The Tuesday, Aug. 19 episode of "Perception," 310, "Dirty," brings the summer run of season 3 to an end, but don't worry, it will be back with five more episodes in the winter, so that cliffhanger? Well, we don't have to wait too long for it to be resolved.
Most of the "Perception" summer finale is about Donnie possibly repeating history – but with deadly consequences for someone – and so everything going on with Daniel's dad just fades into the background until Daniel and Kate go to check out the house. Even though it seems to be building to something, what happens is enough of a surprise that it makes us jump because what we expect to happen is not what actually happens, which isn't the case when it comes to what happens with Donnie.
Even if you've only watched a couple of procedural dramas besides this one, it's more likely than not that you've seen an episode that has a similar plot: guy wakes up next to dead woman, insists he didn't do it but can't remember what happened the night before, pleads his case while the evidence against him piles up and then is finally proven innocent. The same thing happens here, and really, that's what we expected to happen ever since we read the words "compromising position" with Donnie and with Kate and Donnie heading for a second wedding and Shelby's look at the end of last week.
All the pieces fall together, and simply put, Donnie goes through hell in "Dirty," and Rachael Leigh Cook and Scott Wolf are the real stars of the hour. Not only can Donnie not plead his case beyond "I don't remember, I must have been drugged and it was the drug that leaves my system so fast you didn't test for it soon enough," but he also has a past and a backer telling Daniel that he thinks something was going on between Donnie and Shelby that has Kate questioning if history is repeating itself, even if she wants to believe that he has changed.
Even as things get more and more tense between the two, however, that doesn't stop Kate from doing everything she can to keep Donnie out of prison for the rest of his life, and she gets things done. When Donnie is sent to prison due to a "mix up," she is right on it and yelling in the corrections officer's face to get Donnie out of there immediately when the guy has the nerve to talk to his wife about dinner in front of her. If nothing else, that shows that you don't want to get on Kate's bad side. Fortunately they get Donnie out of there before something serious happens, but he does get beat up because he's recognized.
Despite the evidence to the contrary, Donnie is a good guy, and that's why he ends up in the position he does: drugged so they could take incriminating photos since he wouldn't go along with everything one of his backers wanted. However, that's not why Shelby is killed. Her neighbor, who seems guilty from the moment he's introduced as the "helpful" guy calling the police on a disturbance the night Shelby is killed, thought she deserved better than "bad" guys like Donnie and tried to plead his case. Things got messy, he hit her, and since he knew she wouldn't forgive him, killing her was his only option. When he found Donnie passed out on her bed from the drugs, he set the scene.
Donnie's political career is pretty much over, but he's not exactly too upset about that. As for his and Kate's relationship, that's another story. The final scenes already prove that this isn't something they can just get over. This just plays on her insecurities about their relationship, following up on her confession to Daniel last week that she can't help but have these awful thoughts in her head about Donnie's fidelity, and because of that, she doesn't believe in Donnie like she should believe in her fiancé. She even goes so far as to accuse him of pretending he blacked out to cover up what happened and calling the one person who would believe his crazy conspiracy story, Daniel. She apologizes, but he reminds her that he's always had her back, except for one mistake. It hurts that she didn't have his, and the space between them on the couch and then later in bed seems much larger than it actually is.
So yes, none of this is actually anything that new, but it plays out in a way that makes for quite a good summer finale and leaves Kate and Donnie in a position where they're going to have a lot to consider about their future after they started off in such a good place in the season premiere. Here's a case where it's easy to see both sides of the situation. Yes, Donnie has cheated before, and it's so easy for Kate to think, "Once a cheater, always a cheater," and be justified in that. But Donnie has also done a pretty good job of proving that he is a good guy, especially since they got back together, and it's hard not to root for them to work out because they do have this past and people can change.
As we said above, what's going on with Daniel's father doesn't seem as important as everything else going on, which is probably why it ends up being the most important part of the entire episode. Daniel's father has a new woman in his life at the assisted living facility, but it's not that he punched someone for calling her a floozy that Daniel needs to be paying attention to. Instead, it's what he brushes aside because she has Alzheimer's that plays such a big role. Ruby was a Playboy bunny years ago, and she insists that not only did a mobster who has eluded the FBI for 20 years pull her tail, but she knows where he is.
Daniel's father explains that he turned to him with this information because he thought his son wouldn't write her off as a crazy old lady, and so Daniel and Kate go to investigate. The house is empty, but the shed in the backyard is open, and it seems obvious that something's going to happen to Kate when she goes to check. Maybe there's a mobster or one of his thugs in there with a gun or maybe someone will grab a shovel and hit her over the head. Instead, when she turns back to the house, the house explodes – and Daniel is last seen inside. Well done, "Perception." You truly surprised me.
"Perception" season 3 continues this winter on TNT. What did you think of episode 10, "Dirty"?