Thursday, June 27, 2013

Felicity: Spooked (1.5)

The end mostly justifies the means in Spooked, probably the weakest episode so far and generally an exercise in repetition. Because Felicity isn't actually in a relationship with Ben, the writers have to source material from her perpetual longing. And that's fine, since the show has already done such a successful job of having Ben mostly exist through Felicity's gaze, the guy constantly photographed in slow-motion, the unattainable dreamboat. But part of the problem with an episode like Spooked is that it mostly revolves around their actual interaction, and so far the show is relying on the same narrative trajectory whenever they commit to a real conversation.

The central idea here once again involves Felicity growing closer to Ben through unexpected circumstances, this time an act of violence in which the two of them are held at gunpoint. Felicity 'voiceovers' about soldiers in battle and how that shared experience creates this unparalleled bond, and Ben begins to open up a little about his relationship with his dad and the violence there and how the gun thing brought back all his fear and paranoia. It's sweet, particularly a moment in which Felicity talks about how her life didn't flash before her eyes in the moment when she had a gun pointed at her head, instead just thoughts of class projects and getting a job, almost as if she knew that she wasn't meant to die right then and there.

But once Ben becomes distant again, hooking up with a girl dressed as the Pink Ranger (ha!) at a Halloween party, the story settles into something of a Felicity routine -- Felicity sad and rejected, and Noel being all comforting. And it's the show suddenly becoming a little derivative. What works, however, is the way the story ultimately refuses to settle into regression. Felicity acknowledges that Ben is "just a guy", and that she probably shouldn't hold him in such a position of power in her life. The ending also introduces some actual tension between Ben and Noel, Noel likely exaggerating Ben's everyday douchiness purely out of his own attraction to Felicity.

So, in the end, you can sort of excuse some of the weaker plotting this week, since it all seems to build to something which, if it sticks, can only be good for the show and the characters themselves. Everyone else took something of a backseat this week. Julie and Zach are still seeing each other, Julie trying to be as interested in him as he is in her. There's also some fun interaction between Noel and Elena, the latter becoming this intriguingly neurotic basket-case of sorts. And Felicity has a new base of operations, getting a job at a coffee shop. So we're seeing movement, at least.

Spooked is the first episode not bearing J.J. Abrams' name in the writing credits, and it definitely lacks the overriding sense of perspective that made recent hours so effective. But it also implies a brighter future for some of the show's major arcs, particularly those threatened by repetition. B

Guest stars
Devon Gummersall (Zach); Greg Grunberg (Sean Blumberg); Sam Shamshak (Detective Graziano); Ian Gomez (Javier Clemente Quintata); Amanda Foreman (Meghan Rotundi); Sebastian Tillinger (Andrew); Christien Anholt (Paul)
Writer Jennifer Levin Director Joan Tewkesbury


  1. Hey,

    I just finished reading your Dawson's Creek reviews - loved your insights. Are you going to be continuing with Felicity reviews? Would love a comprehensive blow by blow of the whole series before it is forgotten by the inter webs!

    Cheers :)

  2. Hi Galina, thanks so much for reading! I'm hoping to continue with Felicity this summer, yes.