|Off the Beaten Path|
|Season 1, Episode 11|
|Airdate:||May 15, 2011|
|Writer(s):||Kimberly Mercado and Mary Trahan|
|Previous:||Paid in Full|
|Next:||There are Rules|
Off the Beaten is the eleventh episode of the first season of Breakout Kings, which aired May 15th, 2011. In this episode a violent schizophrenic with the skills of an outdoor survivalist and a history of ritualistic killing is off his meds and on the hunt. His prey, Debbie Myers, is a beautiful, young television host. After killing an orderly, he escapes and the one thing on his mind is finding Debbie, taking her to a special place in the Adirondack Mountains and consummating their “love” through a bizarre and violent ceremony which will surely end up with Debbie being killed.
At Sunnybrook Psychiatric Detention Center, Paula Berry stands outside in front of a bus with her assistant and eight male patients. She asks them why they're going on this trip and after a beat, Kenny, one of the patients, raises his hand and tells her it's because they've been good. The patients start to proceed onto the bus and Bennett Ballester moves forward in line, clutching his stuffed animal bird. Victor, a beefy orderly, tells Bennett he can't bring it with him. Bennett clutches it tight and looks at Paula helplessly, who says he can take it.
The patients arrive at Chivalry Castle. They walk through the entrance and look around the main area, while Bennett stares, transfixed, at a falcon in a glass cage. Paula approaches him and asks if he likes the bird. He nods and says his "Grandpa painted" them. Paula nods and lightly touches Bennett's shoulder then walks away. He watches her walk off and then the expression in his eyes changes slightly. A look of lucidity.
With everyone's attention now diverted, Bennett presses his forefinger and thumb into the bottom of the stuffed animal. He slowly removes a candy bar-length piece of metal, crudely fashioned into a shape resembling a dental pick.
The patients and staff, now wearing cardboard Chivalry Castle crowns, are in the empty arena, watching a jousting demonstration. Paula looks at the patients, noticing Bennett isn't there. Victor hops up and starts to search for him.
Victor leaves the main arena, searching for Bennett. He enters a back room and spots Bennett frantically trying to pick the lock on the door to the weaponry room. Bennett picks the lock and goes in while Victor marches towards him, telling him to come back. Victor takes one step into the room and Bennett, who was hiding around the corner, runs out and brings the blade of an ornate broadsword straight towards Victor's neck.
Ray puts up Bennett's mugshot, while Shea, Lloyd, and Erica, still in their prison jumpers, look over his case file. Julianne tells the team that Bennett was in for 10 years for killing a local newscaster he was obsessed with. They never found her body, but they pulled her DNA from under Bennett's fingernails. While Julianne is explaining Bennett's violent past to the team, Charlie, who's in his office, is loudly searching through his desk, obviously trying to find something. Lloyd continues and tells the team that Bennett suffers from erotomania, which is a common trait in stalkers who believe that the object of their affection, usually somebody famous, is in love with them too.
After slamming one last drawer closed, Charlie enters from his office. He's livid. He stares at each con. No one says anything for fear of having him rip their head off. After a tense beat he tells Lloyd to continue. Julianne chimes in and tells the team that Bennett should be in maximum security prison for life, but his lawyer proved that he was unfit to stand trial due to comorbidity. Lloyd explains that comorbidity means that Bennett is "a whole cocktail of crazy." Erica, looking over the file, points out that Bennett had a diary that his lawyer suppressed during the competency hearing. Shea also sees that Bennett's only family is his brother. Charlie just stands in the middle of the room, staring at the cons. He finally turns to Ray and says he's pissed at himself for thinking he could trust a bunch of no-good convicts. The cons look at him, confused and Charlie continues that he wants his watch, which was his father's, returned to him. All three deny taking it, but Charlie's not hearing it.
Ray and Lloyd walk through a busy hallway filled with psychiatric patients, many of whom give off an air of threat. A nearby patient lunges at Ray and screams suddenly, before being restrained by an orderly. Ray is creeped out, Lloyd is fascinated but admits he doesn't like these places either. Ray confronts him directly and asks if he took Charlie's watch. Lloyd is clear and straight: no way.
Ray and Lloyd approach Paula, who's visibly been crying on and off. She just had to notify Victor's wife that he's dead. She says Bennett was always well behaved, responding to medication, but Lloyd suggests that he was not taking his meds and keeping it a secret. He asks Paula if Bennett has fixated on anyone on television lately, but she doesn't know. She tells them that Bennett was close to one of the other patients, Teddy.
Lloyd walks over to the common area of the ward where Teddy is sitting. He sits down and begins to talk to him, eventually "bribing" him with candy. He asks if Bennett was really into anything lately. "Meow Time" says Teddy, pointing to the tv. Teddy just keeps screams "Meow Time!" and pounding the table. Lloyd leaves.
At a cluttered surplus store packed with outdoor clothing and gear, Bennett, clear-eyed and purposeful, walks up to the register, his arms loaded with items that he dumps onto the counter. The proprietor starts ringing him up: a rucksack, fur-lined boots, sleeping bag, compass. Bennett pokes a finger down onto the glass of the display case, hovering over an enormous machete. The Proprietor lays the machete on the counter. Bennett starts pulling crumpled bills out of his pocket as he looks at the total on the register. He takes his items, without waiting for his change, and leaves.
Calvin Ballester, Bennett's brother, enters the office. The weight and embarrassment of his brother's actions are evident. Charlie leads Calvin into the interrogation room. As Calvin walks ahead of him, Charlie looks back at Erica and Shea and tells them he wants a lead by the time he gets back in there. Finally alone, Shea turns to Erica and she tells him that Lloyd probably took the watch. He tells her that he doesn't know who did, but he knows it wasn't him. Meanwhile, across the room, Julianne is on the phone with Bennett's lawyer, who tells her she needs a warrant in order to retrieve the diary then hangs up. She tells Shea she may need a favor.
Charlie sits across from Calvin inside the interrogation room. After some back and forth, Calvin finally tells Charlie that Bennett used to practically live in the Adirondacks when he was growing up. He'd disappear for days, sometimes weeks, and then come home with a backpack full of dead birds. He knows them like the back of his hand.
Back from Sunnybrook, Lloyd and Ray are trying to figure out what "Meow Time" means. Charlie enters the office where the team is sitting around, still going over Bennett's case file. He tells Julianne to get a map of the southern Adirondacks because that may be where Bennett is hiding out. The mention of the Adirondacks registers with Erica, but she says nothing. Ray tells the team that they need Gunderson, who was also a self-taught survivalist who grew up in the Adirondacks. Charlie doesn't like the idea and there's a flashback to Gunderson getting up from the booth at the diner and Charlie cuffing him to the railing after finding out he stole a knife. While they're debating whether or not they can trust Gunderson, Julianne gets a hit on "Meow Time". She pulls up a photo of Debbie Myers on her computer. She's the host of "Goodnight Kitten" a TV show that contains the signature greeting "Meow Time." Shea walks across the room and holds up a picture of Bennett's first victim, Erin Colfax. The resemblance is uncanny. Lloyd tells the team they should alert Debbie as soon as possible.
The doorbell rings at Debbie's spacious loft. She opens the door to reveal Bennett, clutching a cheap bouquet of supermarket flowers, trembling at the sight of her. She first looks at the flowers, then looks at him, realizing something is not right. Debbie tries to close the door and run, but Bennett jams a foot inside and races after her. He tackles her, throwing the nylon cover over her head like a falcon hood, and drags her away.
Charlie, Erica and a team of police arrive at Debbie's apartment. Erica emerges from upstairs and tells Charlie that a pair of boots and a winter ski jacket seemed to be missing from Debbie's closet. Bennett is mostly likely taking her to the Adirondacks. Erica quickly has another flashback, but tells Charlie she's fine when he asks he she has anything else to say. He then holds up a wedding invitation he found on her kitchen table. Debbie is supposed to be getting married this weekend.
Shea and Julianne are led into the office of Phillip Kincaid, Bennett's lawyer. Shea, at first, pretends he's looking for a lawyer, but after Julianne introduces herself to Kincaid, he realizes he's been played. He tells them he's not handing over the diary. Shea stands in front of him and tells him that he knows at least 10 guys that have used Kincaid's services, and they all owe Shea something. He continues that he's going to pick three of their names out of a hat. And then he's going to have those three cut a deal, saying that Kincaid told them to perjure themselves for lighter sentences. Shea walks over to Kincaid desk, sits in his chair and puts his feet up on the desk. He tells Kincaid that he'll get his lose his license, and end up in Sing Sing if that actually happens. So he has the choice to either hand over the diary or not. Kincaid just stands there, pissed.
On a quiet forest road, Debbie's car pulls to the shoulder and Bennett steps out. He walks around back and opens the trunk. Debbie is inside, hands and feet bound with rope. Bennett pulls the cover off her head. She blinks up at him, shivering from fear as much as cold. He tells her that they're now alone and she could come up front. He picks her up and puts her in the backseat. Bennett gets back in the car and starts to drive as Debbie looks at the backpack next to her, realizing her wedding dress is inside.
Charlie and Erica walk into the bullpen to see Ray and Lloyd near the wall monitor, looking at a map of the southern Adirondacks. Gunderson is sitting cuffed to a chair with his back towards them. Charlie, not happy, tells Ray they could do it with out him. Ray tells Charlie that Gunderson has already narrowed down Bennett's possible location -- they need him. Gunderson tells Charlie that if Bennett is truly a survivalist, he's going to take the trails that aren't on a map and are hard to find. Julianne and Shea return, holding up Bennett's diary. Shea throws it to Lloyd and tells him it's nearly impossible to read. Charlie tells Lloyd to stay at the office and try to decode Bennett's diary while the rest of the team, including Gunderson, heads to the mountain. Lloyd offers to come but Ray insists he stay, and when Shea volunteers to stay back, he's told he's going.
Debbie's car rolls up to a padlocked gate blocking the road beyond. Bennett gets out and studies the padlock, testing its strength as a ranger truck approaches. Bennett walks over and leans into the open driver's window of Debbie's car and tells her to be a good kitten. The ranger gets out of the car and tells Bennett he's going to need a permit to hike up there. Bennett nods and the ranger begins to walk back to his car, but Debbie, in the back seat, begins to scream for help. The Ranger turns around and sees Debbie flailing in the back seat. He starts back toward the car, but Bennett reaches through the open driver's window and brings out the machete. He races towards the ranger, with the blade held high in the air, while Debbie screams in the back.
The team's SUV pulls to a stop in the forest. Charlie, Ray, Shea, Erica and Gunderson -- still chained in his four-piece, get out of the vehicle, and take in the surroundings. They clock the Ranger truck nearby. Shea points down to some blood spatter on the ground, the little that wasn't kicked over in an attempt to hide it. Erica directs the team to a car-sized mound of spruce branches. After removing a few branches, they realize underneath is Debbie's car, and inside the trunk is the dead ranger.
Gunderson tells the team that there were traps set along the path to prevent trespassers from disrupting the pot fields that used to be up there. Gunderson tells the team that if they take him up, he'll show them where they need to go. Shea, hesitant, turns to Charlie and tells him that if Gunderson goes up with them, he's probably going to be the only one coming back down. Ray, worried about Debbie's safety, says that he'll keep an eye on Gunderson. Charlie hesitates, trying to decide. Erica finally speaks up and tells the team she can lead them up there. She knows these woods like the back of her hand. Charlie cuffs Gunderson's chains to the handle of the SUV as Ray and Shea pull the gear out of the back. They split up into teams, Shea & Charlie, then Ray & Erika. "You'd better know what the hell you're doing," Ray tells Erika as they head into the woods.
Bennett leads Debbie up the trail by a length of rope, like a dog. Her feet have been freed, but her hands are still bound. Debbie watches him, realizing she's got to try something soon. She asks Bennett why a grown man watches her show. Bennett, slightly confused, but more-so defensive, tells her it's not a children's show. Realizing she has to try a new tactic, she starts singing the Goodnight Kitten theme song. She starts to sing, and Bennett trembles with delight. Debbie smiles at him, gritting through the pain as she tears off one of her bright pink fingernail tips and sets it on a rock; a breadcrumb someone might use to find her. Bennett stops leading her like a dog and comes alongside, gently guiding her onward.
Lloyd is at his desk, intently going through the photocopied pages of the diary spread out on his desk. Julianne is at her desk, trying to make sense of the pages she has. After seeing a trend in Bennett's diary with birds and the letters RBF, Lloyd turns to Julianne and asks her to pull up any information on the red-bellied falcon.
Charlie and Shea hump it through the increasingly dense terrain, each constantly looking around, covering the other's blind side. Shea tells Charlie he didn't take the watch. Charlie tells him that as long as it's on the desk by the end of the tour, he doesn't care who took it. They both then immediately flinch at a loud sound from above. Charlie pulls out his gun and looks up to see that a bag of tin cans hanging from a tree branch; a homemade alarm system. Charlie's phone rings and Lloyd, on the other line, tells him that Bennett was searching for the red-bellied falcon in these mountains. They nest at five thousand feet and only a quarter-mile section of the mountain is at that elevation. Lloyd hangs up and continues making his way through the journal, obsessed but focused.
Ray and Erica hump it up the trail. Ray stops for a water break. An animal screech is heard nearby. Ray turns in its direction and Erica tells him it's a fisher cat, which is basically a big weasel. Ray stops Erica, grabs her wrist and pushes up her jacket sleeve, revealing the five slash marks tattoo. He asks her if five guys who killed her father, the ones she allegedly made disappear, is the reason she knows the mountain so well. She yanks her jacket back down and her eyes fix on something. She moves forward quickly and picks up the pink fingernail tip off the rock. She tells Ray to call Charlie.
Debbie is worse for the wear, but trying to maintain a smile for Bennett as they continue up the trail. He pauses and points out the nest of the red-bellied falcon. He tells her that when red-bellied falcons mate, they mate for life. "That's beautiful," Debbie tells him. Bennett keeps talking, this time addressing someone else, and Debbie follows his gaze to the empty woods behind her and tells him that there's nobody there. "You sang to me," he tells her, she sang to him on her show, looking right at him. And then she went off to marry someone else. Angry now, he grabs the rope and yanks Debbie down to the ground. She tells him that when she said his name on tv, she didn't know him, she could have been talking to anyone named Bennett. She's sorry. She scrambles to her feet and struggles to keep up as he yanks her along. He tells her that they're going to be together forever.
Most of Debbie's pink nail tips are gone. She's tied to a tree where they've set up camp, at an old lean-to. Bennett is just a few feet away, using the hilt of the machete to hammer together bits of old, weathered lumber. Debbie, who can't take it anymore, starts screaming at him. Bennett spins to face her and she stiffens. He starts towards her with a knife, grabs her hand and drags the blade across her palm. He then takes his hand and does the same thing. He presses the palms of their hands together, mixing their blood and telling her that now they belong together. He fights with an unseen person, frightening her even more.
Lloyd and Julianne stare at the photocopied pages of Bennett's diary now taped to the wall. Lloyd begins to realize that Bennett's avian obsession symbolizes the marriage, rape, and killing of Debbie. Lloyd walks over and points to a barely legible diary entry, attempting to figure out when this will take place. Julianne points out the symbol for infinity, eight. She looks at her watch. It's 7:30. Lloyd quickly dials Charlie and tells him they only have a half hour to get to Debbie. Shea and Charlie struggle their way up the mountain. Lloyd and Julianne keep staring at the posted pages. "You're amazing," Julianne says softly. Lloyd, still focused, doesn't hear her.
Bennett, still leaning over Debbie, hands her a small pocket mirror and tells her to stop crying and clean herself up. Today's her wedding day.
Ray gets a call from Charlie, warning him they only have half an hour. Erica looks over at a nearby mountain, and she has a flashback to her marching forward up a mountain with a gun at her side. In front of her is a male, his hands tied behind his back, begging for his life. He tells her that he wasn't the only one who killed her father and that he didn't pull the trigger. She lifts up the gun and shoots him.
Erica snaps out of it and Ray, off the phone call, tells her they don't have much time. A minute later, Ray steps right on a leghold bear trap. The jaw spread sinks into the flesh of his calf. Erica runs to him.
Debbie sits nearby using the signal mirror to reflect sunlight into the forest. She glances back at Bennett and hides the mirror just as he looks her way.
Erica flies into action, quickly working to release the jaw spread. Ray drops on his back, in abject pain and Erica gets a first aid kit out and sets it to the side. She snaps over a knife and cuts his pant leg open, revealing the grisly, bleeding wound. She turns to open the first aid kit, but her attention is drawn to another part of the terrain. Off in the distance, she spots a glimmer of light. Ray tells her to follow it.
Erica runs through the thick terrain and finally spots Debbie, tied to the tree. Erica comes up behind and starts cutting the ropes that bind her. Just as Debbie is cut free, her eyes widen and Erica sees Bennett emerging from the trees. Erica tells her to run. Erica tells Bennett that it's over. Erica slowly backs away -- she's about to sprint when her foot hits a stone and her ankle buckles. She lands flat on her back and Bennett stands over her, machete raised. "Drop the knife!" he bellows. She drops it.
Charlie and Shea race as fast as they can up the trail. They hear approaching footsteps in the distance and Charlie pulls his gun out. After a beat, Debbie emerges from behind a tree screaming to Charlie that Bennett has got her. He realizes that she's talking about Erica. Shea stays with Debbie while Charlie rushes up the mountainside.
Erica is now tied to the tree, wearing Debbie's wedding veil. Bennett tells her that she ruined everything, she took Debbie away from him, and now she has to take her place. Erica loosens the ropes around her hands and is about to get free when Bennett, furious, grabs her. He ties her back up and asks her if there's anything she wants to say. She swears she will not beg for her life. He tells her again that she ruined everything and brings the blade of the machete to her neck.
At the office, Julianne and Lloyd are tense. It's 8:00. They hope the team made it to Debbie in time.
Bennett holds the machete to Erica's throat, leaning over her. He tells her the most painless way to kill an animal is to chop off its head. The next thing is to cut its throat. Sometimes the bottom part of the body continues to move after the head is cut off. That's what happens with birds, and that's what's going to happen with her. Erica closes her eyes, but before Bennett can do anything, Charlie, about 40 feet away, screams his name, telling him to stop. Bennett, enraged, tells Charlie that she took away what was his. A helicopter comes into range, overhead. Bennett raises the machete, ready to bring it down on Erica's neck. "Charlie!" Erica screams. Charlie fires. Bennett goes down. Blood spatters onto the wedding dress and Erica's face. Charlie runs up and unties her.
The elevator door opens. Lloyd and Julianne are asleep at their desks. They wake and watch their colleagues enter. Charlie, Ray, Shea and Erica enter the office like zombies. Ray limps along on his leg, which is dressed in bandages. Julianne tells Ray that Debbie is back with her fiance and doing fine, and that Gunderson is waiting for the reward he was promised for helping them. Charlie continues to his office and Ray limps towards the bathroom. Erica sits in a chair, remembering. She looks up to see Ray staring at her. He gives her a nod and walks into the bathroom.
He puts his leg up on the sink, moves aside the sliced pant leg, and inspects the bloody bandages. He puts his foot back on the floor and runs the sink. He then reaches for some paper towels, and stops and peers at something: on top of the paper towel holder is Charlie's watch.
Ray walks into Charlie's office, revealing what he found in the bathroom. Charlie realizes that he left it in there when cleaning off his shirt. Ray tells him to tell the cons that he someone returned it to his desk, so he doesn't lose credibility with them. Ray leaves, and Charlie sits there, staring at the watch, taking his advice into consideration.
A beat, and Charlie walks into the main office. He stops in front of Lloyd, Shea, and Erica, back in their prison clothes, and admits the truth: he misplaced the watch, nobody took it. He tells them they did a good job. Charlie walks towards the elevator while the three cons exchange a surprised look. They shuffle into the elevator and Charlie closes the gate behind them.
- Laz Alonso as Charlie Duchamp
- Domenick Lombardozzi as Ray Zancanelli
- Brooke Nevin as Julianne Simms
- Jimmi Simpson as Lloyd Lowery
- Malcolm Goodwin as Shea Daniels
- Serinda Swan as Erica Reed
- Robin Wilcock as Bennett Ballester
- Paula Garces as Debbie Myers
- Brock Johnson as Fritz Gunderson
- Catherine Dent as Paula Berry
- Adam Grech as Kenny
- Andrew McLean as Teddy
- Kevin Jubinville as Calvin Ballester
- Jonathan Whittaker as Phillip Kincaid
The Chivalry Castle scenes were filmed at Medieval Times on a non-performance day. All of the knights, squires, and jousters from the show did their own stunts. Various members of the crew, including director Billy Gierhart, attended Medieval Times performances on the weekend prior to shooting, to visualize the scene logistics and partake in some jousting fun.
The broadsword Bennett used to kill the orderly at Medieval Times was made of foam, while the machete he uses later in the episode was made of rubber.
The scenes filmed at the Sunnybrook Psychiatric Centre were shot at Variety Village, an 80,000 square foot fitness and life skills recreation centre for individuals living with disabilities.
Sunnybrook Park, a 150-acre expanse of green in the heart of urban Toronto, doubled as the Adirondack Mountains for this episode. The forested rolling hills and deep ravines worked perfectly for the required mountainous look, though the actors and crew had to tough it out through some very, very cold weather conditions. It was remarked that there was great difficulty discerning crew members on set, due to the large parkas, hoods, hats, mitts, and scarves in which everyone was decked out.
The bones (a hand and forearm) that Debbie Myers pulls from the earth were elements taken from a medical skeleton. The make-up Department painted the bones and the Props Department then added bits of broken-down and aged material to simulate a decomposing shirt.
The red bellied falcon feathers and wings were actually those of pheasants, the red bellied falcon not actually being a real bird.
Song: "End Of Story"
Artist: Fireball Ministry
Album: Fireball Ministry