Copper Season 1 Review “A Vast and Fiendish Plot”

Tonight’s season finale of Copper, “A Vast and Fiendish Plot,” rather neatly tied up the story lines that had been set up in this first season. With the mystery of Corcoran’s missing wife solved last week, all that was really left was for Corcoran and Moorehouse to prevent the burning of New York at Confederate hands.

While it was no real surprise that Corcoran and Moorehouse were able to successfully foil the Confederate scheme, there were some shocking revelations that came to light as the Greek Fire plan fell apart. We already knew that Norbert Moorehouse had been coerced into supporting Kennedy’s plan, so having Norbert relocated to Atlanta to “rebuild” and start over as a small businessman seemed like a generous and lenient punishment for his crimes.

What caught me completely off guard was Elizabeth’s implied involvement in Kennedy’s scheme. I had retained my distrust of her since her days with Annie, but I hadn’t expected that she would be involved in funding a Confederate scheme. In her flirting with Mr. Booth, she gave off the impression that she was against slavery and in other conversations among the Moorehouse men, she seemed relatively progressive. Her conversation with Kennedy made it clear that she was a hypocrite and that the reason she left the theater in the middle of the performance was not because she was bothered by the smoke, but because the scheme she had funded had fallen through.

Ever since her break up with Corcoran, Elizabeth had been pursuing Robert Moorehouse aggressively and building his trust. Of course, this only makes me suspicious of her motives and I can’t help but wonder what mischief she’s got up her sleeve.

Corcoran’s involvement in the entire fiasco felt a little bit like an afterthought, but it did provide him an opportunity to drag Francis out of the fire for his final “confession.” Francis was likely on his deathbed, and although there was no forgiveness being asked for or given, Francis’ confession explained why he had acted so irrationally in keeping Ellen a secret from Corcoran and filled in all the blanks behind Madame Grendle’s murder. Assuming Francis survives the operation, it will be interesting to see what role he’ll play in Corcoran’s life after confessing to the murders of three people. In any normal circumstances, I’d expect he’d have to face trial and pay for his crimes, but the law can be strangely flexible in Five Points.

Outside of the Five Points drama, I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed Matthew kicking the crap out of that traveling salesman after his concoction almost killed Matthew’s wife and unborn child. Compared to Corcoran and Moorehouse saving New York City though, Matthew’s story seemed very domestic.

Matthew has had such limited relevant involvement in recent plot lines that watching Matthew and Sarah’s story tonight felt like I was flipping between two completely different shows. While Matthew is the character I like the most on Copper, the b-stories that are written around his life don’t hold the same weight that the other character’s stories do. When Matthew was first introduced, it seemed like he would be secretly, but directly, involved in saving New York alongside Corcoran and Moorehouse. He’s always around to solve a medical mystery or do a secret autopsy, but he’s become much less significant than he was at the start of Copper.

I desperately wanted Sarah to grow into an intelligent and strong character – a female reflection of her husband who was limited only by societal expectations. Unfortunately, Sarah didn’t develop at all this season and her decision to trust a guy traveling around selling a “miracle cure-all” (instead of trusting the advice of her own husband, a doctor) made her seem gullible. After Sarah was revived, Matthew promised her that he would locate her mother and bring her up to live with them. If he’s successful, I hope that Sarah’s mother will be a catalyst for Sarah to develop into a much stronger character than she is now and hopefully both Matthew and Sarah will play a bigger role in the Copper world.

After all was said and done, Copper left us with an arguably grim scene. Like many Civil War veterans seeking relief from constant pain, Corcoran turned to morphine. Rather than the comforting vision he had when he first experienced a morphine hallucination, this vision of his daughter watched him for a moment before walking out of his home. Now that his mysteries are solved, perhaps Corcoran’s morphine induced haze foreshadows a life that has lost its purpose. We’ll have to wait and see what happens when Copper returns next summer.