19-2: The city is at war

Bell Media
Bell Media

There are times in this season of 19-2 that I’ve missed the quiet simmer of the first season, with its abstract shots of deer roaming the streets of Montreal and Ben and Nick letting the quiet beats between them do the talking. But it was almost a relief to see some of the characters hit their breaking points this week and let a little pressure out of the proverbial cooker.

The most satisfying of all had to be Bear finally losing it. After a series of deadbeat partners she’s constantly left covering for, Tyler backed the good Momma Bear into a corner and she finally showed some teeth. But if anything, it was seeing the vulnerability of the usually-stable character exposed that drove home the episode’s bigger themes.

Because the only other thing going through my head watching “Babylon,” other than the division’s slow decline, was that the city was now officially at war. And it’s to the series’ credit that in a single episode I could sympathize with the looters and squatters and the cops trying to pull them out.

The shouts of “killer” from the rooftops could have certainly painted the protesters in an immature light—the way Intervention was seeing them—except that we knew on the pavement below there really were killers. However inadvertently Nick and Tyler were carrying that label, every shout jabbed just a little deeper as it picked up on the flicker of truth. Their hostility gained another touch of justification as the rather one-dimensional intervention team then spent the rest of the episode aggressively cracking sticks against joints and bulldozing through Tyler to arrest Paul’s wife.

Except that knowing what we do about the men and women of 19, we know what’s going on when they snap, but unlike their many mistakes those moments haven’t been broadcast to the public with quite the same fervor. There was nothing subtle about Audrey’s final minutes covering up her scar—the simple explanation for why she’s become so defensive about being attacked on the job is one she’d never want outed. When the cops hit their breaking points we know what’s driving it, the uncountable moments that all combined to make that single moment unbearable and it helps us see both sides of the complicated divide the show is trying to straddle. It’s going to be a fine work of balance for the series to go forward, sniffing always for the corruption within and trying to hold the force up as heroes when every day makes it harder for them to keep their heads above water, let alone their hands clean of blood.

But it’s not like they don’t know its happening. Everyone watching Tyler so closely was understandably waiting for the next cavalier act of heroism and the damage it would do, and Nick and Ben are in the midst of suspecting their boss of a most hideous crime. Maybe it’s their experience with themselves, or with each other, but the idea that someone on the force can’t be trusted seems to be settling in easily—with days like this how can you not eventually see the other side? And if Audrey could slap one girl into seeing things her way for a minute, who’s to say it couldn’t go the other way? Defections and treachery are all part of the art of war and the city’s already set to burst.

Of course, all that is only fuelling my own suspicions about Isabelle, the new face of 19’s f*ck ups. How to react when protecting your own means breaking the law and throwing an innocent to the snarling pack waiting for the next media line? Audrey’s defensive shot was already ringing through the web, forcing Isabelle to once again cover up as the division showed one face to the public and another to its team. It’s a dirty mess to our eyes, and I can’t imagine Isabelle is relishing her work. Which means I have to wonder, in the battle that’s been staged has she just grown too sympathetic for the other side? And can we really fault her?

And if not her, than who?

Do you think Nick and Ben are right about Gendron? Are you starting to wonder more about the mole’s motives? What do you think it means that Nick is seeing ghosts again? Sound off below!

19-2 airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on Bravo Canada.