Perception Review: Are You There God? It's Me, Daniel Pierce.
If you thought Daniel Pierce seeing hallucinations of World War I code breakers was crazy, "Messenger" upped the ante with visions of Joan of Arc.
Yes, Joan of Arc, with her bowl haircut and drab tunic graced the television screen, but no Milla Jovovich was anywhere to be found.
Pierce's break with reality noticeably paralleled that of the episode's case focus on a young man named Kyle who could talk to God. Surprisingly, Pierce immediately jumped towards Temporal Lobe Epilepsy as the problem (the condition that has been said to have affected Joan of Arc) rather than spend the episode trying to figure it all out.
Which is an interesting direction to take because the prime focus lay in figuring out the identity of the killer rather than a neurological mystery. Unfortunately, that meant for a bland hunt for the murderer who could have only been one of the other side characters for the episode. I'm just surprised Scooby and the gang didn't help.
Pierce spent more time debating science vs. faith, but the concept was thought provoking because of the fact that he has hallucinations. In a way, he's a lot like Kyle.
He might have been adamant in wanting to fix Kyle's "problem," but if the same thing was turned on Pierce, I've got a feeling he'd be at a loss for words. He doesn't want to be fixed or take his medicine, despite science saying that it can help. Frankly, I'm a little amazed no one said anything to him about it, but I guess not everyone knows that he's seeing messengers from God.
And while I recognize that Joan of Arc, and similarly all of Pierce's other visions, are essentially his subconscious helping him solve problems, sometimes it feels as if it is being too spelled out. I mean, Joan of Arc literally told him everything.
Sure, you could argue that Pierce is really just telling himself the answer and we get to see his head at work, but it'd be nice to have a more clever reveal than Joan of Arc smiling and saying something like, "She did it. Don't you see?"
It felt like a little too much exposition for the episode and, really, Joan of Arc just wasn't able to stop it.
I wonder if the show would be able to stand on its own without the hallucinations. I think it can and if anything, it could be entertaining to have visions that weren't helpful or just popped in to make comments rather than explain everything.
Eric McCormack still lays down a great foundation with his acting as Pierce, that while it'll be hard to ever forget him on Will & Grace, he's really creating a character that is its own. It's not Will on Perception, it's Daniel Pierce on Perception.
Which makes me wish that the same could be said for the other characters. They work in their own rights, Kate Moretti as the determined FBI agent or Max Lewicki as the helpful assistant, but I want to see more. I don't want cookie cutter. I just hope the show really fleshes them out so they have more to do than just be counterparts to Pierce.
For the most part, the episode remained pretty average, although certain aspects were underwhelming for me. Truthfully, there's plenty to like about Perception from McCormack to the concept itself, but I'm still waiting for the show to become about more than just those two.
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.