I realized today that I have exactly one month left in the semester - which sounds like a decent chunk of time, right? Then I sat down to draw up a timetable of all the stuff I have to do in that month, and discovered that it includes 7 papers (3-5 pages each), 2 take-home exams - which are pretty much like two more papers - 2 final exams, that final group research paper + presentation, and a smaller presentation - and that's not even counting all the other little odds and ends/daily stuff.
Now, I think I can manage to cram all this in - hell, I have to - but I definitely cannot do it alongside the TV schedule I've chained myself to. It stretched the limits this week, and it's just going to get worse, so after I finish this week's reviews - or at least some of them - I'm going to have to do like I did at the end of last semester, and just start storing it up for the break. Not all of it; I'd go crazy with nothing to watch, but a significant chunk of it.
Conversely, American Idol and Survivor are staying because reality shows are so easily spoiled/hard to collect/have a really short shelf life. The Office is staying for office_meta , ER and SVU are staying because they tend to be a pain in the ass to find elsewhere, and NCIS is staying because I need to know how this major-character-exit is going down. Without a Trace is maybe-staying because I usually have very little to say about it, and I can get through it quickly. How I Met Your Mother & Medium are up in the air right now - they'd be easy enough to ignore, but the former's only a half hour, and then I always talk to Mom about the latter. As you can see, dear flist, if this works the way I plan, you and I may have precious little to talk about over the next few weeks. Bear with me; the fandom posts WILL eventually all get back on track. In the meantime, have some reviews before they dry up.*
* = should I choose to abandon this grandiose plan for lack of willpower at any point - like, say, the fact that it's been snowing for the past 13 hours and there is a very real possibility of classes being canceled and giving us a 3-day weekend - you will accept this quietly and not judge me.
[EDIT: Here's how that ultimately worked out for me --
I mostly stuck to my decisions, including the easy-to-watch-and-wrap theory on Numb3rs and Cold Case, except that I kept up with Lost and CSI: NY after all, put ER and Without a Trace on the back burner instead, and took Medium but not HIMYM.]
'NCIS, 5x12, "Stakeout"
Previously on NCIS: It was so long ago that I don't even remember.
Seriously...am I the only one who felt extremely disconnected watching that? It was like a whole new season, like everything before just disappeared and they started over with a brand new batch of storylines. I found it hard to really get into the story, although I do approve of covering the time gap with a long-term stakeout. Stil...NCIS, I think your batty scheduling has caused you to slip from my favor. Ergo, a numbered list tonight:
1. Tony & McGee attacking each other was hilarious. Also, I absolutely agree with Tony on the grossness of sunny-side-up eggs.
2. Abby's pigtails don't look good when her hair's this long - they don't bounce like they should. You know I love the long hair, and it looks good in braided pigtails (especially French style), but when I see them plain pigtails I'm overcome by a desire to grab scissors and snip them up a bit.
3. Miss Germaphobe is stupid and irritating. Where's Cynthia? Don't you dare tell me you're replacing Cynthia with this oddity. [edit: oh, okay, apparently she's already a recurring character. Clearly she was so irritating that I blocked the memory.]
4. I also hated the metro detective (as usual, I have not bothered to learn names). She constantly looked as though she were smelling something unpleasant.
5. *sniffle* What's wrong with Jenny's blood? I do not like this face Ducky is making! I think everyone pretty much reached the consensus overnight that she's the major character leaving - though I would still be happy to be proven wrong, if you want to kick out any of the men who aren't Gibbs! - and I'm gutted. I HATED Jen when she first appeared, and bore the grudge for a good long time, but somehow by the end of season 3 she completely won me over, and follows only Ziva, Abby and Gibbs in my top tier of favorite characters. I don't want her to go!
Not to mention that I dread seeing how they replace her. The director before her was hideously dull, and I always dreaded scenes in MTAC (I dread them even more now in reruns, knowing how much better it gets). I can't imagine a way to make this work well.
6. Ziva giving Tony raccoon eyes was hilarious. Tony having Ziva's chair collapse underneath her was not. Prank wars are only great when Ziva comes out on top (even if she started this one).--
'CSI: NY, "Right Next Door"
So many other people have written beautifully constructed commentaries on The Issue, even ones not taking the D/L side, that I am completely humbled by their prowess. It did not, however, stop me from writing a 2500-word essay of my own.
TPTB, we need to talk.
Do you remember how much benefit of the doubt I gave Danny and Rikki in "Child's Play"? My rabid inner shipper wanted to be like "back off, bitch" at the end there, but I tamed her with reason and forced her to admit that under the circumstances, it was most fitting. "It's not like I expected [Lindsay] to be there in the church with him at the end. I respect that there's a certain territorial aspect of the grief in this situation, where it's only appropriate that he should be reaching out to Ruben's mother." You see? You see? I specifically didn't get my knickers in a twist. I grumbled a bit about the lack of D/L to balance it out, but I didn't begrudge the scene on its own merit.
Then along came the spoilers about another woman and sex, and despite initial horror, I was still willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. I eyed the dirty, dirty promo and joined the frenzied speculation discussion of how it might go down, and I came to the conclusion that The Scene must be a flashback to right around the time of Ruben's death, and I didn't like it, but I could buy it. I could buy him pushing Lindsay away, because that's what he does, and then later that night falling apart and needing someone - but can't call her, so who else does he turn to? (right next door...)
Grief does strange things to people. I don't really understand how you numb your emotions with sex, which would seem rife with them, but apparently people do it all the time. So I was willing to go with the idea of meaningless sex, for reasons identical to the way Danny explained it in the episode. But I was only willing to go with it one time. And that one time had to be in December.
I've made no secret of the fact that I loathed the sex scene in Snow Day. It was gross, it was cheap, it was uncomfortable to watch in every way, and it's making bile rise to my throat just thinking about it. But The Scene here was horrific to watch on so many more levels. Saying it made my skin crawl is putting it nicely. It made me want to vomit multiple times. I felt unclean watching it, to the point where I started twitching and hunching my shoulders further and further up, as if trying to bury myself in them.
When he kissed her and brushed a strand of hair out of the way, I think I spontaneously broke out in hives. And then it just kept GOING! Oh my God, the slurping (I refuse to call that kissing), it wouldn't stop! I was watching online so I couldn't skip ahead with any degree of accuracy, and it felt like I was in the grip of a horrible nightmare, silently screaming and screaming and unable to wake up.
Rikki: What are we doing?
Danny: Making each other feel better, because Ruben's gone...there's nothing wrong with that.
RS: UM. UM! EXCEPT FOR THE PART WHERE YOU HAVE A GIRLFRIEND. That's why there's something wrong with that!
I just...I don't understand why we couldn't see this with Lindsay. CSI: NY is a crime show. When I say this, I don't mean that we should never see romance at all. I am very much for seeing romance, and find shows empty without it. But because the shows have a focus beyond relationships, they have no cause to rely on the usual tricks to keep the storylines fresh.
Regular dramas have nothing to do with their characters except shuffle them like playing cards and tangle them in knots. Someone is always breaking up/getting in fights/sleeping with someone else. Crime dramas are special because they can sustain relationships for months and months, use them purely for the garnish effect and leave them alone the rest of the time. And even if you want to end the relationships, fine, sometimes that fits the storyline. But inserting triangles? Triangles?? There is no call for this at all.
Which brings me back to the question of why we couldn't see it with Lindsay. Ever since that over-the-top nonsense in the finale, their whole stupid relationship has been so muted as to be nonexistent. Don't know where your brains have been on that one all year, but you could have fixed it. This would have been a good way to gently push it back into the foreground, and it might even have nicely paralleled all the ways Danny's been there for her over the course of season 3.
I mean, taken out of context, parts of it were very nice. Like the aforementioned hair-stroking; I kept trying to blur my eyes and replace Rikki with Lindsay, and in doing so it was actually fairly squee-worthy. Would have had me melting all over the place. But then the jarring reality would return, and I'd have to fight back nausea. Because you're doing all this with Rikki while turning a blind eye and a cold shoulder to poor, innocent, devoted Lindsay. And that's a dark, dark stain on your character.
Rikki: Danny, Danny...one day you're gonna wake up and realize that Ruben's death wasn't your fault. Yes, he was with you when he got shot, but it was an accident.
RS: Like...what the hell? How would that line not be better coming out of Lindsay's mouth?
Danny: I don't care, 'cause I just want this hurt to go away.
RS: You know, forget anything Lindsay's ever said. That right there is the clunkiest and most plastic-sounding line of the entire episode. *erupts in brief bout of laughter*
Neither one of them has any excuse. I honestly can't believe Danny's flat-out cheating, consequences-be-damned, on thin excuses of mutual grief. I told you, I could have seen it ONCE. I could have seen her being desperately lonely, trying to fill the hollow void of an empty apartment with a warm bed. The way she's apparently carrying on a casual sexual relationship for kicks and giggles strikes me as gross and tasteless. It's not like you have to dress in black and spend a year in isolation mourning him, but YOUR SON DIED. This, this thing with Danny strikes me as vaguely inappropriate. (For appropriate responses to pursuing relationships after the death of one's son, please see "Pay it Forward.")
I don't know if she knows about Lindsay. It's ten times worse if she does; I'm inclined to think that maybe she doesn't technically *know*, but her look when she came in picking up jeans from the floor and folding them - and okay, somebody gets some win for that little detail underscoring what a mom she is, even now - me as the look of someone realizing they've been willfully deluding themselves. And then deciding to continue the deluding.
Danny's worse, though. His breakfast-cooking, not to mention the kissing and playful banter ONE MINUTE after hanging up on Lindsay - what the hell; not even that pings your guilty conscience? - is off-putting to say the least. DELIBERATELY CHEATING ON YOUR GIRLFRIEND: IT IS NOT OKAY. Especially when you're the one who started pursuing her in the first place. Do I have that right? I guess we do have to rehash my whole history with D/L.
I tend not to re-watch episodes past the first week they air, so my season 2 knowledge is a bit spotty in the beginning, but as I've always seen it, Danny started with the teasing/flirting. He kept it up all year, and Lindsay went from being annoyed with it to being a little bit charmed and possibly flirting back, but the whole time she always struck me as someone who was resisting a growing attraction to someone she didn't want to be attracted to, someone who wasn't her type.
By the end of season 2, you have her worrying about him in RSRD, so clearly she's come around to the idea, but then you have Danny hovering around her in the finale, and keeping it up straight through The Hug, and trying to initiate more. Lindsay derailed it to deal with her own issues. And he waited (I mean, mostly. I think. I assume.), and finally he flew to Montana and pushed for it all over again, and this time he was successful. So how, after all that, does he shrug and throw it away? Because, although her delivery of the line is awful and flat in ways I will mock a few paragraphs from now, when she says "I've fallen in love with you," that is a big step. That is a big step in trust. And he's stomped all over it in his steel-toed Betrayal Boots.
All right, let's get around to Lindsay's side of things. This season I have been increasingly less fond of either Anna Belknap's delivery or the clunky Lindsay lines themselves, I'm still not sure which, and as a result begun to dread Lindsay's role every week, but this time I thought all of her interactions with Danny were fantastic.
Woman can glower like nobody's business - her face said SO MUCH the way she was just staring at Danny when he first showed up, and when she told him "Why don't you catch up by reading this?" and shoved it into his hands, I kind of cheered. And now to dissect the office scene (ahahaha, the fact that they share an office seems wildly, amusingly wonderful right now).
"How long you gonna stay mad at me, Linds?" I hate the fact that he can still say her name like that with that adorable smile, and it almost works on me. "Oh, is that what this is? Me mad at you?" But I love her delivery on that, the perfect mixture of bite and innocence. Danny stupidly asks if this is still about him forgetting her birthday - and oh, how much more significant is that NOW, huh? Now you can't even say he was just grieving; he was busy banging Rikki - and she just looks at him. Hurt and insulted and disbelieving all at once. I screencap for you!
"Look, I didn't want to go to lunch yesterday," Danny explains, coming very close to sounding perfectly reasonable, and then ruins it by adding "Why you gotta make such a big deal out of it?" OH. RIGHT THERE, that is where I lost my last shred of patience with him. That condescending tone. My ire is up. So is Lindsay's. You can hear the string snap behind her carefully controlled, but laced with acid, voice. "Do me a favor, Danny. Don't reduce me to some shallow, clingy girlfriend that's trying to suffocate you, OK? That's not what this is about." No, it isn't. Not at all. And she goes on with some seriously impressive and heartbreaking words about being shut out since Ruben's death, but nothing kills me more than "I feel like I've lost my best friend." WHIMPER! Oh, ship, I fell so hard for you, and I was starting to forget why, but this is it.
Because even though we're told about their relationship instead of shown it, when we're told things like this, it paints so many pretty pictures. Because Danny & Lindsay have not particularly struck me as the best-friend type of partnership on screen. Flirty and bantery, and bound through emotional upheaval, yes-yes. Best friends? Dunno. But if you say so, then I could definitely see it. I see traces of it in scenes like this, when they're on their own away from the rest of the team, how well they fit together (even when they're fighting, and Danny is hiding his secret double life as an asshole).
"I know what it's like to lose someone you care about. To see them one day, and not see them the next, and know you're never gonna see them again?" *falls over* Guh. Just like the way That Scene was a never-ending nightmare, this scene is a never-ending dream. She's saying all the right things, for once, and her delivery is amazing in ways that astound me no matter how many times I replay it. Emotional - but not overly demonstrative about it - she does know. In fact, she knows what it's like to lose someone you care about to a bullet. Why the hell are you pushing her away, again?
"I would never expect you not to grieve." For someone not very good at this sort of thing, she's doing a damn fine job of it here. I infer that to mean that she's been saying stuff like this ever since Mac gave her a push in that direction - which makes it perfectly reasonable for her to be getting sort of ticked off that he's been ignoring her all this time. Her frustration here hurts, because it's so, so justified. And she doesn't even know how justified. Meanwhile, Danny's response is to twiddle his thumbs and look at the ceiling. I AM NOT MAKING THAT UP. (well, you can't see his thumbs, so I might very well be right)
"OK. My mistake for thinking you might need someone to lean on." Oh, the well-deserved bitterness, it hurts it hurts it hurts! Dammit, Danny. Then she says her nonsense about how she's mad at herself because "I've fallen in love with you," which is flat and fake and plastic, not to mention kind of left-field right there, and I wish they'd just...I don't know, left it on the cutting room floor. Or maybe they could have rewritten it for after she inevitably finds out about the cheating. Because right here, as big a jerk as he's being, I don't think it's quite grounds for pulling out the big guns like that.
HOWEVER. Then there is one extra D/L scene, where Danny almost wins me back. See, the thing is, I really don't like Danny as an individual that much. His character has only ever stood out during Trapped and RSRD, and I do not think he is attractive at all, so I could never understand why fandom flocked to him, salivating all the way. But how could you resist the charming, ingratiating, almost sheepish smile and the way he draws out her name and apologizes? He's asking for a chance. You can give him a chance, can't you? Oh, you can, I know you can! Lindsay doesn't give him much more than a baleful stare, but she's listening. Despite her earlier proclamation, she doesn't want to let go loving him. If he wants to talk, she's there.
Oh God, ship, how can I let you go?? I honestly don't know how I feel about them right now. Clearly they are not going to recover from this; if he doesn't go ahead and break up with her in this "talk," eventually there will be a giant explosion of truth, and it will leave a raw and ugly wound where the relationship once stood. So probably, I should just give up on them right now.
And yet...and yet as much as I hate Danny right now, I still love them. I do. I just wish that the D/L faction hadn't convinced me to surrender my last bits of skepticism and start believing in them 100%. I miss the days when I thought they were cute but not necessarily meant to last. It would have made this arc much easier to deal with.-------
Was there other stuff in this episode? *is exhausted* Okay.
I actually really liked the rest of the episode. I don't mind The Mac and Stella Hour; in fact, I was thinking to myself that I really loved having the two of them + Flack leading the charge on their investigation. That's a quality trio right there. And I don't even mind the excess Stella drama, just because Melina really is an amazing actress, and she took what could have been a very over-the-top melodramatic sequence of a teaser and made it real and believable, to the point where you felt her fear. Just like you felt the bleakness in her expression as she looked at her blackened apartment. Beautiful.
Almost as beautiful as Mac showing up in the doorway (accompanied by Flack, and just like in All Access, when she has the two of them rallying around her, it fills me with especial squee) with coffee, and embracing her without hesitation. They really do have the most incredible dynamic of any two people on the franchise.
And let's have no more of this talk of hotels - Mac has an extra room; I refuse to believe that Stella's staying anywhere except with him. And that's something to mull over too, isn't it? In All Access, he offers to get her a hotel room when her apartment is uninhabitable (or at least seemingly so). Where was his extra room then? Explore this any way you wish.
Compelling storyline; I loved absolutely everything. The accidental death (I was just thinking to myself that we don't see enough of those) - complete with Flack good-naturedly snarking about how 20 minutes after he sends Stella home, Mac's going to take off too and stick him with all the work - was neat, and I freely admit that while I wondered if it would have a connection later, I never suspected that the connection might come from the news story she was watching. That was really what made the episode so fantastic, so many little seemingly disconnected pieces of info coming together at the end. I didn't see a single twist coming (except for being sure the kids were still alive at the end), and that's the hallmark of good entertainment.
Of course, it also helps when you have really compelling characters like Delusional Bonnie. And fire! Fire helps, especially if you can use it to burn down a really cool-looking model of an apartment. Oh, and it ALSO helps if you can have Lindsay do what she does best, and proudly demonstrate her experiment to Mom & Dad - er, I mean, Stella and Mac.
And back to why Melina is amazing: I feel like that last scene with Jason/Austin could have been very schmaltzy and fake, but instead Stella just broke my heart as she apologized, with tears in her eyes, for not understanding the messages before.
So, er, yeah. I have no idea where this episode is going to end up in the final rankings. It deserves to go way up high, but the Rikki factor is going to cost it so many points.-
To my great disappointment, I missed the Idol results show because I was stupid and thought it was on at 8...except it's Thursday, so it was actually on at 7. Frick! And there's no point watching it online, because I tuned in just in time to see Michael's elimination video, which shocked me so much that for a minute I didn't even know what was going on, and thought they were showing a clip show episode, for some reason, prior to the actual results.
THE HELL, America?! You were supposed to banish Syesha! And if you were going to pull a random and unexpected elimination out of your collective asses, why wasn't it Porky Pig??? I guess I should be grateful it also wasn't Carly, and continuously gleeful that Kristy Lee continues to stay and be gorgeous - and Michael really wasn't my favorite, after all - but come on, there were so many people I would have preferred go before him. Specifically, those people are the Davids and Syesha. At least one of them ought to go sooner rather than later... ---------
'Survivor, Episode 9
Erik! My love continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Convincing everyone he knew the Micronesian word for "good," having actually stolen it out of World of Warcraft! (I love that nobody caught this, and I also love that Jeff didn't spoil the fun. Because that would have been cruel.) The metaphors he comes up with to describe everything are crazy and wonderful. His brain must be a fun place to live.
Parvati! I never actually forgot why I hated her, but the hatred came roaring back at full strength tonight. She is gross. I hate the way she giggles and makes fun of people; I hate the way. She was totally the girl who got all her friends to gang up on the misfit girl and make her life miserable. If cyber-bullying had been around when she was in school, I bet she'd have led the charge on that. I despised the way skewered Eliza in this episode. And everyone LISTENED TO HER.
Amanda! Props for getting pissed at Parvati. Negative props for doing so because you hate Alexis. In conclusion: yep, I definitely want the Couple-y alliance to collapse until only Ozzy remains.
Why yes, I did kind of think Alexis was adorable curled up on Ozzy's chest, and again when they were talking about surfing or...something. I don't know. I adore Alexis, and I love how just like she gravitated towards Jonathon, she's now gravitating towards Ozzy - and in both cases, the men are not only amenable to it, they seem to hit it off (*has not given up hope of Ozzy-Erik-Alexis alliance*). Girl is smart. And ever so personable.
*sniffles* I miss Jonathon so much. Jonathon would have had none of this BS. He would have grabbed Eliza and the fans (less Erik) and worked some magic to bounce Parvati's ass out of there first thing. Instead, I had to watch miserably as all the targets were placed on people I liked - it was very clearly going to be either Ozzy, Alexis, or Eliza, and I was equally bitter about every single one.
Jason! You stupid little unexpected challenge monster! ARGH. His idiocy + cockiness every time he does well in a challenge just make me hate him so much. He's poised to be another Aras, isn't he?
ELIZA!! *sobs* I really loved her. She was such a tricky little minx, with about a thousand hamsters powering superwheels in her brain at all times. And she kicked ass at most of the challenges, both with her sharp mind and her physical agility. She was a pleasure and a joy to watch. I look forward to being much less entertained next week.
Ooh, imminent drowning, that looks like a fun idea for an immunity challenge! Is it just me, or did they hire an especially sadistic team this year? Because I kind of thought it was a cool idea at first, until the last three guys started coming up with increasingly desperate measures to keep breathing as the water closed over their faces. And by the time Ozzy's desperate thrashing lost out and he came up looking like death, spewing up white foam and assorted nasty fluids, I just felt kind of sick. (not to mention really, really bad for him. He put himself through hell, and it still wasn't enough! It's not that he needed immunity, obviously, but he looked kind of gutted by the fact that someone outplayed him).
A bowl full of bats? Really? REALLY? This wasn't just bat meat; I could have handled plain meat, even if it was in the form of a skinned/dressed body. But these were literally just like corpses. Dead bats piled in a bowl, looking no different from live ones except for the fact that they were motionless. GROSS. And the flies crawling all over them didn't help.
I was really looking forward to watching Jeff make Jason look like the idiot he was. It wasn't half so satisfying to see Eliza play the idol...even when she knew it was fake. Still, at least she got to throw a parting shot about who had the REAL idol. And we got to hear Ozzy sadly bemoan his hours of labor being flung in the fire. On second thought, that last part was pretty great. -
Edit: YAAAAAAAAAAAAY, SNOW DAY! ON A FRIDAY! IN APRIL! *does a tap dance*