HBO’s Perry Mason: Chapter Six Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
On this week’s episode of HBO’s Perry Mason, Chapter 6, Emily’s (Gayle Rankin) trial gets off to a shaky start as Mason’s (Matthew Rhys) inexperience starts to catch up with him and Mason debates on breaking Drake’s (Chris Chalk) trust in order to get the edge over Maynard (Stephen Root) in court.
With Mason fresh from learning to be a lawyer, it was pretty much expected that his first go at would be full of mistakes and it certainly was. He could barely get through his opening speech as he landed himself in a coughing fit and was forced to take a glass of water from Maynard. Things only become more complicated when witnesses head to the stand and Mason struggles to get anything to go his way. With Matthew (Nate Corddry) berating Emily for cheating on him, a suspicious hotel manager divulging into a mistake Emily kept hidden from Mason, and Emily’s former protector in prison completely throwing her under the bus, Maynard is having his way Mason. He even gets Detective Ennis (Andrew Howard) off having to go on the stand, for now, and totally makes Mason have to fight tooth and nail to try to get any kind of evidence that can help them.
With Mason having to leave his investigative side behind, he’s forced to rely on Strickland (Shea Whigham) and Della (Juliet Rylance) to help him out and connect the dots on Ennis’ involvement. The group finds that Ennis’ days as a Pinkerton out in Denver could connect him to Charlie’s kidnappers, so they decide to send Strickland out there to dig up some dirt and he actually finds some shocking results. While dealing with some colorful Colorado characters, including a spit happy old timer and a foul-mouthed secretary, Strickland finds a surprising connection to Sister Alice’s church – specifically with Elder Seidel (Taylor Nichols). It’s a shock that shows how deep the corruption is around them and digs a little deeper into Sister Alice’s (Tatiana Manslany) church.
Sister Alice isn’t actually doing alright herself as her mother (Lili Taylor) has an escape plan and Mason tells her that her appearance during the trial is damaging Emily’s case. As Easter Sunday and the supposed resurrection of Charlie approaches, Sister Alice is ready to prove her connection of God to the world. Her mother isn’t truly a believer though as she’s already got the bags packed so that if things don’t go well, they can get out while they can. Alice is determined though and it speaks a lot to how her mother raised her. She’s been placed in a position of social and somewhat political power to please a group ideology and now that she’s taken things in her own hands, regardless of how immoral it is, they instantly turn on her. Even if what she’s promising and the extent of her fulfilling that promise, taking Charlie out of his grave, is incredibly horrific, it’s hard not to see the more casual and real side of Alice. There’s a great conversation between Alice and Mason that even makes him see that she’s not who we think she is and it’s in part to what makes her so intriguing.
Della also finds some new information that fits perfectly with what Strickland found as she comes across a new name for Mason to delve into. While looking into how George Gannon (Aaron Stanford) was stealing from Sister Alice’s church, Della and Mason come across the initials J.H. and she grabs/steals some files to get some answers. What she finds not only connect Herman Baggerly (Robert Patrick) to some of the corruption surrounding Emily’s case, but also finds the name Jim Hicks (Todd Weeks). Della’s really come through in the last couple of episodes it’s nice that Mason is starting to see that and that her girlfriend Hazel (Molly Ephraim) has even joined the team as the new receptionist. It’s a lead that looks like its going to be a major turning point in the case – as long as Hicks doesn’t have any deadly intentions with Mason.
While we’ve Manslany and John Lithgow become strong awards contenders over the last couple of episodes because of their strong performances, Chalk punches his ticket this week. Although he takes the stand this week to confirm the fake story the detectives want him to push and Mason passes up on calling him out and betraying his trust by using the dentures to prove his testimony is false, lying is still eating Drake up inside. After his time on the stand, Drake pays Mason a late-night visit to say how he kind of wished that he did call him out to wipe away the pain and regret that he’s been feeling. Chalk delivers a painfully real monologue about his struggles as a black police officer and constantly being put down by the system he wants to respect. He’s not even allowed to arrest white suspects or be partnered with white officers and has awoken to the fact that he is just peddling a system that shows him no love in return. Even the bribe money the commissioner gives him for playing his part in the investigation hurts him deeply and Chalk makes this big moment for Drake very touching. It’s great to see him now want to be a part of Mason’s team, even if it means that Clara (Diarra Kilpatrick) has to leave to stay safe, and Chalk continues to prove himself as a pivotal part of this series.
We also see how things really are on Maynard’s side of things as he fails to get Ennis to understand the importance of his testimony. Ennis is definitely cockier than ever as he thinks that Mason isn’t going to find anything to connect him. Maynard thinks otherwise, or is at least worried about it, but no one is more upset than his partner Holcomb (Eric Lange). Holcomb’s angry outburst at Ennis’ place may not have given us much new information, but it does show that they are truly starting to unravel. Their sights are set on silencing any possible threats to the case and its going to lead to a bloodbath in these last two episodes.
Just two episodes away from the season finale, Chapter Six perfectly showcases Mason’s first outing as a lawyer through fleshing out his mistakes in the courtroom, having Strickland and Della make new breaks in the case, and having Drake become a strong support for the team. With the series now green-lit for a second season, the series delivers an episode that shows why it’s good enough for more.
Watch the Trailer Here: