“The Code of Hawaladar” was action-packed, but didn’t do much to move the plot forwards.
This Blood & Treasure recap for the episode titled “Code of the Hawaladar” contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
CBS’s copy-pasted summertime action-adventure romp continues apace in “Code of the Hawaladar”, and after the action-packed two-handed premiere, we got… well, more of the same, really. It’s still a chase within a chase stocked with cartoon archetypes and reliant on action and tropes instead of plot progression or character development, but at least we got some effort towards the latter in this week’s episode, even if it didn’t amount to much.
To recap: Jetsetting archeological terrorist Farouk (Oded Fehr) has nebulous but no doubt sinister plans for the sarcophagi of Antony and the missing Cleopatra. He’s being pursued by law enforcement and also the superstar treasure-hunting tag-team of Choir Boy Wonder Danny (Matt Barr) and his morally flexible ex-girlfriend Sexy Lexi (Sofia Pernas), who aren’t confined by jurisdictional red tape but are a bit befuddled about who they can trust.
A lot of “Code of the Hawaladar” is concerned with the trustworthiness of various characters, each of whom has their own agendas and allegiances. Gwen (Katia Winter) represents the interests of Interpol, Aiden Shaw (Michael James Shaw) represents the interests of mostly himself, Asim (Patrick Sabongui) was maybe a bad guy but then a good guy and finally a dead guy, and so on. The only remotely trustworthy figure is Father Chuck (Mark Gagliardi), Danny’s put-upon Irish Catholic bestie, and their longstanding relationship — plus Chuck’s burgeoning appreciation for Lexi — formed most of the character drama this week.
These are still very familiar archetypes, but at least “Code of the Hawaladar” made some effort to humanize them. The impossibly handsome good-at-everything whizzkid had his heart broken by a beautiful exotic woman who puts up defenses to hide her own damage, much to the chagrin of Mr. Handsome’s much less handsome but well-meaning best friend — it’s hardly revolutionary storytelling. But both Gagliardi and Pernas are good in their respective roles and helped to sell some of this, so credit where it’s due.
It’s even harder to care about what’s happening elsewhere in “Code of the Hawaladar”. The shifty Aiden Shaw seems to just dip in and out of the plot whenever he feels like it and not for any particular reason, while the seemingly straight-shooting Gwen seems to have little function beyond bureaucratic posturing and sweeping in to mop-up action sequences. I suppose she’ll be used more once the inevitable love triangle gets properly underway, but I’m not sure that’ll be an improvement, and the confusion around Asim’s morality — and Danny’s subsequent guilty mourning, basically cured by a spot of baseball — was unconvincing too.
As for all the other questions — what is Farouk’s endgame? What is the actual power of the sarcophagi? How does it all relate to the Nazis who stole it in the first place? — there were precious few answers to be found in “Code of the Hawaladar”. It’s still early in the season, of course, so you can’t expect everything to be revealed immediately, but one gets the sense of Blood & Treasure killing time because it isn’t entirely sure of where it’s going.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.