Major Crimes Season 4 Episode 18 Review: Penalty Phase

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Major Crimes tends to be quirky. The cases are sometimes on the weird side and you never know whether you're going to get a lighthearted tale or a serious drama when you turn on your TV.

It's not often, though, that this series wanders into dark, creepy territory. Major Crimes Season 4 Episode 18 did just that, with a case revolving around an unhinged film student using murder as his new film project.

Brad Powell had to be one of the least sane criminals Major Crimes has ever had. His rambling monologues as he filmed his crimes only scratched the surface of what was going on in his head.

A Viking fridge designed as a cabinet... a backup Viking fridge if you have backup fridge money.


This story certainly kept us guessing as to Brad's motive! At first it seemed to be revenge for getting a bad grade, or perhaps jealousy of what people in Hollywood had that he wished he could have too. Not making it clear that his latest victim was his brother until halfway through the hour added to the tension. For all we knew, Ryan was some stranger and Brad had broken into his home.

There were clues throughout as to what Brad was actually up to, which also added to the creepiness factor. Brad talked about everything in terms of directing, as if he was actually unaware this was real life and not a movie.

There's a plot twist.


The final showdown, where the cops were trying to get Sarah safely away from Brad before he succeeded in pulling out his gun, were some of the most intense and gritty I've seen.  Sarah's terse responses to Sharon's questions, Brad's awareness that the cops were there, and Sarah making it outside just as Brad was pulling out his gun all raised the stakes. Was anyone else holding their breath during that scene?

Finding the decomposed body of Brad's mother, who apparently died of cancer, was a nice touch that could explain Brad's descent into madness.  Brad apparently lived on meal replacement drinks after she died and felt Ryan never helped take care of Mom. It also led to several lighter moments, which were really needed in this heavy, scary storyline.

ME: With this kind of decay it's hard to determine, but I can tell you she wasn't strangled, beaten, or shot.
Taylor: That's it?
ME: Sorry. This is what happens when you put off seeing your pathologist for a few months.

The juxtaposition of Brad's story with Slider's sentencing was effective. Slider wasn't nearly as creepy as Brad though his alleged crime was just as horrific. Slider was sentenced to die, and later Sykes referenced the fact that Brad probably would be, too.

You had to stop him. So now the State gets to spend millions of dollars to do what the jerk was ready to do himself.


The look Slider gave Rusty as he was walked off was truly scary and made it unclear for just a second that Rusty was dreaming when Slider showed up to attack him in his bed.

I really enjoyed the quasi-romantic scenes between Rusty and Gus, though Rusty's behavior was confusing. First he asks Gus out, then he gives him a list of reasons why the two of them won't work as a couple.

Rusty needs to schedule a session with Dr. Joe as soon as possible before he makes a big mess out of this relationship, especially with the cliffhanger reveal that his bio mom is back in town.

What'd you think? Were you freaked out by Brad? Do you think Rusty and Gus have any potential as a couple? What will Sharon Beck being back, and Sharon Raydor's decision to leave her to her own devices, bring next year? Share your thoughts below!

Missed the fall finale? No problem! Just watch Major Crimes online and get caught up before jumping into the conversation.

Penalty Phase Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
  • 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (33 Votes)

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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Major Crimes Season 4 Episode 18 Quotes

Wow. That was... no real direction. I'm finding it raw.


It doesn't look like robbery's the motive. Of course, in school shootings it never is.