Death and Other Details: Exquisite
February 7, 2024 11:24 AM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Imogene and Sunil pursue a lead in Malta, while Rufus teams up with Leila and Teddy.
posted by miss-lapin (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Did they bring changes of clothes with them to drop the refugees off in Malta?

I’m also a bit puzzled as to Rufus went from the map to the hidden space on the yacht, to say nothing of why Viktor would centralize his operations on the yacht anyway. I suppose it is pointing at the Chuns or Sunil but it’s too soon for it to be that clear.
posted by synecdoche at 3:01 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]

Rufus realized, looking at the places marked on the map, that the boat was where Viktor was hiding. To emphasize this they have him remember that Viktor seems to be "Everywhere and nowhere" while looking at the points on the map the boat has landed. He then looked at the layout to see where there would be space for Viktor to hide.

This episode seems to point towards Sunil as Viktor. You have Viktor's base of operations built into the boat, and there's the conversation about Caravaggio. Sunil remarks how his creation of something beautiful to make amends for murder. The unsaid connection there is Sunil building the boat perhaps as a way to make up for murder.

But Sunil is the wrong age to be Viktor unless we think he arranged a hit on her mom as a teenager or child. He could still be connected to it in some way, but I think this is another red herring with Sunil feeling guilt for something unrelated to Viktor.
posted by miss-lapin at 4:25 PM on February 7

There is no way Sunil doesn’t know his boat is being used for the crime operations - he’s obsessive about every detail and he wouldn’t notice narrow corridors? He’s going to be the banker for the operation - my guess is that Viktor is a Dread Pirate type name handed down.

They went to the hotel with shopping bags, presumably new clothes.

I did like that Laila was able to find the camera once someone believed her. Her wife may not have said crazy but she thought it loud and clear. Rufus listening and the way she calmly and logically swept the room compared to her panicked previous attempts was a nice bit of character building.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 5:10 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]

Another thing I am confused about—maybe because I missed something, or because it is a clue—is that Sunil says that he sunk everything into the boat and he's bankrupt as a result. But I thought we learned that the Chuns own the boat. So... Did he put his own money into restoring their boat? Did I totally miss something?
posted by synecdoche at 5:19 PM on February 7

I believe it is still Sunil's boat. It was chartered by the Colliers so they could mix business (signing the deal) with pleasure with the added bonus that such a display of wealth will allay suspicions about their financial hardship.

A lot of people pretending to be rich on the boat. Pretty sure there are more to go.
posted by miss-lapin at 5:49 PM on February 7

While midway through the episode I was definitely getting "Sunil is Viktor Sams (or someone closely related to Viktor Sams)" vibes, by the end of it I was convinced the launch they took to Malta was named the "Red Herring."

We already know Sunil is not aware of everything that happens on his boat ship: multiple members of the crew have already proven that they are persuing his own agendae under his nose. And at the same time I don't think we've met everyone on the crew yet—for example, who is actually responsible for navigation and command?

Anyway, brb, adding Malta to the lifetime destination list.
posted by thecaddy at 6:22 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]

It's weird that they had Leila find the camera in her room but did not show any search for cameras in Tripp's room. There were blackmail photos taken IN HIS ROOM. Based on the photos it seems like it would be pretty easy to figure out the angle from where the photos were taken. He was being accused of having taken the blackmail photos by his lover. Why would this not spur a search of his room for the cameras?
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:15 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]

Probably because Tripp is an idiot so it hasn't occurred to anyone that Viktor would care what he does, but also the only person aligned with the Colliers who know about that aside from Tripp is Llewellyn. This is kind of a "Umbrella Academy" problem where if everyone would get into the same room and conversation, it would be easily solved.
posted by miss-lapin at 5:13 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]

For an episode of a mystery show where Mandy Patinkin investigates rich people on a boat, this episode felt kind of lacking in fun to me, and for a series with this many episodes overall, it's been relatively stingy with doling out real personalities to most of the cruise guests. Secrets, yes, but it also feels like there's a lot of time spent repeatedly hitting the same character beats without much forward motion: Tripp is callow and angry! Celia is ruthless! The lawyer is a sleaze! Teddy feels a sense of responsibility to her family! Imogene has some complicated feelings about Rufus Cotesworth she'd like to discuss with anyone in earshot!

I think the strongest character moment was still right at the beginning, when "Keith" gives a surprisingly astute read on Imogene's relationship to wealth that's later paid off with the reveal of his true identity. The earlier episodes had some fun playing around with the malleability of memory, which I missed in this one.

That in turn left me free to start pondering logistics I'd otherwise happily ignore: The sitting governor of a state has the time to spend lounging idly on a ten-day international boat trip? It's sponsored by a major corporate donor, with a guest list including major foreign corporate interests, on which there is a murder investigation being helpfully livestreamed by an influencer, and she's not on a thousand crisis PR calls even before the blackmail photos?

Anyway, I'm enjoying the show more than this post would suggest, but this did not feel like the strongest episode.
posted by eponym at 11:45 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]

This episode brought me back after the Ukraine refugee nonsense.

The show sometimes feels like an Apple TV production. It is pretty, well crafted and funded, and wants to engage in anything potentially powerful or meaningful in the weirdest, shallowest, and corporate-friendly/lizardperson way imaginable.

This episode may not have been brilliant, but it moved things forward between Sunil and Imogene, promised near-future revelations for the banned dye shipment, brought Laila and the ship's chief of staff (forget her name) into Rufus' orbit, and ended on some delightful Three Investigators nonsense with the hidden room. That's the kind of nonsense that helps, not hurts, a story.

I hadn't thought about the age of Viktor Sams, and how that limits the potential suspect pool for who is running the organization unless it's a mantle assumed by several people. I had been thinking there's a good chance VS is someone in the Collier family. The Colliers were described so clearly and explicitly as victims in Imogene's mother's death that it seemed likely to be the kind of statement that later gets shown to be false. Rufus might have been fired because he was too close to working things out, not because he failed to do so.

I haven't noticed any real evidence on screen for a Collier to be VS, but I like the mom for it at the moment. It seems like the father is too worthless to be that kind of mastermind, and the lawyer is too sincere an advocate for the family. If the Colliers were the ones to charter the boat, then it may not be a coincidence that VS's operations are run from it.

Presumably VS's operations bring in tons of money, which is at odds with the Collier's financial situation, but there is the trust that seemingly only the attorney controls. I wonder if the baroque tax dodges of the family were hijacked by VS (a family member) and also hold and launder the blackmail money.

Agreed that Tripp's room should have been searched for cameras, but right now only the blackmailer, governor, and Tripp know the details, right? Tripp hasn't shown the photos to anyone else and only talked to his father without bringing up details. Tripp is dumb enough for that to make sense, and I can buy that the governor didn't push for it.

And... the governor is clearly sick, right? There are a few scenes where her physicality seems deliberately hinting at a major or chronic health issue. We even see her getting an IV of "vitamins" in the first episode. I wonder if she is fighting cancer? That might explain why she's decided to self sabotage with the Collier's fail son.
posted by Number Used Once at 4:32 PM on February 11 [3 favorites]

And... the governor is clearly sick, right? There are a few scenes where her physicality seems deliberately hinting at a major or chronic health issue. We even see her getting an IV of "vitamins" in the first episode. I wonder if she is fighting cancer? That might explain why she's decided to self sabotage with the Collier's fail son.

I think the implication is that she is being poisoned via the vitamin shots, for some reason.

At this point, I am continuing to watch for the sake of curiosity, but I am not confident that the solution will make a lick of sense.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 7:03 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]

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