Film and TV

Copper Serves Up Arsenic and Old Cake

This past weekend I did an informal poll among my friends about Copper, a show that by and large I have been alone in my allegiance to. The show did premiere in the middle of Breaking Bad's summer season, and in comparison to a drama about people selling meth and getting dissolved in acid baths, I can see how Civil War-era cops would pale.

People either think it moves too slow, gets bogged down with romance, or "nothing cool happens," which are all valid points. Copper seems to be the kind of show that you have to watch in multi-hour sittings, the way most people ingest hour-long TV dramas now. Fans holding butt-numbing 12-hour marathons of The Wire is pretty commonplace.

Sitting here at episode six of Copper, I am still waiting for more blood, explosions, and period-witchery, and wanting less widow Haverford and Corcoran piddling about. She's almost as unlikable as Skyler on Breaking Bad.

This week's episode, "Arsenic And Old Cake", might as well have come with a jaunty Curb Your Enthusiasm score. So many darkly comical and unintentionally comical things happened, like the soon-to-be dead dentist huffing ether with O'Brien whilst getting the wrong rotten tooth pulled.

Can't say I was thrilled with Corcoran going sans-cane this episode either. What if you need thrash someone, bro?

The 43 rounds of crooked, bareknuckle-boxing was funny by today's standards, when matches last three rounds, are manned by marshmallow-y hulks, and end in controversy anyway. Jasper getting cold-cocked by the referee and his Irish opponent being declared the winner had to happen to not incite a race riot. Morehouse's guiding hand notwithstanding.

Sergeant Byrnes and Dr. Gillis dying from a poisoned cake in a delicious (HAR-HAR) comedy of errors was at first aggravating.

The whole poison cake plot pipeline was confusing at first but then became quite hilarious when it was finally explained. I was about to write the episode off as a loss until then.

When I review these episodes, I take notes on my laptop as the action happens, so I can look back and see my evolution of thinking. After recovering child prostitute Annie meets with Monsignor McNamara and throws a hissyfit, I remarked that she would be dead or back to whoring by the end of the season.

Sadly it looks like that may be a reality. Her "father" from episode two took custody of her at the end of the episode. I want to say good riddance to her, but I know that's not possible.

(Also, this episode saw numerous n-bombs, which is understood since it's a period show, but they were used so flippantly, like they were showing off the fact that they can use them.)

It's not explained why Uncle Marcus didn't take his cut of the money -- at least not to broken-jawed Jasper -- but we all know about he and Morehouse's dirty dealings. I wouldn't be surprised if Marcus shows up in Halifax to kill the exiled Jasper, just saying.

The episode ends with Corcoran and Haverford finally having a torrid, sepia-toned sex scene, which was a long time coming, and will only complicate things with Eva now, if she finds out. And you know she will. Someone will get their throat slashed.

In the episode seven teaser, there is mention of Annie being shipped to San Francisco as some sort of sex slave by her "father".

Oh, and there is lots of fire.

In my heart of hearts, I hope that Corcoran doesn't try to play Good Cop and venture to rescue her. Let her get killed and come back as a ghost or something in the whorehouse. I can feel that way because she's a fictional character, and a needless one at that.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty