“Snap, Crackle, Pop” highlights the show’s strengths and weaknesses as one case threatens to overwhelm another. And where did the animals go?
This recap of Briarpatch Season 1, Episode 2, “Snap, Crackle, Pop”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Briarpatch Episode 2, “Snap, Crackle, Pop”, takes everything that worked and didn’t work about the first episode and makes the distinction even clearer. The colorful setting and characters of San Bonafacio and the stellar choice in pantsuits remain highlights; the lack of interest around the central whodunit and a much more interesting story beginning to develop parallel to it are drawbacks. I could probably complain more about these niggles than I’m inclined to do, though, since the overwhelming sense of style and charisma which helps to set this show apart also helps to make its various deficiencies somewhat negligible – and besides, most of them are fixable with time anyway.
Of course, it’s difficult to care much about who killed Felicity Dill (Michele Weaver) since she was only around for one scene and her own sister, Allegra (Rosario Dawson), isn’t keen on wearing her emotions on her sleeve. Everything we know and continue to learn about Felicity has all been second-hand anecdotal stuff dispensed by colorful supporting townsfolk whose various quirks and idiosyncrasies tend to be more entertaining than the information they’re providing about the case.
Functionally, though, Briarpatch Episode 2 is fulfilling a very specific purpose; basically a tour of the locale for various helpings of useful exposition but also, much more importantly, to meet the untrustworthy types who all factor into the case in one way or another. Colder (Brian Geraghty) features in a comedic cold-open, boozy reporter Freddie Laffter (John Aylward) makes frequent appearances, Felicity’s exhibitionist tenant Cindy McCabe (Allegra Edwards) makes a pass at Allegra, the suspicious Chief Raytek (Kim Dickens) behaves inconsistently, Felicity’s star athlete lover Floyd Ferness (Jon Beavers) believes he’ll inevitably be framed for her murder, and coked-up weapons-dealing paranoiac Jake Spivey (Jay R. Ferguson) continues to be an absolute delight.
This is a wonderful archetypal Texan tapestry given a neo-noir shakeup, and the off-kilter humor and occasional bouts of sheer absurdity keep Briarpatch Episode 2 consistently watchable, even when it’s meandering. Director Steven Piet does really good work in “Snap, Crackle, Pop” when it comes to livening up basic, utilitarian scenes with clever staging. Such undeniable creative competency gives one hope that the show knows what it’s doing even as it becomes increasingly obvious that everything involving Jake, his fugitive buddy Clyde Brattle (Alan *******), and the deposition that by episode’s end has been stolen from a choked-out Allegra, is significantly more engaging than Felicity’s fate.
The roads will, inevitably, converge, and our emotional investment in Allegra’s personal crusade rather than her professional one at the behest of Cyrus (Charles Parnell) and the Senator can always be developed with moments of emotional candor that Rosario Dawson is more than capable of delivering when called upon. Until then, you have to hope that the show’s setting and style will continue to paper over any cracks in the storytelling, and Briarpatch Season 1, Episode 2 suggests it might – for a while, anyway.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.