Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Felicity: The Last Stand (1.2)

Whenever teenage characters up sticks and head to college, little time is granted to the adults left behind, forced to suddenly cope with the empty bedroom upstairs, or the lack of noise at the dinner table. Felicity is already approaching college life from a unique perspective, its protagonists high school graduates just as we're getting to know them, but it's welcome and affecting to see so much of The Last Stand distracted by the parental concern of Felicity's mom and dad. They're initially painted as sort of neurotic and frustrating, disappointed that their daughter isn't pursuing their dreams for her, before eventually becoming somber and sympathetic as individuals. It's a neat bait and switch.

For Felicity's mother, she's watching her daughter take her first steps into a world that she herself never experienced, having gotten married and had a baby by the time she was twenty. It creates this strange alienation, something ultimately rectified by the time the end credits roll, but quietly absorbing as long as it lasts. Felicity's dad is a little more accepting of his daughter's new direction in life, but only after seeing her in full 'college student' mode and realizing what New York means to her. J.J. Abrams' work has always danced around this type of earnest generational drama, even in much of his genre stuff, and it's just as carefully evocative as you'd imagine. While I don't expected to hear from Felicity's parents all that much in the future, I like that the show is exploring how every action has deeper ramifications, particularly for those that we sometimes take for granted.

The Last Stand does a decent job of fleshing out much of the main cast, Julie and Noel especially. Julie reveals that she's adopted, and that she's come to New York partly to track down her birth mother, who exists only as a name for now. It's a smart contrast to Felicity's family dynamics, particularly Julie's isolation after being brought up by people who seemed over-determined to allow her breathing room. Julie herself is the kind of lissome, earnest, singer-songwriter type that could start to grate after a while, but Amy Jo Johnson is so far sweetly low-key in the part. That, or it's just leftovers from my Pink Ranger crush as a kid. I don't know.

Noel is also used well here. Felicity awkwardly describes him as a "bouncing board" for her feelings at one point, which is a valid definition of his role right now. He's still in something of an RA position with Felicity, despite his obvious romantic interest, but they're developing a deep bond removed from their respective roles on campus. Felicity is still infatuated with Ben, though, a first act romantic misfire resulting in another 'Felicity doing a stupid thing' plot device. It ends up pretty well for her, shockingly, but the love triangle element to the show is still in play, even if every angle of it is still pretty clueless as to where they stand. B+

Guest stars
Darnell Williams (John Papaleno); Robert Clendenin (Dominic); Erich Anderson (Edward Porter); Eve Gordon (Barbara Porter)
Writer J.J. Abrams Director Matt Reeves

No comments:

Post a Comment