It’s a Christmas episode—or the closest (I think)—“Murder” has ever gotten. From the first scene, we find out Lucy Lawless is a Grinch, which comes as no surprise. She has a series of rambling complaints about Hallmark holidays, but basically, everyone forgot about her. Except for Ebony Vagulans and Lawless didn’t appreciate it (plus, it all happened off-screen). Vagulans is back in the apartment with no information about the Paris trip. I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be a subplot, but I didn’t realize they were going to forget it. Not to mention since returning, Vagulans doesn’t have any character development going on. She’s just comic relief.
Ditto Tatum Warren-Ngata, as Lawless’s temporary replacement operative who’s back for a scene again. She’s gone from being part of the team to being a convenient foil; the suspect, an absolutely phenomenally bro-y Ido Drent, has never seen Warren-Ngata while Lawless and Vagulans have been around already. Rawiri Jobe’s barely around either, having Christmas-ed away. Martin Henderson, as Lawless’s brother, shows up in the epilogue, and again the emphasis is on Lawless being abandoned for Christmas. Scrooge bah humbugged one too many times.
Oddly, the lack of material for the supporting cast is because Lawless gets some more character development. The show’s first season had her constantly coming across fellow widows, but it hasn’t been a theme lately. And it’s still sort of not because even though Lawless is interested in supporting recent widow Ginette McDonald, Lawless doesn’t share her own story, just her sympathy. Great subplot, especially since McDonald’s fantastic.
She and her dead husband went overboard with Christmas decorations, pissing off the hipster bros and broettes who’ve moved into the neighborhood. They’re vegan, they’re influencers, they’ve got Ring cameras; it’s a hilariously itemized list of twenty-first century annoying. I don’t think Drent ever says “blockchain,” but only because no one wants to talk to him very long.
McDonald’s husband fell off their roof while adjusting the Christmas lights; she’s convinced Drent or his wife, played Michelle Langstone, had something to do with it. Lawless finds enough oddness—and rudeness from Drent and Langstone—to investigate.
Robbie Magasiva and Tai Berdinner-Blades play the other, sweeter but still hipster neighbors.
Drent’s a great heel, Magasiva’s good, Langstone and Berdinner-Blades are on the negative side of flat. It doesn’t matter—they’re playing caricatures—but still.
It’s another good episode for Lawless, and there’s plenty of excellent material for some of the guest stars, but the supporting cast is on the bench here.