Perception season 1 continues with episode 8, “Kilimanjaro.” “How bad do you want it?” Daniel asks his class. Ambition drives everyone. He wakes Brian up as he ends class and is surprised later when Lewicki says he turned in a good midterm paper. He brings an accusation of plagiarism to Haley, who points to his other good grades and admits that it does partly have to do with him being a good football player. Their conversation is interrupted by news of a murder on campus.
It’s been a series with plenty of promise that I’ve just been waiting to break out of the typical mold. Which is why “Kilimanjaro” was a fantastic new page. It that set the bar far higher than I had expected, providing an engaging episode from the central case to the side plots that surrounded it. This was a solid outing and probably one of the best of the season.
Pierce first encounters DJ (who looks remarkably like a young Adam Brody) on campus and threatens to fail the brilliant student if he doesn’t turn in his term paper now. Turns out that DJ isn’t actually a student, but is the manifestation of Pierce 25 years earlier – before he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Apparently Pierce was “cocky and confident” in his college years – smarter than his teachers, and wanted to be on the cover of Rolling Stone with med school as his back up plan. He wanted to climb Kilimanjaro, and his dreams were pretty much killed with his diagnosis.
Daniel and Lewicki talk to Brian about his paper, and he admits he bought it. He can’t concentrate anymore. Daniel notes a disparity in his pupils, and Brian says he’s been having trouble breathing and headaches. A scan shows he has a subdural hematoma. He’s done with football, meaning the loss of his scholarship, or he risks permanent brain damage. Thanks to TMZ, Kate finds Karl and convinces Irene to let her fly to get him. He claims he didn’t kill Christina. The student brings his paper to Daniel, who says it’s not his work. He wrote it when he was an undergrad. The kid calls Daniel’s life sad and pathetic and tells him his name is DJ—Daniel J. Pierce. He’s Daniel before he forgot how to have a life.
Watch Perception – Kilimanjaro Online
Perception S01E08: Kilimanjaro
On top of trying to solve the school murder case, Pierce also spent his time connecting with one of his students. We’ve seen him bumble around his female student admirer, but trying to work with the football jock was breaking ground. There was a certain heartbreaking notion in someone not knowing what to do when the one thing they’ve been good at was suddenly taken away from them. It was even great that, despite Dr. Pierce’s anger at the cheating and the ignoring of his medical advice, he still wanted to help.
With Natalie’s psychoanalysis of him climbing Kilimanjaro, just in a different way, despite his diagnosis, Pierce is able to lend a supportive hand to Brian. Brian’s entire life has revolved around him playing football. His scholarship depends on it, and he’s had no other dream in mind since he was eight years old. When Pierce discovers that Brian has a subdural hematoma (blood on the surface of the brain) caused by a football accident, he tells the athlete that he won’t be able to play ball ever again.
Kate returns with Karl, who claims Christina was alive when he left. She chose studying over attending a party with him. He claims her blood they found on him was from a nosebleed. However, he has an alibi—Shannon says she saw him drive off and Christina was yelling out the window after him. Kate thinks she’s lying for money. Daniel suggests searching her room for cash. Daniel goes to her room, and her roommate lets him in on her way out when he claims he lent her a book. He finds a scrapbook all about Karl. Shannon’s obsessed with him. Daniel gets her to talk about how it started—when she was 12. She finally slept with him at a party, but he said he was drunk. She says it was worth lying to the FBI so Karl would realize how much she loved him. He’s still a possible suspect, as is Shannon.
The episode had such a wonderful flow that even the side character plots felt relevant. From Max’s great detective work to Kate breaking up with her boyfriend (can we even call it that?), the theme of ambition surrounded everything. And I loved that even if only for a short period of time, all of those supporting cast members had something significant to do. They also weren’t noticeably absent like before.
Honestly, I was pretty inspired by Pierce’s final speech to his class, and it seemed pretty poignant ending to this particular episode of Perception. Pierce is relating more to the people in his life and realizing that dreams aren’t set in stone.
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