TV Recap: “Will Trent” Episode 13 – “It Was the 80s” (Season Finale)

Angie has been abducted by a serial killer who Amanda and Evelyn thought they stopped in the 80s, one who is responsible for Will Trent becoming an orphan. That’s where we pick things up in part two of the season finale, titled “It Was the 80s.” As usual, the episode title is a quote, which I will point out in this week’s reap.

(ABC/Crystal Power)

(ABC/Crystal Power)

Will Trent (Ramón Rodríguez) stands in his living room holding his dog Betty, his ears ringing as a flurry of police activity rushes past him to investigate the crime scene. Paul Campano (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) arrives to take Will and Betty to stay at his place, but on his way out the door, Will begins to freak out about his missing tape recorder. His schedule was mixed up yesterday, and he recalls leaving it on the coffee table. As he is prone to do, Will begins to imagine the scenario in which Angie Polaski (Erika Christensen) was abducted. The record player was on, and he sets up the uptempo music, realizing she must’ve been trying to psych herself up for her hearing. She would’ve been in her bedroom getting ready, and inside, Will sees that her shoes are still there. She then would’ve gone to the kitchen, where bread and peanut butter are on the counter. He imagines her eating the peanut butter directly from the spoon and sharing some with Betty when an intruder snuck in behind her. The cutting board on the floor must’ve been used to hit the intruder and make a run for the front door. But Angie didn’t make it out… the killer must’ve given her a reason to turn back, and Will theorizes that he grabbed Betty. He asks Paul to smell his dog, and sure enough, Paul recognizes a lotion smell on Betty that matches the hands that tried to strangle him. Will sees a few blood drops on his carpet and imagines Angie and the intruder struggling on the floor, with Betty biting the intruder to produce the blood. Will thinks this gave Angie a chance to run to the bathroom, where she hid Betty in the hamper. He looks around, opening the medicine cabinet. Inside, he finds his tape recorder, with Angie having recorded a description of the intruder – tall, blue eyes. The recorder also caught the man speaking for a moment. “That’s my girl,” Will says. “I’m going to find you.”

At the GPD, Will meets with Amanda Wagner (Sonja Sohn) and Evelyn Mitchell (LisaGay Hamilton) to review files from the 1986 cases. He gets to one with his mother’s name – Lucy Morales. Amanda tries to stop Will from opening it, but he doesn’t listen. The first photo he ever sees of his mom is of her dead, with blood between her legs. “Lucy was the third one taken and the last one found,” Evelyn explains. “The unique thing about her is how long he kept her. And technically, he didn’t kill her. She died from childbirth.” Amanda tells Will that he’s not responsible for his mother’s death; her captor didn’t get her medical attention. She tells him about the red nail polish. Will is still cold towards Amanda and asks why nobody followed up. Amanda and Evelyn tell him that the detectives in charge of the case weren’t interested. Will asks Amanda if she knows who his father was. “I do not; she wouldn’t say,” she tells him.

Faith Mitchell (Iantha Richardson) and Michael Ormewood (Jake McLaughlin) make calls in search of information that could help them find Angie. During their calls, they both get reports of a gold Jaguar with no license plates, which also matches a detail of the case from 1986, a car Faith and Evelyn would often see peeling away from streets they were patrolling. Faith calls Will, who went to look at one of the dumpsters where a body was found in the 80s. She tells him about the gold jaguar, and he explains that he thinks this killer is a braggart who will reuse old dumping spots. As he ends the call with Faith, he gets a call from an unknown number. “I’m right behind you, trash can,” says a garbled voice. Headlights suddenly shine in Will’s direction as a car speeds toward him… a gold Jaguar. Will dives into the trash to evade the attack. He springs up with his gun drawn, but it’s too late; he’s already lost sight of the car.

At Paul’s home, Will finds Paul trying every possible hand lotion or soap in search of the smell that was on the attacker’s hands. He knows he’s smelt it before, he just can’t place where.

In a flashback from 1986, we see young Amanda (Imani Kahim) and Evelyn (Sydney Park) approach the detectives on the case, Rick Landry (Kent Fields) and Butch Bonnie (Josh Hooks). They tell them about the gold Jaguar, and Butch threatens Amanda with sexual assault if they don’t drop it.

In the present, Amanda and Evelyn sit in Amanda’s office as grown Butch Bonnie (Tom Schanley) enters. He’s shocked to find that Will is looking into his case, insisting that Juice was the killer. Not pleased with the retired detective’s attitude, Will comments on Butch’s height and blue eyes, asking where he was last night. Rather than answer, Butch tells them he’s going to call his lawyer and union rep. After Butch leaves, Evelyn tells Will that Butch couldn’t be a killer because he was nicknamed “Ralph” for his queasiness at crime scenes. Faith interrupts to announce that she found a witness from 1986 who is willing to speak but warns Will to be careful.

A woman named Kitty Treadwell (Tamara Clatterbuck) reluctantly meets with Will, Amanda, and Evelyn. She has scars around her mouth. “This all started with me,” she reveals, accompanied by a keepsake box of photos. As Will opens the box, he quickly finds a photo of his mother when she was alive. “I knew I should have said something back then, I just couldn’t,” Kitty sobs, sharing that she was a prostitute who was picked up by a man in a gold Jaguar. He wanted her blindfolded and in the trunk, which she thought was just a kink. But as he began to strangle her, she knew she was in trouble. He sewed her mouth shut to stop her from screaming but kept her alive. One day, he forgot to lock the door behind him, and she kicked her way to freedom through a window. Kitty freaks out at the proposition of participating in a police lineup, and not even the fact that the killer has a new victim will change her mind. “He won’t stop until he wants to,” she declares.

Faith and Michael noticed something in one of the files from Counselor James, a reminder to look into Butch for a report of an assault on a prostitute. The note was circled in red ink. Amanda asks them to tail Butch while she and Evelyn go find James. They each sit in separate cars outside of a bar, and when Butch stumbles out, they move their cars closer to block him in. Butch goes to his truck and pulls out a rifle, and a standoff ensues. Michael shoots Butch in his right shoulder, forcing him to drop his gun.

Amanda and Evelyn find Counselor James (Greg Germann) at his usual steakhouse. Evelyn takes his friend Bruce (Popin Pete) to the dance floor while Amanda asks James about Butch. He reminds her that it was a different time and a situation he would’ve handled differently now, but he had been told that Butch liked to use the power of his badge to get rough with girls. “He liked choking,” he adds. “He’s a monster.”

(ABC/Crystal Power)

(ABC/Crystal Power)

Will Trent stands with Faith and Michael at the hospital, waiting for Butch to get out of surgery. But Will doesn’t get to stay long when Amanda enters to announce that a woman’s body was found with red nail polish and her lips sewn shut. Will’s immediate thought is that it’s Angie, but it turns out to be Kitty. Her time of death is determined to have been after Butch was shot, meaning he couldn’t have done it. Will’s cell phone rings, another taunting call from the killer.

That night, Will sits in an office at the GBI with all the files, beating himself up for his dyslexia, which is making it hard for him to read. And then his imagination runs wild. He imagines his mother, Lucy Morales (Raiany Silva), standing right behind him. He promises to make her proud. “You did,” his imaginary mother says, her gold medallion swinging from its chain around her neck. He tells her the 48-hour window to find Angie has passed. “If anyone can do it, it’s you,” she cheers him up. “Everyone else looks at things from left to right, top to bottom… you’re special.” Will takes that advice and begins flipping through the files again. He finds a piece of paper with half a red circle lightly imprinted on the back. He finds the document that James circled the information about Butch on and lines the two up. James’s notes were dated December 10th, 1986. But the other document with the matching red stain on it was from March 4th, 1987.

We see Angie bound on a cement basement floor. A man in a ski mask comes downstairs, and she pretends to be asleep. He’s holding a cosmetic case with red nail polish. As he crouches down, she surprise attacks him. She rushes upstairs and finds that the front door is locked, and she doesn’t have a key to open it. In her last moments, she picks up a rotary phone and dials Will’s cell phone. By the time he answers, there’s no sound on the other end of the line. We see she’s been knocked out “Hello, James,” Will says. We see the man remove his ski mask, and Will was right; it’s James. “This all just got very interesting,” he smiles. Soon after, Will shows up at James’ door alone and unarmed, as promised.

At the GBI, nobody can get ahold of Will Trent. That’s why his friend Paul comes in with Will’s dog Betty, proud of his breakthrough. He remembers the scented lotion on his attacker’s hands as being specific to the men’s room of a steakhouse called “By George.” It’s the same one Amanda and Evelyn go to when they need to speak to James.

In his living room, James offers Will some limoncello, which the agent refuses. James waxes about how Butch was an easy patsy and asks Will how he figured it out. He brings up the matching red ink stain from his notes and the inconsistent dates. Will asks James why he kept his mother. “She was different from the others,” James says. “Softer, sweeter. She only screamed a little at the beginning. We were very happy together.” He adds that Lucy would talk to him about her hopes and dreams and her crazy family. “If you ever get invited to Thanksgiving, bring a gun,” he warns Will. James finally leads Will to the basement at gunpoint, where Angie lies on the floor unconscious. James claims to have crushed her skull and broken her spine and promises to kill her in front of Will so he can watch the love of his life die the way he had to watch Will’s mother pass. But Will surprises James with an attack, knocking the gun away and unleashing all of his fury on the serial killer responsible for making Will an orphan. Will grabs James’ gun and is about to shoot him in the head when Angie wakes up. He drops the gun to rush to her as he hears sirens outside. He declares that James is under arrest, listing off the names of all the people he killed and ending with his mother’s name. But when he rolls James’  body over, he sees that he’s foaming at the mouth. Will realizes that the limoncello was suicide, and he tries to resuscitate him as Amanda and reinforcements enter the basement. He wants James to live to answer for his crimes.

In the last flashback to 1986, we see Amanda and Evelyn discovering Lucy’s dead body. It’s clear that she died from childbirth, but the baby is gone. As Evelyn calls for backup, Amanda steps outside and begins frantically searching through the dumpster. She finds a baby wrapped in a blanket in a smaller metal trash can. She picks up the baby and kisses its forehead. “I got you,” she says, crying.

(ABC/Crystal Power)

(ABC/Crystal Power)

Back at the hospital, Will, Faith, and Michael are told that Angie is in surgery and may have nerve damage in her spine but that she is expected to live. In another room, we see Amanda and Evelyn at the foot of James’ bed. He appears to be on life support. Out in the waiting room, Faith offers to drive her mother home, but Evelyn says she would like to speak to Will. She tells him that Amanda’s father was a police officer and that her mother died when she was young. “Her maiden name was Trent,” Evelyn reveals. “It was Amanda who found you.” She tells Will that Amanda kept him for three weeks, unable to bring herself to surrender him to Child Protective Services. She wanted to adopt him, but “It was the 80s” (the episode’s title), and single women weren’t allowed to adopt. “Losing you broke her heart, but she gave you the only thing she could… her name.” Evelyn reminds Will that Amanda thought he would be okay and it’s not her fault that his life in the orphanage was hell. “She is your family,” she declares before getting up to leave.

Will finds Amanda staring at a vending machine, looking upset. She offers him coffee. Without saying anything, he reaches forward and pushes a button. “Thank you,” he says. Amanda shudders as she nods her head, seemingly about to cry. She looks at Will and produces a tiny envelope, handing it to him and walking away. Alone, Will opens it and slides into the palm of his hand a gold medallion on a chain… his mother’s necklace.

That’s a wrap on Season 1 of Will Trent. ABC has already ordered a second season. If you enjoy Will Trent and our recaps, stay tuned to Laughing Place for news about Season 2. In the meantime, if you need some summer reading suggestions, Will Trent is an adaptation of a book series by Karin Slaughter, who serves as a producer on the show. And you can relive the excitement of Season 1 anytime on Hulu.

Sign up for Disney+ or the Disney Streaming Bundle (Disney+, ESPN+, and ad-supported Hulu) now

(Please note this article contains affiliate links. Your purchase will support LaughingPlace by providing us a small commission, but will not affect your pricing or user experience. Thank you.)

Alex Reif
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).