Copper Season 2 Review “Aileen Aroon”

Copper Season 2 Episode 2 Aileen Aroon (6)

I am starting to feel like Copper is trying to do too much in each episode and losing some of its focus. That’s not to say that the stories are moving along at a quick pace – the opposite is true. It’s more that the purpose of the season isn’t clear. What’s missing is a clearly defined nemesis to give Corcoran something to struggle against. The status quo is a simple theme that life is rough in ye olden New York. There needs to be more.

In this week’s episode, we took a couple steps forward in the mostly static storylines. Ellen is still resentful of Corcoran, this time because he got rid of their dead daughter’s belongings. Elizabeth Haverford is still trying to conceal her financial dealings with the rebel Kennedy. Corcoran is still feeling sorry for himself and turning to drugs for comfort. Maguire is still embracing his role of scoundrel, this time by taking up with counterfeiters. There was one significant change in the relationship between Sara and Matthew Freeman. Sara decided it was time to stop being whiny and embraced her role as wife by stripping down and getting down to bid-ness with her husband.

The main mystery at the moment is the killer of the young boys and whether Five Points’ finest will be able to find him before more boys die. This could be an interesting story, but it lacks atmosphere. It doesn’t feel like there is a menace at large or that anyone is in danger. Even when we saw the boy at the bar being drugged this week, it didn’t feel frightening. That’s another thing that’s missing.

Don’t get me wrong – I like historical dramas. The other BBC America show, Ripper Street, follows a similar approach to incorporating historical events into each episode. Copper feels like it is doing it less successfully because most of the conflict at issue – the Civil War – takes place out of sight. This leaves most of the historical exposition to be done with speeches, such as the one by Frederick Douglass in this week’s episode. The speechifying is slowing down the story.

Further, Corcoran is supposed to be the hero of the tale. Yet, we’re getting very little time with him. He’s still in the dregs about his marital situation and has lost a lot of his fire. He needs to get this back pronto. Part of the draw of the show is that he’s a bad ass. If he’s not going to be able to emotionally reconnect with Ellen, as was evident by their less than enthusiastic recoupling, he should go back to Eva.

I get that Corcoran isn’t a Sherlock Holmes, but it feels like he nevertheless needs a Moriarty. I don’t think that Maguire is sufficient for that role. He needs a non-political foe to help solidify the idea that he’s battling lawlessness via his own questionable tactics. At this point, I think they should cut the Haverford story and jettison Ellen. None of the females are very compelling, though Sara looks like she’ll improve now that her crazy moping is on the way out. Though I like Robert Morehouse, his character is languishing in the Kennedy subplot. They need to find something better to do with him.

Follow me on Twitter @LaVaudreuil