To put this in X-Files terminology, this week’s Minority Report was as much of a “myth arc” episode as we’ve yet gotten on this ill-fated series. Sure, we were #blessed with a fun, Gotham-y villain — a “monster of the week” character if ever there was one — but more important, we finally got some super-important background info and exposition (and lots of feelings!) between the twins and Vega that no doubt will affect the final three episodes (sniff).
For one, we got the richest string of flashbacks we’ve seen yet: the initial de-milkifying of the precogs when Precrime was abolished (Or, How Arthur Came to Be Such a Dick). As Wally and his colleagues help the siblings out and into PT sessions to regain their strength and reenter society, DIA boss Blomfeld, Peter Van Eyck (then–deputy chief of Precrime), and a white lady exchange doubts about the siblings’ inevitable failure to survive the real world, lamenting the “waste” of their talents … on human beings? Whom they imprisoned for a decade and are now chucking into the wild without identities, training, or any sort of preparation because they “have a considerable amount” of “wits”? Talk about victim-blaming.
Newly freed, Agatha, Dash, and Arthur get a truck and drive to a rural bar on their way to Fiddler’s Neck, where Agatha suggests they live. At this point, it’s revealed that Arthur was the earnest do-gooder brother in the early days of their freedom, while Dash employed the “not our problem” m.o. that Arthur has since adopted. (Agatha, unfortunately, has been uptight and anxious the entire time.) Arthur flirts with a nice waitress; it’s such an exhilarating experience that he decides not to go to Fiddler’s Neck with his siblings, citing the reasons that “she gave me her number” and “she smiled at me.” This would be annoying if it weren’t so adorably naïve, not to mention the result of a decadelong enslavement that regularly barraged him with a “head full of horrors.” Dash decides to go back to the bar with him, too, leaving Agatha looking melancholy standing alone in the doorway of a nearby motel room.
Back in 2065, Dash and Vega are too late to stop a mugging turned murder the precogs predict within too close a window. I’m actually surprised it took seven episodes to get to this element of their powers, and even now, not explicitly: In the movie, remember, the precogs sometimes spit out special “red ball” crime-of-passion visions, which aren’t premonitions so much as out-of-body livestreams because they can’t predict them, only feel them as they happen in real time. What exactly constituted the difference between a “red ball” crime-of-passion murder and a regular unplanned murder, I’m not sure, but this week, at least we’re seeing a couple murders as they happen, so that’s good.
First one is this murder of banker Omri Nellas, a guy who we find out was working for the No. 1 crime boss in D.C., Luca Van Zandt, a big bald dude in an expensive suit with a voice like the Allstate guy’s. Nellas oversaw $50 million of Van Zandt’s wealth in the bank where he was officially employed; upon his death, however, Van Zandt discovered the money had suddenly disappeared.
After failing to prevent Nellas’s death, Dash is inconsolable, insisting they must take what they know to the rest of the police ASAP, but Vega logically reminds him that “right now, we need to be as smart as we are pissed.” (Remind me later to tattoo this advice across my face.) So Dash marches off in a huff to Arthur, who, with his assistant Andromeda — the mute, uncomfortably geisha-ish woman about whom we’ll never know more, thanks to the series’ abrupt ending — has just finished buying a bunch of red diamonds from Hong Kong over the phone. When Dash wants to talk about the Nellas murder, Arthur brushes it off, telling him to chill out and not “dwell on the ones you can’t save.”
The next morning, Dash is still obsessing over the muggers, so he scans his own sketchbook rendering without Vega and finds a name and address, which he immediately follows to an apartment where he meets a woman he initially believes is Nellas’s wife … until he sees photos on the wall of Nellas and his male partner, and the woman drops her devastated-spouse act and knocks him unconscious with a weird chemical-emitting electrode.
Meanwhile, Vega finds out that the mugging/murder was not reported to the police at all. She does her own digging and heads to the victim’s address, but when she arrives, the door is wide open, the entire apartment has been upturned and destroyed, and the floor is stained with traces of Dash’s blood. She calls Arthur, who flips out and admits he knows Nellas and his boss but urges her not to call in the cavalry just yet, just like she did to Dash a day earlier. There’s so much hypocrisy among these characters that sometimes I wonder whether 100 percent of it is intentional.
Dash has been chained to a chair in a basement (of a sugar factory, we learn later), where Nellas’s not-wife, who now sports a dollar-store knockoff of Akeela’s dope Sprawl-punk face tattoo, and her boyfriend, a guy with a Fifth Element–esque haircut named Malik Aziz, introduce him to Van Zandt, who believes he knows something about Nellas and the money’s disappearance. It doesn’t help when he finds out he’s Arthur’s brother: Apparently, the two know each other, and are in a mild rivalry that immediately escalates once Van Zandt realizes Arthur knows something about his money.
That’s an understatement: Arthur stole Van Zandt’s money. He didn’t kill Nellas, of course — Dash and Agatha certainly would have noticed, and Arthur would have suddenly become, you know, a bloodthirsty murderer — but he and Andromeda did send in their own crew to collect his body, especially his work ID, which Arthur used to safely retrieve the $50 million from the bank and avoid the cops snooping around. At this point Arthur is still a supreme dirtbag, but, as we’ll find out later, really only for putting his brother in danger (another hypocritical move, as Vega points out: He’s been nagging Dash nonstop about risking their lives by working with her). It turns out he had good reason to steal the money. More on that in a second, though.
Arthur is now in as much of an outward panic as Arthur seems able to muster, and requests a meeting with Van Zandt, who frequently kills people when they get too fresh with him. They get together to compliment one another’s criminal talents at a fancy, stereotypical comic-book-villain restaurant; Van Zandt quotes Othello, references Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado,” and then informs Arthur that the price to free Dash will be the $50 million he lost. Vega, of course, is not happy to hear this (or the aforementioned revelation about Arthur having stole the money) when he returns, so she punches him in the face. You’d think, given how much people love punching this guy in the face, his jaw would be less … chiseled … uhh, hmm? Did you say something? I got lost there for a second.
Still flipping out about Dash, Arthur goes to Van Zandt without the money so Vega will have enough time to find his brother. He’s got a plan, though: Those red diamonds he bought in Hong Kong were purchased with Van Zandt’s $50 million — or rather, with the $50 million he somehow knew Van Zandt had skimmed from his Chinese business partners over the years.
Arthur, who has now amply demonstrated his desire to replace him as the top dog in the capitol’s seedy underbelly — which is sort of a weird aspiration, honestly — says he admired Van Zandt for “cleaning up the city” after Precrime collapsed, but then the guy got cocky and greedy. So now he’s given the diamonds to those Chinese businessmen, thus returning their money to them, buying his own safety, and ensuring they would swoop in and take Van Zandt down for him. It’s such a sleek plan that even Van Zandt is like, “Touché,” when two Chinese guys in suits take Arthur’s place at the table as he leaves.
Dash, meanwhile, is doing pretty well for himself despite having had his finger cut off (!) and sent to Arthur to demonstrate they mean business. Even as he’s about to pass out or vomit or both, he pulls some precog Jedi mind-games on his captor, whose painter husband, he informs her, didn’t just die — Aziz, her lover since his death, murdered him out of jealousy. She flips out, and when Aziz returns from delivering Dash’s finger, she turns her gun on him.
This isn’t just a psychological trick: Dash, Arthur, and Agatha all have the same “red ball” crime-of-passion vision as she shoots him … which allows Dash, who’s in the room with her, to let Arthur (who, remember, hears his side of the visions) know he’s still alive by shouting at him. Arthur quickly relays the woman’s identity to Vega, who tracks her to the sugar factory and gathers the SWAT team she’s been threatening to call the entire episode and finally rescues Dash. Also, apparently losing a finger is akin to a skinned knee in the future, because the thing is reattached to Dash’s hand by a magic lunchbox-size machine within seconds, no surgery necessary.
In a final flashback, Agatha’s taking the shell-shocked brothers to Fiddler’s Neck after all. Dash apologizes to Arthur, who’s got a terrifying dead-eyed look on his face, for wasting seconds he could have been using to save the bartender. Agatha, who is obviously pleased her brothers are coming back with her after all, offers, “I mean, we’ve seen worse?” That super-helpful response snaps Arthur out of his daze; tears now welled up in his eyes, he says, “No worries. I’ll get over it,” in a voice that suggests he won’t.
That’s what nice little precognitive criminals are made of, I guess. Sad face.