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'The Divide' recap: Kucik reenters society, while D.A. Page goes digging for truth

Season 1 | Episode 4 | “Never Forget” | Aired July 30, 2014

Terry Kucik is a free man. Sort of.

Walking out of the penitentiary that has held him for 11 years, Kucik meets Rosa in the parking lot and prepares himself for another kind of prison: living with his parents.

In what is certainly a minor victory for the Innocence Initiative, Rosa and Rylance’s efforts to release Kucik back into the real world ain’t going to be easy, from the looks of things. First, he is under house detention, meaning he is required to wear an ankle bracelet. While his mother is more than happy to have her son back home—happily making him a grilled cheese sandwich at one point—his father would rather see him still in prison.

Then there is that pesky swastika/four-leaf clover tattoo on his left hand that might make it a little harder for Kucik to be accepted back into civilized society.

At the Page household, Adam came clean to Billie at the tail end of last week’s episode in regard to how much he might have known about Bankowski’s innocence. We pick up the morning after, with Billie crystal clear at just how disappointed she is in her husband. “We had a deal, remember? Do you think I became a corporate lawyer because that’s who I am? Do you think that’s my dream?” she asks, reminding Adam of all she put on hold to help him achieve his goals.

Billie confronting her husband proves to be the catalyst for Adam to do everything in his power to make things right. This leads him first to Isaiah, his police commissioner father, before Adam pays a visit to the lab technician (Daniel Kash, perfectly smarmy in his one scene), now a professor, who falsified Bankowski’s original DNA sample. Both instances hint at a potential conspiracy behind the case. Adam’s confrontation with his father takes it one step further: the possibility that the District Attorney of Philadelphia is a mere puppet in the grand scheme of things.

Later, Kucik has a sit-down with Rylance, who walks him through the guidelines of his house arrest. Rylance lets him know that Rosa pulled some strings and secured a gig for him at Maxine’s, the bar she moonlights at and which is run by its namesake—who just happens to be in a relationship with Rosa’s imprisoned father (she’s played by stage veteran Jan Maxwell). Rylance also warns Kucik to lay low, as Eric Zale and his father might be after him. Despite the seriousness of this scene, it does manage to provide my favorite line of dialogue from the episode: After Kucik asks Rylance if he wants to go to the gym or rent a DVD, Rylance retorts, “DVDs died while you were in prison.”

As Rosa prepares to take the bar exam, she does squeeze in time to send Jenny a copy of Kucik’s initial statement, in which he declares his innocence (behind Rylance’s back, of course). When the already-fragile Jenny begins sifting through it, it triggers an emotional response.

When we return to Adam, he has set up a meeting with Billie’s brother, Bobby, who we learn was a cop before his dependence on the bottle derailed his career. “You were a good cop before you started drinking,” says Adam. “Baby, I was a good cop while I was drinking,” answers Bobby (second-favorite line of the episode). Currently working in the “exciting” world of private security, Bobby first thinks Adam is going to tell him to stay away from his family, but is surprised to get offered a job instead.

Jenny takes the crucial step of visiting Kucik at his job. The two have an honest conversation about her sister—and whether Kucik really loved her. She then hands him a drawing made by her sibling before walking away, visibly shaken.

Back at Maxine’s, an inebriated Rosa admits to Kucik that she failed the bar and opens up about her shaky testimony during her father’s trial that might have led to his incarceration. She follows that by sloppily making a pass at him. Meanwhile, Jenny leaves the Page residence, but not before setting an envelope on a side table. In a remote, snow-covered setting, Isaiah meets with a mystery man (Kenneth Welsh), who has some sort of connection to the case. Could this be the Zale patriarch we’ve heard so much about? The answer to that question—as well as the fate of Jenny Butler, last seen having swallowed a bottle of pills—will have to wait until next week.

Written by Dana Baratta and cocreator Richard LaGravenese (from a story by Baratta) and directed by Janusz Kaminski, better known as Steven Spielberg’s cinematographer and a double Oscar-winner (for Schindler’s List and Saving Private Rya3702640947001-210x140n), episode 4 is by far my favorite for a myriad of reasons. For one, it perfectly highlights the amazing work of its terrific ensemble. While the episode clearly belongs to Kucik and Adam, the wealth is spread equally in one great scene after another. And I’ve come to the conclusion that I really, really love these characters—with my three personal faves being Billie, Rylance and Jenny (oh, Jenny, I wish I could break the fourth wall and give you a nice big hug).

Rosa, in particular, may be hampered with a throwaway subplot involving her bar exam here, but the intimate moment between her and Kucik near the end is one of this episode’s highlights. It’s difficult to play tough and vulnerable, but Rosa is shaping up to be a true flesh-and-blood heroine, full of moxie in one scene—and absolutely human, with all her frailties out in the open, in the next. I think this is the episode that gives Marin Ireland full ownership of her character.

I was halfway through “Never Forget” when it finally dawned on me that what makes The Divide great is the timelessness of its premise. The Divide could be in any time period, really. The relationship and banter between Rosa and Rylance has a His Girl Friday quality to it (that 1940s classic also has a plot involving a man on death row). Meanwhile, Adam’s quest for justice and a little redemption harkens back to the social activist films of the ’60s and ’70s. But what really gets me excited are the elements of film noir episode 4 introduces; the only things missing are rampant cigarette smoke and black-and-white cinematography (I really love film noir, in case you can’t tell). Much more mystery is introduced here, and we finally get confirmation that this city is full of hidden secrets lurking in the shadows that even those at a higher level don’t know about.

It’s qualities like these that make for great television. The Divide is on its way.

The Divide airs Wednesdays at 9/8C on WE tv.

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