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Standoff double-shot

Standoff reviews will now be split into two segments, rated first on storyline and finishing with an analysis of the Cute Meter score.  I don't deal in decimals, and 10's are reserved only for episodes of perfection that blow me out of the water, like CSI Miami's "Lost Son."  In other words, 9 is good.  Two episodes in this post.

THE ACCIDENTAL NEGOTIATOR (last week)
Storyline: 4
It was interesting seeing negotiating through someone else's eyes.  The HT's were a particularly thick-headed, immature and impulsive bunch this week, but it was interesting to see Angela reach them.  (that was the bossy black woman's name, right?  Well, let's go with it) I hate the fact that the father of the newborn baby got killed when he tried to make a mad dash for freedom.  He went down in a haze of machine gun fire not unlike Bonnie and Clyde, and can I just say that images like that TRAUMATIZE ME?  But I liked the ending.  People like that deserve to be taken out by the tactical team.  Still, would I ever watch this episode again?  Probably not.

Cute Meter: 3
I was waiting to see Emily go girl-gossipy with Lia.  I figured this was guranteed at some point, and by proxy, Matt doing guy talk with the sniping unit.  It was also pretty much guranteed that while the women would have a real conversation, the guys' version would be more along the lines of "women such complicated creatures! What this mean?" Because Matt, much as I love him, falls into the "typical guy" category when it comes to relationships and romance, is endearing but far from perfect, and has a tendency to to be awkward and fumbling.

In other words, the personal storyline this week was about Emily having left early without saying anything, ostensibly due to  noise from construction, but Matt's kind of disgruntled about it.  There was mild tension throughout the ep, and ended with Emily admitting, "I got spooked."  She made a rambling analogy to crossing the border from Portugal into France, which I understood but cannot explain.  And the ending was... "I get it.  I'm just wondering if I'm going to get into Portugal tonight."  Which, dirty.  But I guess very episode can't be spectacularly shippy; they'd use up all the best scenarios too fast.

BORDERLINE (this week's RIDICULOUSLY WONDERFUL episode)

Storyline: 9
This was the best episode to date.  It's down a peg for not having Franks (which you'd think we'd be canceled out since no Duff, but...the DEA guys were extremely annoying); otherwise it was perfect.  Although, one of my first impressions was "*Gasp* Ecklie!  What are YOU doing here?  Don't you have a night shift in Vegas to terrorize?" Choosing not to stray too far from his regular character-type, here the actor was playing the jackass of a DEA leader. 

Although I am probably not going to rewatch the first half of this episode much, since the second half is so much more fun, as it happened I was still riveted.  Although I was a little confused as to why the four of them decided to just start wandering through the desert, without water or a working means of communication or anything.  Seems like that would be a quick way to get lost and die of dehydration.  Unless there were tire tracks they were following, or something, but even so - those could be erased by the wind, or go on for miles.  Eh.  I liked that Matt was the only voice of reason, and Emily kept ignoring him and stubbornly plunging after the DEA guys.  Mostly because Matt tried to get *her* to go back, as "insurance" who could tell Cheryl & gang exactly where they'd gone.  Boy, that got her ire up.  The one thing you do not ever do is treat Emily like a woman in need of protection.  She's nearly as tough as Calleigh DuQuesne, and suggestions to the contrary are not taken kindly.

The smarmy little drug lord.  Aguila?  Let's go with that.  He was one of the policemen in the last Class episode, but I know I've seen him somewhere else...anyway, he's good at being cheeky.  And a total bastard.  I kind of admire the way he focused in on Emily and worked under her skin, to the point where she was finally just screaming "SHUT UP!!!" I like that he played on her insecurities, subtly insulted her, and even got in a dig about what kind of crazy guy would date someone like that.

Emily's version of "taking time back" is to shoot the guy in such a way that he will bleed out in a matter of hours without treatment.  Wow.  That is cold.  On the one hand, I admire her; on the other, it's a little scary.  It's apparently a tactic she learned from an HT who cut off a woman's finger, which did in fact get their attention pretty fast.  Well, there you go.  Matt: "Yeah, yeah, I see where you're going with this.  It's a little NUTS..." 

At the end, under normal circumstances, that WOULD have been the end.  It was only spectacularly lucky coincidence that a) the kid wasn't Aguila's and b) Cheryl managed to tell them that during their < 30 seconds of communication time.  And even then I'm not entirely sure that Ramone wouldn't have just killed them ALL in a blind rage.  Seems like a good way for a drug lord to kick-start his new leadership, no? 

Overall...what a way to break the monotony of the usual negotiation.  This episode was almost like the first 6-7 minutes were the end of a full-length episode, and then a fan fiction writer grabbed the pen.  It was great.  

Cute Meter: 9; mild injury, plus tears and assurance and a sweet kiss and an implied "I love you"; down a peg for a slightly unsatisfying ending + a mild ruination of the implied "I love you."

My shipperiffic little heart beat in rapid tempo overtime for this episode.  Starting with a Emily falling hard and puncturing her arm on a nail (OW, OW, OW!) and her determinedly using her teeth to tear off part of her sleeve in order to make a bandage.  Got a little thrill from Matt trying to help her, only to have have her irritably put up a fight.  He wins the struggle. Because it’s kind of hard to tie knots with one hand, EMILY.  Your stubborness will be your downfall.

In the third act, there's the scene of tears, which is what I was waiting for all night.  It takes a lot for Emily to break, but when she does, she has a spectacular meltdown.  It's like her brain just flies off elsewhere...she goes through this very rational, thought-out list of reasons why everything is her fault, mostly as a coping mechanism since she's clearly on the verge of hysterics.  I felt a need to transcribe it, even though I am usually embarrassed by my transcriptions after the fact.
-------------

One DEA agent is dead, and the other is dying from a punctured lung.  If he doesn’t get to a hospital soon, he’ll  be dead, and Emily is beginning to lose it.  “I should have talked him [Aguila] to the window,” she mutters, and Matt’s head snaps back to her.  “No.”

“I shoulda had him taken out…”

“Stop it.” 

“I should have talked him to the window, I should have had him taken out…”

“Stop it!  This is not your fault.”

But she cuts him off and keeps repeating that it was her call to keep talking, it was her idea...the more he tries to soothe her, the more worked up she gets, talking over him, completely bent on blaming herself. 

M: Listen.  We all decided to come down here, and those two guys led the charge.

E: No-no, listen to me.  Listen to me, okay?

Matt tries to shake his head and turn away, but she makes him look at her.

E: No-no, no, okay, I-I-I messed this up. 

“Listen to me.  Listen to me,” Matt keeps saying, stroking her cheek, but she brushes his hand away without even a pause. 

“No.  I messed this up,  (her voice becomes strained), because I thought I could help someone, because I thought that I could fix people…No.  No-no.  I thought I could fix people (growing increasingly hysterical), I thought that I could reach them

M: Listen to me

E: And you know what, it is a weakness, it is a weakness.

M: Be quiet.

E: It’s a weakness and it’s gonna get us all killed!--

M: Listen to me.

“And it’s gonna get you…” she sobs, finally breaking down in tears, hands cradling his face.

“Listen to me,” Matt repeats firmly.  “When I was a kid, my old man always used to say ‘You can’t just fix people. They go wrong, they just go wrong.  You assume they’re scum, and then they never disappoint you.’  That’s a crappy way to live.  That’s how I grew up.  But…I don’t want to see the world that way in anymore.  And I don’t.  (pause) I like your version better.”

There are still tears on her face, but the speech appears to have cut through Emily’s panic.  I’d like to quote Muzzy Olorea’s first story, [suddenly] he was Matt this amazing guy who had just said all of the right things … the last tear rolls down her cheek, and she kisses him.  Other than being in total shadow, it is a perfect kiss.  When she pulls away, she appears considerably calmed down.  She even offers him a tiny smile as she adds, “You know, if we don’t make it out of here?  I just want to say…”

“Me too,” he interrupts.  The implication is, of course, “I love you.”  Of course, given the ending of this episode, it’s unfortunately easy to determine that a) he is dead serious and b) her reaction is kind of “WTF? Oh, no…I was just going to say thanks [for snapping me out of it]…”

--------------

Trying to figure out where each of them stands on the relationship is kind of frustrating.  I thought Emily would fall first, but that could be because I am stereotypically girly.  Matt, after all, is the one who refused to end the relationship after blurting out their secret.  I attributed that to other aspects, but maybe it's a factor worth considering here.  The tough-as-nails attitude makes me think Emily might keep that little bolt-and-chain around her heart a mite longer, not entirely willing to fall head-over-heels for him yet. 

Now, I don't know if Matt would have actually said it under any circumstances other than "there's a high possibility we'll die soon and Emily looks like she's struggling to say it first," but I still think it was sincere.  Em looked surprised, but even if she's not ready to say it back, I don't think she was displeased.  The smile after she got in the car was enough for me.

They're The Cutest Thing in Crime Drama, okay?  That's excuse enough to be invested in it.

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