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'Briarpatch' Episode 8 Review: Brattle takes apart Allegra, Spivey and Raytek's well-laid plans

Brattle is way ahead of the  Allegra-Raytek-Spivey team up because he has a 'man on the inside' - Gene Colder
Rosario Dawson in 'Briarpatch' (USA)
Rosario Dawson in 'Briarpatch' (USA)

Only 'Briarpatch' would have a high stakes cat and mouse game play out at a crummy high school reunion. But to be fair, where else could we have Jake Spivey (Jay R Ferguson) confront the ghosts from his past as Allegra Dill (Rosario Dawson) and Clyde Brattle (Alan Cumming) come to haunt him albeit in very different ways.

But before we get to Spivey, we should talk about what a revelation Eve Raytek (Kim Dickens) is in this episode. In the cold open, we see her inspecting a discolored plank marring her white porch roof. When she goes to scrape off the cracking paint before she whitewashes it, she discovers a hive of bees hiding behind the rotting plank. 

She digs out the hive, suffocates the bees in liquid white paint and by the time she has to go to work, she has finished fixing her porch and it looks like it's new. The scene plays out as a broader analogy to what Spivey and Raytek have been trying to accomplish in 'Saint Disgrace' which is to give the town a long-overdue overhaul. 

Spivey has bought up all the extra real estate in town and Raytek has to get elected mayor so that she can get him his zoning permits and then they can finally get people like the Mayor and the other "blue bloods" in town to shut up and listen to them. Spivey getting immunity from the Senator is all that is standing between them and this dream. 

Spivey, PTSDing from his memories in Syria and still bleeding from the gunshot wound, isn't able to impress the Senator with his charm or his "horror stories". Both Cyrus (Charles Parnell) and the Senator are keen on Brattle testifying instead. This means that the only way Spivey can get a deal is to remove Brattle from the playing field. 

While Allegra isn't keen on teaming up with Raytek, circumstances are dire and there is only so much Allegra and Jake, despite being badasses, can accomplish on their own. They need Raytek and her men. So they hatch the plan to use Jake as bait to draw Brattle out. Raytek takes the job of taking his men out, while Allegra and Jake have to take care of Brattle in the Science room. 

Everything goes swimmingly, at first. Raytek and her deputy take care of Brattle's men who are parked outside the school. Spivey, while decidedly rattled to meet his nemesis in such close quarters, has his game face on. With Allegra, the only woman he has ever wanted to impress, watching, how could he not be ready? The highlights of this episode are his slow, drawly conversations with Allegra, followed by the equally intimate conversation he has with Brattle but with a much darker undertone. 

Like Brattle's other men, Spivey also has the squiggly tattoo on his neck that he strokes nervously each time he remembers his time being "Brattle's weapon". Brattle strokes his cheek gently while threatening him and berating him for getting fat. 

It is obvious that Brattle psychologically manipulated Spivey into committing mass murders so that he could make a little extra cash. And he still manages to get under Spivey's skin with a few brief whispered words. 

Brattle is also way ahead of the  Allegra-Raytek-Spivey team up because he has a "man on the inside", who is, you guessed it - Gene Colder. Though Raytek has his number and gets one of her deputies to lock him up in the supply room of the station, he crawls through the air conditioning duct to reach the school on time and free Brattle's two henchmen. He also has a bust-up with Raytek and she just barely manages to escape with her life by locking herself in, in the bulletproof police van. 

Allegra, who realizes Brattle has one more man to do his bidding,  races outside to find Colder. At first, she doesn't suspect him till she smells tar, the same smell that Cindy smelt right after the bomb that killed Felicity Dill went off.

The tar tip, courtesy AD Singe, makes Allegra realize that it was Gene who had killed her sister after he found out she was secretly investigating him. But even though she clocks Colder, one of Brattle's men finds them and takes Allegra out with chloroform. 

Spivey is also bundled up from the party. He and Allegra, both of them unconscious, are trussed up like chickens in Brattle's caravan as Brattle and his men drive out of town triumphant.

This last scene is a complete reversal of the hopeful beginning Raytek had promised. When AD Singe comes to pick up Allegra at the school, his jaw drops to the ground as he walks around among the ruinous remains of the party that ended as soon as Brattle's men started firing guns. 

With this episode, we can finally distinguish the dark characters from the grey ones, because in 'Briarpatch' everyone has done something shady in their life. But Brattle and his "inside man" Colder, are something else. But how will Spivey and Allegra get out of their current predicament since they are completely at the mercy of Brattle? Here is hoping Allegra has some tricks up those fancy white sleeves of her suit. 

'Briarpatch' airs on Mondays at 11/10c on the USA Network.