Tuesday, June 13, 2017
I Am Sorry, But I Just Cannot Feel Sorry For Malik!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here come the next in a series of what I will call the "Cold Case" posts. As I said earlier, Season 5 has not produced any truly great episodes, but has yielded a number of interesting perps. And one of these is Malik, from the episode "It Takes A Village."
The title, borrowed from Hillary Clinton, is often cited by "Cold Case" fans as one of the better episodes. It could have been, but it just stops short, and I will eventually say why.
Malik (which is pronounced as if it were "Malique," or "Ma-leek") starts out as a victim, but evolves into a serial killer, also going by the name "Theseus" or "Theo Gamble." The name "Theseus" refers to the Greek god, who meted out punishment to wrongdoers, using their own methods.
Malik, pre-puberty, was sent to a reformatory known as Pritchard House, a juvenile detention facility in the Philly area (at least, in the world of "Cold Case"). The place had a shower room, known as "the Pit," where a sadistic guard named Wilford Grimes would punish the boys by making them stand for inordinate time lengths on tiled squares in this room. Now, before some of you say "Jane Eyre," darlings, let me just say Grimes was not nearly bright enough to realize he was borrowing from Charlotte Bronte!!!!!!!!!!!! Hell, he wouldn't even know who she was!!!!!!!!!!!!
Malik acted up one day, and for his misdeed the other boys were punished. Grimes told them to set an example by punishing Malik themselves. So, united by mob mentality, the boys surrounded this vulnerable kid, someone broke a shard glass off a mirror, and, with it, severed Malik's left index finger.
You can bet he behaved after that. But, when he aged out of Pritchard House, and was on his own, it did not stop him from wanting vengeance. Wearing gloves--in an eerie recollect of Michael Jackson--to conceal the severed finger, Malik would troll arcades and places featuring a video game called "Defector 3," recruiting his victims, whom he would torture as he had been, from those especially skilled at this game.
I felt sorry for Malik, the kid. But the adult I could not, even though he evolved from the kid. Which brings me to why this episode stopped short of being great. The child victim that Malik was one could feel for. But there was not enough of his back story, pre-Pritchard House, or in the years before the killings, to show how or why he evolved into a serial killer. What he went through would create a thirst for vengeance, but serial killing? Did Malik have a history of child traits--fires, animal killings--suggesting a potential future as a serial killer? Or failed relationships or abuse in adulthood? The viewer is never told, so Malik, for me, did not have enough credibility.
I understood his desire for revenge. But even there he was skewered. True, what killer isn't, but, to me, the episode could have been great if Malik had specifically tracked down, and gone after, the boys who abused him in that shower room years ago. There would have been a kind of justice to that. But going after innocent boys, who have no idea why they are being targeted????? There is no excuse for that!
Sure, I realize some of what I say is controversial, and, if you want to attack, go ahead! But within a dramatic--because I am not an advocate of murder, darlings!!!!!!!!!--context, my scenario for Malik makes a hell of a lot more sense.
"It Takes A Village" is a near miss. It should have been far better than it was.
But Lily looked gorgeous, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!