Overall: I was not really feelin' this year. This ALWAYS happens the year after I fall in love with a crime show I've been only casually watching before then -- it immediately falls apart at the seams and has a bum year. Is it my perception that changes, or am I really that cursed?
And, OK, I guess it could have been much worse and ship-ruining, but it was still criminally boring compared to S8, which I think in was in no small part due to having to shift the focus off Densi and onto Sam's Grief Recovery at the beginning in order to do season 8's finale justice. I recognize that it was important, but it still just...wasn't interesting to me.
(Live Reaction Note, circa October 23: 'I am So Weary of turning on this show and being hit in the face with the Bros In Arms first thing. How long must I Endure.')
It killed my momentum right out the gate, and while the season did tend to get somewhat better as it went on...
...the main reason I disliked this season was the awful presence of Mosley, sneering and smirking around every corner and LITERALLY lording it over them with her glass-walled office in the sky. I cannot believe this show pulled an Office and finally granted me my dream of being (mostly) free of my boss nemesis, sending Hetty almost entirely out of the picture until March, only to replace them with a somehow worse boss. Nothing against Nia Long, but Mosley was just awful all the way to the end, and even her sob story about her son being kidnapped and spirited away (lovingly!) by his criminal mastermind father did exactly nothing to gain my sympathy.
Meanwhile, my shippy reason to live didn't get nearly as much focus as I like. I even would have welcomed the thing I normally dislike about engaged TV couples, when they spend a whole season planning a wedding that will ultimately be tossed out in favor of a spur of a the moment ceremony with mostly just their coworkers present. They only made a few cursory attempts to pay lip service to the idea, which normally I would find a refreshing change of pace, but they weren't doing anything ELSE particularly shippy most of the time either. Seriously, it was a preeetty huge downgrade from the riches of season 8.
It felt like they weren't even paired up as often in the field, due to the addition of Hidoko and her frequently taking an active field agent role, so I got cheated out of work banter too. (however, WikiDeeks mentioned that ECO had less screen time than usual this year/took more time off, so maybe that wasn't the writers' fault. I didn't notice because I rarely notice the halves of my OTP individually and only track Densi Time vs. Non-Densi Time, but I guess that would explain it a bit)
And Nell/Eric?? They did have that one spectacular episode, true, but it's like if Hidoko wasn't busting up Densi, she was getting in the way of the meerkats' work flirt instead.
So yeah, I just remember a LOT of frustration, so much that I almost welcomed the head-stoving angst of the finale just because I was emotionally invested again. But we'll get to that.
Despite her getting in the way of shippy scenes, I really loved Harley Hidoko herself! Like, immediately. I've enjoyed her every line and facial expression, particularly her willingness to throw over her awful boss to support her obviously more awesome team whenever necessary, and it's been great how everyone (save Eric at first) pretty much embraced her into the family on sight. She pairs particularly well with Sam, and I don't even know if I mean that in a shippy way (I don't, but I could definitely see it years down the road?), but she has chemistry with everyone.
My favorite recurring character? Definitely Sam's sea lion pal. FEATURE HIM ALWAYS. That was almost worth Sam selling his children's home/everything in it and moving to a houseboat.
As written in 2018: "I am also now in my second year of checking Eric Christian Olsen, Daniela Ruah and Renee Felice Smith's Instagrams on a daily basis, and may I just say, their respective families are just...so great. For ECO, I don't know if I have ever seen a guy so in love with being a dad / generally devoted to his family. TV shows themselves, including the actual TV show he is on, cannot create the amount of love splashed across this account on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, Dani is super as far as exercise motivation and also appears super in love with being a mom/wife despite my skepticism that her first kid was planned, and while Renee's kids are all of the canine variety because she's very much the Never Grow Up type of Millenial and I can't even picture her as a mom, she reminds me of me more than hardly any Hollywood actress ever has. She just seems so ordinary? Like sometimes she does InstaStories that include such closeups on her face that you can see her eyebrows aren't perfectly pluckd in the center or that she has visible skin blemishes, and I'm just like, "You can get on TV even without perfectly polishing yourself??" and I love it. I hate being a boring cliche Unpretty who likes representation of reality instead of idealism, but I can't deny its validating effect.
(That plus the fact that her posts are like 50% dogs and 30% pretty pictures of houses, outdoors or home decor, and the relationship with her...I want to say long-term boyfriend, because I don't think she's married? reminds me so much of me & Chris = seriously, Parallel World Me. Except much shorter.)
And with that, I think I'm ready to start my episode rundown. Stay tuned!