We have arrived at the last two episodes of Major Crimes first winter season, during which we will answer several questions that have accumulated during the previous seven months, and unravel the mystery behind the threatening letters written to Captain Sharon Raydor and her material witness, Rusty Beck.
And we will face two of the final tests of character as this curious case unwinds in unusual fashion...
Used car dealerships have been justly famous for their fast talk and unsophisticated advertising, but their greatest salesmen were once genuine marvels of our culture. Part carnival barker, part magician, part traffic accident: the sincerest practitioners of this art inspired wonder and dark admiration as they daily transformed intelligent people into gullible customers, plopping them (almost without protest) behind the wheels of "one hundred percent guaranteed pre-owned vehicles," and going on to run up the price with a succession of worthless guarantees. Sadly, this marketplace, in which used-car salesmen once bartered with ferocity and cunning, daily diminishes under the pressures of the internet, where customers can go and find the exact car they want, in the exact color, and from the exact year, with an exact price. These dealerships, one successful owner mourns, are becoming less like bazars and more like parking lots, way stations for inventory absent any human connection. The next generation of used car salesmen will have a different character from their predecessors.
And that takes us to the theme we explore in our next episode...
I read once — somewhere in the long ago — that character must be tested like a blacksmith tempers metal. Our personalities are forged in the furnace of our circumstances, pounded into shape between the hammer of our ambitions and the anvil of daily life. I have taken a bit of poetic license here, mainly because this particular metaphor seems slightly overwrought, but let's stay with the fiery image because, when confronted with flames, heroic characters often run toward them instead of seeking safety...
"Full effort is full victory." Mahatma Gandhi
Being a super-fan of The Biggest Loser for years, I knew what an accomplishment it was to make it to "Singles." At the Week 10 challenge, Alison unveiled an assortment of colored jerseys, marking the end of team efforts, and introducing us to our new identities and start of individual efforts. It was time to take everything we had learned over the first few months on the ranch and apply it solely for our own benefit. Going forward, I had only my effort to count on.... and I really liked that new kind of positive pressure.
Tony Denison, G.W. Bailey
I was supposed to post some afterthoughts about "All In," last Tuesday or Wednesday and, instead, I am late with my entry about this week's new episode, (which was directed by Jon Tenney, better known to our fan base as Special Agent Fritz Howard). It just goes to show you that our best intentions can suddenly be overwhelmed by the unforeseen. In my case, the surprise was sinusitis and a prescription for some fierce, energy-sapping antibiotics that have forced me to adjust my professional plans. While physically irritating, it has made me even more sympathetic to the detectives in Major Crimes, all of whom find themselves dealing with the unexpected when their holiday vacation gets derailed by a shopping trip to Venice Beach.
We begin with Flynn and Provenza ambling through one of the kookiest neighborhoods in Los Angeles...
The Biggest Loser
You've probably heard the story "The Power of the Penny"... Take one penny and double it each day for just one month. At the end of the first week, you'd have a paltry $0.64, but keep going and by the end of the second week you'd have $81.92. Not bad. At Day 21 or the end of the third week, you'd see a $10,485.76 return. And by the time you hit Day 31, the last calendar day of the month, that day one penny is now worth more than $10.737 million. So what's the point?
Mary McDonnell, Graham Patrick Martin
If the recent exigencies of the Great Recession have taught us anything — doubtful, honestly, considering how easily it could all happen again — it's that humans tend to take for granted the status quo in unhealthy ways, and that, worse, we tend to equate being rich with great wealth. During the financial downturn, many people were amazed to find how ephemeral their finances turned out to be. We woke from a sleepy sense of entitlement to find we had been living in a bubble.
So our victim tonight, the manager of a very small investment fund, turns out to have taken on more risk than he knew; his friends and family, who trusted him with their money, are horrified to find that he essentially sold their cow for magic beans, and their lives on country club estates are more tenuous than they first supposed.
Graham Patrick Martin , Bill Brochtrup
As we discussed in the previous blog, one way of dealing with those who hurt us is to forgive them, and another way of dealing with them is murder. Forgiveness seems to be the better route.
This is not to say I'm for dismissing charges in a homicide. The law should have its own say in dealing with criminal behavior. Grace is a human reaction; governments must look at murder in another way. But allowing the justice system to manage our passions and anger and desire for revenge could be one of the best innovations of human civilization.
Clearly, however, the justice system has flaws...
The holidays are a special time of year filled with joy, singing, celebrating faith, and sharing time with loved ones... but it can also be a very hard time of the year emotionally for many. On average, people will gain somewhere in the neighborhood of seven pounds during the season from Thanksgiving through the New Year. I was one of those people on the high side of that average, and although I have no scientific study to back me up, I think it probably had a lot to do with me being emotionally obese.
Esai Morales, G.W. Bailey, Mary McDonnell
Perhaps no single trait builds character more than the capacity to forgive. Compassion for those who have offended us can be hard to learn. Yet this is the curious paradox found near the center of the human heart: those who hurt us the most, are usually the ones most in need of our sympathy. Still, how to pardon an injury that can never be redressed? And what happens to us when we can't? ...