Amazon TV binge review: Bosch, Episodes 5 to 10
Neil Brazier | On 19, Mar 2015
After an interesting start to Amazon Studios’ detective drama, Bosch takes on a slower pace for the remainder of its first season, which sees Bosch (Titus Welliver) plagued by serial killer Raynard Waits (Jason Gedrick), who continues to perform the most horrific crimes across Los Angeles.
It’s the show’s dark, gritty realism, its sense of noir, that makes Bosch stand out against other cop shows, but is it enough to make it the second award-winning drama for Amazon?
Also unlike other crime series, which tie up each case within an hour, Bosch weaves its narrative across the season, pulling stories from three of Connelly’s novels – City of Bones (2002), The Concrete Blonde (1994) and Echo Park (2006). While it’s quite a refreshing change and immerses you in the season, the pacing suffers in the season’s middle and episodes begin to dawdle, so much so that two chapters follow almost exactly the same narrative and end in the same way. The tension and excitement of the earlier instalments fades away, only returning for the final two episodes.
For Bosch, nothing is more important than his job and putting Waits away becomes an obsession for him, at the expense of all others, including his former family. He still has a relationship with his ex-wife, Eleanor (Sarah Clarke), although it’s more to further his own needs than those of the family. His daughter, Maddie (Madison Lintz), is more than willing to forgive, despite consistent broken promises, seeing her father as exciting as well as absent.
The family dynamic doesn’t suit Bosch – Welliver does a good job of looking uncomfortable – but it is its introduction into the plot that feels most awkward. Meeting these characters wasn’t necessarily required, as we’d already learnt about their distance (and Bosch’s workaholic demeanour) in a few simple lines of dialogue. Outside of a little father-daughter bonding time, they don’t move the plot along and feel like breathing room between Waits’ next victim.
As a result, the show’s most sinister villian feels underused. After Episode 4’s palpable tension, when Bosch and Waits shared the screen, his escape and the subsequent crime spree doesn’t offer the same thrill as it once did. Instead, Waits’ relationship with his mother becomes the focus and, again, the family dynamic falters, as the best it can produce is Waits hiding his mothers glasses so she can’t see her son’s face on the news. It adds inner conflict for our killer, but even Waits seems bored.
His interactions with Bosch, meanwhile, are reduced to phone calls, which can’t produce the same electricity that the pair had during his initial interrogation. The two might be more attuned to each other than either would like to admit, both having had a similar upbringing, yet it isn’t until they come face to face again that the series picks up – although, by this point, it’s too late to recapture the spark that engulfed the season’s first half.
Bosch began with such promise and, while Welliver’s performance is enough to keep you watching, the full run may leave you feeling a little exhausted and, perhaps, disappointed. There is plenty of source material for a second season (which Amazon has just announced), with 19 novels written by Connelly and another due out this year, but the series may need to travel in a different direction. The character is an interesting one but without an interesting case, it could be a long 10 hours.
All 10 episodes of Bosch are available to watch online exclusively on Amazon Prime Instant Video, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.