'Perception' season premiere: “Ch-Ch-Changes”

By Sari Kent,

We open on Daniel showing his class a scene from the filmstrip version of Frankenstein. He then asks the class why they’re having “movie day?” Lewicki responds jokingly that Daniel wanted to show the class what he does on his summer vacation. Daniel replies, “And people wonder why mad scientists abuse their assistants” then tells Lewicki to sit down. Daniel stops the filmstrip, turns the lights back on and then asks the class, “What is an abnormal brain and how does having one affect behavior?” He goes on to say that sometimes it makes the person crazy but that it can manifest itself in other more “structural ways” and can sometimes be treated with surgery or pills, “but one thing is certain. We can’t exchange one brain for another. Like it or not, we’re stuck with the three pounds of cauliflower we’re born with.” The class laughs.

Shoot to Kate drinking coffee while a female coworker comes up to her to whisper to her about the “hot new district attorney, who isn’t wearing a wedding ring.” Kate then sees that it’s her “soon-to-be-ex-husband” Donnie, [played by Scott Wolf] and asks him what he’s doing there. The female coworker departs as Donnie tells Kate that he was transferred from DC a few weeks prior. He then adds that he’s tried to avoid her but now needs her help. Donnie explains that he’s retrying a capital murder case that got overturned on appeal, he needs a psych witness and he was told “you know the perfect guy.”

Shoot to Paul [played by LeVar Burton] approaching Daniel to be his “wingman.” “Did hell freeze over and I missed it?” Daniel replies. Paul then explains that a woman named Elaine, who only agreed to go out with him if he brought a friend for her friend. Daniel declines bringing up a similar incident that happened 25 years ago that Paul can’t believe Daniel remembers. Paul just thinks that Daniel is nervous about meeting someone new. He then reminds him that he’s been on his meds for nine months and has been looking and feeling good. Daniel still declines then sees Kate.

Shoot to Kate showing Daniel a tape of Billy Flynn, “a member of the Road Ragers motorcycle gang, with a history of violence” being arrested. Kate explains when the cops moved to arrest him, on the tape, he got a cop’s gun and accidentally shot himself in the chin and the bullet went through to his brain but somehow he survived. He recovered, then was sentenced to death for torturing and murdering his wife, Amy, who had left him but he tracked her down. Daniel then asks where he factors in. Kate explains that some “lefty, anti-death penalty lawyer” moved for a retrial because Flynn’s first attorney “never requested a competency hearing.” Daniel surmises that Kate wants him to determine if Flynn is mentally fit to stand trial a second time. Kate wants him to evaluate Flynn and be the government’s expert witness. Daniel balks and Kate says that she knows that Daniel “isn’t a fan of the federal government” but Kate begs him for his help since Flynn is a “really bad guy.” Daniel is intrigued about evaluating someone who survived a bullet wound to the brain and lived. Kate then tells Daniel that he can’t see Flynn until the following day but she wanted to catch up with him over tea. Daniel smiles but declines because of a “previous engagement.”

Shoot to Daniel at a boring anatomy lecture. He asks Caroline, if she wants to leave as much as he does. She replies that she does and they leave. It’s nighttime and they’re walking. He makes jokes of how else he could have spent his time rather than going to the lecture. She laughs and he pulls her in for a passionate kiss. Caroline pulls away saying she was his psychiatrist and what they’re doing is wrong. Daniel reminds her that she hasn’t been his psychiatrist for months and that they agreed to be friends. She thinks that was a mistake and then brings up his relationship with Natalie. Daniel reminds Caroline that Natalie was a delusion. “Based on a chance encounter you had with me 25 years ago. When you look at me, you see her,” Caroline replies and tells Daniel that he’s confused. He maintains that he’s never been clearer. Daniel then lists all of Caroline’s likes and dislikes, says he’s falling for her and is sure she’s falling for him. Then, Caroline kisses him and they make out.

Shoot to the next morning. At Daniel’s house, Lewicki immediately asks Daniel where he was all night the minute he walks in. Daniel reminds Lewicki that he’s a grown man with no curfew but Lewicki says he was worried sick and that Daniel could have called. Daniel promises to call next time, then Lewicki says, “You got laid!” He’s happy for him, hi-fives him then asks him who “the lucky lady” is. Daniel doesn’t tell him.

Shoot to the prison. Daniel is meeting with Flynn as Kate and Donnie watch behind a two-way mirror. Daniel asks Flynn if he knows why he’s there. Flynn knows Daniel is there to see if he’s in his right mind. Daniel then asks Flynn questions to test his cognition. While he’s asking him questions, Flynn is drawing something. Daniel asks to see it and asks Flynn if he’s always liked to draw or only since he shot himself. Flynn replies it’s only since he was shot. Daniel then asks Flynn some questions that show he has compassion for other people’s feelings. Then, he asks him if he knows why he’s on trial. Flynn knows it’s because he killed Amy. Daniel then asks him why he killed her. Flynn replies because he was angry at her for leaving him but then says he didn’t blame her for leaving, given all of the bad things he did her. It seemed like all the anger was gone and now Flynn was docile as a mouse. Donnie thinks it has been proved that Flynn is competent to stand trial but Daniel wants Flynn to get an MRI before he’ll testify that he’s competent. After examining Flynn’s MRI, Daniel goes to Kate and tells her that the angry Flynn that murdered Amy no longer exists.

Shoot to Donnie just filing Daniel’s assessment of Flynn away and deciding to not call him as a witness at the trial. Donnie apologizes to Kate for sleeping with her best friend and tries to make nice by ordering her favorite takeout. Kate tells him to “shove it up your ass” and leaves.

Shoot to Daniel and Caroline eating pizza in bed together. Daniel then says that they should “go out on a proper date, like at a fancy restaurant.” Caroline wants to “go slow with the whole going public thing.” Daniel thinks she’s ashamed to be dating him, which she denies. Unbeknownst to Caroline, Daniel’s hand starts to shake as she explains that she’s not ready to explain their relationship to someone she knows if they were seen together in a romantic setting. Daniel says he’s fine when she asks him if he’s okay then says he’d rather stay in bed then go to a restaurant. Then, they make love.

Shoot to the courtroom. Donnie calls the coroner to the stand to testify that Amy’s cause of death was strangulation, another witness, who identifies Flynn as the man threatening Amy before her death and a member of Flynn’s motorcycle gang to testify that Flynn said he’d “kill the bitch” when he found out that Amy had planned to leave him. Bauer, [played by David Paymer] Flynn’s attorney, has no questions for any of these witnesses.

Shoot to Paul giving Daniel theater tickets as an enticement to go on the double date. Daniel then tells Paul that he’s “seeing someone.” Then, a girl approaches Daniel. Paul thinks it’s Daniel’s lady, he whispers that it isn’t. Turns out she’s a process server with a summons for Daniel to appear in court.

Shoot to Bauer calling Daniel to the stand because he found his report on Flynn saying he was a changed man. While Daniel is on the stand, Amy’s father tries to attack Flynn and says he should be dead for what he did to Amy. He’s restrained. Then, Bauer tells the judge that he can prove that Flynn is now a completely different person since shooting himself by calling people to the stand who knew Flynn before. Amy’s brother, Charlie, is then called to the stand and shockingly vouches for Flynn’s change by citing a conversation he had with Flynn about his garden and said he thinks that Flynn should be set free. Donnie, in turn, tries to win the jury back, by calling Daniel’s testimony into question because of his paranoid schizophrenia. Daniel then leaves the courtroom. Kate follows him and he tells her that he thinks she told Donnie about his condition. Kate replies that if thought that, he didn’t know her as well as he thought he did and walks away. The jury then returns with a not guilty verdict.

Shoot to Daniel telling Caroline what happened and that he knows that he shouldn’t be ashamed of his condition, but is bothered that it’s now a matter of public record so everyone will know.

Shoot to Flynn finding Daniel on campus and bragging about how gullible everyone is that he had changed before going off on his motorcycle to make more trouble. Then, Daniel goes to tell Kate that Flynn fooled him but she tells him that Flynn was been killed 12 hours earlier, which means Daniel is having hallucinations again.

Shoot to Daniel telling Kate about his hand tremor, which is a side effect from his meds. Kate correctly assumes that Daniel went off his meds and he admits to weaning off his current meds to try new ones. Daniel then changes the subject to Flynn’s murder. Kate says she’s on her way to talk to a witness who was shot with the same gun six years earlier to see if he can identify the shooter. Daniel wants to come but Kate advises against it given his recent “episode.” He convinces her to let him come so she can keep an eye on him. They talk to the witness, Joe, who says he didn’t see who shot him. Meanwhile, Daniel keeps hearing a motorcycle, which Kate and Joe don’t hear. Daniel realizes it was Flynn’s motorcycle gang that shot Joe and threatened him to keep quiet. Joe admits that Daniel’s right and he’s scared. Then, Kate tells Joe that if he testifies, he can go into the Witness Protection Program and he won’t have to be scared anymore.

Shoot to Joe talking to Donnie, with Daniel and Kate there. He tells him what happened when he was shot. Joe then identifies the biker who shot him from a picture lineup Kate shows him. He identifies Vernon Hill, who was the biker who told the jury that Flynn said he’d “kill the bitch” when he found out Amy was going to leave him. Donnie replies that he’ll issue a warrant then apologizes to Daniel saying his behavior towards him was nothing personal and that he was only doing his job. Daniel then diagnosis Donnie as a narcissist and says he was only doing his job.

Shoot to Kate and Donnie telling Hill that the gun that shot Joe was the one that killed Flynn and that Joe identified him as the one who shot him. Hill denies shooting Joe and says it was Flynn who shot him. Meanwhile, as Daniel watches behind a two-way mirror, he hears a hallucination of Flynn talking to him. “Flynn” then told Daniel again how gullible he was but not about him faking his personality change, someone else fooled Daniel. Daniel then bursts in and tells Kate and Donnie that Hill didn’t kill Flynn and he knows who did.

Shoot to Daniel and Kate going to see Charlie and his dad. Daniel tells Charlie that he knows he never changed his mind about Flynn, like he said he did on the stand. Daniel then explains that he found the gun in question when he went back after Amy died to salvage something of hers. Then, Charlie admits to killing Flynn because the jury bought that he’d changed. He added that he vouched for Flynn in court to ensure that he got out so he got “the justice he deserved.” We see Charlie shoot Flynn in a flashback. He then says when Flynn killed his sister, he became a different person.

Shoot to Donnie telling Kate that Charlie rejected a deal, wants a trial and that Bauer has agreed to represent him. Donnie then wonders to Kate if he could be a different person from the one she hates so much. “Maybe if I shot you in the head,” Kate says as she leaves.

Shoot to Paul telling Daniel that he owes him because he had to invite someone else to be his “wingman” and it was a disaster. Paul then begs him to get whoever he’s dating to set him up with one of her friends.

Shoot to Daniel telling Caroline that he told Paul that he’s “not a dating service.” Then, Caroline comes in with tea and Daniel realizes that he was talking to Natalie, his delusion.

Shoot to Daniel asking his class if people can really change and says the theory of neuroplasticity, says that we change with our experiences. As he’s talking, we see Charlie’s dad watching Charlie being led away in cuffs by Kate, Bauer representing Charlie in court and Kate looking at an old picture of her and Donnie when they were happy.

Shoot to Daniel with Caroline, then looking at Natalie, sitting next to him, when she walks away.



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