Stumptown Season 1 Episode 5: Bad Alibis Recap

Stumptown S1Ep5 Dex v Miles

This week on Stumptown, almost everyone is trying to please a tough superior. Grey is forced into working for Kane to pay off his debt. Dex has a PI cerification interview with a licensing  official. Tookie’s cooking is reviewed by an influential food critic. Miles tries to convince Cosgrove that his intuition about Grey and Kane is on point.

After all sorts of confusion at the bar, Ansel is taken hostage by one of Kane’s men. Never fear, Dex’s brother is the glue that holds this episode together and he knows just what to do.

Recap

Dex puts on a blazer and button up shirt for her interview with Janet Withers, the PI certification official from DPSST. No one is sure what DPSST stands for. Ansel thinks she looks funny. Dex says she had to buy him the pumpkin poptarts that were on sale this week instead of the blueberry ones that are his favorites, but when she’s licensed she’ll make more money.

Ansel has tried to call Grey at the bar but he’s not answering. When they get there and it’s empty, Dex checks her messages. Grey left a message asking her to take care of Bad Alibi for a few days because his aunt in Houston is sick. Dex has never heard of this aunt, though he’s told her about other relatives. Ansel needs her help, because they open in an hour. Dex decides to ask if her interview can be moved to the bar.

Kane has gathered a crew of two other men plus Grey to break into a vault that’s at the end of a tunnel he dug ten years ago, before he went to jail. One of the men, Henry, argues with Kane’s plan until Kane threatens him. Grey speaks strongly to Kane, but acknowledges his authority, so Kane lets it go.

Kane tells Grey he’s happy to see him. Grey wishes Kane would have given him some warning about this job, instead of kidnapping him. Kane promises to call ahead next time, but Grey says he’ll crack this safe, then he’s done working for Kane. Kane says, “Fair enough.”

Kane wonders why Grey hasn’t asked what they’re stealing, but Grey doesn’t care. Kane tells him that this job is so important that he’s only hired the best guys and he’s gotten Grey every tool he wanted. Once Grey has disappeared down the tunnel, Kane makes a phone call to one of his men, Frank, who’s just arriving at Bad Alibi. He settles in at the bar with a crossword puzzle, waiting for further orders from Kane, should Grey’s cooperation waver.

If Grey is Kane’s best safe cracker and a man he knows is a straight shooter, there’s no way he’s just going to let Grey walk away, ever.

Miles, who is supposed to be on vacation in Hawaii, is at home creating a murder board instead. He can’t let go of Darius’ death at Kane’s hands. A colleague risks the wrath of Cosgrove to bring him files and information. The federal marshals think Kane is in Canada, but Miles doesn’t think that makes sense since Kane has no money or other resources to get there. The other detective also tells Miles that Dex is running the bar and Grey still hasn’t been seen.

Dex continues to call Grey, noting that he never turns his phone off. Ansel tells her that their cook quit. She figures it won’t be hard to replace him, but Ansel just gives her a look.

Tookie’s food truck gets a like on Insta from CJ McCollum, a player on the Blazers, plus the food critic for the newspaper the Outlook might review him. He feels like he’s outgrowing his truck and ready for a larger venue, so Dex’s call for help at Bad Alibi comes at just the right moment. He decides to debut his elevated Mexican cuisine in a pop up at the bar.

It will take Grey hours to set up the explosives properly to open the safe. One of the men, Denton, who’s worked with him frequently before, is nervous. He tells Grey that he has a 6 month old daughter now, which heightens the danger for him.

Stumptown S1Ep5 KaneStumptown S1Ep5 Dex's Interview

Janet Withers arrives for Dex’s interview just after she’s made an unconventional Bloody Mary for Frank, Kane’s man. Janet asks what Dex learned from Artie. Dex stretches the truth, a lot, and says honor and integrity. But Dex ends up being honest about why she wants to be a private investigator, telling Janet that it’s because she wants to help people and that even though she’s unable to hold down a 9 to 5 job, she’s good at this.

Cosgrove calls Miles and asks him how Hawaii is. She’s outside his apartment door, of course, ready to read him the riot act for not dropping his personal investigation. She’s being pressured by her superiors and he’s under review. He could lose his job if he doesn’t let this go.

CJ McCollum, basketball player, foodie and podcast host, stops by Bad Alibi to try out Tookie’s elevated Mexican cuisine. While CJ and Tookie discuss the food, they get technical about techniques and flavors. CJ loves it and Tookie is thrilled. CJ takes some photos for social media and agrees to tag Tookie.

Kane and his gang are having a much more tense day. Denton wants his cut of the money as soon as they finish the job, rather than when the item is sold. Kane agrees, then tells Grey they’ll have to kill him. Grey and Feeney blew the money they owed Kane, so he doesn’t have money to pay upfront. Grey refuses to kill anyone. Kane doesn’t like being told no and threatens to hurt someone Grey cares about if he doesn’t cooperate.

Frank asks Ansel for help with his crossword puzzle.

Miles joins Dex in her booth at the bar. She thinks she failed her interview.  Miles wants to hire her to find Grey. But first, Tookie has decided that Frank, the man Kane has in place in case he needs to tighten the screws on Grey, is actually the Outlook food critic. He orders Dex over to the bar. Kane’s mob enforcer will receive excellent service for the rest of the day. The actual food critic maintains his or her anonymity.

Dex doesn’t want to spy on her best friend and is sure she knows where he is anyway- at his aunt’s, in Houston. Miles convinces her to come up to his apartment and look at his murder board, which sounds like a bad pick up line, but isn’t. Miles doesn’t know about the job Grey and Feeney did for Kane before they went to prison or the $500,000 debt, but he knows that Kane protected them in prison and figures they owed him for that. He rightly assumes that the timing of Feeney’s death and Kane’s escape aren’t a coincidence.

Dex is worried that if she helps Miles he’ll put Grey back in prison, but he’s only interested in Kane. He wants to avenge Darius’ death for the sake of his wife and child. If she can find Grey then Miles can get to Kane. The murder board, which is made from thin poster board, falls on the floor. Taking it as a sign, Miles asks Dex to help him finish the job so he doesn’t have to hang it up again.

Stumptown S1Ep5 Miles& Murder BoardStumptown S1Ep5 Tookie

Tookie makes Frank an exquisite meal and gives Ansel very specific instructions for when he delivers it. Frank approves of the meal, gets more help with his crossword, and double checks that Ansel is close to Grey.

Grey tries to talk Kane out of killing Denton at the end of the job. Kane acts agreeable with Grey, then calls Frank and asks him to get the insurance they need to make sure Grey cooperates.

Dex and Miles go through Grey’s office. Dex feels guilty that she’s intruding on Grey’s privacy and doing it with her client, who is a cop that she’s hooked up with. Miles tries to reassure her, but he also needs to work as quickly as possible. He suggests she try opening Grey’s safe using birthdays as the combination. Miles assumes it will be Dex’s birthday, but Dex guesses correctly on the first try that the combination is Ansel’s birthday.

Miles finds bullets inside and tells Dex that it’s illegal for a felon to own a gun. She points out that he didn’t find a gun, but he figures Grey has the gun with him. And if he has the gun, he didn’t get on a plane to Houston. Miles also finds schematics and a business card from 312 Customs (Metal Body Work Restoration), which is run by an ex con named Petey. When Dex gets more confused, Miles finally informs her that Grey is an explosives expert and he went to prison for more than just grand theft.

This does not fit with anything Grey has told her about himself. Since she’s been close to him for ten years, he’s clearly done pretty well at leaving that life behind, until Jack Feeney and Kane showed up again.

Denton insists that Grey explain what he’s doing as he sets the explosives on the safe, even though Grey would prefer to be quiet so he can concentrate on his tasks. This is why Denton is the disposable member of the crew. Grey accomodates him, since he’s trying to keep Denton alive for the sake of his child. He says that explosives are like dogs and need to be given careful instructions and placement so they do exactly what they are supposed to do. Then he asks Denton to do his job and stop hassling Kane.

Tookie and his assistant realize they’re out of cilantro and go into crisis mode. They send Ansel out to the store to buy all the cilantro he can carry. This is the opening Frank has been waiting for. Ansel walks to the store, so Frank follows in his car. He insists that he’s a friend of Grey’s and that Grey wants him to give Ansel a ride. He assures Ansel that Grey is back in Portland already. Ansel ends up feeling like he has no choice about getting in the car, since Frank is so insistent.

Dex has a drink at the bar to steady her nerves. Miles decides to talk to Petey at 312 while Dex searches Grey’s loft. She’s still reeling over the idea that Grey is a hardened criminal who’s currently involved in another crime. She refuses to believe he’d ruin his life again. Dex defends Grey to Miles at the same time as she asks Tookie where Ansel is. The fact that she trusts Grey with her brother so completely when she keeps such close track of Ansel has to say something to Miles about Grey’s character.

Stumptown S1Ep5 Frank & Ansel

Frank takes Ansel to Pearl’s Diner, where he says they’ll be meeting Grey. Once they’re seated, he sends a video of Ansel to Kane and Grey to use as leverage. Kane tells Grey that Frank and Ansel will sit in the diner until the job is done. Grey goes deadly still and looks like he might vomit, but he tells Kane he’ll do whatever Kane needs. What choice does he have?

Miles finds Petey at his shop and gets some answers, between his questions and his observations. He finds out that Petey sold Grey and Kane the C-4, which they’re going to use to blow up a vault, obvi. 😘

Ansel needs to use the bathroom. Frank says ok, but he’ll hold Ansel’s phone. So it doesn’t fall in the toilet, obvi. Ansel tells Frank he’s not an idiot; he knows what Frank is up to, in so many words, and walks into the ladies room. Then he pulls a card out of his wallet and silently hands it to the waitress who’s already in there, before leaving and going into the men’s room.

Dex finds an engagement ring in Grey’s dresser. She’s not the only one who’s had her heart broken.

While she’s putting the ring away, she gets a call from the waitress at the diner. The card Ansel gave her said, “My name is Ansel Parios. Please call my sister. Tell her I’m lost and to come get me.” Then it has Dex’s number. The cards must be from when he was younger and would get too scared to talk to strangers.

Dex asks where Ansel is and what the man he’s with looks like. She quickly figures out what’s going on and calls Miles to meet her at the diner. She goes through the back entrance of the diner so that she can make a surprise entrance and picks up a chef’s knife on her way through the kitchen.

Dex scoots into the booth next to Frank and points the tip of the knife at Frank’s femural artery under the table. She sends Ansel out to her car to wait and tells him not to worry. Once Ansel is gone she asks about Grey. Frank tells her he’s settling his debt with Kane. Frank was supposed to kidnap Dex, but Ansel was the best he could do. The waitress distracts Dex for a moment and Frank pulls his gun on her under the table. With it pointed at Dex’s side, they head out to her car so he can drive both her and Ansel to Kane.

They walk to the restaurant kitchen and Dex, ever resourceful, picks up the first large object she sees to hit him with. A kitchen fight ensues, involving a gas stove burner and Frank’s hand (don’t try this at home!!), pots and pans, and Dex finally choking Frank out with a towel.

Somehow, I find fights near lit stove burners scarier than guns. Kitchen fights are so real and bring up bad memories. That was nerve wracking.

Dex had cleared out the kitchen on her way into the diner. Now, one of the cooks comes back and she uses Frank’s wad of cash to pay him off to keep the staff out for a few more minutes.

Grey finishes his complicated explosive set up on the vault. He and Denton move behind a wall while the explosives go off with a quiet little poof. Grey notices that Denton has a gun hidden in his pants.

That’s not a euphemism.

Miles gets to the diner just after Dex finishes up with Frank. He doesn’t know where the job is, but he knows they’re stealing a Native American artifact. Miles tells her about the explosives. Putting those two facts together, Miles guesses they’re at the Portland Museum. Dex leaves to take Ansel home, but shows him where Frank is tied up in the walk in freezer before she goes.

The artifact in question is a priceless 12,000 year old obsidian axe. Once the artifact is secure, Kane tries to shoot Denton, but Grey aims his gun at Kane’s head and tells him to stop. Kane reminds Grey that Frank has Ansel. Grey counters that Kane can keep all of the money from the axe if he’ll just let but himself and Denton off the hook.

Kane respects Grey’s bargaining technique, but there’s no way he can let Grey win. Grey is very tempted to kill Kane. Dex and Miles pull up nearby and Miles is telling Dex that Kane probably has a tunnel in one of the buildings when they hear shots fired. Dex is up and out of the car to save Grey while Miles calls for backup.

When Miles and Dex get inside, Denton is shot in the leg and on the floor, with Grey defending them and trying to stop the bleeding. Kane is on the other side of the room, firing at everyone. Kane runs outside with Miles chaing him. Dex helps Grey with Denton, but has more flashbacks to her military trauma. She keeps it together enough to stay functional, even when the tac team arrive and are very threatening.

Miles chases Kane up to the rooftop of a building. When Miles has his gun pointed at Kane’s head, Kane says he knows he was born to be a crook because he missed having guns pointed at him. It makes him feel alive. Miles tells Kane he’s glad Kane broke out of prison, so he can put a bullet in Kane’s head, the way Kane did to Darius. Kane says that Miles was just as much to blame for Darius’ death and killing him won’t take away Miles’ guilt. Kane continues to twist the knife until Cosgrove arives and orders Miles to stand down.

Later on, Dex asks Miles to give Grey a break. She may not have known him as well as she thought she did, but she knows enough.

When Miles gets back to the station, Cosgrove is on the phone with the mayor, who wishes him mazel tov, even if Miles isn’t Jewish. While she pours them a drink, Cosgrove asks what they’re going to charge Grey with. Miles says that Grey is his criminal informant (CI), so they aren’t going to charge him with anything. Cosgrove doesn’t recall seeing his CI paperwork. Miles thinks he must have left it in Hawaii, but he’ll fill out a new set, ASAP.

Stumptown S1Ep5 Ansel Tookie DexStumptown S1Ep5 Dex & Grey

The Outlook reviewer is positive toward Tookie’s food, but wasn’t impressed with Dex’s mediocre bartending and serving skills. The reviewer laments the loss of Tookie’s iconic food truck, prompting Tookie to realize he can’t abandon his roots. He shall remain in the truck where he began. His fans need him.

Grey comes home and gives Ansel a big hug, then calls Dex to the back room. Before he can get an apology out, she punches him in the face, which is entirely deserved. She asks him how he could put Ansel in danger. He says that everything he did was to protect her and Ansel.

Dex doesn’t know who he is anymore. Grey admits that he should have just told her. She asks him to confess anything else he’s hiding, right now. He says he’s sorry.

He’s still hiding that he owes Kane $500,000. Kane isn’t going to let it go, even from prison. Dex and Grey have wicked chemistry, but he’s closed up as hard as a rock right now. It’s Jake Johnson’s special gift as an actor. Lovable but impenetrable.

Janet Withers makes a special trip back to the bar to give Dex her PI license. She passed! Tookie brings her a candle to blow out and make a wish.

Stumptown S1Ep5 Dex Ansel & LicenseStumptown S1Ep5 Grey


Commentary

Grey has grown on me so much since the pilot. I’m not a fan of pouty men, so I hope he’s not going to go into a sulky faze now. But I do expect him and Dex to go through a rough patch. They were emotionally committed and raising Ansel together, but were held back from totally committing to each other by Benny and Kane. Dex was honest but Grey understandably wasn’t. He was reasonably emotionally available, but Dex wasn’t and still isn’t. Both of them put the feelings they couldn’t express for each other into caring for Ansel together.

This crisis will have forced them both to confront the feelings for each other that they’ve kept buried for a long time. At the same time, it’s made a romantic relationship more difficult, because neither of them will do anything that would put Ansel in danger. Right now, the possibility of another attack from Kane’s gang is very real.

Dex and Grey should be end game, but Miles complicates it. I think Miles actually has a thing for the Widow Darius, but they both also have baggage to get past. Miles likes Dex and likes complicated women, but I’m not sure that they actually fit together as more than friends with sexual chemistry. Dex and Grey have already developed a whole life together and just need a couple of shoves to help them get past their issues.

Miles naming Grey as his retroactive CI isn’t just a gesture of friendship toward Dex. It also brings Miles’ karma full circle, giving him the chance to protect 2 family units from Kane. By interrupting the end of Kane’s latest crime, Miles allowed Denton to go back to his wife and baby girl and sent Grey back to Dex and Ansel. He couldn’t bring Darius back, but he stopped another Darius from happening.

But Kane and Frank also live to fight another day, and have new grudges to avenge. This story isn’t over, just resting for awhile.

Grey and Miles actually have a lot in common, just on opposite sides of the law. They didn’t have any scenes together this week, but Miles was the one who engineered the rescue of Grey as damsel in distress, while Dex was busy with her own life. Miles was the one who knew the truth about Grey, not Dex.

And now Miles has created an official relationship beyween himself and Grey. I sense a new bromance in the works. Miles will push Grey to help him keep tabs on Kane’s activities and network, so that they can try to permanently incapacitate him, by getting him imprisoned for life and/or sent to an out of state prison.

Overall, I like where Stumptown is going with its characters and relationships, especially Miles and Cosgrove, Grey and Dex, Grey and Dex and Ansel, Miles and Grey. They’re doing a good job of interweaving all of the characters and filling in backstories so that Dex has a group of people who surround her that feel like a rich community with relationships and lives of their own.

They still need to develop more female characters, though. It’s ridiculous that Cosgrove is the only woman who’s in every episode besides Dex and that Sue Lynn is the only other ongoing recurring female character. As I keep saying, it’s especially awful that Dex apparently only sees other women as sex objects, clients or authority figures.

Give this woman a female friend. I’ll take Janet Withers/ Janeane Garofalo. She seemed to enjoy hanging around the bar. I won’t stop bringing this up until we get more regular (and background) female characters.

Pretty sure Portland isn’t 80-90% male in real life. And that Tookie’s unnamed assistant could have been a woman. And that, adorable as Adrian Martinez is, Tookie could have been a female character.

Stumptown S1Ep5 Janet Withers

Images courtesy of ABC.

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