THE FINDER Recap: 'The Last Meal' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE FINDER Recap: ‘The Last Meal’

April 14, 2012 by  

Whattup, fans of THE FINDER! How did you like this episode, “The Last Meal”? I thought it was certainly…quirky. Last week I mentioned there was something about the show that kept me coming back, and this week, there were times when I questioned why that is. I found myself rolling my eyes a lot — some jokes were overused (Wonka!), any main character not named Leo was awkward and borderline annoying, and the case was one of the fishier ones of the series so far. But having said all that, I know I’ll tune in next week, because I like the show. As I watched the episode and saw the way Isabel, Willa and (sometimes) Leo rolled their eyes at Walter, I realized that like their main character, the writers seem dedicated to keeping this show…well, I don’t want to say unlikable, because who doesn’t want their show to be liked? I guess more…unique. Frustratingly charming, if I’m feeling generous. Walter comes off as a ‘take or leave it’ kind of guy, and the show carries the same vibe.

The episode begins three years in the past with a husband and wife, happily celebrating an anniversary. Joe and Annie toast one another, and the chef arrives as they laugh and pretend to read the menu. There’s no need, as they order the same thing on their anniversary.

Suddenly, some suspicious characters in the restaurant stand up and demand (with guns) that everyone leave immediately. Joe is resistant, but once he and Annie are outside and they hear guns being fired, they run away.

In present day, Willa’s annoyance is that someone matching her description has been hooking up and down Miami Beach, and her PO insists she have double the face-to-face visits until it’s resolved. Leo tells her that because she’s been in trouble in the past, it will be twice as hard for her to appear innocent in any given instance, but Willa is still huffy about it. I remember at the start of the series, THE FINDER creator Hart Hanson suggested that Willa was a lost soul who just needed help. But I’ve seen little of his normal application of character growth in her. From the start, her character has felt like an unnecessary add-on, to perhaps somehow increase a young “kids these days” demographic viewership, but her inane storylines, including this week’s literal fight against a look-alike hooker do nothing to add value to the show at all. But maybe it’s just me. Do you like Willa as a character? Do you think she wants to grow as a person?

Joe (previously mentioned husband) enters the bar, says he’s a notary and asks Walter for help in finding something — he wants Walter to find the meal, the Ropa Vieja, that he and Annie shared each anniversary. He confesses that they’ve tried other examples of it around the city and nothing has come close and while it might sound crazy, he thinks it has had an effect on their marriage. Walter agrees immediately. He and Leo check out the restaurant. It is closed, but never sold, and Walter likens it to The Chocolate Factory,  just waiting for a Wonka (Gene Wilder Wonka, not Johnny Depp Wonka—naturally). Walter decides to break in, and he sings Oompa Loompa song while he does. At the same time, Leo has a car pull up beside him. The gun toting angry restaurant man from the beginning rolls down a window. “Lost, my friend?” he asks. “Not for many years, you?” Leo replies, in one of the BEST.ANSWERS.EVER.

Somehow the police are also on the scene, and they catch Walter inside and arrest him. Isabel interrogates him, or tries to, but he resists. She tells him about an operation she’s been working on, but he still won’t confess what he’s up to. He’s more concerned about why she won’t ever go out to nice restaurants with him and wonders if it’s because of how he dresses. Probably, Walter. Probably!

The man with the gun is Federico (Fico) Vasquez of the Cuban mafia. He is who Isabel is after, but Walter’s main purpose is not to solve a crime, but to find a meal. Once out of prison, he prepares five versions of the Ropa Vieja for Joe — resulting not in finding what is in the recipe, but what is missing from all of the others, smoke. He meets up with a food critic and finds out that the chef’s name is Alejandro Lopez Fernandez, and though he hasn’t been seen for years, his smoky signature has popped up around Miami.

Walter identifies Alejandro’s route and he confesses that he knows that if he’s found, he’ll be killed. He also states that the smoky flavoring comes from a particular pepper, only found at one grocer in one place in Miami. But the store is owned by Malina Vasquez, Fico’s aunt. Walter isn’t worried about that — he’s still concentrating on getting the meal for Joe and Annie. Blind, Malina can’t catch Walter and Willa when they steal the peppers from her store.

They give the goods to Alejandro, but are immediately followed by Vasquez and his men. When one thug reaches them, Alejandro kills him, declaring revenge for his former sous chef Marcos.

The episode culminates in a bizarre scene at the bar. I found the tone to be all over the place, and I was never quite sure whether to be laughing or nervous or just annoyed. Alejandro has made the dinner, but when Joe presents it to Annie, she runs away with tears. Isabel is forced (because she’s the woman!) to go console her, but Annie’s confession was strange. Of course, Walter could care less if Joe and Annie get closer — his job is done; the meal is on the table. Voila, he’s ordering himself a pizza. Only Leo’s scolding gets him to want to help more. Isabel and Annie are forced back into the bar by Fico and his goons. “Vasquez, party of me,” he says. Haha! Very funny line.

When he sees the Ropa Vieja, he knows Alejandro is in the building. The chef doesn’t hide and confronts Fico with his knife. They fight a bit, but Walter insists that Joe and Annie should be able to eat their meal. The resulting scene is awkward, as Fico has threatened to kill all of them after the food is finished. There is a lot of bickering until Annie stands up and has a bit of a breakdown, announcing that she loves her husband, and if they are going to die, she’d at least like to eat in peace.

After dinner, Leo proposes that Fico and Alejandro become business partners, their protection from the law contingent on one another’s agreement. They sign and hug, and (convenient!), Joe is a notary, so it’s all official.

The only one less than pleased is Isabel, but after everyone has left, Walter encourages her to look at the big picture…both with the case and when it comes to him. She shrugs off any talk of a future with him, once again citing her master plan for her life. Walter seemed somewhat vulnerable in that scene, and I really liked it. He’s so prickly in other ways of his life, but I like the idea that beneath all of that, he does want to love and be loved by Isabel.

Okay, enough from me. Thoughts from you? Did you like this case and how it played out? Do you think Walter cares more for Isabel than she cares for him, or is she the one struggling more with her feelings? In terms of the big picture, what is it about this show that you like/dislike? And finally, are you Team Wilder or Depp? Comments are open — let’s discuss!

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3 Responses to “THE FINDER Recap: ‘The Last Meal’”

  1. Barbara on April 14th, 2012 12:09 pm

    I want that recipe!!

  2. SueK on April 14th, 2012 2:31 pm

    Willa (the character) is absolutely useless. I agree that it appears that the network PTB just said “we need someone to have the demos skew younger and Volia, we have Willa. Why a Gypsy? Nothing is made of that storyline. The whole Tivo (or whatever the cousin’s name is) thing is creepy. Isabel is a wasted character and has been throughout the series. She just comes in “handy” for the plot on occasion. I am really trying to like the show but they are making it really hard.

  3. Daya on April 16th, 2012 1:04 am

    Did anyone catch Shad’s appearance in that episode, or was he credited on IMDb and never showed up? Just curious, because my recording cut off right after Fico and Alejandro cut the deal.

    Sue K. > You know Timo and Willa aren’t really cousins, right? Just like “Uncle” Shadrack is (almost positively) not their uncle? I’ve been doing research on the Romani for the Finder fanfic I’m writing and it turns out that “cousin” basically means “fellow Romani” and “uncle” is a term of respect for an older Romani male. So really, Shad forcing Willa and Timo to marry isn’t any different from any other arranged marriage…except the arrangement was handled by the tribe leader instead of the parents.