Perception Review: Conspiracy Theory

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It's interesting to think that when Perception premiered, one of the biggest critiques was that it was centered on a super intuitive character that solved crime, much like a variety of other shows. In an attempt to set it apart, though, Dr. Daniel Pierce was a paranoid schizophrenia.

Certainly, the episodes that aired utilized his mental disorder to help him discover clues and figure it all out. We were given overly informative hallucinations like Joan of Arc and thought provoking ones like his younger self - but for the most part, those visions were mostly positive. They were, in a way, Pierce's ace up his sleeve, to finally crack the case.

At the same time, viewers were left trying to guess or be surprised by characters that might or might not be hallucinations. Even if there were certain lapses in Pierce's stability, there was a certain "fun" element to having him see these people around him.

"Shadow" broke the whole concept down and captured the reality, if you will, of that darker side to having schizophrenia and how heartbreaking it is to see someone fold underneath the illness.

Moretti & Pierce Investigate

Truthfully, most of the time TV has shown characters that have schizophrenia, we often see them as just crazy or delusional ramblers that make no sense. More often then not, shows portray them as killers that the police have been tasked with stopping.

Which is why Perception has done a fantastic job in peeling back the layers of a character with schizophrenia. It's an eye opening take that goes beyond the basic understandings and extends it to something that humanizes the situation. Of course, Eric McCormack has played Pierce to perfection, allowing the audience to care about him whether he's excitedly combing for answers or falling apart before our eyes.

That said, it was the final moments of the episode that really knocked it out of the park for me as we discovered that Pierce had been in his apartment the whole time. Watching McCormack turn Pierce from confident and assertive to disillusioned and broken was outstanding. The bathroom scene with Natalie especially captured the terrible atmosphere of being trapped in a world where you hear voices, become heavily engrossed in conspiracies and only want that one hallucination for comfort. If only Natalie really could give him a hug.

I was even pleased that Pierce was able to own up to his problem and admit himself. The whole revelation was a gut punch that took away all that so called fun of the imaginary friend.

Although, I would say that I liked the subtler moment of holding hands with Kate Moretti more than their passionate kiss. Maybe, I'm just not ready for these two to be together, but I guess it technically never really happened anyway.

Or did it?

At least on some level, some of the potential conspiracy has to be legitimate. Right?

That final revel that Wesley was in fact real and not just a figment of Pierce's imagination got my wheels turning. Is there a secret society and conspiracy theory that's true? And will JFK be back next episode? Would Kate really stun gun her partner?

The hour did a great job in playing with the "what's real" idea, although I kept wondering if his so called dream was within a dream or something.

But truly it was the character reveal of Pierce's mental break that made the episode stand out and spin everything on its head. What an emotional discovery before ending with a "to be continued..."

What did you think? Did you see the twist coming? Excited for next's week's conclusion? Sound off below!


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (78 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


Absolute work of art. This episode has completely blown (and played with) my mind! Great review with which I totally agree. Eric McCormack is amazing!


This episode was outstanding. I love Eric McCormack in this role, shows what a good actor he really is. I really can't say anything more than what others have said. This show is improving, and the writers totally fooled me. I liked that the murder probably through him into a psychotic break that lasted the weekend. But, that we learn at the end, that the murder really did happen. Very nice twists.


This show really is getting better and better with time. I like how it's allowing itself to stand out from the typical, run-of-the-mill crime shows, and with an episode like this, I don't think anyone could catergorize it as such. The chemistry between Pierce and Kate, is definietly there but the kiss was rushed...but the fact that the kiss seemed to be missing something should have hinted that it wasn't real in the first place. I thought this episode did an amazing job at showing the dark side to the illness while still managing to captivate and hold my attention. Without a doubt, best episode of the thus far...probably one of the best episodes i've seen this year...


Triple bait-and-switch plot! Easily the best episode. I liked the hug and hand-holding but did not care for the kiss as it lacked any chemistry whatsoever. I like that the series shows both the positives and the negatives of Daniel's condition. Daniel had a major episode true this episode but did make at least some correct connections which very few other people could have made. After all, the hallucinations are manifestations of his mind working things out so a total persistent hallucination (or whatever it's called) would be his mind working at full power I guess.


This episode was brilliantly acted by Eric McCormack, and the other actors did a great job, too. I knew it was all in his mind from the moment that he saw that guy fall with an arrow in his eye. I mean, who uses crossbows instead of guns for an assasination? It was only confirmed for me when he kissed Moretti, because, though they have chemistry, she is nowhere near ready to have a relationship with him, especially when his schizophrenia still kind of freaks her out. But I thought it took great courage for Daniel to ask Kate and Lewicki to drive him to the hospital so that he can get his medication and his mind in order. This show just gets better and better. It is remarkably well written and acted, and the stories are fascinating. I watch it with my 13 year old son, who loves the intricate plots and the genius of Daniel.


I too found the episode fascinating! The kiss was where his hidden passion lies and the hand holding was sooo sweet. I've heard talk that some people don't like Moretti, I like her, I think she's cute and I like it that she cares for Daniel. This was written so well, and not at all like those stupid "it was all a dream scenarios" We do care about Daniel and we finally don't see him as Will, he has broken through that. I also really like Lewiki (that's a spell guess) his patience and his concern for Daniel are also wonderful. I can hardly see the finally. It's funny that Moretti's partner turned out to be part of the conspiracy, in Daniel's break, because I don't like him in the show. As a lot of people are mentioning, most of the shows I watch are on TNT, USA and A&E, there isn't too much that' s redeemable on the networks these days, every time I like something it's gone; Harry's Law and Prime Suspect and that show that Freddy Rodriguez was on (the guy with the arrow in his eye) CHAOS. Thank God for the alternatives.


difficult to see how we could have a medicated Dr Pierce helping solve crimes next season. Curious as to how the writers are going to deal with this issue in the finale.


Much as I loved Will and Grace for the pure fun and laughs, having seen Eric McCormack in dramatic roles, I've been patiently waiting for one that really allowed him to stretch and really "act". This is it. And this episode in particular sealed the deal for me. I was so engrossed by his performance that I honestly felt as though I hadn't breathed the entire time. I think the moment when I realized this could well be not what we are being shown was the interview scene capped by the "kiss". Here were two of Daniel's fears "personified" - a fear of letting go of Natalie and his paranoia, encapsulated. And when Daniel's hallucination finally broke - with the camera work, the editing - and above all the acting, I myself was stunned, exhausted, broken. I think next week we are going to learn more about Natalie - but I don't want to lose her, I don't want Daniel to lose her. I suppose at some point he needs to, but how would that affect the way he sees life, sees patterns? Really, we can't have a medicated Dr Pierce for the rest of Season 2. So, it's going to be really interesting to see how the writers deal with this issue.


This show has been getting better and better as the season has gone along... Glad we got at least another season of it for it has become very interesting... Not just your run of the mill crime show this is... You gotta wonder with all the quality showing up on the cable nets why more of this doesn't show up on the OTA nets??? I guess the audience for these good niche drama shows is not large enough to be a success.. After all, it's not as if most of the public can't flip to a cable net for quality shows as the summer ratings of certain shows like The Closer have shown higher audiences than the networks...


I totally agree! Eric McCormack inspires an aching sympathy for Daniel. You really just wanna give the guy a hug. So I agree the kiss seemed a little rush (although the chemistry is there) and I was glad that it turned out to be a hallucination. The hand-holding, however, hit a perfect note for their friendship/budding relationship. Now, I want to know more about Kate. She reminds me of Kate Beckett when Castle was just starting, a little vague and undefined. I'm looking forward to having her character fleshed out more.

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