I was very happy to see Brennan pop up right at the end of "Dead or Alive" and get, surreptitiously, transformed into a "final boss" for this season. It's great that they didn't decide to introduce someone new into the villain role right at the end and instead decided to elevate one of the recurring baddies that they already had in play into that position. And Jay Karnes' Brennan is one of the best evil-doers that this show has to offer. Of course, all of this makes me look forward to next week's back to back Season 4 finale episodes more than, say, appreciate this episode – but it was a still a cool ending.
I really enjoyed Sam's story in this episode, although it would have helped to have, at some point over the years, met his cop friend, Kevin. This show often has Sam helping out, or doing favors for, old buddies and most of the time we just have to take it at face value. Sam's deep devotion is the only thing that we, as viewers, have to draw us into the episode and invest in the story. Because we simply have never seen Sam and his old friends interact with one another. For example, the episode "Breach of Faith," when Sam was doing a favor for a friend of his (Frank Whaley) that ran a charity for military families. And then we finally met the guy and he was already waving a gun around, at the need of his rope, desperate to commit murder in order to get his stolen money back. It didn't really help sell that "friendship."
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