The Endgame, Season 1, Episode 2, “Fairytale Wedding”

It’s a general rule of television that the episode following the pilot is one of the most interesting to watch, as it’s the first true taste of what the show is actually going to be like. With the process of setting the table now out of the way, the characters can be allowed to let loose and do as they are intended to on a weekly basis. The Endgame is a bit different in that it’s serialized television, and what we get with “Fairytale Wedding” is a direct follow-up to the events of the woeful mess that was last week’s premiere, but it does seem to provide a blueprint of what the series is going to be going forward. The pacing is somewhat slower. There are lots more flashbacks. The plot becomes even more convoluted. And it’s terrible.

If “Pilot” was a batshit crazy clusterfuck that moved so fast you could barely keep track of what was going on, it was at least insane in a way that made it enjoyable to make fun of. “Fairytale Wedding” is inexplicably much harder to sit through, as everything gets stupider, Val becomes even more unlikable, and the show attempts to get on its high horse with some “progressive” politics in a way which, unfortunately, brings to mind the cringe that was Santa Inc. (and, no, I may never shut up about my blood-boiling hatred for that show. It has become a part of my very soul.).

But first, let’s get into some stuff from “Pilot” which I neglected to talk about in last week’s review, with the reason for that being….I missed it as I watched the episode. The Endgame is already having a bad habit of throwing too much information at the viewer too quickly, so I didn’t catch it when towards of the end of the episode it was revealed that–DUN-DUN-DUNN!!!–Elena’s husband is serving time in the same prison as Val’s husband! And they’re working together! Also, Elena’s husband faked his death so Val doesn’t know he’s alive, and if you want to think about how that could possibly make sense since he’s in prison and guards who are alive would have to know that he is alive….well, enjoy the headache that will give you.

The other important plot thread from last week I didn’t mention was that Val’s husband (who I will continue to refer to as “Val’s husband” until I am forced not to) is filing for divorce. Not because Val is a horrible person who turned her own hubby in, of course, but because he is worried that as long as she is legally married to him, then everyone at her job will be continue to call her “dirty” until the very end of the endgame (for the record, he’s locked up for taking drug money, but as we also learned last week, Elena framed him for that for…reasons). Val is not pleased about this. “You don’t get to decide what happens to our marriage!” I guess this rule doesn’t apply to Val, who made a pretty fucking big decision when she sent her husband to jail thinking everyone would hail her as an “honest agent” for doing so.

Now that we have that out of the way, we can dive into “Fairytale Wedding,” where I’m probably going to end up missing about ten major plot points, because boy this one is loaded. For the sake of my sanity and so I don’t get completely lost as I do this, I will cover the events of the flashbacks first instead of as they are gradually done in the episode. Then I will do the stupid present day storyline.

In the opening scene, we see Elena and her fiancé Sergay having picnic blanket sex in a beautiful field. They are talking in Russian and speaking of ass-slapping. They are both so busy fucking that they are almost late for their own wedding. They are so happy. And Elena’s mother-in-law loves her so much. Gee, I wonder if this is going to end badly…

There is a lot of “everyone is happy” dialogue before the inevitable, including Elena’s mother-in-law doing a sloppy variation of a line from My Big Fat Greek Wedding about how while the men are “officially” in charge in their family, it’s the women who become queens. Blech. Anyway, a budgeted network TV explosion happens inside the church and everyone but Elena and Sergay dies.

“They’re all dead! Everyone is dead!” Sergay laments. “Everyone is dead except for us!” Elena clarifies. This show has great writing. In fairness, Elena and Sergay are the only characters so far to demonstrate any sort of chemistry, feeling like they might work as a couple in spite of Sergay’s family apparently being part of some vague criminal empire or something. Sergay wants to go out and murder those responsible right away, but Elena says they should be patient with their revenge and “kill them once they are comfortable.” Also, in an especially ridiculously melodramatic moment, they both use a knife to cut into their own flesh to give themselves matching tattoos instead of wedding rings. How…romantic?

In the stupid present day storyline, we find that Elena’s robbers have been holding the seven banks hostage for three days. And if you think the FBI is actually going to anything about it, you haven’t been paying attention. Elena is still without any form of restraints, pacing around the interrogation room like a girl waiting to see the school principal, taunting all of the agents present and teasing them with “fairy tales” she wants to tell them. And yes, she’s still wearing that dress that appears to be made out of curtains.

Elena’s main target in this episode (other than Val) is a character I will simply refer to as “Secretary Dumbass”, and while I could take the time to look up her name, she’s really not worth the effort. Secretary Dumbass just won’t take Elena seriously, even as Val continues to say things like “there’s more to her game than meets the eye here!”, but her attitude changes slightly when Elena’s goons kidnap her son (in broad daylight, and with witnesses around) and strap a bomb to his chest. “Change her into prison orange!” Secretary Dumbass growls as Elena starts complaining about having had to wear the same dress for three days, and in Secretary Dumbass’s defense, at least someone is finally treating her like an inmate.

Meanwhile, Val has been brooding over her hubby’s potential alignment with Elena. “I don’t want to have to interrogate my own husband! Is this where our marriage is at?” Gee, Val, you already got him sent to prison, so I dare say asking him some questions might actually be a step up for you at this point. But there’s no time to focus on how unbearable Val is, as Secretary Dumbass’s son needs rescuing, and thanks to some sort-of clues from Elena that only Val can piece together (“I want to tell you a story about a mother and daughter…”), he is found near a cemetery–the same cemetery where Val’s mom is buried, because of fucking course.

As was stated over and over again in last week’s pilot, Val is an “outcast” at work because everyone there thinks she’s a “dirty” agent. So go figure that in this episode she is leading a bomb squad into action with no one so much as batting an eyebrow, as that’s the life of an outcast, I guess. The clock is ticking and the boy is freaking out and Elena is refusing to cooperate by giving them the code to deactivate the explosive (class, take note here: Elena is refusing to cooperate. This will be important later), but fortunately Val is able to figure out that the password is the name of her mother’s killer, because of fucking course.

With her son now safe, Secretary Dumbass goes back to treating Elena like a shoplifter at Wal-Mart instead of as a terrorist who is currently holding seven banks hostage and nearly blew up a member of her family along with several FBI agents. “You’ve made her into a boogeyman who can see through walls,” she smugly tells Val. “But she’s stupid. All criminals are stupid. That’s why they become criminals.” After I tear all of my hair out of my head, Val and Elena have another “saucy” encounter, with Elena complaining about having to wear an orange jumpsuit and promising she’ll “continue cooperating” if Val gets her some of her own clothing. Val, understandably, loses her shit and starts shaking Elena by the shoulders screaming about how she doesn’t get to make such stupid demands in her position JUST KIDDING instead the episode behaves as though Elena has been cooperating even though she orchestrated a kidnapping today that nearly resulted in several deaths and IS THIS SHOW FOR FUCKING REAL???

While all of this shit has been going down, there’s been some drama happening at one of the banks Elena’s army is currently holding captive. The “sleazy” bank manager who the show really, really, really wants for me to not like is making an unreasonable request–he wants food for him and the other hostages (all of who are just sitting around as though this is an inconvenient wait at the DMV, because being held at gunpoint for three straight days isn’t that bad, okay?). The robbers respond to this by giving him the bowl of lollipops intended for guests, which is supposed to be fucking hilarious, but things get intense as he suddenly becomes very sick.

I feel I should provide a warning before I go on, as things somehow get even dumber here. The robbers agree to allow an ambulance to come over to take the “sleazy” bank manager off to the hospital, and it turns out him getting violently ill was also all part of Elena’s plot, as the paramedic officer who tends to him is one of her soldiers. If you’re going to ask how the fuck Elena could possibly ensure that this specific ambulance would be available right here exactly when she needed it, you’re really watching the wrong show. Anyway, the point of this was so that Elena could have a flash drive smuggled out of the bank. And it has damning evidence against Secretary Dumbass on it.

Oh, I’m sorry, did I say “damning evidence”? What I meant to say is “footage of Secretary Dumbass getting into the passenger side of a car and blackmailing a known drug cartel operator, demanding that she have $10 million sent to her private bank account every year or else.” I guess when Secretary Dumbass said that “all criminals” were idiots, she was really talking about herself. Dumbass isn’t worried at first, confident that the agency won’t take action against her as it would make them look weak for playing into Elena’s game, but it doesn’t work and she gets her ass hauled off to jail.

The episode still isn’t done, though, as a suitcase is found inside of the trunk of Val’s car containing the clothing Elena “requested” earlier…along with a photograph of Val’s husband sitting next to Sergay, HOLY SHIT! And it was taken two years ago! Just how far back does his involvement in all of this go??? Val attempts to grill Elena for more information, but what she wants is her outfit since she’s “held up her end” of some non-existent bargain, and naturally Val just gives her the bird in response JUST KIDDING of course they instead give her exactly what she wants.

Other dumb stuff…

* This episode was a lot to get through, as The Endgame functions like a needlessly complicated maze in an activity book which also has at least eight obvious exits.

*I haven’t even mentioned how this show insists on spinning the camera around the characters like crazy, which even when watching it on a laptop is enough to make me dizzy.

* One of the things I hated most about this episode was how it tried to make a case for Elena “having a point” because her actions lead to Secretary Dumbass’s capture, and if this show really ends up going the route of her ‘becoming partners” with Val as she keeps claiming to her that they will, I might get physically sick.

* The show REALLY does everything within its power to try to get you to loathe the “sleazy” bank manager, to the point where it has one of the robbers (who I will note has been holding innocent people prisoner for three days) accuse him of being “racist” because the client he was a jerk to in the first episode was a black woman.

* Also, since making the “sleazy” bank manager ill was instrumental to Elena’s endgame, the robbers achieve this by…placing a tiny patch on his chest? And when it’s removed, he’s instantly cured! Seriously!

* Biggest “bow to the queen” moment for Elena: during her brief period in jail garb, Elena refuses to give the agents the code to defuse the bomb because “polyester makes it hard for her to think.”

* Biggest “I’m not dirty” moment for Val: Val gets to be the one to handcuff Secretary Dumbass after she spends the entire episode belittling her. Secretary Dumbass really does live up to the fake name I gave her.

* Biggest “I swear to God I am not making this up” moment: in the closing scene, Sergay opens up a flip phone in his prison cell and is able to hack into the computer system of the FBI in order to tell Elena a jail joke via Morse code.

* And so ends the second episode of The Endgame. I’m sorry this review took longer to get up than I had hoped. My goal is to have it done sooner next week.