Perception – Pilot: Part 2

“Pilot” is episode one of season one of Perception and this article continues covering the episode where the previous one left off.

Moretti, accompanied by Agent Probert, shows Pierce the death threats. They came from servers all over the world and claim that the FDA and drug companies are conspiring to keep people sick. Which Pierce says is true. He notices that every email includes the phrase ‘scum need a hearty reminder.’ Which is an anagram of TechSAN murdered Irene May. Probert asks if the sender went to so much trouble to disguise the source yet gave them a name. Apparently it was to prove that the sender was smarter. It failed. Moretti has Irene May; a case was filed by her son Timothy on behalf of his mother but it was dismissed. Moretti also has an address.

They arrive at the address and Moretti tells Pierce to stay in the car and she and her partner knock on the door. The building super is accompanying them and, when Timothy May doesn’t answer, Moretti shows him a warrant and get the door open. Inside it looks as if Timothy May has a room full of crazy. He’s also climbing out a window and going down the fire escape. Moretti follows and, when May reaches the bottom, leaps on him from some way up the fire escape. Pierce tells her that leaping from a second story fire escape is what they professionally call crazy. It certainly looked it.

At the FBI, May says that it isn’t against the law to send emails. Moretti tells him it is against the law to send terrorist threats and murder is really against the law. May replies that he isn’t cooperating with the beast known as the U.S. government. So Pierce asks Moretti for a herbal tea, no milk, no sugar. As in leave and get it. Once Moretti is gone, Pierce tells May that processed sugar is an addictive drug promoted by big ag so that their pals in bug pharma can make billions selling treatment. And don’t even get him started on hormones in milk.

Pierce tells may he isn’t a fed, but a college professor. He occasionally gives them his expert opinion; if they are bleeding him in taxes he may as well get something from it. He talks to May about May’s mother, saying she had type 2 diabetes. Which was why Timothy signed her up for a drug trial of TechSAN’s new miracle cure. Timothy replies that they said it was a guaranteed cure, but his mother dropped dead of a heart attack. His case was thrown out and called frivolous. Pierce says that must have made May angry – angry enough to kill Clark? May asks if he really looks as if he’s got it in him to cave in some guy’s head.

Afterwards, Moretti tells Pierce they have solved the case. He asks if they really think Timothy May killed Weilman and she says not. He may be paranoid but there’s no physical evidence linking him to the murder. They were assigned to investigate terrorist threats and they have a man in custody. Case solved. Pierce asks what about the murder and Probert tells him that’s for the local police. Pierce tells Moretti that she can’t dangle a puzzle in front of him and then not solve it. Moretti admits to Pierce that being sent back was a demotion. Pierce asked if it was for leaping off too many tall buildings in pursuit of suspects. She tells him that the director felt she had a tendency to go beyond the scope of her investigations. Pierce asks Moretti if she’s going to be a good little bureaucrat and deny her impulses, or admit she is just as incapable of dropping this as him.

Given that they end up back at TechSAN, evidently Moretti cannot. They are speaking to a Dr Bryant and Pierce asks if their new blockbuster drug causes heart attacks. There was a lawsuit claiming the drug caused a heart attack. Alan states that the case was dismissed and Dr Bryant appears to find it funny. When asked if it’s funny, he says no, it’s sad. But the May woman was in the placebo group – she wasn’t even taking the drug. Pierce has been distracted by another tech who is staring back at him.

At this point Hammond arrives, looking for a Valerie Nelson. He wants to have a word. Hammond says that they have another motive for Pamela Weilman killing her husband; Clark was exchanging a lot of late-night phone calls with a pretty young co-worker. Valerie admits she was seeing Clark and says that they were in love. She was at home that night waiting for Clark to call as he was going to tell Pamela he was leaving her. Moretti says that Pamela has amnesia, so perhaps she killed Clark in adrenaline-fuelled rage, then forgot until the police questioned her. Pierce says it’s a good theory – but wrong. Pamela is just another victim. Her husband cheated on her and the Neanderthal cop wants to put her in prison. Which Pierce considers typical of how the justice system treats the mentally ill. Moretti invites Pierce out for a bite but he replies he can’t go.

At Pierce’s home, a friend, Natalie, asks why he didn’t say yes. He replies he had a date with her; she tells him they have not had a date since grad school and it’s time to move on. Natalie knows how Pierce feels; consulting disrupts his routine and they both know how that affects him. Pierce says that’s why he has Lewicki. Natalie asks what happens when Lewicki graduates – Pierce thinks that given how often his assistant changes majors, there is no chance of that.

Sometime after Natalie left, Pierce’s doorbell goes. He goes to it and sees the man he was staring at from TechSAN, who says his name is Gerard Permut. He has information on the murder and has read all of Pierce’s books and knows Pierce understands people like him. Permut claims the voices made him do it; he is in love with Valerie Nelson and the voices said the pain would go away if he killed Weilman. Pierce calls for Lewicki, who eventually comes down. Pierce says that there is a situation but Lewicki stares at him. And Pierce realises something – he says to Lewicki that the man isn’t actually there, is he.

So, Dr Pierce is not exactly the most stable of people, and he knows it. He tells the hallucinatory Permut at one point that the reason he keeps Lewicki around is so that Lewicki can tell him whether or not his hallucinations are real (at the end of the episode, one definitely is real). Pierce is also fond of cassettes – he listens to his music on them. Even though Lewicki tells him it would be easier if Pierce got an iPod. It’s often said that there is a fine line between genius and insanity – Pierce appears to be straddling that line. However, sometimes what he sees is his unconscious mind trying to tell him something – for there is a twist in the case right at the very end.


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