BOSS “Reflex” Review

BOSS “Reflex” Season 1 Episode 2 – When this show works, it’s one of the best things on television. Having the episode end with Kane and his wife’s father, who is basically surviving in a catatonic state where he can only suck on soft foods, was wonderful as Kelsey Grammer gets to really allow the impact of looking his past and future directly in the face sink in to the etches of Kane’s face. On the other hand, the show has a tendency to either be completely over the top – did Kane really need to tell his wife that he talked to their estranged daughter for the first time in five years in front of a group of sick children and a recording camera? – or, worse, dull.

I don’t think the Emma Kane storyline is bad. At least, not from Grammer and Nielsen’s stance. In one of the episode’s best scenes these two get together in Kane’s office to discuss the daughter they’ve kicked out of their lives. It’s just chilling how calculating and calibrating these people are about their images and their careers that they’d cut their own daughter – a PR liability – out of their existence. Granted, estranging yourself from your child probably looks worse than having a kid with a drug issue, but I’m sure it’s not an anomaly. The scene provided a real showcase for Connie Nielsen, and I was completely off the ball last week when I regarded her aloofness from her husband as the result of something he did unto her. Where their marriage was concerned, it appears they were both pitbulls.

Their daughter was the real victim, and therein lays the trouble with this storyline. Hannah Ware is a competent actress, but when you have the likes of Grammer, Nielsen, Donovan and Guinan bringing their A-games, competent isn’t good enough. Ware has trouble showing the despair and desolation and inner turmoil her character is tormented by. Emma does not speak often, but when she gets behind the pulpit her sermon is dull and wooden, her line readings unimaginative.

On the political front, I’ve been hugely entertained by the ridiculously talented cast. While Ware is having trouble keeping her storyline as interesting as the writing and subtext would allow, Francis Guinan as McCall Cullen is doing some fantastic work: he’s abusive towards his staff, he’s fake, he’s thick, and yet Guinan is so freaking charming that his slivers are extra delicious storylines.

His competitor, Zajac, played by Jeff Hephner, has that sort of good guy All-American charm to him which the show is twisting to its advantage, giving him this ludicrous and lusty affair with Kitty which involving him having random sex in the middle of the hall just after he’s gotten out of a press conference filled with journalists while his wife and two sons chill in the limo. Classy.

Probably the weakest part of the show is Sam Miller (Troy Garity) a journalist working for The Sentinel who is disillusioned with the pop journalism burning through the country and pretends to hearken back to the days when journalists weren’t interested in tripe like a potential state governor beating up a black man back in college with a bunch of other white guys. No, Miller is the real deal, which is why he’s concerned about Kane’s health to such an extent that he’s waiting outside of children’s hospitals to get an answer from Meredith Kane.

What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below.