Case #2.16: "Orpheus 3.3"

In the Chapel locker room, Tom asks his partner, "Why is it so important to you that I break up with Amy?" Does he want Doug to answer categorically or alphabetically? Doug's answer is simple: "Because you've been datin' her for 12 weeks and talkin' about breakin' up with her for 11." Yeah, that's never a good sign.

Tom needs to do it because Tom and Amy are both going crazy. And Doug himself is probably going crazier than he is already from listening to Tom's angst. Tom says he's always had trouble breaking up with women, even though he and Amy have virtually nothing in common. He doesn't like being the bad guy.

Doug has a solution for that: Drive a girl so crazy that she breaks off the relationship for you. I've had it done to me and I can say it's effective. Tom says Amy is too even-tempered for that to work.

On the road, Amy asks if Tom plans to tell her what's bothering him. Tom classically replies, "Nothing" before blaming his bad mood on Amy wanting to go to a fancy French restaurant. His idea of a fine dinner is burnt hot dogs and sauerkraut. Amy doesn't mind that, but the last time they tried to have a quiet night at home, the neighbors called the police. That statement could be interpreted a number of ways...

They go back and forth for a while over what's really bothering Tom. He says, "Why don't we save this 'til we get home? I wouldn't want the neighbors to miss anything." 

At a small grocery/convenience store, Tom goes up to the counter with sauerkraut, hot dogs, ketchup, mustard, and buns. Amy picks up chips and pretzels. A man in a fatigue jacket enters the store and points a gun at the clerk's face, then at Tom's. "Empty the register," he orders. The clerk obliges as fast as he can; the robber tells him to go faster.

In the mirror thing over the register, Tom can see Amy in the middle of the store, unaware of what's going on (don't ask me how she doesn't see or hear). Amy approaches, struggling with her armload of snack packages. "Tom," she says. She drops a glass bottle of soda on the floor and it shatters. The robber whips around. For reasons unknown, he shoots Amy in the chest. She falls in slow motion, knocking a few bags off a cardboard potato chip display. "NO!" Tom screams. 

Tom comes into work acting like his old self. Doug was worried about him. Tom says he's fine. Doug asks if Tom went to the funeral; Tom replies that it's next week. Cap'n Rufus shakes Tom's hand, saying he's sorry for Tom's loss. Tom cheerfully suggests that he, Harry, Doug, and Blowfish go out for lunch. "You know, he's taking this rather well," Harry observes. Too well, if you ask me. Blowfish says Tom's just really resilient.

Cap'n Rufus asks if Tom's really ready to come back to work. Tom is, but he has a few things to take care of first: an appointment with the department psychiatrist and a trip to Homicide division to be interviewed by the detectives on the case. Dead-eyed Tom declares he wants the robber locked up. Fuller says Amy's death isn't Tom's fault because most robbers don't kill people. Tom wonders if the shrink will make him lie on a couch.

In said shrink's office, Tom says he's not sharing his feelings with anyone and crying doesn't make him feel better. You can sense the psychiatrist wondering exactly what kind of sociopath he's actually dealing with. Tom says nobody could've stopped the shooting in 3.3 seconds. He knows the time from watching the surveillance tape once.

Tom tells the homicide detective that the robber was coked out and nervous with no hesitation about shooting Amy. The detectives leave to get coffee. A TV/VCR is conveniently in the room, complete with tape of Amy's shooting. Tom watches it, checks his watch, rewinds it to just before Amy was shot, and repeat.

At Tom's place, he sits on the floor obsessively watching the shooting tape. He times himself doing tasks like taking off his jeans and opening a beer can. He imagines himself shooting the robber and wakes up in a cold sweat.

At Cap'n Rufus's office, the shrink says Tom is in serious denial and wants to interview the whole team. Fuller agrees.

Back at Homicide, Tom is making a nuisance of himself but there are no new developments. He wants to read the detectives' report again and declares you can pull all the pepperoni off a pizza slice in 3.3 seconds.

At a bar, a cheap James Dean lookalike is trying to hustle the robber in a game of pool. The robber refuses to pay and puts a gun under the guy's chin, then stuffs $20 is his mouth. He lets the guy live because this isn't Goodfellas. 

At the Chapel, the situation is worse. Tom is now telling his coworkers he was still very much in love with Amy despite all evidence to the contrary. Outside, he sees a headline about someone called the Convenience Killer at a newsstand. At the same bar, the nameless robber and nameless James Dean clone see the same article. Robber calls cops confessing to killing Amy but denies the latest incident.

Tom watches the tape on a loop while flipping through mug books. He goes for his gun when someone knocks, but it's just Judy bearing popcorn and a movie. 

At a different convenience store, Robber tries to upsell a customer a bag of pretzels. He goes into the back and demands the combination to the safe from the clerk. The clerk doesn't know it. We are left to ponder his fate. More proof of how sloppy this episode is becoming.

Tom dreams of shooting the robber in a James Bond tux; what looks like RUN DMC spraypaints the robber's dead body gold. He wakes up. Judy confronts him about stealing the evidence tape and says she's taking it back. Tom snatches it from her purse. He lists of a myriad of things you can do in 3.3 seconds. Judy becomes upset and cries.

When the shrink interviews the team, the only worthwhile moment comes when it's Doug's turn in the hot seat. Italian to the core, he refuses to answer any questions. Shrink just wants a feel for Doug's relationship with Tom. Doug looks confused as he says they're just friends. The doctor, sensing hostility, asks if Doug has ever been to a psychiatrist before. Doug gets even cagier and leaves.

I have now lost all hope for this episode so I'll make it quick and dirty. Some more angst and confusing dream sequences later, Tom in reality tracks down the nameless robber and he's brought to justice. The episode ends with suit-clad Tom delivering flowers to Amy's grave, then wordlessly kneeling on the snowy ground next to it. 

This is touted as one of the best episodes of the series and I honestly can't see why. I understand Tom's guilt about his being about to end the relationship with Amy before death stepped in and she had no idea about it. But Amy was hard to see as a good fit for Tom, more of a convenient love interest with no real chemistry, probably why they decided to scrap the storyline altogether. Tom himself isn't exactly sympathetic. The performances by the supporting cast are mediocre at best except for a handful of scenes.