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Rounding off the TV week

ABC Family and Natalie Tena are clearly in a conspiracy deal to make me like her, because I've been watching the Harry Potter movies on TV, with the added bonus of "special footage" from Order of the Phoenix during commercials.  It turns out that a lot of said footage consists of Natalie being candid and silly on camera.  She's very mischievous and playful, exactly the way I imagine Tonks to be, and as much as this fact upsets me, I'm beginning to understand how she won the role.  Gah!  But she doesn't look like Tonks!  Stop destroying my convictions!

That's my interesting commentary for the day; moving on to reviews now. 

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Law & Order: SVU: Paternity
HEAD.  TO THE DESK.  It was such an amazing episode.  Everything was going swimmingly; an interesting case, a sympathetic victim/murderer, fodder for me to spend a paragraph explaining how stupid Olivia was being with regards to blood relation, the crash was fantastic - shockingly sudden, the amazing dynamic between Olivia and Kathy, there was all kinds of intense drama and a sense of foreboding during which I once again feared for the latter's life, and the newest Stablerling was clearly doomed...and then the baby lived. 

The stupid baby lived, and I am so full of rage about it.  Not allowed!  Not allowed to subvert all my dreams and hopes and wishes at the last second, not like that!  A new baby serves no purpose in the overall storyline of SVU.  A pregnancy serves a purpose, reuniting Mr. & Mrs. Stabler, but there's no need to saddle them with the permanency of another baby.  Which is why it was so fantastic that they drummed up this wicked car crash scenario - if they're not afraid to go for drama like that, then they give themselves the perfect vehicle (no pun intended) to write it off.  I'm sure Kathy's age wouldn't have done her any favors as far as delivering a healthy child under duress, never mind whatever injuries she suffered, and oh, the point is, this was SO PERFECT for ending it just in the nick of time.  

And then you don't follow through.  Why would you not follow through?  I'm enraged on behalf of the other children in the family, whose own activities and achievements suddenly pale in comparison to the incessant demands of the baby.  The baby they will have listen to crying in the middle of the night, and probably be roped into babysitting on a regular basis.  

Furthermore, in terms of how it impacts me you just know that now instead of getting awesome father/daughter scenes, or better yet family scenes (when's the last time we saw kids not named Kathleen?), we're going to get parents/baby scenes.  This makes me feel extraordinarily peevish, because one of the greatest things about Dt. Stabler was that he had kids who actually fell between the ages of elementary and college - in other words, kids who were old enough to have intelligent conversations rather than being decorative Cute Ornaments, without being wholly independent of their parents.  It's rare among my shows, and I enjoyed it.  But now we'll be back to that cliche place.  ANGRY FACE.  Yes, I know I sit and squeal on a regular basis about my plans for future Eppes, Halpert and Freedman children, but first-time parents are a thing entirely separate from established families suddenly becoming +1.  Especially when said parenting adventures are merely a product of my imagination. 

The only good thing to come out of this was the forehead touch, which was so breathtakingly affirming and quiet and loving that I curled up in a little ball of happiness.  I'd have done the same for his hugging Olivia, because even platonically I think it would utterly destroy him if he lost her, except that no matter how hard I tried, it just didn't look innocent and made me uncomfortable.  I saw the dashed hopes of a million shippers written in his face.  

(Sidebar - I do find it amusingly hypocritical that the introduction of a new baby is the thing that makes them all back off, when they had no problem gunning for the breakup of a family of six before)

I apparently cannot talk about anything non-baby-related, so I'll finish it off with a shade of disappointment that Elliot, after staunchly rebuffing his partner's ranting about how BIOLOGY IS EVERYTHING OMG and defending that a child's real father is the one who raises him, promptly pitches a hissy fit at the chance that the new baby might not be his.  And I kind of get where he's coming from, because that would seem not quite right, on Kathy's part, to get herself knocked up and go back to him out of convenience...but on the other hand, can't you just assume the best and not bring it up?  When your wife is 8 or 9 months pregnant, that is not the time to get hostile and accusatory.  At least he got over that by the end (*is still squeeing over the repeated "I love you"s*) 

 

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CSI: NY - 4x10, "The Thing About Heroes"
Okay.  Wow.  Um.  That was far and away the best episode of the season.  (*pause* Maybe tied with Boo.) All kinds of fantastic action.  Sweeping conclusion to the 333 case, which I think went on for the perfect amount of time, as good as everything that had built up to it.  Even if the fandom did ruin half my fun by figuring out ahead of time that Drew was involved.  I wouldn't have picked up on that by myself, but once pointed out it was too obvious to ignore or forget. 

That's okay, though.  The action of the runaway train - despite the pathetic lack of D/L focus afterwards - was a great kick-off, and you cannot ever, ever go wrong when you combine smirky Flack ("[I'm] sneaky like that") and Mac in one scene.  Especially if that scene is in Chicago.  Toss in an uppity Sinclair, and you have even more fun.  Part of me is a little less than satisfied with the story of Mac's Childhood Trauma, just because the guy seems to have suffered enough in adulthood, and it's become a bit cliche for CSIs to have Trauma in their youth.  But I will ignore that because it's such fun to watch Mac chase and close in on the clues, merrily giving all authority figures the slip in dogged pursuit of his own answers.  Plus I really liked the juxtaposition throwback to Snow Day, this time with Mac being the one held captive with a maze of lasers.  Overall, aside from the Drew angle, the whole story had me on the edge of my seat.  For example, I thought for sure Sinclair was dead when he strapped on that vest.  I still don't see the point of him playing the hero; normally only main characters put themselves in unrealistic dangerous scenarios, unless their act of heroism is about to get them killed.  I'm sort of disappointed he wasn't, actually, since I couldn't bring myself to care about either of the stupid brothers.

For all the awesomeness, there were certain things that still bothered me.  For example, the thing I've been complaining about at various points all season - the thing that makes me fear it's going down that Miami path: cheesy and plastic dialogue.  I really do think it's the delivery rather than the writing, and particularly cringe-worthy in this ep is the part where they realize Drew is involved.  "So wait a minute Stella, are you saying that...this Drew Bedford guy is INVOLVED?  Aren't...you two SEEING each other?"  I can barely contain my SHOCK.  Talking dolls are more convincing than this; fake, fake, FAKE.  And then you get Stella - "I KNEW, something in my gut told me it wasn't right!  Lindsay, he was USING ME TO GET TO MAC OMG!"  Ugh.  I hate this scene more than words can express. 

Plus, the ending was way too abrupt, the bossy Chicago cop really annoyed me (thank God she eventually disappeared), and we really didn't need that "previously on" segment, given that MAC RECAPS THE ENTIRE CASE IN EXACTLY THE SAME WAY during the episode itself. Redundancy much?  And yes, I'm also going to sulk that Danny rushes up to ask Stella if she's okay, but doesn't spare a second to check anyone else such as, I don't know, Flack.  Or HIS GIRLFRIEND.  *stomps off, muttering, to stir up daydreams*  

And lastly, I cannot let the week slide without griping that Lindsay has applied the Lily Erickson model to her hair, whereby every time she changes it, she manages to make it worse.  Seriously, the way she keeps on with that severe bob...she'll be 45 on her next birthday, yes?

Minor infractions aside, it was a very enjoyable hour; definitely the highlight of my week.

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ER: "Skye's the Limit" (episode #299!)
The major patient storyline of the week was every bit as boring as the summary made it sound - another one of those Spoiled Asshole White Kids raging about immigrants, ending in tragedy - but there was so much else going on that it didn't matter.  I could have definitely have done with fewer scenes of the man's pulpy, torn apart arm, but overall this was a much, MUCH better episode than I was expecting (hm, does this mean the 300th will be as disappointing as most shows' 100th?).

Gates and Sarah continue to delight my soul.  I think I teared up with happiness over the adorableness and normalcy of their opening scene.  Seriously, no romantic relationship on this show, not even Luby Love, comes close to approaching the joy that these two bring me.  I also find it amusing that she gets along so well with Julia after that nasty war she had going with Neela.  "Your friend Julia can come too, she's pretty cool," is Sarah's generous offer, with precociousness which makes me giggle.  And even though Tony's clueless attempt to join in the slumber party was embarrassing beyond belief until Sarah pleaded for privacy, he recovered from that with blissful ease.  And they continued to be the most heartwarming guardian/child relationship in the history of TV.

Speaking of Luby Love, I am not overly fond of dopey Niko, but I did love the way how earnestly and sincerely he told Abby "Anyone who can make my brother this happy is an extraordinary person."  Especially when he fumbled over the English for "extraordinary" and had to ask Luka for a translation.  Croatian, yay!  I love the sound of foreign languages.  (on TV, anyway.  International girls babbling in the computer lab late at night?  Not so much) 

I cannot complain about any of her conversations with Luka, though, as they were everything I've wanted to hear all season.  At the hospital - "You said you wanted to meet my family."  "Yeah, SOME DAY."  As in not when she was desperate to reconnect with him after months apart.  Adored her derisive laugh when he tried to placate "I know it was tough for you with me being away..." And then her cutting him off later, "Do you think it's wrong for me to want you to myself?!"  I also loved that she shot back that YES, yes, she does think that sometimes he liked being away from them.  Because despite his vehement denials, and his legitimate defense that caring for one's dying father is not exactly all fun and games, you cannot convince me that Abby was having a far rougher time of it back home.  He was relieved of the responsibility of parenthood, with his brother, and in his native country. 

As for Abby's drunken, bitter ranting at episode's end...man, I know I shouldn't say this, but that last drink did her good, as she finally hit him with the last of everything that she's had to struggle with in the past few months.  And she did it all with a fine mix of sincerity and sarcasm.  I particularly loved her biting back with "Why didn't you answer your cell phone?"  When Joe was hurt, that is.  Luka couldn't find her tonight; she couldn't find him then, and it wasn't the first time.  I told you that his unavailability was a major factor in her meltdown. 

Oh!  And yet another thing to love, "You promised.  In front of everyone.  To do this together."  And that is another thing which strikes at the core of her downward spiral.  She relinquished her stubbornness, she opened up; she stopped resisting the last bit of separation and married him, trusting his word and its permanency.  She let go of her guardrail, and then the world fell out from beneath her feet. 

I really like her addressing his drinking, because they're both at fault on that one but neither is really to blame.  For her part, if it really bothered her, Abby should have addressed it earlier on.  But she may not have felt she needed to because most people understand how alcoholism works, and would have been more sensitive without prompting.  Which is a fair assumption, except that this is Luka we're dealing with, and the man has a tendency to assume that whatever isn't obviously going wrong is just fine.  It's how he got slapped with sexual harassment complaints from nurses and dumped by Sam.  So there's that, but there's also the fact that he's from another culture, and I'm not 100% certain on this but I feel like Americans have a tendency to overdramatize and coddle problems related to mental health and addictions.  As he put it, "You had a problem, you're much better now."  It really is that simple in his mind.   Part of me thinks his training as a doctor should override that, but I will make excuses for him.  I think he sees a difference between run-of-the-mill statistics and the woman he loves; it's different when it involves someone you care about. 

Alas, their long-overdue conversation is cut short with the revelation that Luka's father has passed away, which I'd forgotten was coming and which shut up my cheering as abruptly as Abby's words.  The look on her face is indescribable.  My heart, it hurts.  I want fic to make it better.  Right now.  Go work on post-eps, people. 

I kind of liked Neela's consoling Howard at the end there.  I feel the same warning prickle of danger I did when I was talking about Dubenko and Neela, but they wouldn't really try to do dirty things with these two, would they?  Neela really is a teacher here, as much as if they were standing in a high school (I mean, really, given his age...), albeit with slightly more candid conversation topics.  She's kind of like an aunt, or maybe a cousin.   Anyway, the way I see it from the way the nurse was smiling about it too, they're all just rallying around their young coworker, whose juvenile activities are cute compared to the stuff they usually talk about.  (and really, doesn't it make you smile a little bit to hear him lamenting "woe is me, I am already NINETEEN YEARS OLD, I shall die alone!"?)

And finally, Skye Wexler reminds me of Charlotte King [Private Practice], but she's so much sweeter and so unassuming that I can't help but love her.  Unlike Moretti, whom I hated on sight, with Skye it's the exact opposite.  I love her as Chief, and I want her to stay forever and ever, despite her claims of desiring only minimal temp work.  I do think Pratt's finally old enough and mature enough to handle a position of leadership, but he has a permanently grumpy look to his expression, whereas Skye is a breath of fresh air.  No pun intended.  But see, even her NAME is pretty!

I am, naturally, blocking out that completely asinine and unwanted scene with Dubenko, because not only did it destroy my admiration for her in the space of five second, *coughslut*, it's not nice to take advantage of the poor man.  He's rather confused and socially stunted when it comes to relationships.  He needs a nice woman to come along and think the world of him.  It kills me every time he turns those sad puppy dog eyes on yet another doctor for whom he will spend months longing after, occasionally making fumbling attempts at something more that either don't get picked up on or are gently rejected.  And THIS...this is not good.
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Whew.  I do believe I am all talked out.  Off to go deny that I only have 2 episodes of my crack addiction show left...

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
stunt_muppet
Dec. 4th, 2007 05:30 am (UTC)
Ugh, I hear you on the newest Stablerling. Even on the best of days I can't stand dramatic-birth episodes ("Screw character development! And, for that matter, a plot! Or any sort of action whatsoever! Let's just watch some poor woman grunt and strain and make faces for the rest of the episode!"), and even though I thought the car crash was done well I pretty much hated the episode from then on. I was all set for either Kathy or the baby to die, but...no. No, just another chance to ramp up Teh Drama.

The fact that Kathy was apparently in labor for twenty damn minutes didn't make me feel any better.

I do find it amusingly hypocritical that the introduction of a new baby is the thing that makes them all back off, when they had no problem gunning for the breakup of a family of six before.

...wait, the rabid E/O fanbrats backed off? I must have missed something.
rainbowstevie
Dec. 5th, 2007 12:09 am (UTC)
Oh no, not the fanbrats. I poked around the internet a bit more after posting that and my head hurts from even minimal exposure to their silly and tiresome rhetoric. But slightly saner reviewers, who've been saying for a while how they think Kathy is a stick in the mud from whom Elliot should just accept that he needs to move on, have lately become shamefaced and "well, never mind then; baby changes everything."

Let's just watch some poor woman grunt and strain and make faces for the rest of the episode!
Always my greatest fear as soon as I hear some character's gotten pregnant. Even when I am not actively gunning for said pregnancies to end badly, I'll never understand why they can't just be quietly born off screen. It's like they think we'll feel cheated if we don't get to experience that moment, complete with all the appropriate alarm bells and danger whistles.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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