It’s taken a season and change of “In Plain Sight” to get Stan a proper storyline — and boy was it a doozy. Everyone makes mistakes with witnesses in their careers, but as Stan’s old boss said, he got them all out of the way on his first one.
Spoilers are being dug up and coming back to haunt…
Back in 1988, Willie, a not-very-funny comedian, witnessed a mob murder in Boston, and his girlfriend, Gwen, managed to save his life by hitting the guy whose gun was jammed into the base of his skull with a bottle. Willie and Gwen ended up being Stan’s first witnesses — much to Willie’s chagrin, since he was supposed to be doing Carson, not stuck in Albuquerque. Now, two bodies with 9-mm slugs have turned up at an excavation site, along with Stan’s old ID and badge.
Stan’s surprisingly helpful to Bobby D on the case, and surprisingly unforthcoming to Mary and Marshall about the witnesses. With a little research, they learn that Stan lost Willie before he testified — and that he pulled a page from the file on Willie that he had Eleanor copy for Bobby D. Which means withholding evidence, which means he could be in serious hot water. Eleanor swallows her dislike of Mary and enlists both her and Marshall to try to find out what’s going on with Stan, and to figure out how they can protect him. Eleanor, with her experience working for the FBI, does a spectacular job giving Boston-area agents what for as they try to put the pieces together.
Mary and Marshall go to see Malone, Stan’s old boss, who tells them a good chunk of the real story. Willie was a classic pain of a witness, violating WITSEC rules, cheating on Gwen and generally being a jerk. And Stan got a little too close. Yes, in that way. Ultimately it comes out that Willie was not only a colossal ass, but also an abuser — he gave Gwen one hell of a shiner after a drunken bender. She and Stan had had lunch together a few times, and he became her only shoulder to cry on — so when Willie turned violent she called on Stan to be her port in a storm. She also pretty much talked him into leaving his job and running away with her. That is, until Willie found him and started a giant fight. But what the witness saw was Stan pounding on Willie and saying he’d kill him. Which ended up in the nice little police report that Stan pulled from the file but Bobby D found anyway.
Stan says he took the report because it gave Gwen motive for killing Willie, and he wanted to protect her — until he learned about the second body. But in staggers Malone, who’s actually quite funny vomiting into a trashcan before telling his story. Stan had come to him, wanting to quit his job, but Malone wouldn’t let him. Willie had called him, and when Malone went to pick up Willie, he found the unfunny comedian and a cocktail waitress lying on the ground, shot. He buried them and relocated Gwen — who’s not only not the second body but didn’t walk away from the program, as Stan’s believed for 20 years. Meanwhile, Eleanor’s uncovered ballistics evidence that ties the bodies to the mobster’s thugs, essentially clearing everyone involved.
Oh, but it’s not over. Eleanor and Stan have always had a really nice rapport (you see where this is going), partly because it isn’t charged with resentment and Mary’s hostility. But clearly her hard work and loyalty come from someplace other than just being a good person and really good at her job. This week’s last shot: Stan, sitting in his bedroom, looking forlorn — then joined by Eleanor, who kisses him and turns out the light. Stan, you devil!
- We get precious little Brandi in this episode, though thankfully there’s a dash of Peter (Joshua Malina). She’s gone into major self-sabotage mode, ducking Peter’s calls and blowing him off before he can do the same to her. They go on a second date, during which she downs two bottles of wine and needs to be carried home. But not only is Peter cute and wealthy with his act together after getting sober — he’s also totally got her number and calls her on the sabotaging behavior, He wants to be the guy who helps Brandi avoid her own landmines and believe she deserves what she wants in her life. Aw. I’m not sure I see it working out for these crazy kids, but I’m enjoying watching it start.
- How fantastic were Mary and Eleanor this week? Their dynamic is increasingly hilarious, with Mary grudgingly offering up some respect and Eleanor giving back as good as she gets. Great stuff.
- Now, when do we get a big ol’ Marshall storyline?
What did you think? Did you see it coming that Gwen wasn’t the second body? Did you like that the focus wasn’t on Mary this week? What do you think Brandi will do?