Dave Foley is the big In Plain Sight guest star this week — and I have to confess, I’ve never been a big Foley fan. But as Horst Vanderhof, the term negotiator/payment collector for hit woman Lola, he shows a deliciously cold-blooded side when he gets busted by the FBI, and he’s a pleasure to watch for the entire hour.
Gun totin’ spoilers ahead…
An uncharacteristically chipper Mary comes into the office bearing "complicated coffee beverages," and her mood changes abruptly when she spies a letter from a private security firm on Marshal Marshall’s desk — and proceeds to read it. Marshall’s been interviewing and he’s got a job offer.
Horst is this week’s witness — he got busted just a few miles from the prison where he ends up getting sent, and where another inmate gets killed in an unrelted incident. Put a pin in that one. A very crabby Mary is shooting daggers from her eyes at Marshall, and she interrogates him in an increasingly hostile manner on the way to pick up the prisoner. Their bickering makes, shall we say, a less-than-favorable impression on Horst when they pick him up. He’s a diabetic, and Mary insists he test his blood sugar before they leave. Put a pin in that one too.
They pull over for a pit stop at a gas station, where they run into a suspicious couple, and Horst, thinking he’s talking to Marshall, calls Mary "one of the angriest, most controlling, most toxic women I’ve ever encountered — and I work for a female assassin." Back on the road, the car breaks down (the guy faked picking something up off the ground and wiped acid or something on the radiator hose), and while Marshall’s under the hood (with his face a little too close to the engine for my taste), the suspicious couple shows up and starts shooting. Marshall gets shot in the upper left chest, and while Mary is battling the pair, he ends up saving her with some more shots of his own. Needing to contend with both the car and a wounded Marshll, they pull into an abandoned gas station/bar.
Mary and Marshall strategize about what to do — and he shows off an impressive amount of medical training. He can tell no vital organs have been hit, nose how to put in a version of a chest tube, and with half a bottle of water creates a suction machine. Trying to figure out what to do, Marshall tells Mary to take Horst and get out of there. "You better not die," she tells him." "I’ll try not to die. For you," he responds. Aw.
Of course, they’ve been followed, once again, by the couple and a couple of others. Clearly, they work for Lola, they’re after Horst, and it’s not looking like a good fight. The woman assassin is using a GPS locator to track them. Oh, and the ever-charming Mary refers to Horst as a festering pustule.
All the while, with her weasely witness (Foley really does a terrific job with the physical comedy and with being a smarmy, snarky jerk) hiding behind the bar and her partner growing paler, Mary continues questioning Marshall — why didn’t you tell me? Why do you want to leave the Marshal service? Am I so bad, and the reason? Marshall, bless him, puts it to her in a way that neatly dodges what we’ve all put together already — including by the astute group of commenters on this site. "I feel like I’m the keeper of this exotic animal," he says. "And I spend my time either protecting you from the world or protecting the world from you." She keeps pushing — oh, Mary, are you really that oblivious? The guy’s got a sucking chest wound, and you’re really going to make him spell it out? come on. Over the course of their conversation, they each admit that the other is basically their only friend. Like I said, we all know it’s more than that and no one’s saying so, but the effect is actually rather sweet, rather than awful and hokey. I’m willing to go with it.
Mary goes outside, looking to kill the killers before they kill her. And notices that the bullet holes in the car from their gun battle are only in her door — they never shot at Horst, whom they presumably were trying to kill. The scene between Mary McCormack and Dave Foley where she puts it all together — that Horst is Lola (the part where she sings, ever so softly, the Kinks song, is brilliant), and that the whole thing was a set-up — is brilliant. Horst’s blood sugar tester has a GPS tracker, and he got himself arrested right near the prison where he was hired to perform a hit (the "unrelated" prisoner murder). Mary’s a smart cookie, and she plays this very very well.
The hitsters are outside, and Mary grabs Horst, shoves her gun into the side of his head, and makes a deal: trade you the guy for the car. After some successful persuasion ("Fine. We’ll shoot it out. But I guarantee Mr. Personality here gets my first shot."), gets Marshall into the car and gets him help. And in the end, after Marshall’s taken away in an ambulance, she and Stan take Horst and his peeps in.
At the hospital, waiting to hear about Marshall’s condition, Mary’s too shaken to cry. Then her mother and sister show up, and the tears start to flow.
On the B side, the ne’er-do-well mother/sister storyline didn’t do so badly this week. They still haven’t gone near the enormous stash of cocaine or heroin or whatever it is that the sister’s hiding at Mary’s house, but they did allow Brandi to find her mother sitting in a bar surrounded by men, Scarlett O’Hara style, when she should be off selling her cosmetics. They end up commiserating over how they’ve messed things up, and how they can’t tell Mary how they’ve messed up, because she’d kill them. And because one-eyed Ted’s dog ate the cosmetics, the mother needs to figure out how to pay Mary back the $2,500 she owes her. They try to sell her jewelry to raise it, but the stash of jewels and pearls that she thought represented heartfelt gifts from men really turn out to be fake. Unsurprisingly. But we end up with a tiny bit of insight: the sister’s sharper than we’ve been led to believe, and the mother’s kind of a blowsy romantic who makes horrible choices. Doesn’t mean I want to spend more time around either of them, but it felt like a little bit of actual story development.
What did you think? Will Mary get a clue where Marshall’s concerned? Are you glad Marshall got more of a story? Was the way Marshall explained his need to leave believable? Were you somewhat satified with the mother/sister storyline?