Saturday, February 4, 2017
Why Wasn't This Episode More Impacting?????????????????
"A Time To Hate," one of the early "Cold Case" episodes I had not yet seen, opens with the classic Betty Everett song, "It's In His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song)," and closes with The Byrds' "Turn, Turn, Turn." It is not afraid to tackle its subject, which is gay bashing. But even though this story had some originality, while the other iconic gay episode, "Forever Blue," was such a retelling of "Brokeback Mountain," it should have been called "Brokeback Precinct," the latter episode is better than this one, and I cannot figure out why.
Back in September, 1964, a young, up and coming U Of Pennsylvania student named Daniel Holtz, superbly played by Patrick McManus, is found murdered outside a gay bar. Everyone, including his parents thought it was a robbery, because, of course, Daniel played baseball, and so he could not have been gay, yet what was he doing even near a gay bar????????
Four decades later, his mother, superbly played by Kathleen Lloyd, has not much time to live. To her credit, she recognizes that the world has changed, and so has she. She readily accepts her son was gay, and now wants to know what really happened. So, she calls on Lily and Scotty.
The mother recollects a time when she and her husband visited their son at college. They seemed to have interrupted a visit he had with a friend, Hank Phillips, whom now the mother realizes was more than just a friend, and which Lily discovers from the present day Hank, now a successful lawyer. He speaks of how things had to be covert back then, because if a man was found to be gay, he could not practice law, on grounds of moral turpitude. Can you imagine, darlings????????
Lily tells him Daniel's mother wants to see him. She has been hospitalized, and, in the segment's most touching scene, both mother and partner grieve, reconcile, and recognize in the other the love they had for Daniel.
The bar, which was then called The Hush Room, and is now some sort of junk facility, was run by a homophobic bar tender, who talked to Daniel, because he played baseball, and could talk about it, so how could he be gay???????? Duh????????? He runs the junk joint in the present day, but says, how, back then, they had an informant, a rookie named Nelson, who would warn them about cop raids, and so, when one was imminent, a red light warning was posted, so couples (lesbians frequented here, too) could arrange themselves into boy-girl combos, by the time the police arrived. This sequence is the best piece of choreographic execution, since the opening of the "Dance At The Gym," in "West Side Story," and was probably influenced by it.
There was also a group of neighborhood kids, near the bar, whose leader was named Timmy O'Brien. They would harass the gays coming outside, but nothing more insidious than dumping Chinese food all over their clean clothes.
One night, things went too far. A raid happened with no warning, and Timmy and his gang trapped Daniel in an alley. As Hank said, Daniel was confrontational, proud of who he was--good for him!!!!!!!!--so he faced his accusers, swinging his baseball bat. Unfortunately, it got seized from him, and he was beaten to death with it, while two cops, looked on from a distance, one who wanted the help, the other who told him to stay. The one who wanted to help was rookie Paul Nelson, the raid informant, who had been set up that night.
Lily tracks Nelson down, who reveals a lifetime of guilt and regret over not saving Daniel. He confronts Tim O'Brien, who is brought to justice, with the rest of his cronies who were there that night, and Mrs. Holtz has her justice.
But not before Daniel's ghost is seen by Lily and his mother.
Like I said, this episode was deeply moving, but did not have the impact it should havehad. Maybe because one could not feel hate for Nelson, who knew the right thing then, but was trapped by the times. And who does come forward, when summoned by Lily. Timmy and his pals are the real victimizers, and I bet Daniel was not their last. And. yes, the world has changed, but things still happen.
Maybe because I wanted to see more change here. Times do change, but human nature does not.