TV Club: Battle Creek: “Old Flames”

At its most compelling, Battle Creek is able to carve out a storytelling space that exists in more muted tones. That could sound counterintuitive, as it generally isn’t a good thing for a show to intentionally let the air out of its narrative tires. But “Old Flames” emerges as the strongest episode to date because it uses what at first appears to be an attempt on Commander Guziewicz’s life to spin out a bunch of more character-focused plotlines. Only some of them really end up revealing much about the detectives involved, but “Old Flames” has precisely the right instinct in centering the meatiest material on the commander, as that means the episode can be a showcase for Janet McTeer—that’s two-time Oscar nominee Janet McTeer to her friends. Her performance alone is good enough to elevate the episode above some of the expected cop show clichés, and …

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