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Episode 12: The Cost of Living
CBS  ·  50 minutes  ·  Original Broadcast: December 09, 2013

Directed by: Frederick E. O. Toye  |  Written by: Rick Eid Jeffrey Nachmanoff

Official synopsis: When Brian goes to the police to expose Duncan and his team, he decides against telling the truth after Burton shows up and shows him evidence of Ellen and Duncan getting close. Meanwhile, Duncan’s trip to New York City puts a snag in the plans to take out the President.

Episode Recap
Please note that recaps feature spoilers on the individual episode.
This recap was written by Wednes for Geek Binge, December 12, 2013

Ah yes, Hostages. The show where everyone is an idiot and nothing is what it seems. Where nothing has consequences for the cast and they’re all terrible at sneaking yet usually manage to not get caught. What wonders of banality with Hostages have for us in “The Cost of Living?” What seemingly absurd plot twist will become even more insulting by the episode’s end? Who’s gonna take their shirt off for anyone who might still be watching this claptrap? The answers lie after the jump!

When we last left our hostages, Ellen and Duncan were kissing. Yeah, they were kissing and agreeing to kill the POTUS together. Funny, because there’s already a couple on this show doing that. Anyway, Duncan walked outside and was taken hostage. As Bart Simpson would say, “The ironing is delicious.” Poor Duncan is tied to a chair and being held until the bloodthirsty Colonel Blair shows up.

Brian tells Archer that he’s been summoned by state cops to answer questions about the murder of the limo driver. I find that rather dubious. Archer totally bought it though, and off Brian went to talk to the fuzz after explicitly telling his wife and kids NOT to do that. Brian heads to the cop shop, but before he can talk to someone-Gramps (Burt) shows up, talking about Patty Hearst. Seems he has a picture of Duncan and Ellen kissing, blown up to an 8? x 10? glossy for some reason-even though it must have come from a security camera. Yeah… Brian, totally forgetting that he was having a(nother) affair when this whole thing started, is furious. He ends up not talking to the cops, because nothing has consequences on this show.

Latina Girl is double-crossing the gang. Archer is pretty sure of this, and we know it too. He tells Duncan, who tells Kramer. They agree to set a devious trap to test whether or not she’s playing both sides. Back in the dank cellar, Col Blair introduces himself to Duncan, and the gentlemen share a tense moment that doesn’t actually go anywhere. Muwahahahahaha, they’re going to try to kill the President, again… so the evil sister-in-law can become First Lady. What an honor!

When Duncan and Ellen find themselves in the same room again, Ellen is still totally into killing the President and having an affair with Duncan. He doesn’t say No, it’s more of a Not Right Now. They’re focusing on what really matters, which in this case is murder. Later, Brian confronts Ellen about her cheater-pants ways, not mentioning that he was going to the police without talking to her first. That’s because Brian is an incredibly selfish jerkface who doesn’t think anything through. Ellen ends up apologizing and explaining to Brian about Nina, and why Duncan is doing all this in the first place. Brian doesn’t care about Duncan, mainly because Duncan is not Brian.

Apparently there’s a guy named Cahill who has just joined the POTUS secret service team. He’s honest, so that’s a problem. Duncan and his team plot to discredit another innocent person. Then… Jay O’Sanders shows up. He’s an awesome and imposing character actor who is here because there weren’t nearly enough people involved in this top secret and elite assassin team plotting to kill Kincaid. After he reveals his sinister plot, we see Archer meeting with a local um… scarlet woman since he’s planning to set up Cahill.

Back at the Sanders home, Brian and Duncan are throwing down in fisticuffs. Duncan is furious that Brian went to the police and almost blabbed, while Brian has some issue with Duncan smooching his wife. When that’s over, without consequences of course, Brian persuades his daughter to steal a friend’s cell phone so he can use it. Archer tells Brian that he’s lucky to be alive, which makes it pretty ridiculous when Morgan smuggles her dad the phone right in front of Archer. All these people are terrible at what they do. Cut to the same dive bar everyone on this show goes to. Duncan “accidentally” meets up with Cahill, and the prostitute setup begins. This will be aided by some friend Duncan has enlisted-because there’s always room for one more, amirite? Seriously, if you’re still watching Hostages, it can only be for one reason. Because Dylan McDermott is wicked hot:

Archer is still making inquiries into Latina Girl’s lies. She knows he’s onto her, but doesn’t seem to mind much. Like everyone else on this show, she’s doing this for a family close member. Cut to Ellen at work, she’s a surgeon, remember? Some bad guy has been brought in with a gunshot wound. Apparently we’re supposed to think she’s heroic for working hard to save him while the other doctor made a different call. A cop suggested that they not try to hard to save the bad guy, and then later the guy’s son thanked Ellen for doing her job. * yawn *

During the ¾ point of the episode, something truly unexpected happens. Of course it’s not unexpected when Brian acts unilaterally in a way that could get his whole family killed. It is unexpected that even he would do something so stupid, so mean-spirited, and so potentially devastating just because he’s hurt that his wife did something that was far less horrible than what he’d been up to. Brian calls Nina (played by the wonderful Francie Swift), and tells her everything: the fact that his family is being held Hostage by Duncan, the POTUS assassination plot, even the fact that Kincaid is her dad. Everything! What an ass!

The prostitute successfully gets Cahill to give her a ride home. Cahill explains that he’s married, and loves his hospitalized wife. She’s trying to convince him into some giggity when Duncan’s friend enters, playing an aggressive cop, and attempts to arrest Cahill for solicitation. There’s a scuffle and the gun suddenly goes off, leaving Duncan’s friend dead and Cahill presumably disgraced. Back at some fancy party, Evil Sis-In-Law is ratting Col Blair out to Jay O’Sanders. She’s not just casting suspicion on her lover, she’s trying to get him killed just like Duncan got his old friend killed. So many deaths… Back at the Sanders home, Ellen has told Brian that she no longer wants to kill the POTUS. With three episodes remaining, she’ll probably change her mind three more times.

“The Cost of Living” wraps up with Duncan visiting SoySoy while she calls him a hero. Gramps comes rushing downstairs to tell Duncan that Nina has been calling and calling. He goes to see her, and of course she questions him about Brian’s phone call. Cut to black. Once again, tension would have been thick if only the melodrama hasn’t gotten there first. With some decent dialogue and less heavy handed um… everything, Hostages could have been a watchable show. As it stands though, I can’t imagine how awful it must be as an actor to find yourself on a show like this. Three more episodes of Hostages to go. It can’t end soon enough for me, that’s for sure! As for one more Hostages season, it has not been officially cancelled or renewed, though most TV news outlets predict cancellation. I’d be shocked if it got another season, Hostages makes The Following look like LOST.

Guest Cast: Joanne Kelly (Vanessa Moore), Larry Pine (Burton Delaney), Jay O. Sanders (Lynn Shipley), Francie Swift (Nina), Jim True-Frost (Logan), Brian White (Colonel Thomas Blair), Timothy Adams (Jack Cahill), Tonya Glanz (Nicole), Montego Glover (Lena), Larry Mitchell (Detective Hall), Lola Cook (Sawyer), Michelle Liu Coughlin (Nurse), Stephen Friedrich (Young Man), Sam T. West (Uni)