'Hostages' Season 1, episode 12: 'The Cost of Living' and dying

hostages-tate-donovan-episode-12.jpgDesperation sets in at a new level for Brian Sanders ( Tate Donovan) on Monday's (Dec. 9) episode of "Hostages."

Given that he and his family were taken hostage in their own home; he's been bound, beaten up and shot; had his corrupt business practices; and had his affair at the office and tenuous marriage and relationships with his kids exposed, viewers would expect he had reached these depths already.

But no, Brian manages to sink lower in this episode. After directing his daughter Morgan ( Quinn Shephard) to steal a friend's cell phone so he can make a call that cannot be traced, he calls Nina Carlisle ( Francie Swift), FBI Agent Duncan Carlisle's ( Dylan McDermott) wife is in a hospital, dying of leukemia.

She has no idea that that her husband has been moonlighting as a kidnapper, holding a family hostage. Or that he is doing so until Brian's wife, Ellen ( Toni Collette), operates on the president who is supposed to die on the table. Carlisle plans to harvest the president's bone marrow to save his wife. The tenuous connection is that the president is Nina's father, only she doesn't know.

Naturally, she hangs up on Brian, but not before the damage is done.

The final scene has Carlisle walking into her hospital room and Nina confronting him with what Brian told her.

Want to bet that Carlisle regrets letting Brian live all the times he could have killed him? 

Brian feels the same way about Carlisle, especially when Brian is presented with a photo of Ellen and Carlisle kissing. Toward the end of last week's episode, they shared a deep kiss.

This episode has Ellen saying to Carlisle, "About last night," a lead-in required to result in awkwardness. "I know that I am supposed to feel that I hate you but I don't," she says.

"We need to focus right now on what really matters," Carlisle says.

His hand covers hers in a meaningful way, and you expect curtains to flutter in the distance.

The daytime drama is left behind after that, and the focus returns to the band of kidnappers falling apart. Dirty Secret Service Agent Logan ( Jim True-Frost) demands answers from Sandrine ( Sandrine Holt), one of Carlisle's hired guns. She had accepted cash from him and is now charged with killing her colleagues.

Logan gives Sandrine three bombs to attach to the other kidnappers' cars, and they are timed to go off after the president is dead.

Sandrine continues to act as if she loves Kramer ( Rhys Coiro) but has no problems planting a bomb under his pickup truck. Her co-conspirator, Archer ( Billy Brown), suspects she's a traitor and tells Carlisle. They prove that Sandrine has turned by leaking her bad information and watch it make its way to Col. Thomas Blair ( Brian White).

The colonel is behind the assassination attempt, though it is doubtful he is the leader because each person seems to answer to someone higher on the food chain. 

Carlisle is no fool. He needs to get back in the colonel's good graces so he arranges to have an old friend, a Washington D.C. cop, arrest a Secret Service agent in the president's detail. It's supposed to be a minor arrest. Carlisle and Archer set up the agent for solicitation.

Just having him arrested will prove the Secret Service agent unfit for duty, and that's what the colonel wants. 

As with all of the best-laid plans on this show, it implodes. And the wrong people keep getting killed. The cop arrests the agent, they argue, a gun goes off and the cop is killed.

Now the Secret Service agent will be taken off the president's detail, leaving the duplicitous Logan to do the colonel's bidding.

At least this episode shows everyone reportedly going about their regular lives, as they are supposed to. The Sanders kids, both high school students, have textbooks open on the kitchen island, and Ellen is finally in surgery.

In the operating theater Ellen's true colors come through. A cop and a civilian are both in emergency surgery. The officer, a new father, dies. The man who killed him was Ellen's patient. Despite the fact that another doctor in the operating room was quite willing to let the cop killer die on the table, Ellen could not.

She knows what it means. "I was wrong," Ellen says, crying to Brian. "I am a doctor. What was I thinking? I am going to tell him I can't do it. You were right. I just lost myself."

If so, episode 12 is ending pretty much where the pilot did: Ellen will not kill the president.

Photo/Video credit: CBS
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