The Tuesday, Aug. 5 episode of "Perception," 308, "Prologue," may have been the best of the season. Daniel must face his past and the case that led to his six months spent in Rexford when an FBI agent's body is found, but the truth behind not only her murder but also many others means a big change for him.
Time to repeat something from an earlier review this season: "Perception" is so consistently good that more people need to be watching it each week. "Prologue" is just another hour where Eric McCormack shines, and in this episode, we get to see how something that is so essential to the show began: Daniel and Max's friendship. Not only that, we get a heartfelt moment between the two that ends on a very light-hearted note, something that's much needed at the time considering the rest of the episode.
Time and time again, this series tells the audience to ask itself, "Is Daniel Pierce crazy?" Time and time again, that answer is "no," but there's always the possibility that one day, that answer will be a resounding "yes," and it could very well lead down the path that this episode could have, if the climax doesn't go Daniel's way.
It all begins when Special Agent Bishop's body is found, forcing Daniel to remember not only when he quit consulting because Kate was moving to D.C., but also the investigation he dragged the dead agent into after agreeing to consult for one hour for her. That one consulting hour led to him uncovering a possible serial killer targeting the mentally ill and leaving his victims on the street like junkies, with needles sticking out of their arms. While one officer thinks that a possible eyewitness couldn't have seen anything because she's blind, Daniel realizes she suffers from motion blindness, so the license plate she saw? Oh, it's good.
They think they've caught a break when the police track down the car and a woman is tossed out of it, with a story about how the killer told her he was going after the mentally ill to make sure no one hurt anyone like someone did his daughter, but as Daniel realizes, it's just too easy. Their suspect is more likely to bash his victims' heads in than to shoot them up with heroin because that would take some of the pain away. That's because these were mercy killings – and Dr. Rosenthal, Daniel's doctor, is the killer.
Dr. Rosenthal being the killer isn't much of a surprise, given how hard he pushes Daniel to give up the case and convinces him originally that he was imagining things. Sure, he could have just been a doctor trying to do what's right for his patient, but this is TV, so he has his own reasons for doing so, and that's to keep Daniel from putting the pieces together. Unfortunately for Dr. Rosenthal, he underestimated Daniel's resolve and Kate's belief in him because despite his attempt to make Daniel look crazy and get him locked up by stabbing himself and blaming the patient, a handy camera on Daniel's glasses catches the entire conversation, and it's all over for Dr. Rosenthal.
As for Daniel, it may seem a bit like a throwaway line that he needs to find a new therapist, but it should be much more than that. After all, the person he should have been able to trust the most given their relationship is the one who did everything he could to try to convince him he was crazy when they first met. Plus, Dr. Rosenthal is the one who convinced Daniel that he should get along without Natalie, and now, Natalie does seem to be gone, even though Daniel does call to her. Talk about a big change for Daniel.
There's so much to love about "Prologue," from flashbacks to Max and Daniel's first conversation to Daniel offering him a job, to Daniel telling Max in the present, "I know I ask a lot of you, Max. Keeping me on schedule, finding obscure cassette tapes, going to the ends of the earth for organic grapefruit. …I just want to say I appreciate it," and Max admitting the grapefruits aren't organic. Finally, there's the hallucination-of-the-week, which could not have been a better choice. Sure, given the nature of the episode, it couldn't have been anyone else, but it's a nice, chilling look at what could be for Daniel.
However, we do have one request: Don't let Donnie make the same mistakes he did in the past, especially not after everything he's done to make us like him and want Kate to give him this chance.
"Perception" season 3 airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on TNT. What did you think of episode 8 "Prologue"?