Pastor Mike Sheehan hasn’t exactly been telling the Gospel truth.
“Hope Kills” begins where “Eminent Domain” left off, with detectives Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder in Sheehan’s office at the Beacon Home for Teens, with Holder asking him what the attraction is to working with these kids.
“Nobody misses them, goes looking for them,” Sheehan says. “They’re the throwaways of the world.”
“That’s what the killer’s thinking too,” Holder says. “Easy prey, fallen angels looking to be saved.”
“I don't think the man out there is looking to save anyone,” Sheehan replies.
And this episode is devoted to making Sheehan look as though he is the man out there, the runaway-teen-girl-targeting serial killer known as the Pied Piper – starting with a shot of Rayna eavesdropping on the pastor and detectives’ conversation and looking distressed.
As the missing Kallie Leeds’ mother, Danette, is calmed by Pastor Mike after manically charging into Beacon looking for her daughter, someone slips a “HE’S LYING” note under her car’s windshield wiper. She takes it to Linden, and it leads the detectives to Rayna.
Rayna tells them that, while smoking on the Beacon roof at 4 a.m. (this would have been two episodes ago), she saw the girl who escaped from the killer – Angie, who also later escaped from the hospital – lying bleeding in the alley. Rayna called Pastor Mike, who got there very quickly. Angie started screaming and running, and the pastor pursued in his car. Rayna says he came back an hour later, blood all over his shirt.
This would make him the most likely candidate to have taken Angie to the veterinary technician’s illicit ER, where the detectives found her, in which case he also paid for her care. That would seem to go against his being the Pied Piper, as if he was then Angie would be the only person he knows can identify him (the killer wouldn’t know that death row inmate Ray Seward’s son Adrian could have seen his face when he killed Tricia Seward – provided that Linden is right about that being a Pied Piper crime). And as she'd been through Beacon before, she knows him. So why on Earth would he let her live?
But logic isn’t helping his case with the Seattle PD, though director of special investigations James Skinner is cautious, holding off on seeking warrants until they have more evidence – “I’m not going to smear a minister’s name over some street kid’s say-so.”
Meanwhile, Bullet has tipped off Pastor Mike that the detectives are looking at him as a suspect, that they think Angie came by Beacon on her traumatic night. It’s an offhand remark that she told them to lay off him, done after he says he’ll help her and Lyric find a place to stay that night. Bullet is, on Holder’s advice, trying to protect her lady, providing shelter after Lyric has moved out of Twitch’s place in an angry breakup.
A background check reveals that Mike Sheehan died four years ago. That info sends Linden and Holder to the pastor’s house, where they notice he’s driving a rental car. In a conversation with him on the porch, Holder again notices that Scriptural tattoo on the suspect’s arm: Ephesians 1:7 (“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”) As they leave, Holder requests a search for that tattoo on people who have been booked in the system. And as they drive off, inside not-Mike-Sheehan’s house, there’s Lyric thanking him for letting her stay there. Bullet, meeting with her probation officer, isn’t there yet.
At the police station, Skinner reveals there’s a hit on the Ephesians tattoo: The man calling himself Mike Sheehan is one Mark Elwood, who lost his ministry and the funding for the kids home he ran in Arizona after being arrested and charged with kidnapping a 16-year-old girl six years ago. The girl, who escaped, overdosed before the trial, and the case was dismissed.
It’s raiding time.
But while that’s all being arranged, Pastor Mike is still at home with Lyric, and he is creeping her out. As she eats ice cream, he goes into a soliloquy: “I know what it’s like to be alone. I’ve had nowhere to go before, nowhere to turn. That’s no way to live. Sometimes you can’t even really remember how you got there. Then you realize people only see what they want to see anyway.” Lyric would like to see Bullet, who still isn’t there.
Over on death row, Ray Seward, convicted but not guilty of killing his wife, can hear a crew building a gallows for him. Time is running out, and it’s getting to him, maybe especially because Linden recently told him she knows he didn’t do it. He tries to antagonize prison guard Francis Becker for running out on his shift and failing to stop inmate Alton Hill from committing suicide. Ray guesses (correctly) that Becker went out after his cheating wife (and not Angie – so he’s probably not the Piper). Becker reminds him that if the counterweight or the length of the rope is off, he’ll be strangled slowly instead of his neck breaking instantaneously – and in either case will be wearing a diaper.
Ray, struggling with his imminent fate, has to be coaxed by the guard Henderson to get on the scale so they can get the counterweight right and ensure he dies painlessly. When he does step on the scale, he puts on a brave face even as he’s shaking. He refuses to choose a last meal, and throws things at the bars (with Becker behind them), like an animal new to its cage.
Waiting in the police station, Danette encounters a Mrs. Conrad, who thinks one of the unidentified Pied Piper victims could be her daughter, who disappeared seven years ago. Danette stresses that Kallie is still alive. When she says the other woman has more school photos than she does, Mrs. Conrad says some of them are age composites. She also has medical files, dental records. “The maybes are the hardest thing,” she tells Danette.
The detectives are dealing with a big maybe: Maybe if we’d arrived sooner …
Seattle police conduct raids at Pastor Mike’s house and Beacon. He’s at neither. In the suspect’s kitchen, the frustration gets to Holder, and he takes it out on a uniformed officer. When Linden tells him to hold it together, he says she’s not one to tell anyone that. “OK, you’re right,” Linden says. “So maybe you should shut up and learn something. You go down this road, you lose things.”
At the station, Linden flat-out tells Skinner that Seward didn’t kill his wife. “I believe you,” Skinner says. As they get maybe a little too close, the phone rings: Pastor Mike’s car has been found.
The car – his usual one, not the rental – is parked at a train station, and there are bloodstains all over the backseat. There’s crime scene tape, flashing police lights, a crowd. Bullet rushes up, looking for Lyric. Skinner orders cops to get to stations on down the line to catch the suspect.
Linden walks back to her car so she can get to work on warrants for train station cameras. As she settles into the driver’s seat, Pastor Mike rises from the backseat and puts a knife at her neck. “Drive.”
Mike Sheehan / Mark Elwood is in the lead, but I wouldn’t count on him. He apparently let Angie live. Circumstances on that Arizona kidnapping charge may be complicated. He may be acting rashly now because he’s felt persecuted before. And what tie would he have to the biohazard bags the Piper’s victims are found in? There’s still several episodes left. Let’s see if Angie and Adrian – the two who have seen the Piper and lived – point to him.
What a creepy father-son scene Becker has. Feeling emasculated, thinking everyone knows his wife is cheating, that his boy thinks he’s a chump, he breaks rules and brings the kid to the gallows. Daddy gets to put the noose on the bad man. If someone has to be the Pied Piper, why can’t it be this guy?