Southland “Risk” Review

“As cops become more experienced their confidence inevitably grows. Confidence can lead them to take more risk. That’s when they’re in real danger.”

Southland is arguably at its best when storylines are drawn out over more than one episode. The episodic nature of most of the plots is great, but viewers can want something meaty and this week was definitely meaty. In the penultimate episode of the fourth season, ‘Risk’, we learned whether or not Tang made sergeant, Lydia finally made a decision about revealing her pregnancy, and Sherman’s attempts to protect Amber’s daughters see pimp Ronnie exacting revenge.

As strong as this episode was, I’m still disappointed about Tang. The first few episodes of season 4 saw an amazing dynamic between her and Cooper, one that lent itself to both drama and comedy. Even while other storylines dragged or other characters (to be frank) annoyed me, Tang and Cooper were always great. And then Tang accidentally shot a kid, made a crappy decision, and it all fell apart.

The tension between Tang and Cooper this week was tangible. Well, for the audience, at least. It seems impossible that Tang hasn’t noticed Cooper’s change in attitude towards her; does she know that he suspects her wrongdoing? Is she just ignoring it? Either way, I don’t think anyone could fault Cooper for his behaviour. Every time he mentions the kid and Tang dismisses it with a distinct lack of emotion before switching topics, I want him to just punch her in the face. If I had to pick the thing I dislike the most about this season it’s that I now find Tang repulsive.

(The announcement of her promotion was the most humorous scene of this episode for me: “Hooray! Good for you. Is she your boss now?” says the little person dressed as a golf ball.)

Oh, Lydia. After weeks of wondering whether she’s going to keep the baby, followed by wondering whether she’s going to bother telling anyone before she gives birth at a crime scene, Lydia finally tells Ruben, ‘I’m pregnant’. He knew, of course, because he actually has two brain cells to rub together, but it was progress. Naturally, this progress comes after she’s been stabbed and hasn’t noticed. I’m not sure how she didn’t notice that the screwdriver pierced her vest – maybe we can put this down to adrenaline – but I’m honestly surprised she didn’t check her bump just incase. Either way, I’m curious to see what next week brings.

Presumably, she’ll lose the baby. I’m hoping that I’m wrong about that because after almost an entire season of this storyline, Lydia losing her baby would feel like a cop out. We’ve waited this long for her to figure out what she wants and finally, finally stop putting herself in harms way, and if she loses the baby right after she’s made the decision then what was the point? I know Southland is all about realism but sometimes there’s such a thing as too much realism. This would be one of those times.

Regular readers will know that I haven’t been the biggest fan of Sammy and Sherman this season (btw: there are some good thoughts on Sherman’s behaviour in the comments for last week’s review), but I absolutely loved Sherman trying to help Amber’s daughter last week — culminating in him beating up Amber’s pimp/lover Ronnie. Sherman continued that protective streak through to this week, telling Amber that he’ll buy her daughter a bus ticket to go back to Amber’s family home in Texas. He pointedly gives up on Amber herself. But his good deeds bite him in the ass when Ronnie tries to kill him in a driveby. Thanks to some nifty driving by Sammy, they get away — but then get hit by an SUV at high speed. And by ‘they’ I mean ‘Sammy’ because he took the brunt of the collision on the driver’s side.

We all know what this means, don’t we? Sherman’s going to have more guilt added to his mental plate and Sammy, if he survives, has gotten the crap end of the stick once again. That guy just can’t catch a break, can he? (I really hope Sammy does survive — I’m still getting over Nate dying!)

TL;DR: a great episode that sets up an exciting season finale next week.

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