The first season of Breakout Kings is over half-way through and nothing has compromised its winning blueprint: set a fugitive on the loose, debrief the convicts and let Lloyd’s analysis pave the way for the manhunt. Hopefully they can minimize the casualties before they bring the man or woman back behind bars. Last night, they got to do both.
“Fun with Chemistry” showed what kind of explosive activity results in mixing two volatile personalities. A spunky and bubbly civilian named Starla (Scout Taylor-Compton) posed as a woman meeting a convict in person for the first time. She had stricken a relationship online and after exchanging their pictures they made the big step on a weekend visiting day. Next to Starla and Barry’s table was Marlon “Mars” O’Connell (Rodney Eastman) who was waiting for his mother to arrive. After rehashing their long-standing argument, Mars quickly turns a knife on her throat and threatens to kill his mother if the guards don’t let him go. Sensing heat, he slits his mother’s throat, and while she laid dying, Mars makes Starla his hostage and they get away in her car. What everyone didn’t know was that Starla and Mars are lovers.
The two go on a killing spree like Bonnie and Clyde staying ahead of the Breakout Kings and being random with their targets. They jump from car to car, and kill whenever they feel like it. Lloyd (Jimmi Simpson) theorizes that they are an unlikely but dangerous couple, and even their current killing streak has no prior history to draw upon. Starla’s background is clean except that her mother was killed in a violent accident. Mars never killed another person before slicing his mother’s throat open. Together they trigger a murderous fantasy with no end in sight. I’m not quite sure why, but the brutality of the violence, even though much of it is off-camera always sets such an intense tone from the moment of that first kill.
Three victims in, Julianne (Brooke Nevin) comes up with a name for a possible lead. Mars shared a cell with Harry Lee Redden, a bank robber that was Ray (Domenick Lombardozzi) had put behind bars. Using Erica as eye candy the two of them head to Sing Sing to pick Redden’s brain for a method to the madness. That helped them get to Starla but she wasn’t giving Mars up and while trying to analyze her for her boyfriend’s location, Lloyd realized that she was the brain of the operation forcing Ray to improvise if they want to catch Mars before four more victims are added to the body count.
The casting on Breakout Kings is what has made this show enjoyable. The fugitives have all been interesting or have a fun angle as to why they’re on the run. And when they don’t, sometimes it’s just good to have them mean and nasty. In fact, the nastier, the better because at that point Ray, Shea, and Erica (Serinda Swan) level up to what’s needed. Starla was a great villain because she fooled the entire BK crew and caused Lloyd to revise his read. It’s good to know that Lloyd isn’t always right all the time.
Even though this was a cookie-cutter episode, each of the core characters had some significant moment in the show. Wait, that’s not entirely true, Charlie (Laz Alonso) and Ray played their typical stoic and macho parts, respectively but Shea (Malcolm Goodwin) had been feeling disrespected since day one of this arrangement and contemplated making a break for it again. He wisely played the part and earned some respect from Charlie or at least enough to be rid of the “Seinfeld Sneaks” he’s been forced to wear. Charlie lets it be known that he doesn’t judge or treat people based on their color. Shea says that the only color he sees is blue. I guess when push comes to shove we’ll find out if that’s true. Erica and Lloyd have grown to embrace this arrangement, they almost look forward to it. It’s their chance to get out of their prison blues, but Shea always looks inconvenienced. I just don’t think we’ve seen his story unfold enough to get a good feel for his character.
Lloyd misread Julianne (his second bad reading of a woman) when she came to him for advice on whether or not to make a move on a man. He thought she was talking about him, but she was talking about Ray. But when she made a move to kiss him, Ray wanted no part of it. Lloyd realized his error and calls Ray out for leading Julianne on to get her best work out of her. What’s Lloyd got to lose, right? His face, that’s what. Ray does come off like a dirt bag because Julianne is so likeable with her mousey personality that’s a result of all of her phobias. That doesn’t mean she’s right for Lloyd either though. Something tells me that Lloyd’s ideal first date is her lying on a couch and Lloyd with a pen and a pad of paper.
For next week in “Steaks”, two con men kill two and then Charlie gets shot. And for fun, Ray will treat the convict who helps out on the case the most to a steak dinner. See what happens Sunday, 10PM Eastern /9PM Central on A&E.