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'Perception' recap: Sometimes pain is good

'Perception' season 3 episode 2 "Painless"
'Perception' season 3 episode 2 "Painless"
Jennifer Rose Clasen, used with permission

The Tuesday, June 24 episode of "Perception," 302, "Painless," sees Daniel and Kate investigate the murder of a prosecutor who drops dead in the middle of a courtroom. Meanwhile, Kate and Donnie keep having to reschedule a special appointment, leading to them making a decision about what they want.

"Maybe to more fully enjoy the beauty in our lives, we must first acknowledge and embrace our pain."

Everything's connected in this episode of "Perception" by one common thread: pain, or the lack of it. Everyone's worried about the pain Daniel must be in post-Miranda and Paris. Daniel's lectures are about emotional versus physical pain. The victim collapsed in the courtroom because she suffered from congenital analgesia, unable to feel pain. Kate makes the decision she does about her and Donnie's wedding because she's trying to make it painless.

There are a couple of areas to complain about, especially after how much time the premiere dedicated to Paul trying to get Daniel his job back. We don't see anything about that. There's zero fallout from it. Paul had a letter published supposedly from Daniel and donors started calling in, but this episode, it's like none of that happened. It looks like Paul lucked out that his risky move didn't get back to Daniel. Another area of complaint is more of a general one, regarding Daniel's hallucinations. It's just a little too obvious when he's speaking to a hallucination.

Ready to get into what happened in "Painless"? Keep reading for the recap.

Painless and the Ghost When an expert witness is rushed to the hospital with appendicitis, Donnie brings Daniel in to speak about Stockholm syndrome. Cyrus found girls online, got them hooked on drugs, beat them and forced them into prostitution, and only one girl is willing to testify; the others claim to be in love with him. However, Donnie's colleague Linda collapses while questioning Daniel, and they realize she was shot – hours ago. Daniel realizes she suffered from congenital analgesia because she wasn't sweating in the hot room and had burn marks on her body, and when they check her car, they find a bullet hole through the driver's seat.

Linda's sister confirms her condition and tells them that she had brought files home with her but wouldn't talk about it. When they check the files, they're all Detective Rex's, they're all closed cases and the witnesses are all variations of the same name. It's pretty easy to track down Nicky and get him to talk against Rex, and it turns out he had a new deal with Linda: full immunity to testify for her instead. Rex seems like a good prime suspect, but he has an alibi (and apparently would have used a better gun?) and they have bigger problems: the one girl who's supposed to testify against Cyrus, Kayla, gets on the stand and says she lied and he never did anything to her. Cyrus is free to go because Donne didn't make a case.

Though she says she wants to be left alone, a chat with Natalie makes Daniel realize that maybe the opposite is true and he's right. "I know how you feel," he says and tells her all about his schizophrenia and the fear he's felt. She admits that she lied and tells Donnie that Cyrus called her and pointed out that if he could get to a lawyer, he could get to her. It's enough to put Cyrus away for witness tampering, but there's one problem: Cyrus is dead when Kate goes to pick him up.

Though there is a high instance of gang violence in the area, it can't be a coincidence that a drug dealer Linda had been prosecuting who had walked on a technicality was also killed right after he was released. Daniel realizes the same tag is at both crime scenes, and that leads them to the Shadow League, wannabe superheroes. One of them was kicked out for wanting to meet violence with violence, and so they set a trap for The Ghost. "I will haunt you for all eternity," he proclaims as they arrest him.

George had become friends with someone online named "Painless," and she had mentioned Victor's charges being dropped, so he ventured out to try to prove himself to the Shadow League. He had only meant to take photos and had brought a gun with him for self-defense, but things got out of hand. It was an accident, but he knew he did the right thing, so he emailed Painless for another assignment. When she didn't reply, he tracked her down and confronted her in her car the morning of the trial. She told him she was going to call the police, and he shot her before getting out. The only problem? He didn't kill Cyrus.

That's where Daniel's hallucination-of-the-week comes in, as Daniel realizes his name, Napoleon Messier, is an anagram for "one more painless": Linda's sister. She too has congenital analgesia. Linda had been so upset after Victor was released, and she had hoped the Shadow League would do something about it. She stopped emailing Ghost because she was worried she could be connected to Victor's murder, and the reason Linda didn't contact the police after George found her was to protect her sister. Linda's sister had thought Cyrus had killed her, so she took matters into her own hands and killed him.

Trying not to make the same mistakes Donnie starts the morning off with breakfast in bed – and a ring pop in the cereal box – for Kate, and she suggests they get married at 12:30 that day – on their lunch break. Not exactly romantic, but he's in. Unfortunately, the case gets in the way, and by the time they have the time to get to the judge, Donnie stops them. He thinks their problem the first time around was not taking the wedding as seriously as they should have, which seeped into their marriage. He wants a wedding in a church, with their friends and family, the whole big thing.

Something for the pain Max makes the mistake of trying to shake things up in the morning and offers Daniel a croissant. "Did you develop a case of retrograde amnesia while I was gone?" He asks. He wants his grapefruit, and Max thinks it's also because it reminds him of getting his heart broken and lets him know he's there for him. (He also just doesn't eat white flour.)

Paul's the next one to hop on the "let's make sure Daniel is doing okay" train. "Please tell me I'm hallucinating this entire conversation." He's not, and Paul wants to go play mini-golf. "Why would I want to waste my time playing a mini version of a game that's already the definition of pointless?" Daniel wants to know.

Next up is Kate, who keeps her and Donnie's wedding a secret because she doesn't want to rub salt in the Paris wound. He insists he's fine and couldn't be happier for her, but even Natalie chimes in when he rants about people asking if he's okay. In the end, however, when Kate and Donnie head off to the judge, his hallucination, Dr. Messier, offers, "I can give you something for that," but he knows what he needs. With that, Daniel actually goes and plays mini-golf with Paul.

"Perception" season 3 airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on TNT. What did you think of episode 2 "Painless"?

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