(Well, probably because I pulled that whole sleep-skipping thing, and paid for it by remaining dead to the world from 1:30 PM on Saturday through 6:30 this morning. I regret nothing!)
I think part of this show's problem is that the plot feels like it's on speed. Everything is happening so fast that it feels rushed, particularly the progression of finding The One. Even if she is a red herring, in the space of SEVEN EPISODES he's gone from meeting her to her marriage officially ending to them practically living together. Who goes that fast??
Well, Ned and Chuck kinda do, but they have a really good excuse.
Anyway, my point is that it's like TPTB knew they weren't going to last long and were desperate to tell their story, but they seem simultaneously to be laying the groundwork for a long and complex series. The result is that I don't know which premise to buy, and it makes the whole thing come off rather sloppy. If Sara's his true love, make it more obvious. If she's not, there's no story you need to get out by cancellation time, and thus you should feel free to slow down. Although I don't know how you'd do that after the fervor with which he was so determined to find her, so maybe there were just some problems in the writing of this character from the beginning.
As far as how that whole married thing panned out, I really should have suspected "fragile/crumbling marriage" sooner. Oh well. I don't really have any particular opinions on the moral quandries of dating a separated woman, because I just don't have any particular feelings on Sara in the first place. She's very bland, and nothing they've done has changed my mind on this issue.
To the writers' credit, the flashbacks are consistently incredible, and whereas it annoys the hell out of me on Grey's Anatomy that the patients' lives always magically align with one or more of the doctors' personal problems, here it's actually plausible that several of his cases would align with something that happened in his past. 350 years of history will pretty much cover any scenario in a person's life.
I think "Honor" (#4) may have been my favorite, not so much for the overall plot - crime shows may never get bored of investigating honor killings, but I sure as hell am - but for the past-life story. Despite falling off my chair laughing at the challenge to a duel, which I realize was perfectly serious and acceptable but also made me unable to stop singing "Glove Slap" for a while; that was amazing. Not to mention, coachman is my favorite of his past professions. Such pretty white horses. But the 1913 family really struck a chord too; I don't know why, but that story was one of the most vibrant parts of it all.
Within these flashbacks is where the show really seems like it could go in endless directions. There are already little threads of how his past catches up with him - the old woman with Alzheimer's, the mafia killing (or really, any number of his SIXTY-THREE CHILDREN, OMG*) - and they could easily go with more of those. I'm sure there's plenty more to do with Omar alone, especially since his mother's gravestone said she died in 1945 - not much longer after he was born. Sounds like a story.
They could also feel free to flesh out Eva's character any old time they want, or the surly detective, or the sarge (who cracks me up with her almost neurotic desperation to be liked, especially by Eva - I mean, it doesn't affect her ability to do her job or undermine her authority, but I've never seen anyone cast a superior quite like this). All this in addition to what could be a series-long quest to find the right woman
before he realizes it's his partner.
What I'm saying is that I think this show had huge amounts of potential, but poor management. It's solid; likeable; but nothing about it makes you stand up and take notice. I'd still recommend it to anyone who asked, but I also think I feel something like relief that it's over and done with.
* = P.S. 63 kids, really? I would think that at some point, having to keep burying or leaving them would become too painful to keep having them. Maybe it did; maybe Omar was his last, but still. SIXTY-THREE. I will cling to the memory of the one daughter who became his secretary, and hope that he told at least a few of them about his secret rather than just abandoning everyone. Because that idea is just too sad. Burying them seems easy by comparison.
And one leftover from yesterday:
PD, 1x07, "The Smell of Success"
I'll let you in on a little secret: that title does not reflect the quality of this episode at all.
Chuck: You know, you could do with loosening up a bit.
Ned: I don't do loose. I prefer tightly wound.
-I never get tired of his nervous edge, or his introverted clinging to the familiarity of things that are tried and true. But I also love that she is slowly but surely nudging him out of that sheltered place. It's good for him.
C: (laughing) Maybe I should wear a bell.
C: I'm not wearing a bell.
-*snort* I love the look she shoots him. Maybe YOU should wear a bell.
-How much do you think I can read into the fact that Ned's completely unfazed by the sight of Chuck wearing nothing but a towel?
Voice: Well, given the nightgown she was wearing in the last episode...
RS: I apologize; I forgot that my brain isn't ready to go there yet. Even in the abstract. Never mind then, let's just snag this as another treasure for the "Domestic Bliss" box. Because I considered it quite a gift that they were having this casual conversation while she was drying her hair and he was putting on a tie. (plus, hilarity ensued when she saw Emerson and promptly got very self-conscious, despite the fact that he couldn't care less)
-Emerson's silk shirt. Loved it.
-The fact that Ned gave in at the end (as he obviously always would, because Chuck gets what Chuck wants) and let her have a little section on the menu for cup pies. I personally love the idea, though I do not love the idea of paying $5.95 for a cupcake-sized pie - and not even one of those super-sized cupcakes.
And then they hugged themselves, pretending they were hugging each other properly, and felt "safe and warm and loved," and I exhaled with a contented sigh and forgot what a sucky episode it had been. Almost.
Emerson: Death by scratch-n-sniff. What the hell happened to people shooting each other with guns?
I still don't really have any particular love for the aunts, and when you throw Olive into the mix it's Snoresville, but I think I'm coming to like Lily a little better. Sometimes (sometimes), her crabbiness serves comedic purpose.
I see they've made a change to the intro - it's almost got a bit of a credits sequence. Same old annoying sound, though, so it makes no real difference.
I still find myself bored to tears by all the stupid stories about Young Ned. I've trained myself to sit through them, gritting my teeth all the way, by convincing myself these are all things he'll be telling Chuck at some point. That makes it slightly more interesting, but not by much.
Pretty much everything else - having an episode all about smelling things? I cannot think of anything worse. Ick, ick, ick. Also, they stuffed a song in there. YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT SINGING!
Oh, and I noticed a distinct lack of animals in this episode...even Digby! Dude, was Digby even in this episode? I don't think he was. I bet you anything that was subconsciously why I didn't enjoy myself as much.
Plus the ending. I fear where this ending is going. The first four episodes were about introduction, of setting up the stage and introducing you to the playground, maintaining a very level action line. Once established, Five turned a corner and Six started stretching, and now with Seven they've sprouted roots to set up for future storylines. Which could either be really good, or really bad. I'd like to believe the former, but I'm nervous. It's been so good; what if it all falls apart when they try to build too far up?
*sighs* Us poor TV viewers are like abused dogs. Give us a treat, and all we can think about is how soon it's going to get taken away.