'The Closer' recap: Who murdered Sergei?

Closer_lI’m not sure I’ve ever felt worse for one of Brenda’s confessing killers than I did for Monroe last night, as he admitted to whacking his demon seed son to death with a hammer. And I found myself annoyed at Brenda. Couldn’t she be gentler with this poor man? Couldn’t she see what a terrible bind he was in?

Actually, I think she did see, which explains her decision to nix having kids, but more on that later.

I like demon seed plots, because they confirm (albeit in a blackhearted way) my strongest belief about parenting: you don’t mold kids, you unfold them. And sometimes you unfold adorable Dartmouth-bound soccer players, and sometimes you unfold little Sergeis, who stuff their hamsters down the disposal and stomp on baby birds.

So that is my answer to your murmured question, Brenda. I think some people really are just born that way. The Closer writers, however, carefully stayed on the fence with the nature/nurture debate. Sergei was adopted from Russia where maybe he was abused in one of those grim orphanages.

Or maybe he wasn’t.

I do hold parents responsible for some things, and the Monroes had a lot to answer for in their daughter — not a psychopath, just a brat. To start with, they could have taken away the black lipstick. But however obnoxious she was, I knew she didn’t kill Sergei. And I knew the dog-loving neighbor was a red herring, even after his spluttered, "I want that kid dead."

And heartbreaking Jason Hetner … it’s always rough being 14, but it must be hell if you’re gay and have an unrequited crush on a Sergei who tempts you, taunts you, and blackmails you.

But I knew Jason didn’t kill him.

I knew it was the nice, mild parents. I just knew. And I didn’tentirely blame them, which made the whole episode all the more complexand upsetting. Honestly, people, what are you supposed to do when youhave a little Jeffrey Dahmer on your hands? When anger camp doesn’twork and the Russians won’t take him back? Murder isn’t the answer, butwhat is?

Returning to the interrogation scene, did other people think Brendawas too hard-assed? Did you find her hammer-banging overly, um, hammy?

Obviously, she was more sensitive to what the Monroes were goingthrough than she initially appeared, which I assume informed herdecision, revealed shortly thereafter, to forgo having children.

Fritz: "I take it then you’re not interested in what school district we buy into?"

Brenda: "I don’t think we need to worry about schools."

Fritz: "I see."

Fritz! Brenda! Talk to each other! It does not bode well for yourlong-term happiness that something this important is swept so neatlyunder the rug.

But here’s a question: If kids are a hot topic, how old is Brenda?Kyra Sedgwick turns 43 today, which is the tail-end of childbearingage. I think Brenda is meant to be younger. Was her age dropped in aprevious episode?

And given that the guy (boyfriend?) she was dancing with last nightwants to have a baby with her, Grace Anadarka is clearly meant to be alot younger than fifty, which is Holly Hunter’s age.

Yes, I stayed up for Saving Grace. Thanks for all the inputlast week. Coming in at the season’s penultimate episode, I had no ideawhat was going on, but I liked the gritty atmosphere. The music. Theboozing. The dishes piled up in Grace’s sink. Given how the ads haveturned me off, I was unprepared to find myself feeling far more warmlytowards basket-case Grace than I did towards Brenda last night. Am Ithe only one?

Comments (69 total) Add your comment
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  • K

    Although Brenda’s attitude in the final interrogation with the parents was a little off-putting, I’ll take her over the monumentally self-centered Grace any day.
    Did anyone notice that the cardboard box at the scene was labeled ‘Dead Dog’? Cracked me up.
    There is one other thing that was bothering me–why did Flynn ask the next door neighbor to put his hands in his pockets when they finished questioning him? For the life of me, I can’t figure that one out.

  • Michael’s Sister

    Jennifer – Your recaps keep getting better. I think it would benefit your insight into the series greatly if you did a Closer marathon and caught up with some of the finer character points. Fertility has been a topic in some past eps for example. Your writing is terrific (ignore the unemployed humps) you just need a little more insight into what makes these people tick. I’m glad you saw Grace last night – it was a great intro to Grace herself. Keep up the good work – it keeps getting better!
    Really Michael’s sister!

  • R.D.

    I did notice the “dead dog” written on the box, and said to my spouse, “Did that say dead dog on the box?”
    I assumed the hands in the pockets was so he wouldn’t need to put handcuffs on him when they took him for questioning.
    As for Brenda’s age, I thought she went through early menopause a few seasons ago. Anyone else remember that?

  • SV

    In a previous episode, Brenda acknowledged celebrating her 40th birthday– a difficult milestone for her– and thought she might also be pregnant. (She wasn’t.) So, the topic of children has come up before– with her being very reluctant and Fritz being more willing.

  • LisaMama

    OK, people, here’s the thing: Brenda’s job is to get a confession. Her job is to push people — push them HARD — until they spill the beans about themselves or point the finger at someone else. She was obviously trying to get the husband (or wife) to confess OR blame their spouse. But when the wife and husband genuinely broke down because they couldn’t control their terrible son, Brenda’s face showed that she sympathized with them and hated doing what she was supposed to be doing. Her job is not to judge them or provide excuses for what they did or figure out if it was “justifiable” homicide — her job is to get them to confess, pure and simple, and then let the justice system sort out the rest. I’m sure that there are plenty of police officers who sympathize with the criminals but who are required to do their job, no matter what.
    As for the baby situation, Brenda did have a health scare last year and for her to have kids is now more difficult, but not impossible.

  • VW

    I love this show – I laughed out loud at ‘Dead Dog’ written on the box. Nature vs Nuture – age old question – I used to think 100% Nuture but now, not so sure. It seems there are ‘Natural Born Killers’ every where.

  • krisa

    hello peeps! age aside – there was a whole storyline last year where brenda is going through premature menopause. so whether she’s in the age range to have kids is moot – she would have to adopt if she’s already menopausal. and i don’t know who would want to adopt immediately after that disaster of a family example.

  • vw

    Brenda suffers from some sort of condition that makes fertitlity a problem and has had her suffering from menopausal symptoms, that’s why she has to lay off the candy because it makes it worse and can leave her unable to have children.

  • Nicole

    So everyone feels more sympathy for the parents than the child they killed. Sergei was evil and deserved to die? I don’t think so.
    I do believe that “nature” has a lot to do with the kind of person you grow into, but abuse and neglect during the formative years is something that is extremely difficult to overcome. Sergei was adopted from another country and lived in who-knows-what conditions until the age of eight.
    Sergei’s parents had other options. If he had killed animals before, they could have had him arrested and requested a psychological examination. They could have had him committed, if not with the state then in a private institution- they were his “parents” after all.

  • Maria

    On a note to Ms Reese, being Goth doesn’t make her a bad kid and certainly not a brat. The child-killers had no problems with her. The dad put a lock on her door to protect her from her brother’s impulses. And, in Theresa’s voice mail on Sergei’s phone, she was angry about Sergei causing their mother to cry.
    Besides, simply taking away black lipstick will not turn a girl into Marcia Brady. She was a teenager, after all.

  • miles64

    I thought I also glipmpsed some compassion from Brenda when the boy revealed that he was gay and that Sergei had been blackmailing him.

  • miles64

    I thought I also glimpsed some compassion from Brenda when the boy revealed that he was gay and that Sergei had been blackmailing him.

  • anon

    Did anyone else notice that the bratty older sister was none other than April (Luke’s daughter) from Gilmore Girls?

  • Jen in WI

    I didn’t find Brenda off-putting in the interrogation room–she knew it wasn’t the sister, only used her to crack the parents. Feel sorry for the parents? To a degree, yes. But remember they lied to Brenda et.al. non-stop from the beginning, wasted their time and resources, caused discourse between Will and Fritzie-I’d be hacked off too.
    Even if Brenda didn’t have the surgery for her early menopause, and probably way difficult to conceive, and that she’s 40, she is SO not the mother type. Plus she’s seen too much ugliness in her various positions, I don’t see her with babies, no way.
    Oh….last night’s Grace was a good one to come into–and I want to know why the two shows are constantly compared–because the leads are women in law enforcement? Not enough of a match, as far as I’m concerned.

  • Laurie

    I don’t think that anyone deserves to die, no. But since this is a tv show, I feel perfectly okay in having more sympathy for the parents and, most of all, for Brenda who had to drag a confession out of them than for a vicious child who would probably have ended up killing human beings and going to prison for it. And that was kind of the best case scenario for poor evil Sergei.
    The only thing I didn’t like about the episode was the anviltastic demon child plotline coinciding with Brenda’s having to make an immediate decision about whether or not she seriously wanted to have a child. I’ve seen it done before, and I would have appreciated a little more subtlety. I expect better from this show.

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