Let’s hear it for the boys! This episode belongs to Donald Sutherland’s growl, Édgar Ramírez’s expressive eyebrows, and Hugh Grant’s pathetic apologies. I don’t say this to diminish Nicole Kidman’s consistency, but to be honest, I really do not understand what Grace Fraser’s motivations are anymore. Suddenly she’s standing by Jonathan? And she’s doing it because she thinks … it would be good for Henry? What are you doing, Grace!
I would think protecting your son and shielding him from the husband you already know to be a cheater, a liar, and a thief (hello, he took $500,000 from your father, you’re not even curious where that money went?) would be more important than, I don’t know, creating an environment in which your son believes his father could be innocent of murder? That doesn’t seem like a great call. But is Grace doing anything right, now that we’re halfway through this miniseries? I do not mean to victim blame. I cannot imagine what Grace is living through. The speed, though, with which she went from “Jonathan sure is a jerk” to “Jonathan isn’t a monster” — even when more evidence is indicating the latter! — is giving me some whiplash. The Undoing is fantastic when it comes to out-of-nowhere cliffhangers and contentious exchanges, but building Grace as a consistent character? David E. Kelley has not done that so well.
“Do No Harm” begins moments after the events of preceding episode “The Missing,” with the NYPD arriving by helicopter to pick up Jonathan, who was being held by the Suffolk Police. “I didn’t do it,” Jonathan insists to his son — and I do think this relationship is one we need to watch for the remaining three episodes — but that doesn’t mean Jonathan is a good guy. Consider his actions: Detective Mendoza confirms to Grace that Jonathan is the father of Elena’s daughter. We see that he can be capable of surprisingly rage-filled violence; he bites that attacker’s finger nearly clean off in jail. And consider his words, after pleading not guilty to murder and rape and being sent to what I assume is Rikers: His meeting with Grace is Gaslighting 101, and his jokes at his own expense are a distraction, a diversion, a deflection. Jonathan knows he did a bad thing, but he was the victim! Elena was dangerous! She forced him! Doesn’t Grace know that he has a good heart? How could he be a doctor and also be guilty of such a terrible crime? (Jessie Buckley’s Nurse Oraetta Mayflower from the current fourth season of Fargo would like a word.) “My heart wouldn’t allow me, nor would my ego,” Jonathan says, and that — coupled with Henry’s breakdown in Grace’s arms over the accusations against his father, and Grace’s own memories of seeing Jonathan with young cancer patients — seems to convince her that standing by her husband is worth it.
This is, of course, going against everyone’s advice. She doesn’t do what Sylvia suggests, which is get her own attorney. She brushes off her father’s concerns, while taking his money. Instead, Grace basically goes on the offensive against everyone who ever said a bad word against Jonathan. When she meets with Jonathan’s former colleague for more information about what got him fired, she’s aghast at the idea that her husband could be a psychopath, instead focusing on whether Elena was “the obsessive-compulsive type.” She really uses the phrasing “according to Jonathan” when speaking to her father, and buys into the whole, “Elena had hero worship” thing. She is strangely unaffected by Franklin’s admission that Jonathan came to him, in secret, for $500,000 — shouldn’t she be worried about what he was using that money for? (Astonishingly good work from Sutherland here; the man has played creepy, authoritarian characters for so long that I was unnerved by, and then surprisingly sympathetic to, seeing him cry.) When meeting with the ultra-elite defense attorney Haley Fitzgerald (Noma Dumezweni) after Franklin secures her a meeting (and pays the fee), Grace seems struck by Haley’s very reasonable observation that Jonathan has “got a truth problem.” And finally, in an ill-advised meeting with Elena’s widower husband Fernando, she boldly says “I’m not taking shit from anyone,” and then accuses Elena of sleeping around and having psychological disorders. “I’ll make it my business,” Grace vows, and I’m sorry, but I hated her very much in this moment!
Who else is Jonathan’s act working on? Henry, of course. We see the kid pushing the boundaries during their jail meeting (His “You were fucking her” was a real “I’m going to curse because my parents have bigger problems than that right now!” power move), but he seems to soak in Jonathan’s obviously prepared statement about how Elena “became unsound” and “wanted to destroy us as a family.” Again, shouldn’t Grace as a trained therapist maybe know better than to accept Jonathan’s side of the story as absolute fact?
But, as we learn in the episode’s final moments, she might have something to hide, too. Ramírez is excellent here, really digging into Detective Mendoza’s smugness at having caught Grace — who keeps meddling in their investigation, and who basically just interfered with a witness by meeting with Fernando — in what appears to be a lie. The way he rests his face on his palm! The wiggling of those delightfully lush eyebrows! Grace sticks to her “20-plus years of psychological training” here, but how is she going to explain walking around in Harlem — right outside the building where Elena’s body was found — on the night of the murder? That’s a pretty big revelation to have hidden until now! Is Jonathan the only monster here?
Money Works Best
• Of course Franklin is the kind of old-money asshole to call an NYPD detective “boy.” Of course.
• The very declarative way that Dumezweni pronounces “muck” might have been my favorite thing about this episode.
• “You sound like me talking to my patients,” Grace says to Haley, but — is Grace still practicing? Don’t all her patients know her husband is embroiled in what seems to be the biggest murder investigation to hit Manhattan in a while? Take a leave of absence, Grace!
• Interested in Grace’s beach house? Variety has the details on the property, which unsurprisingly last sold in the millions.
• I have decided that Grace and Franklin playing piano together was a Road to Perdition homage, and I will hear no different.
• I’m not sure how much of a role Douglas Hodge’s public defender will have now that we’ve met Haley, but I liked both his scenes, and how ambivalent he was about the question of Jonathan’s innocence; he was very much in the mode of John Turturro from The Night Of. His blithe “Doctors tend to be assholes. The reason they tend to be assholes is they get to be. They’re doctors! My point is, you don’t get to be one anymore,” was a great puncturing of the cocoon of wealth the Frasers seem to be living in. Although I’m not sure he did Grace any favors when he told her he doubts Jonathan’s guilt.
• Jonathan’s bail is $2 million cash. Hm, I wonder who has that kind of money?
• The sculpting hammer that was probably used to kill Elena is missing from her studio. Seems like an important thing to remember for future episodes!
• “No touching!” was a real Arrested Development flashback, wasn’t it?