SOUTHLAND “Discretion” Review

SOUTHLAND “Discretion” Series 3 Episode 3 – One of the definitions of ‘discretion’ is the ‘power or right to decide or act according to one’s own judgement’, and that’s exactly what Sherman, Lydia and Sammy did this week with varying degrees of success.

Things were tense between Lydia and Josie this episode, partially thanks to Russell hanging around. After ignoring Josie’s requests for them not to follow up on a possible case, Lydia is vindicated when it turns out to be a murder after all. But she chooses to listen to Josie when advised not to give Russell a loan he asked for. He doesn’t seem particularly pleased by this.

Sammy spends most of the episode on his cell ranting at a crying Tammi. She’s staying at their house with her new boyfriend, Victor, while Sammy crashes on Nate’s sofa. Tammi’s even using Sammy’s healthcare package to pay for her pregnancy care, even though the baby may well be Victor’s. Sammy decides to go to the house and collect his things, but finds the locks changed and no one home. Of course, he breaks a window just as a couple of cops turn up and Nate has to explain the situation to them.

Sherman and Cooper attend a robbery at a Chinese restaurant. The suspect is long gone, but Sherman finds the owner’s illegal gun. He agrees to let it slide until the owner can buy a legal gun, an act of kindness that backfires when the restauranteur later shoots an innocent customer.

In addition, Sherman tracks down and threatens an ex-con who happens to be his mother’s rapist, David. Sherman’s cautioned by his sergeant, but stakes out David anyway. His mother turns up and explains that David wrote to her and asked for her forgiveness, and she’s trying to give it. Sherman breaks down.

This was a great episode, though I felt some of the characters were a bit too dismissive at times. Josie is a pain in the ass, but it’s clear she likes to get the job done. So her completely dismissing a possible murder, especially a seemingly gruesome one, didn’t ring completely true. Wouldn’t she have loved the glory of having solved the case? Or is it just a case of trying to get one over on Lydia and prove that she is the dominant partner?

I would have expected more from Russell. He’s been through a lot over the last two series, but the way he first beat about the bush when almost suggesting Lydia give him a loan, and then his apparently upset when she wouldn’t, felt wrong. We’ve seen how strong their friendship is, the mutual respect they share. Surely he could have just asked outright and been respectful of the response?

Shawn Hatosy deserves some major kudos for the way he plays Sammy Bryant. The drama with his crazy wife and the way he’s dealing with this breakup could be downright annoying, but Hatosy adds a little je ne sais quoi that makes it heartbreaking and amusing in equal measures. It was nice to see Nate’s family again, too. I really enjoyed the storyline with his daughter last series.

Southland is good at picking up half-forgotten storylines and pulling them to the fore. This week it was the rape of Sherman’s mother, an event that’s dominated his life. We start the episode with him helping his mother out yet again, showing how hard it still is for her to care for herself, but the full impact really comes later, when he confronts David and stresses “you knocked out my teeth.” He’s hiding his personal pain behind protecting his mother. Will her admitting that she’s trying to forgive David help Sherman? Will he be able to get over his guilt of not protecting her, even though he was only a child? Only time will tell.

What did you think of ‘Discretion’? Let us know in the comments below!

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