Wednesday, August 12, 2020

What I’m Watching: Perry Mason (Season Finale)

Perry Mason: Season 1, Episode 8 “Chapter Eight” (B+)

That opening scene in the courtroom was very intense, and I suppose, as Hamilton pointed out repeatedly to Perry as things transitioned to the office where they were working with Della and Drake on strategy. Perry really has a knack for alienating those closest to him, and Della wasn’t happy that Perry threw Hazel in her face when she admitted that she thought he knew but never expected him to use it against her. Putting Emily on the stand to tell her own story was ultimately a smart strategy, though it was agonizing that Maynard got her to confirm that, if not for her actions, her son would still be alive when that was much more of an inability to forgive herself than a confession of guilt. Perry’s closing arguments invoking the courtroom motto were extremely strong, showing that he’s really become a good lawyer, but Maynard undermined him completely by saying that she was guilty and therefore justice would be easy to attain. A five-day deliberation was at least a positive sign that a conviction wasn’t guaranteed, and Perry couldn’t seem to contain his smile as a mistrial was declared and the courtroom lost control. Both lawyers spun the verdict to the press, with Perry saying she should have been exonerated and Maynard declaring that he hasn’t lost. Skipping ahead to let some time pass was a helpful way to close out this season, and I’m glad that we got a bit of an introduction to a new client who could easily take center stage in season two. Pete took a job with Hamilton, who went after the church, and now Drake is a part of the operation that features Perry and the eventual addition of a seriously determined Della as a name partner. Birdy preaching with Emily pretending that the baby she knows is not Charlie is hers is an intriguing development, and it was just as interesting to see Alice living off the grid as a waitress, no longer thinking about the church or her ability to speak to God. This reboot has been very strong, both story-wise and technically, and I’m hopeful that it receives some awards recognition in the next cycle. I look forward to watching more when it returns for season two.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Matthew Rhys as Perry and Juliet Rylance as Della

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