens next, know I love you,” with Rusty saying tonight, “I’m only agreeing to do this because I love you, you know that, right?”  And she does.  Aww.

And I adore what led up to that.  First, Sharon slipping when talking to Taylor and Provenza by saying, “…as his mother –“ and the look on her face when she realizes what she said – and the conflict that is written all over her face as the conversation continues.  (That scene also marks only the second [I think] time Provenza has called her Sharon; their growing bond is really nice to watch.)  Then Sharon making a deal with Rusty – he can choose option three (acting as bait to catch the letter writer) if he’ll undergo evaluation by a therapist.  She has known all along he needs therapy, has offered it every time conversation has lent itself to that, but has never pushed when he refused.  Now she has the perfect bargaining chip, because he wants to do the street op and the city will not let him participate without passing the evaluation.  I laugh at his, “What is it with you and the mental health industry?" response, and then laugh even harder when she thinks he’s asking for therapist who's open to talking about his sexual orientation, only to find out he wants one who plays chess. 

Great stuff with their relationship.  I also chuckle when she asks him if he wants to keep waiting for her in the morgue or go to the office, and he says, “Well, hanging out with dead people isn’t as fun as it sounds, so …”

Graham Patrick Martin does a good job with Rusty’s frustration that he, the innocent witness, is having his freedom curtailed so much he feels like he’s in a similar bind to Stroh, the criminal.  It’s less of an adolescent tantrum than he’s prone to, and more of a genuine discomfort that his life is never going to be his own until the trial is over, and it may be two years away from even beginning.

My favorite moment from the investigation is when Sharon, Amy, and Rios turn to face Dr. Morales in synch, standing in a line, and with their arms in matching positions, causing him to ask, "What is this, Charlie's Angels?" Then they all look down at themselves and at each other.  And then he summons them in a few minutes later by calling, "Angels?" and they turn in unison again.  Ha!

Another funny moment is when Tao is describing, at length, how the teacher's fingerprints got on the victim's headboard and, when he gets to his visual demonstration, Sharon finally cuts him off with, "We get the picture."

And the obnoxious school dealer nevertheless making me laugh when he said they like to hang out at the brothers’ grandma’s house because she’s pretty much deaf – and in bed after Jeopardy.

Also Julio calling Sharon to ask if he can arrest the husband and his lawyer brother because they're annoying him.  (And Provenza’s “You have my condolences” when the husband says his brother is a lawyer.)

The recurring “bye guy/buy guy” joke misses me, though; is that term for a narc really that unknown?

And “We’ve arranged for an anonymous drop box, where students can turn in their dope [just in case it, too, is tainted], no questions asked.”  Yeah, really anonymous – the kids are recorded using it, and that footage is reviewed by the police!  Assholes; this is a public health issue, treat it that way.

Edited by Bastet.
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Excellent recap, @Bastet!

14 hours ago, Bastet said:

…The recurring “bye guy/buy guy” joke misses me, though; is that term for a narc really that unknown?…

Ha! I watched this last night. It's "bi guy" and "buy guy," get it?
I thought it was pretty funny, but one of my daughters, who is a part of the LGBT community, would likely find it offensive, regardless of the writers and producers being part of that community too.
It's sort of like some ethnic groups believing that it's never okay to use a slur, and others of the same group believing it's okay in certain situations or to reclaim or reappropriate the term.
But in the episode, it's just juvenile humor. First Rusty (I think?) hears the undercover officer referred to as the "buy guy'" but thinks they are saying "bi guy," and then I think there's a little more confusion about the undercover's role. 
If it had been the vice principal who was sleeping with the victims, the confusion would have been greater, but perhaps that could be a trickier plot to navigate.

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Oh, okay.  Um, yeah, that's pretty juvenile humor -- why would Morales (with whom they first do the joke) think they were describing the guy by his sexual orientation in the context of the conversation?  He wouldn't, so even if he didn't know the narcs in schools were called buy guys (which I think he'd know), he'd just ask, "Buy guy, what's that?" 

It could have worked if they'd just done it with Rusty, since he's so hyper-aware of anything about sexual orientation right now -- him hearing "buy" and jumping to "bi" despite the context would make sense.

Edited by Bastet.
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On July 30, 2017 at 0:46 PM, Bastet said:

…why would Morales (with whom they first do the joke) think they were describing the guy by his sexual orientation in the context of the conversation?  He wouldn't, so even if he didn't know the narcs in schools were called buy guys (which I think he'd know), he'd just ask, "Buy guy, what's that?"

IIRC, the Buy Guy was supposed to be attractive to both Rusty and Morales, so I guess it was wishful thinking that he was at least a "bi guy" (and maybe he was bi, or gay, or whatever) and not strictly heterosexual. I suppose juvenile humor isn't completely unfitting when it's about people being smitten by an individual. 

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15 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

IIRC, the Buy Guy was supposed to be attractive to both Rusty and Morales

Morales hadn't seen Officer Cooper (nor did he ever see him), the buy guy.  Rusty had by the time he had his bi/buy reaction (and, again, with his paranoid, reflexive "what do you mean?!" reaction to anything possibly hinting at sexual orientation, his misunderstanding of the reference despite its context would make sense even had he not already seen the narc officer), but all Morales knew at the time of his forced confusion was that someone, presumably at school, had dealt Molly cut with cyanide, and the two brothers died as a result.  Thus, because other students might have been sold the same tainted drugs, the cops/DA said they needed to ask the school's buy guy who deals out of that school. 

All the more reason Morales would have known what they were talking about or, even if the medical examiner - who sees a shit ton of drug deaths and works very closely with the LAPD - somehow doesn't know what "buy guy" refers to when talking about school dealers would have just asked, "Huh?" rather than thinking they were inserting a completely random reference to some random guy's sexual orientation into the conversation.

Edited by Bastet.
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I was about to add this edit when my internet crashed, and I'm not sure that it gives a better explanation (I'd have to rewatch that scene), but anyway:

On second thought: Maybe Rusty and Morales thought they heard "bi guy" because they are always aware of how their sexuality might be perceived, especially by a new person, and so both were keyed up to hear "bi" rather than "buy," but both were also a bit flummoxed by the idea that someone would be casually introduced as "the bi guy." And I suppose (as Rusty and Morales might have supposed) that there could be a reason for an undercover cop to pose as a "bi guy." Maybe?

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