Thumbs up, gang. In my humble opinion My Own Worst Enemy is going to work out just fine.
Christian Slater fans are going to be happy as he plays Edward/Henry. We get to watch him stretch his acting muscles as he portrays different, yet not so different, people. For folks who don't know Slater, they will probably become fans as well.
Edward Albright is the operative spy/secret agent who can speak 19 languages and hold his breath for 5 minutes. Henry Spivey is the mild mannered business alter-ego who is activated when Edward is not on assignment. A place to hide. An experiment if you will.
His boss is Mavis Heller, played by Alfre Woodard. Raymond Carter, Henward's co-worker, is played by Mike O'Malley. (Yes, I just called Christian's character Henward. What of it? It helps me sort it out, sort of.)
The only problem I think the show might have is the complication of keeping track of who's who. When is he Edward, when is he Henry. My trick for remembering who's who is E for Edward, excellent spy action. H for Henry, Humble family man. But I still got lost for bits at a time watching Henward, which distracted me from the show a bit, but I was pulled along nicely.
The story is engaging and I got through to the end not too confused, but I really had to pay attention at times and I'm still trying to figure out if the family man works at a real company, or a front for Edwards HQ's.
Thumbs up all around and this show is going on my list of ones to watch every week. The fact that it's lined up behind Heroes on NBC is probably good for both shows. Possibly. Depending on how the ratings pan out for Heroes. Regardless, they've tactically placed My Own Worst Enemy in a good spot, and at a good time so we can see more of the brutality of the spy world than we can at the 8 o'clock hour.
SPOILER WARNINGS: The rest of this article is a SPOILER on the premiere episode of My Own Worst Enemy. So I deliver two warnings:
For those of you who have DVR'd it, BEWARE, as always and tread at your own expense. Once you've watched it, come on back and chime in if you want. For the rest of you, you must read slowly and try not to be confused because I have to switch about who I talk about and I lost me for a minute while watching and writing... I also have to use a lot of quotes. You'll see. With that said, Bob will now write the rest of this article. (No, there's no Bob... that was a funny based on the Slater role... sheesh.)
My Own Worst Enemy opens with Christian Slater, as Edward, meeting a female spy in France... in the biblical sense! We find out he really doesn't like to sleep and hence, is an insomniac.
Though they seem to be on "good" terms, she ends up trying to kill him, but he's prepared and kills her instead. Edward reports in to the main office, ie: Headquarters, gets in trouble for offing the other agent he was supposed to bring in.
As Edward leaves the "office", his programing handler feeds him some background information on his missing time as Henry, and before he gets off the elevator, Edward is gone, and Henry, the businessman, steps out.
Our first hint at issues is when Henry is talking to his shrink about his dreams. Dreams that seem to be of the missions Edward goes on.
He goes home to the "family". A wife (Angie Spivey, played by Madchen Amick), 2 kids, and a dog. Most classic. How cute. But later that night, something goes wrong. It looks like Edward just "woke" up and calls the "office" asking what's up?
The next day, Edward goes to Moscow on his next assignment. Job: Sniper. Right in the middle of his assignment, Henry wakes up and accidentally pulls the trigger. All hell breaks out and the Russians catch Edw... I mean Henry. Henry gets rescued and his rescuer turns out to be his co-worker, Tom... er, well, Tom at the office. On missions, his name is Raymond. Yes, he's another dual minded agent. So that's two actors playing four parts.
It's at this point that Henry is told by HQ that he's an installed split personality and that's he's just an experiment, a cover. He's rather shocked.
And that's how we are introduced to his predicament, and the basis for the show. Right now, I can't help but suspect that his wife and kids are part of the setup too. But I'm waiting to find that out one way or the other.
Henry is put up at Edwards "pad" while he's still supposed to be away on business and gives him time to absorb all this new information. He drinks a bit, he watches a wall sized TV and accidentally finds Edwards secret room full of weapons and mementos. Even though Henry is a meek businessman, he's got the curiosity necessary to deal with this and other scenarios... to a point.
Its this room that he finds Edwards past. Info about dead parents, the medal of honor Edward got. But while he's exploring his alter-ego's life, HQ's has decided to erase Henry. There's too much at risk.
Unknowing of their decision, Henry takes the car he found in Edwards garage and heads home. Edward wakes up while Henry is out driving and goes "home", to Henry's place. He gets home and Edward scores on Henry's wife. Nasty boy, but she does seem hot, what little we've seen of her. Then in the morning, Henry wakes up. The wife is rather giddy, if you know what I mean, and Henry finds a note scribbled on his hand to not ever take his car again. LOL. Oh no... the siblings start to fight and Henry also realizes what happened between Edward and his wife.
Henry is now in a big white room and they are looking to erase Henry. I think. I just got lost. It's Henry... But I thought they were going to erase Henry, but Henry does not go away. I'm not sure if something went wrong, a detail overlooked or I missed something in the story. Like I said, I got confused.
After Henry gets home from the all white room, the Russian Mobster that he tried to blow up is at the door. I think the Russian is starting to understand the Henry / Edwards scenario. They drive him to the desert where his GPS unit says he was yesterday, to dig up a briefcase and Henry ends up blowing up the bad guys.
It turns out that Henry was warned by a video message left by Edward about what was about to come down and given instructions on what to do, and Henry pulls it off well... I wasn't sure who was offing the Russians, Henry or Edward. Yep, Henward!
Now Henry is back at his shrinks, trying to explain away some of his issues that he had previously brought up. He's covering up his duality.
At this point, since the chip in his head has gone hay wire, the two personalities start to work together. They're communicating via video messages and it will be interesting, that's for sure. At this point, Henry has proven himself to not be useless, looking to convince HQ's to not erase him. So far, so good.
I like the show. I think they've pulled off an interesting concept and didn't go overboard, keeping it believable enough to not be tripped up with any writing inconsistencies. The few "oops" moments that confused me were quickly left behind with the momentum of the story and how it developed. And regardless, at least now I know who's who. That is if I quit making up my own names for the characters, further complicating the show for myself.
For anyone who's watched the show with me, were you confused, or did you follow along OK? Let us know what you thought. We'd like to hear from you.