Yay, a Riley-centric episode!
This was actually better than I expected it to be. For a main rundown of what happened, while separate from his job Riley attends a magician auditioning show which he makes it to the final round, out to discover that one of the contestants shows signs of being a neuro and is using "magic powers" to get into the tournament. Riley is fixated on proving this, though the others don't believe him, they even mock his interest in liking the subject and think he's off his rocker (which is slightly unfair, they've come across far weirder things before, but whatever). However Riley is determined to catch this neuro red-handed, and even uses Jane for a plan that ultimately backfires. As it turns out, the magician named Howie is, indeed, a neuro...however not a dangerous one. He uses his ability for no other reason than to impress and amaze people in magic shows, because that was what his father had done and he wants to fulfill that task and make his father proud. Riley learns a valuable lesson in this, and while the team chips Howie and plans on taking him away to NEKO, he wants to save Howie because he isn't a national threat like other neuros they've encountered. Riley risks his job to this this, and I'm surprised that Andre didn't go off on him for intentionally letting Howie get away.
It was more of a character study, this episode. We've known that Riley is the comic-relief character but holds plenty of necessary grounds for the team; he's important to them as he is to the audience. With the heart-to-heart talk with Howie, we learn a little more about Riley than we have. Perhaps not a lot, but it was nice to see a change of pace and something involving him for a change. It puts perspective over the practical versus the impossible which Riley deals with everyday.
One of the things that is interesting about this show is while this is called Painkiller Jane, not all the episodes deal with Jane Vasko. They do focus on other characters with Jane being the secondary focus sometimes, though she still plays a significant role. Particularly in the voiceovers. Also, I liked that we learn more and more about what's happening to Jane over the course of the episodes. Her IQ rising higher, enhanced short-term and long-term memroy, and so forth. Piece by piece there's more revealed information which could ultimately be for a huge episode ("Jane 113", anyone?) Andre keeping Jane's files and test results from her is also pretty interesting, because thats exactly what he'd done when Seth revealed the similarities to her DNA and a typical neuro DNA. I think that Andre may be worried for Jane and what possibly might become of her if her ability begins to evolve, and if she becomes just as dangerous as the other neuros they've faced. Certainly from the previews for the next one there'll be changes with her, unless that preview was misleading to something else. Anything's possible.
What I would like to see happen in the future, though, is when it comes to more information about Jane like for next week's episode, I wish that we'd have her contact her father again. She tried once, but backed out at the last minute. That would be interesting, indeed.
I did like the episode. Riley is a fun character and I like him, so it was nice to see an episode with him primarily in it for once. I just wish the team would take him seriously instead of second-guessing his instincts.
I also found it vey ironic that this episode dealt with the topic of magic on the date which the last Harry Potter book was to be released. Coincidence much?