"Every man before he dies shall see the Devil." - English Proverb, 1560
REVIEW: Though this is the first chapter in a two-parter, it doesn't play as one - there's an epilogue and everything. That's perhaps why it stands out as a particularly unresolved episode. But then, the kind of resolution we're talking about is really a product of the "crime drama" aspect of the show, which may have died along with Bletch (nooooo, Carter, you BASTARD!!!) in this episode. Are we, in fact, transitioning away from that episodic format? We might be. There's some kind of deconstruction going on, not just in the elimination of Frank's link to the Seattle police department, but in the way he's made to hunt a killer who, in fact, in just another victim of a different killer. Frank is on the wrong trail, and perhaps Carter admits he was too, or that at least, the audience was, over the course of a season-long red herring.
Not that I consider is any way the previous 17 episodes a failure, nor should the production team. What's actually happening is an IN-STORY failure. Over the course of the season, Frank has tried to protect his family from the big bad world going to hell, solving terrible crimes as an outlet for the mad world's assault on his mind. That has failed. The outlet was never separate from his family life, and the home invasion in this episode would have come sooner or later. That it cost one of the regulars his life is shocking. That it might cost Frank his marriage is worrying. That we still have no clue who Frank's nemesis is - the Polaroid guy(?), but what else? - is frustrating. We're missing perhaps too many pieces of the puzzle. The scenes on the mountain show us a more total kind of isolation as a positive, but it's not realistic for family life.
The monster we do get to know is a red herring - Dr. Fabricant, a surgeon who wants to "fabricate" evil (Carter loves odd names, but sometimes he goes a little too far) - a man saved by Frank's mercy, but never meant to get out of his cell. He doesn't escape, he's sprung, but an androgynous torturer who delivers him kidneyless to the hospital in the middle of the FBI's manhunt. At the same time, Biblical clues are being delivered to Frank in all sorts of ways, and a missing kidney shows up in his fridge. Is this another case of Frank's nemesis using warped killers to do his dirty business - explaining the varying modus operandi - or is he actually the androgynous nurse? And regardless of the nemesis' identity, what is his agenda? There seems to be anger at Frank for letting Fabricant live... Is he some kind of more extreme Frank who needs these killers to die, not just be apprehended? And who is Lucy Butler, Frabrican't Internet wife who apologizes for him, but also seems to have a mysterious agenda? So many questions as we head into the season's last act.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - A lot of important happenings, especially when you look at what's being said between the lines, but far too few answers. A disturbing finality seems to replace the usual cliffhanger.