What If… Deception had Killed Cameron Black?

by Alan Rapp on October 5, 2018

in Essays 

What If Uncle Ben Had Lived? What If Spider-Man Had Rescued Gwen Stacy? Honoring the Marvel Comics series which over the years has taken a look at how a small change can create ripples across the Marvel Universe, this new feature will examine the same idea across movies, television, and more. We begin with ABC’s Deception, a procedural featuring Jack Cutmore-Scott playing the dual roles of twin magicians Cameron and Jonathan Black. The arc of its single season featured Johnathan framed for murder and Cameron going to work for the FBI as a consultant in hopes of finding evidence to prove his brother’s innocence by tracking down the woman (Stephanie Corneliussen) responsible.

One of the problems with the show’s concept was that Cameron’s motivation for finding the “mystery woman” was far less personally motivated than those of his brother (now locked up in prison). Halfway through the season, the show aired an episode entitled “Sacrifice 99 to Fool 1” in which Cameron is forced to work for his enemy in exchange for the proof that will free his brother. The added twist is the FBI pulls pulls Jonathan out of prison to help stop the robbery which his brother has planned. This results in Jonathan nearly killing his brother by choosing to save others over one of the thieves knocked out during their fight (which turns out to be Cameron in disguise). As the credits role, Jonathan is forced to watch his brother slowly suffocate inside a locked vault with no hope of escape. Of course, a week later we learn the villain gets away, no evidence is left, and Cameron Black makes it out of the vault, allowing the show to return to normal.

But what if something else had happened?

What If... Deception had Killed Cameron Black?

Instead, imagine that the mystery woman had kept her word and left the evidence which would exonerate Jonathan. Freed from prison, Johnathan would be doubly motivated to find the woman who stole months of his life by getting him convicted for a crime he didn’t commit and then tricked him into being responsible the death of his brother. Talk about motivation! All the sudden one of the weakest aspects of the show becomes its greatest strength while installing Jonathan, the less respectable of the two magicians (far more likely to color outside the lines), as the FBI’s new consultant with a brave move that would have allowed the show to kill off the lead character on a show without getting rid of the actor.

Aside from being one of the most ballsy moves the show could have come up with, it would have better served the show. Instead, after taking us to the brink of a major shake-up, Deception chose to force us back to the status quo. But just think of what might have happened if Cameron Black had died in the heist while helping the mystery woman, and his death being a direct result of Jonathan knocking out the “thief” and then failing to pull his body out before the vault went into lock down. I think, just maybe, the show would have earned a second season.

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