There were times during this episode of “In Plain Sight” when I genuinely couldn’t figure out what was going on. Not that that’s unusual. But one thing seems clear: we’re heading for a reveal concerning Mary and Marshall. But more on that in a minute.
These spoilers are not convincing fakes, but the real thing…
This week’s case: Sixteen months ago, things got interesting when Stan turns up with a witness that Mary and Marshall know nothing about. She’s Helen Trask, a.k.a. Helen Traylen (Sherilyn Fenn), an expert counterfeiter who turned herself and her North Korean business partner in to the Secret Service when she found him in flagrante with her girlfriend. Here’s where I stop for a moment to say it took some work for the makeup folks to make someone as beautiful as Fenn look — well, not. It’s complicated, but essentially there was a counterfeiting ring that Helen was part of and that the CIA was accused of running — which put WITSEC in the position of hiding a witness from the CIA, North Korea, or the Chinese mob, in whatever configuration. Helen regrets her decision, not wanting to live without Ahn Li (Kelly Hu), the girlfriend she met in prison (who Mary agrees is ridiculously hot), but an eight-figure bounty on her head seals her fate in the program.
In present day, Helen’s fingerprints have turned up at a murder scene, and Bobby D asks for Mary’s help. Helen seems to have been living pretty quietly, complete with a job at a paint-your-own pottery place, and is shocked to hear of the murder of her friend Carolyn, who recently came out and whose ex-husband is very upset. But Helen’s got an alibi for the night of the murder — she was at a lesbian bar, which prompts a great scene in which Marshall gets to act like a kid ogling candy he can’t have when he and Mary go to investigate. Meanwhile, Helen’s skipped town, and M&M are starting to smell something funky, as if someone’s feeding fake reports into the system. And a trail of bad counterfeit $100 bills leads them to Helen and Ahn Li in a casino.
Except that Ahn Li is really a CIA operative named Jane, who got close to Helen as part of an investigation to clear the CIA’s name from suspicion about the counterfeit ring. Mary, Marshall, Jane and Bobby D arrest the gangster hitmen who are packing some serious weaponry in an attempt to kill Helen. But you’d think that a veteran criminal would be more hardened. Helen is unbelievably vulnerable, and distraught both at the idea that her relationship with Ahn Li began as a set-up and at the thought of being away from her.
Mary’s engagement: Mary’s struggling with all of the change she’s going through, including Raph moving in, and she’s still not wearing her (beautiful) engagement ring to work. It’s like she just can’t admit that she may have a human desire for love and normalcy — or maybe her feelings for Marshall run to a deeper place than work. When she finally tells him she’s agreed to marry Raph, it’s because he’s spotten a tan line on her finger where her ring was, and there’s a lot of grave discomfort and eye avoidance between them. Marshall trying on the ring, getting it stuck on his finger and having to wear it throughout the episode is a great bit,
But the look on Marshall’s face while giving Mary a congratulatory hug was kind of heartbreaking, and given how they both were slugginig down the champers and avoiding looking at one another at the little engagement celebration that Stan and Eleanor threw Mary at the office, it’s clear that the feeling’s mutual, and I have to believe there’s a revelation coming. One of them will eventually — probably most of the way through next season, if they’re going to do it — man up and confess. Marshall’s toast alone all but gave it away anyway.
Mary, to Helen about Ahn Li: “She is a cheating, lying, violent, antisocial sociopath. Is that really the kind of person you want to hang your future on?”
Helen: “I could do worse.”
Marshall, after getting Mary’s ring stuck on his finger: “I’m Ringo. [In] the Beatles movie, Ringo gets a ring stuck on his finger. How did I become Ringo?”
Mary, to Marshall about women’s prisons: “You do know it’s not all lingerie and pillow fights.”
Marshall: But it is sometimes, right?”
Marshall’s toast: “Here’s to the best friend I’ve ever had or could ever hope to have — a girl for whom no man will ever be good enough. And I hope you know that I love you. And I wish for you nothing but a lifetime of happiness.”
What did you think? Is it just a matter of time before the partners ‘fess up? Do you think Brandi and Raph living under the same roof is a recipe for disaster? And what’s up with the Gilbert and Sullivan bringing people together?
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