Saturday, July 24, 2010
I don't fully understand some of the hate for this finale. The problem with the Carver arc was that it was never supposed to last so long. Originally intended for just one episode, a spike in ratings inspired Ryan Murphy to make the Carver season three's big bad, with the mask to be taken off in the season three finale. A lot of fans were annoyed at the identity of the Carver but, thinking rationally, who else could it really be?
Poor Kimber. The scene detailing all the pain she'd gone through at the hands of The Carver was unbearable, and to see her all sliced up and carved was way too graphic for me. The fact that she'd gotten some kind of Stockholm Syndrome during her ordeal makes the whole thing even more depressing, with Kimber partly sympathizing with The Carver and his "message". Kelly Carlson was amazing throughout this episode, in particular during her final scene with Christian, where she breaks down at the thought of staying with him.
Matt really impressed me in this episode. While he's still stupid for getting involved with a neo-Nazi family in the first place, he showed signs of maturity in his reaction to Ariel's plans, and even bonded with Christian at the end. The relationship between Matt and Christian continues to be great to see. It's evolving at a natural speed, not in a ridiculous soap opera way, and I loved that they both admitted that they were still adjusting to the sudden new connection between them.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I'm pleasantly surprised that the show hasn't gone the easy route with Juliet. She could have been the annoying, Paris Hilton-esque spoilt daughter, but in just three episodes of this show so far, she's been allowed to develop a surprising amount of depth. She's naive about life but quietly open to knowledge, and there's a genuine vulnerability to her actions as she slowly begins to suspect that her brother is lying to her. The fact that she's a virgin is equally as adorable (on why she's happy to be labeled a slut: "It's easier that way").
Oubliette is an episode that I remember vividly from my childhood. Maybe it was the kid getting abducted from her bedroom, or the creepy class photographer responsible? Whatever the reasoning, it stuck in my head for years after. Watching it again, it's not exactly the masterpiece I remembered it being, but it at least featured an intriguing hook which overshadows an unspectacular mystery.
There are some interesting attempts at exploring real-life disturbances through this episode, first with the government's treatment of war veterans (lock them up and keep them quiet), and then with our own passive view of war itself: "turn right over to the TV page", as that song goes. But as this is another mildly generic X-Files tale, we also have a villain desperate for revenge. Unlike so many other underwhelming episodes, however, The Walk features some stand-out moments of shock and awe.
Julia is one hell of a screwed-up lady. While her mother is a complete bitch, there's no excuse for coldly murdering her -- or at least a woman who is supposedly her. Especially since the evidence that the woman on the gurney was Erica was a little lightweight. As much as I thought murder was a completely over-the-top reaction, I did appreciate the confidence brought out in her throughout the episode. It's unfortunate that she quit medical school, since she reacts quickly in crisis situations, and manages to be better at both surgery and patient interaction than Sean.
The "paper bag scene" has gone down in Nip/Tuck history as one of its most shocking moments, and it's undoubtedly disturbing. Throughout the story, your immediate impression is that it's exploitative and cruel, only included to make the audience uncomfortable. But it's only in the final scene where you realize how tragic the entire situation is. Abby is a masochist, somebody so full of self-hate that she lets herself be degraded in every way possible. She actually thinks what Christian put her through was a good thing. You feel terrible for her, and she seriously needs psychiatric help.
Monday, July 19, 2010
This show really likes goo, am I right? Thinking about it, I wouldn't be surprised if the entire episode came about after a big tub of goo became available. They'd clearly want to use it, so here's an X-Files episode built all around it. Outside of the goo, 2Shy is a standard procedural hour with more than a couple of throwbacks to Squeeze. Besides a couple of key differences, it's pretty much the same episode.
Re-watching Dirty Sexy Money's first season, it struck me how I completely overlooked Donald Sutherland's acting at the time the show originally aired. Throughout the show's second episode, he gives a truly multi-layered performance, filled with subtle nuances that scream insight into his character. From his almost giddy excitement at the start of the episode to his understated devastation in the final scene, he's every bit deserving of his reputation as a big-screen legend.
Kimber has every right to be questioning her decision to marry Christian. He's notoriously unreliable as somebody in a committed relationship, and how can she be sure he won't end up picking up some girl in a sleazy bar? It was also sad to see part of Kimber's worries come true, with Christian and Julia kissing each other right before the ceremony. As a die-hard Christian/Kimber lover, I hate it when Julia gets in the way, and unfortunately her presence was all over this episode, even when she wasn't actually in a scene.
Christian and Kimber's ultimatum was awesome, and really showed how much they value each other as a couple. I also loved the clause in their contract about threesomes, as they wouldn't want their sex life to go stale (hee!). The entire Kimber Doll-wannabe was a little disturbing, and I was never really convinced by it. But at least it gave Kelly Carlson a lot to do, and the chemistry between her and Julian McMahon was still great to see.
Christian's attempts to connect with his mother were so sad. You could see that Christian was trying his hardest in every way to be a perfect son and create a trusting relationship with her, even if he sometimes went a little too far (like offering Gail plastic surgery -- not a good idea!). As much as it hurt him in the end, it was understandable that Gail wouldn't want him in her life. Piecing together your life after such a terrifying attack, only to have a remnant of said attack come back unexpectedly when you'd moved on would be so difficult to go through.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Christian and Kimber are one of those few TV couples I consider myself a huge shipper for, so I unsurprisingly loved their scenes together in this episode. The dialogue for Kimber was truly beautiful, especially her scene discussing Sean's departure and comparing him to an unneeded appendix (... long story). Christian's proposal was also great, and a marked improvement on his attempt in the season premiere.
The surgery cases on Nip/Tuck usually work when there's an element of relatability to each scenario. For instance, Trudy Nye's domestic abuse, or Ellie Harkness' fight against her husband's Alzheimer’s. The problem with Silas Prine in Frankenlaura was that nobody can relate to him (hopefully, heh!). Outside of the fact that the Frankenstein story was both needlessly gross and nasty, Silas fails to gain any type of emotion from the audience. The parallels between him and Sean were also pretty non-existent. It's as if the writers needed to come up with some kind of purpose for him, and grasped at straws for this one.
This is the kind of episode that The X-Files can do in its sleep. All of the themes displayed here; "revenge from beyond the grave", "intrigue and conspiracies in a prison"; have been presented in at least two or three previous episodes. So, in that regard, The List is disappointing. But what really drains the episode of any success is the fact that it's so inconsequential.
Despite having only one other script under his belt so far, we're already aware that Darin Morgan is all about subverting expectations. Whether it's the argumentative dwarf in Humbug, or the agents awaiting the arrival of a "spooky" expert on unexplainable murders here, his M.O. is to constantly surprise. Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose as an episode is pretty surprising, as it's not only hysterical, but also profoundly moving.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Dirty Sexy Money was a short-lived primetime soap opera which attempted to relocate the decadent wealth and trashy romantic and professional entanglements of Dynasty to the 21st century. While it lacked the all-out campiness of its ridiculous predecessors, Dirty Sexy Money did have its own unique charm, helped by a surprisingly classy ensemble cast of major stars and fun new discoveries.
It's an arduous task for any writer to craft the mystery-of-the-week episode that follows a run of conspiracy-heavy X-Files hours, but Howard Gordon does a pretty great job of it here. While D.P.O. is still a little jarring in its simplicity, there's a fun satirical quality about the whole thing which makes it one of the few Gordon-scripted episodes worth your time.
So we actually got some answers. I'm sure they're all made pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but Paper Clip to me worked best as a heavy barrage of revelations. It's also a successful action episode, full of memorable moments like Skinner's smack-down of The CSM and Mulder witnessing the UFO overhead. Crazy epic.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Season three opens, and with it a whole new perspective. There's a confidence and a more defined sense of ambition to this episode that has so far been absent from the series as a whole, with an undeniable sense of rising dread as Scully uncovers a deeper conspiracy at work and we as an audience invited to meet the power players at the center of the show's mythology.
In retrospect, the Carver really wasn't good for the show. This episode in particular just didn't sit right, with story twists appearing to just be thrown in at random. And watching this episode after watching the season finale makes it seem even more lazily plotted.
As much as she sucked, Rhea Reynolds certainly got pulled through the ringer toward the end of this episode. Her surgery scene was terrifying (I had to push mute after a while), and the closing moments were even worse, with The Carver back on the scene and more knife-happy than ever. I was a little confused over the anesthetic though. Did Christian sabotage it on purpose? Or was it just good ol' fashioned karma that got Rhea?
Monday, July 5, 2010
For the final three episodes, we were given some resolution, but not so much that it clashed with the naturalistic feel of the show in general. While the fact that pretty much the entire cast have either quit therapy or died is a little contrived, In Treatment has successfully crafted an absorbing closer to the year. Along the way, a lot of the show's patients developed new sides to their personalities, while fittingly other patients remained stagnant. It's the realist approach to such deep, damaged characters that has made the series so powerful.