I love this show, for reasons I didn't expect. It's more than a show about catching the bad guys, and how number theories can be used to hunt them down. It's mostly about the Eppes family, and how the two sons and father are coming together to deal with life, and each other, after the loss of their wife and mother. The father and two sons are very different people, but love each other dearly, in spite of the different ways they see, and function, in the world.
Now with season two, I've just fallen harder for the show. I love the consistency of the story-lines, and the very natural feeling the show has in dealing with the relationships while the criminal cases are played out. No one magically changes overnight, and issues are brought up, and dealt with, in a way that feels realistic. Squabbles between the family members aren't overplayed, or over blown, and neither are the scenes when they come together and 'make up' or just need to spend 'face time' together. There continues to be a very strong feeling of family, family ties and the love that keeps them seeking each other out for company.
The actors do a wonderful job of portraying their characters as three-dimensional, complicated people who are doing their best to understand the others in their lives.
David Krumholtz does an exceptional job portraying Charlie, and how he's grown during the two seasons. While he may have seemed coddled to others, safe and secure in his 'bubble' of being raised as 'special', it's clear that Charlie's very keenly felt the burden of his difference. His high school years (he graduated at age 13) were hell for him, and he's conscious of the fact that he doesn't fit in outside of his life as a professor, or Acadamenia. While he's now comfortable with his role as teacher, and working with his friends and peers, he's taken some very hard steps toward seeing and dealing with the dark side of life. In trying to connect with his FBI brother, who's still very protective of what Charlie is exposed to, he is still tremendously bothered and upset by what he sees, and sometimes, must do. But Charlie keeps stepping up to the plate when he realizes that his math can do more than describe the universe around him, it can, and does, help save lives. But he's also becoming torn between spending his 'best years' as a mathematician and making great breakthroughs in his field, or spending his time and energies helping his brother save people. This is playing out very well by Krumholtz and the writers of the show.
Rob Morrow is excellent as Don, the older brother. Because of Charlie's gift, and the amount of time, energy (and presumably money) that was spent to give Charlie the education and training he needed to fulfill his potential, Don was left to himself quite a bit growing up. More outgoing and athletic than Charlie, Don learned to be self-sufficient very early. He's protective of his younger brother, yet at the same time not inclined to coddle him as much as other's would. While he does make exceptions for the way Charlies' mind works, he also encourages Charlie to fight his own battles, and take on his own challenges, making it clear he has Charlie's back. Even when it means fighting with his father over what Charlie can, and can't, handle. Morrow does a wonderful job showing the complex relationship Don has with is father and brother. Because of what he does, what he sees, he can seem very detached at times. But it's clear that underneath all the darkness he has to deal with that the walls he's built up are to protect those he loves. He wants to connect with Charlie and his father as much as they want to connect with him, but he wants to protect them as well. Don is like that onion, with many layers and as they're removed we get to learn more about him, who he really is inside, just as his family does.
And I can't say enough about Judd Hirch, who plays their father. I'm thrilled to see his character is still just as vital a part of the story line in the second season as the first. He's just as complicated as his sons, and you get the feeling that his wisdom is well earned. But neither is he incapable of being wrong, nor admitting to it. His love for his two boys is clear, and your heart aches for him as he also takes his first steps out into dating once again, dealing with his wife's memory, and coming back out of retirement. I love it when the three of them work together on a case. You just can't beat the Eppes family when they're focused on a problem.
All around a great show, and one my whole family loves just as much as I do.