Backstrom “Love is a Rose and You Better Not Pick It” Review (Season 1 Episode 10)

Backstrom Love is a Rose and You Better Not Pick It Season 1 Episode 10 02

On the latest episode, “Backstrom” got some unsolicited- and some solicited- sexual advice, in the languidly-titled “Love is a Rose and You Better Not Pick It,” which sounds like it should be the title to a Fall Out Boy song. (Not a compliment, really.) Of course, as those of us who have been watching the show from the beginning know, Backstrom seeking out company of the illegal variety is nothing new, but it was interesting to see what transpired when he ran afoul of an actual professional, of the sexual surrogate ilk. I, for one, thought the woman in question was right on the money with her assessment of Backstrom- and from the look of it, so did he.

Indeed, it’s safe to say that Backstrom ended up learning quite a few things over the course of the episode between the sex therapist’s revelations and Valentine’s newfound revelation that Backstrom’s mother didn’t, in fact, die giving birth to him, but rather killed herself- with his father’s service revolver, no less. This latter reveal led to something none of us probably thought we’d ever see: Backstrom showing some actual emotion, as he broke down and cried after dismissing Valentine. Well, beyond the usual grumpy belligerence, that is.

The main case revolved around the murder of a sex surrogate, which eventually led back to her various clients and peers in the business, which was how Backstrom ran afoul of his particular surrogate, an older lady who laid some serious truth on the man which he wasn’t quite prepared for. Indeed, Backstrom really got it from all sides on this episode. It’s no wonder he retreated back to bad old habits in earnest by the end of the episode. Who could blame him, really? No one wants to hear that much truth over the course of so little time. It’s a wonder he didn’t contemplate suicide his own damn self.

Naturally, none of this kept him from doing his job, though he got a valuable assist from none other than Moto, who he ultimately let make the collar in the end, which was nice of him, and like Gravely said, probably as close as he’s going to get from a “nice job” from the likes of Backstrom. Though technically Moto’s lead didn’t actually pan out, as it led back to the girlfriend of a client with a bizarre “princess” fetish- and I don’t mean wanting to treat his girlfriend like one or having her dress that way, which would be understandable- but rather, dressing like one himself! It turned out that she was actually grateful to the deceased therapist for essentially saving her relationship, so she wasn’t guilty of anything beyond telling a white lie to the police.

Instead, it was the mother of another client who did the deed, namely the overprotective mother of a wheelchair-bound twenty-something who lacked the confidence to approach women on account of his impediment. Thanks to the therapist, he got that confidence, and then some, as the two ended up romantically involved along the way. Alas, mama did not approve, though she claimed otherwise. Ironically, the guy in question had already moved onto another girl, but the therapist had made the mistake of falling in love, and the mother confronted her to back off and leave him be.

Obviously, that didn’t go well, and she ended up slamming the woman in the head with the back of a shovel, then trying to frame the pervy groundskeeper for the crime. Ironically, it was that very man who ended up proving that she was the culprit, as he had been taking pictures on the sly of the various ladies in the vicinity of the rose gardens that the therapist was killed at. Backstrom spotted the mother’s necklace in a picture the gardener took, and that was all she wrote for mama.

This was one of those episodes where the goings-on behind the case were much more interesting than the case itself, admittedly. Not that the case at hand was bad necessarily, but the stuff with Backstrom was much more fascinating, as we actually got a professional’s take, albeit unasked for, on what they thought made Backstrom tick, which proved to be fairly on the money- and he knew it. Between that and Valentine’s revelation, this was a pretty key episode in the show, in terms of shining a light into what makes the character truly tick, in a way that none of the previous episodes quite have.

Sure, we got some back-story on his past with Amy and some info on his fractured relationship with his father, but this was the episode in which things got real, and it should make all the difference moving forward. Don’t get me wrong, that hardly means I necessarily think that Backstrom will change his ways anytime soon, but at least we know a good portion of why he is the way he is now, and that’s important information to have, to say the least. Now a lot of his bad behavior makes more sense- and not just to the audience, but to Backstrom himself. That should make for some interesting episodes coming up in the immediate future.

This progress of the show in general is good news, as it shows that the show really does have the potential to become something better than what it is now, which is to say more than the sum of its parts. All of those parts- i.e. the characters, the quirky cases, the “mythos” of the show- are certainly interesting, but we need for all of that to truly gel to make for a good show, and I do feel that is finally starting to happen. It took some time to get there, but the show is actually starting to come together and none too soon.

Will it be too little too late to save the show from subpar ratings? Hard to say. It would hardly be the first time FOX kept a show around despite middling ratings, so there’s certainly hope. The question is, do they want to stick with it, or do they have other potential options that could yield potentially better results? Not sure, but I’d like to think the show deserves a little leeway, as it really does have potential. We shall see, I guess.

What did you think of the latest episode of “Backstrom”? Were you surprised by the revelations from the therapist? How about the ones from Valentine? Did you get a kick out of the bizarre list of hang-ups the late therapist had dealt with over the years? Were you surprised at the culprit? Were you happy Moto got his day in the sun? What did you think of the case on the whole? Or the show itself, for that matter? Sound off below, and see you next time!