So Help Me Pod
In quite a different format, episode 6 of So Help Me Todd starts off with Margaret explaining on a podcast about an old case of hers. As Francey tells later in the episode, it was one of Margaret’s career most important ones.
Antonia Suarez was convicted of killing neighbor Raya Chen. She is imprisoned for life and Margaret appeals to everyone listening to give her any shred of evidence that can overturn the conviction. It happened back in November 2009 and she has used all her appeals. Todd walks in on Margaret and Lea Luna, a friend of Allison’s, recording for the latter’s podcast, “PDX-Files”. Todd is impressed by Lea and tries to impress her by presuming to be the investigator on the case.
Lea bites and while asking him about it, she inadvertently records that Margaret missed Todd’s 18th birthday and he is hurt by that memory. Margaret talks about reopening Antonia’s case with her and her daughter Kacey. But she gets mixed responses. Hope is all that convinces Antonia to give her consent to Margaret. Todd makes an argument to replace Lyle on the case to “get a fresh perspective” and Margaret reluctantly agrees. He also does it in a bid to spend more time with Lea.
The trio reaches Antonia’s building and we are introduced to the old building residents. Evelyn Wilder, a novelist, Devin DeLeon, an accountant, and Olga Szabo, the building manager. As they stand outside, Devin recognizes Margaret and it is revealed that he is staying in Raya’s apartment now. It seems that he also loved her and warns them to tread carefully.
That night, Margaret gets a mysterious phone call by someone asking her to drop the case or risk her life. The next day, Lea and Todd make their way into the building. They go to Devin’s apartment but it is empty.
They find handwritten Chinese notes under the sink and outside, they hear a loud thud. It is Devin, who is killed just outside the building. Margaret listens to the recording of Todd saying he was hurt when she missed his birthday and it sticks with her. Francey gets Margaret a warrant to search Devin’s apartment. At the scene, Todd creatively goes through Devin’s last dialed numbers. But it leads nowhere.
Officer Lupa interacts with Margaret and tells her about two detectives who were arguing about the case – Ekert and Marshal. Margaret is troubled by Todd’s accusation as she believes she was there on his birthday. Todd and Lea interview Olga and access the tenancy records in the basement.
Ekert reveals that their Chief at the time, Linton, cut corners and often fast-tracked investigations to give good numbers to the council, indicating that Antonia’s case might have not been investigated properly. Margaret and Francey try to find out Marshal’s location for more information. Todd reveals more about his isolated and lonely time growing up to Lea, which is a nice touch in this episode.
When they try to leave, they find the basement door to be jammed from the outside and there is no cell service. Todd believes that his absence from the family dinner that night might alert them. But it is shown that they do not notice his absence. Margaret also gets another threat from the same person. Todd sends his mobile in a dumbwaiter up so that the text he sent could actually go through when the cell finds service. Until then, he and Lea listen to recordings from a file.
Germaine Gulrench has the same distinct snorty laugh as Evelyn and Todd spots that. She changed her name when her writing career did not take off. Margaret meets with Marshal but he is of no help. He does reveal a box of evidence that he never filed but burnt later Linton’s instructions. Olga soon finds the duo in the basement and confirms Todd’s theory. But it turns out that Marshal does have the box and brings it to Margaret in her office. She goes through it with Francey and Lyle. They find the murder weapon in the box and further notes written in Chinese.
Susan understands Chinese and is brought in to translate. It seems like romantic writing but as she is reciting it in English, Lyle finds a copy of the same thing on the internet. It is under Evelyn’s name. Francey informs that the fingerprints on the weapon match that of the tape recorder the blackmailer sent Margaret. Todd sends a message to Margert asking her to come to a book reading of Evelyn’s. Once there, they bait Evelyn into accepting that she is the one who killed Raya because she stole her work to become a successful writer and Raya protested that. She also killed Devin as he was on to her.
Antonia is free and Todd asks Lea about her feelings. She is positive but goes out of town and hence bids him goodbye for now. Margaret finally makes up for her absence and celebrates Todd’s birthday once again with a cake. She promises to be more present in his life and the family rejoices together.
The Episode Review
The OMITB vibe was quite useful here. Episode 6 is arguably the best episode in the season yet, seamlessly blending story with drama and emotion. The latter indeed was on point and the writers did recognize that putting it in the center stage would elevate the captive intensity of the episode.
They have finally cracked the formula that So Help Me Todd has been searching for since its start. Lea Luna was a warm introduction and we would not mind her returning in the season and perhaps becoming a regular as Todd’s love interest. Their chemistry was peppy, witty, and a deserved gift for Todd.
This episode felt wholesome. All elements of mystery were kept and nurtured well. The underlying message for injustices and the will to fight against them was captured tenderly. The best parts remained the ones that Margaret and Todd spent together. And Francey and the former. Francey has been grossly underutilized until now and she is fit to play a more significant part. This Episode might just be So Help Me Todd’s turning point and a bid to get a season renewal as well.