TV Club: Battle Creek: “Cereal Killer”

The pitch for tonight’s episode is that Patton Oswalt is playing Rob Ford, albeit a rather more jovial, less hateful version of the crack-smoking former mayor of Toronto. Oswalt’s Mayor Scooter Hardy is the first character the show has introduced that feels like more than a means to a narrative end. Yes, the story of his attempted murder turned inadvertent shooting turned attempted murder once again is what drives the episode, but Scooter Hardy has dimensions to him that don’t specifically tie into his role as the target of an assassin’s bullet.

His final interaction with his arrested, largely unrepentant brother—played by Peter Jacobson, who last worked with David Shore as House‘s Dr. Taub—is a particularly nice moment from Oswalt, as his performance straddles the line between an earnest belief in people’s capacity for betterment and a willingness to manipulate that borders …

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