After last week’s strong episode, I was psyched for this week’s Lie To Me. The writers are revealing more layers to all of the team members, which helps immensely in building and maintaining interest in who is lying and why. This week’s entry focuses on the “why” with both cases, and at the same time illustrates the cost of knowing too much.
Foster and Loker use psychology to appear to lose a one-upmanship game with a foreign diplomat in order to save a young American citizen from execution, while Lightman tries to figure out where his priorities lie when a case involves one of his closest friends. In contrast to most of the episodes this season, the secondary story is actually the riveting one, while Cal’s case suffers from not being complex enough or morally ambiguous enough to completely engage me in his dilemma. Nevertheless, the case does show the personal cost of spotting lies and gives some interesting background on Lightman.
The B case grabbed me from the cold open, as brother and sister Marcus and Nicole Braden (Brian Norris and Jessie Lande) drive along in a foreign country later revealed as Yemen. Marcus has pulled a surprise spring break visit to his sister and he’s brought along another surprise — some hash. Apparently Marcus failed to read up on drug laws in Arab countries following Islamic law, because the penalty for trafficking is death. Nicole, who works in Yemen, is only too aware and her terror as she and Marcus are pulled over by military officers for a spot check is palpable. Marcus is still clueless, but a video later released with his and Nicole’s confessions reveals that he soon joined her in fear.
The State Department is negotiating for the young people’s release, a negotiation made difficult because they cannot get a read from the Yemen negotiating team on which demands really need to be met and which are negotiable. Black and white issues of innocence and guilt or even rescue are not driving this situation, as Foster quickly susses out. She realises the American team has been dealing with the wrong person on the team — the highest ranking diplomat used a lower ranking man to deliver the demands as a way to confuse the Americans from getting a good read of the situation. But he is not able to stop himself from always entering the room last, a way to show dominance in Arab culture. The chief American negotiator, who hasn’t been especially open or friendly to Foster or Loker, is grateful for the new information, but not grateful at all his own lie about trying to get both hostages back with equal vigour has been exposed. He snaps to Loker that he’s being paid to analyse the other team. Loker establishes the theme of “The Best Policy” when he simply says they expose the lies where they find them.