Off the Map, 1x12, "Hold On Tight"
It is probably a good thing this show is ending, because I am at the point where I am giving myself heart attacks of stress anticipating it every week.
It's also pretty telling that my live-viewing notes are largely incomprehensible, but the one thing that keeps popping up is variations on the phrase, "Oh my God, enough! Enough with the storylines that are not Clark. Don't care. DON'T CARE!"
Someday I am going to rewatch these episodes, and I am going to be impressed by all the patient storylines like I used to be. I'm going to care about Palomito's mommy (such fun on Three Rivers) and/or the sweet buddy/brother relationship he and Tommy have formed, and Tommy's Mina-related moping -- dude, it absolutely *is* just sex; it's been like two weeks and gifting a fuzzy chick named Appetizer and making her smile when she's upset does not a relationship make -- and the likable women on their second honeymoon who bring out all of Keeton's best physician skills, one of whom likes to make frequent references to his girl hair.
(I am never going to care about Lily and Mateo, except in the sense of OH MY GOD, this show only does one thing wrong but it does it so spectacularly wrong each week that my head explodes. Lily! This is not the "one thing" keeping you apart like a pet allergy or a division of sports team allegiance. I am at the point where I want the policia to raid this farm, catch Lily up in the crossfire, and throw her ass in a jail cell so deep not even Keeton can get her out. That's it, last place it is, behind the woman who recently revealed she hates puppies and should therefore have been disqualified from rising in rank. Even Charlie's more entertaining than you, and normally I only count him as half a character.)
In the meantime, all that's really going to get mentioned today is my increasingly narrow tunnel vision.
Opening scene: wait, wait, we missed a whole week of prime anger material while Ben was up in San Miguel, tearing Abby's doctors a new one for their incompetence? I would have paid good money to see this. I mean, I get an idea of it between the bitterness he's brought back with him and the venom with which he fires Mina, but I want primary source.
Apparently this topic of conversation is no longer something to be avoided with Ryan, either, so I feel like I missed some things...although I guess it fits into the "honest with me from beginning" thing we established. Deluxe transcripts time:
"Double pneumonia. Doctors in San Miguel left her untreated for almost a week. If I didn't blast her with two antibiotics, steroids and round the clock Albuterol, she'd be dead."
"That's a pretty aggressive course of treatment," Ryan says carefully.
"Her doctor called it extreme. I called him out of a job." Getting his firing voice all warmed up, then. Ryan's silence kinda says how much she disagrees with this, but also gives him the opportunity to finally notice that she looks worse now than when he left. "You OK? You look a little pale."
Ryan lies that she just hasn't been sleeping enough, and also, her new desk job sucks more than her heart condition. Aw, he's too easily distracted from big worries by little diversions. "No, really," she insists, holding up her bandaid-covered fingers (WARNING FLAGS! WARNING! FLAGS!), claiming staple scratches, paper cuts, and "You ever sit on a thumbtack? Because I have."
"Maybe we should take a look at that..."
And there's our promo-promised kissing, with an "I missed you" I missed on my first three go-rounds.
Ben: Both of them? Brilliant!
(Ben takes a look at the chart, which contains no information about missing hands and is all, what is this fuckery?)
Cole: Did you see his eyes light up?
Ryan: I think maybe I saw drool.
Ben: Ohhh, you're so funny. Why don't you both shove it up your ass?
Cole: Best I can offer is a couple paragliders stuck up in a tree. I already paged Brenner to the scene, probably won't even be that much to do.
Cole: C'mon, it'll still be fun. Ocean views, trees to climb...it's road time.
Ben: Well, there better be something to sew back on.
Cole: My shirt's missing a few buttons. You can get busy with that later.
I don't particularly like Ryan's decisions any more than Ben does, but I grudgingly respect them. She makes a good point to counter Zee's argument that Keeton's a good doctor ("Not when it comes to people he loves"), and that he can't know yet because he'll be too busy worrying about her to focus on the other critical patients, who don't deserve compromised care. You know, no matter how much screentime she gets, I'm not sure it's ever enough. As much as I like everybody, nobody makes me hang on a scene like her. Why did it take me half the season to declare her the favorite?
I loved watching Zee start to panic and fall to pieces before Mina managed to get her heart going again, although it resulted in a real long period of nearly biting off my fingertips in distress. Knowing that Ryan lives until at least the next episode did nothing to take away the terror of her flatlining. Technically, no one ever said she'd still be conscious in the finale!
Twenty-seven detours later, we are back on storyline track.
Classic Past Me: More anger. Always more anger, it's a good look on him.
Aaaaand again! I don't know how he does it, but he manages to look more furious prior to actual yelling than anyone I've ever seen. When Mina calls it "feedback," pretty sure there are actual tongues of fire licking behind his eyes. His staredowns are legendary, but it's kind of my favorite part when he has no real recourse to argue and has to walk off in a simmer.
Eighty-three more detours later (Voice: now you're just abusing hyperbole)...oh yay, bedside vigil! Now I've gotten nearly everything one could possibly ask for from a ship; this has gotten the repeat treatment more than anything else.
"Well. Let's face it, Ben. You do kind of have a type."
"What are you saying, I've got a thing for helpless women on life support?"
"If the jungle boot fits..."
"I love you. But you hold on too tight." Which is true, and said without judgment, but somehow all the sadder for it.
The aforementioned review also worded something beautifully -- "Ben's angry that his wife was shot. He's bitter that he can't bring her back. He's distressed that Ryan is ill and he's infuriated that she doesn't want him to have control of her care. But he can't vent his anger at Abby or at Ryan so he lets loose on the one person left standing, Mina."
(Hey, that reminds me of 1x04: "You have every reason to be an angry, terrible person...but you're not."
As it turns out, he kind of is whenever he's backed into a corner by circumstance, with a hair-trigger temper. He does not do well when faced with the loss of control.)
Leftover Live Viewing Notes
-There is just enough of a threat behind her smile sometimes that I am starting to think Nice Mama Inez is capable of some dark Sopranos-style shit if you cross her wrong
-Heh --"Mean Little Dove!"
-Pher, the whole point of being vegan is to protect animals from exploitative situations. There is no reason whatsoever not to eat eggs from a pet chicken. Moron. (I suppose he could be one of those vegans who does it for health reasons, but I doubt it. The rationale seems too complicated for his brain)
-Brenner/Fuller conversations: still sweet.
-Oh hey, the line in the promo did turn out different, but not in the way I expected and decidedly better for it -- "My wife was shot, and there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it. So you're out of your mind if you think I'm going to let that happen again."
Next Week: At this point I've so exhausted myself while trying to figure out what's going to happen, or what I even want to happen, I have no energy left for anything except just waiting it out. Except -- oh, hello, a great big set of promo photos! Clearly this one is my favorite (if I was confused by the preview, now I only have more questions about how this comes to be), but I have to say, this one is my other favorite for entirely different reasons.
Grey's Anatomy, "The Song Beneath The Song"
The first thing I did was laugh. I'm sorry. I'm a horrible person, because this is one of the bloodiest, most horrific car accidents ever portrayed on TV, yet I just cannot stop laughing because this is what I've been gunning to see for some 5, 6 years now. I am trying to take the hour seriously, and I'll sober up in a minute, but every time I restart the ep I go back to snickering.
I do get chills at the sight of Out-Of-Body Callie staring in that creepy, soulless way, though. The next time I read a ghost story, she is going to be my ghost. And the haunting line from the original theme song was a gorgeous, effective idea.
Question: What. Did. I. Say?
My sole objective is killing one or both of the women off as soon as possible. I have no interest in hospital vigils or crying or potential loss of pregnancy or any of that crap I usually go for; this is a means to an end.
And then you go and fill the entire episode full of every spare piece of Tragedy that you didn't manage to fit into the finale last year. You've got your physical ugly accident, and not one but two people who love her deeply (romantically and platonically) -- thus providing both your on-the-scene panic and your panicky I-just-heard-what-happened dash to the hospital. You've got your risky surgery and coma, your fetal distress + premature birth, more coma vigils, more risky surgery, and finally a wake up scene. *throws up hands*
As it turns out, I cannot entirely appreciate the tragic angle from these two. If I do not ship, it is useful to me only as a prototype for my daydreams, and it's still not entirely satisfying because with two women I can't perfectly transpose other couples onto the visuals. I am probably speaking in RS code, but the gist of it is: I objectively appreciate the writing and the direction and the acting, but am not getting any particular thrills out of it.
HOWEVER, if we leave my nitpicking out of it, this was a good episode. This was absolutely the masterpiece they've been claiming it to be, and it would have worked with or without the music, but I am not going to hate on the music because as ambitious as the project was, it dazzled me. ...granted, I just realized I can't think of any musical episodes of TV I don't love, but most of those have some element of humor. I really like how seriously they played this, and enjoyed the contrast to Scrubs, which used a similar excuse for the singing (in the patient's head) but had a lot more comedic license built into its sitcom format.
I did not necessarily love all or even most of those numbers, but by and large they worked for the story so I respected the hell out of it. I felt like they were a little overstuffed in quantity, but you know, I have the same problem with Glee. I've learned to ignore the superfluous nonsense and sift out the treasures. OK, and maybe single out some targets of hate too.
Songs That Worked Well
Besides the aforementioned line from "Cosy in the Rocket," I LOVED "Breathe." At first I didn't think there was enough to distinguish it vocally from Anna Nalick's already-beloved version, but the ending alone should have been enough to disabuse me of that notion. Chyler Leigh has a lovely voice, and giving this to Lexie alone was perfect. I liked all her expressions; wonderful choice to follow her as she walked through the hospital looking for Mark, seamlessly inserting lines of real dialogue between the fantasy sequence with lyrics. The radio and I have both killed some of this song's magic through overplay, but going through all the lines with her cast it in a new light.
While we are here, I should mention that her finding Mark crying in a stairwell was my second favorite scene of the night. One look at his expression and I forgot I ever used to hate him for any reason; his face gutted me. I also forgot why I have not been an ardent Mark/Lexie shipper since the dawn of time, because my brain was setting off some really explosive squee fireworks. Loved the handhold, but was decidedly annoyed at her current relationship status preventing anything more (who am I). And despite already being emotionally destroyed by his look, I managed to find a new level after the way he said, "She's my best friend."
"Chasing Cars" was one of the first songs added to The Music of 2007, but those were early days in the project and I've since grown quite bored with it. I have equal trouble getting into GA's version, but that might have just been its excessive use in the promos, because Kevin McKidd sounds really lovely here -- which I did not expect, given the start of the song below -- and Chandra Wilson dazzles and amazes. I also like how, as happens a few times throughout the hour, it is so intense with just SO MUCH going on that having singing in addition to all the background dialogue starts to drive you nuts -- which gives you an idea of how Callie must be feeling.
"How to Save a Life" is the darling of the hour. I like it a little more as a standalone than as a performance, where some of the emotion is lost behind everyone's masks, but that was some stellar sound mixing and directing (I loved that Lexie & April split a couplet in one chorus, underscoring their similarities...and now I wish Sarah Drew had had more to do). Here more than anywhere else, I noticed that they were able to develop the fanvid skill of giving people lines that actually seemed relevant to their characters and/or the current context. And given that this song is ALREADY a fanvid, it's twice as impressive.
Songs That Didn't
Well, first of all, whatever that horrible sex montage was. As soon as I saw where this was going, I hurled forward, did not go far enough and landed in the middle of Owen & Cristina, causing something like lightning to sear across my eyeballs. "OKAY, AND WE'RE DONE WITH THAT." If there was ever a chance I was going to call this the best episode of the season, this segment disqualified it (Voice: oh, there was no chance of that being anywhere near possible and you know it).
My anti-Callie/Arizona stance is enough to outweigh the positive factor of female vocal stylings on "Universe and U," so that got skipped roughly eight seconds in. I didn't know/recognize any of the other songs, most of which put me to sleep. Boredom is a lesser offense in musical episodes, though, so I don't hold those against them.
The last one that really stuck out was "The Story." I want to love this song because it seems like my kind of thing -- look at its title! --, and I have multiple solid options between Carlile and a girl from American Idol and probably someone else, but it just doesn't speak to me musically or lyrically. That frustrates me, but not as much as the unpleasant, angry shouting place it wound up in during this episode.
Back to the Plot
Like I said, everything about this, from the pacing to the acting to the dialogue, was perfect. Despite my mock complaints about the tragedy, they couldn't and shouldn't have done anything less. I may not care about the ship, but Mark was my focal point and amazed me every step of the way from the moment he came flying up to the doors and practically had to be put in restraints before he backed down on his OR demands. I loved the shouting matches with Arizona -- and sure, I got a particular
You know who needed more face time? Addison, who has been so awful on Private Practice for the past year that I've all but forgotten what it's like to see her rockstar it up. I was surprised by how blunt and cold she was to Lucy -- her PP flaws have mostly had to do with her terrible relationship choices, not lack of warmth -- but I thought it was a nice touch of realism about how our world class neonatal specialist would treat a comparative rookie she doesn't know except in so far as they've mucked up the fetal care. Even though there wasn't much time for anything but the urgent care rush, it was still a relief to see her back among familiar faces (especially her few moments alone with Callie). I even liked her 5-second conversation with Mark. Probably because it was 5 seconds.
Doctor standouts of the hour: Bailey with beautiful compassion, Derek in a persistent state of heartbreaking pessimism, and Owen continually amazing me in the trauma leading department.
Third favorite part of the episode was Cristina's own rockstar moment -- I love that she volunteered Burke's technique as a way to counter all the potential complications. I think there were actual rays of light shining out of her face as she beamed at both of them in turn. But I also really like that when Teddy shut it down, Owen deferred to her, despite Cristina's dismay. That was the right call, just as it was the right call when she was overridden during surgery, and all in all I just do not get Altman's butthurt "I can't teach you" business. Didn't we already do this last year? Do we have to go through it again? What next, another spring cycle of Owen pulling away? (ugh, probably)
Episode highlight, then, belongs to Derek & Meredith. It is not like I have any ability whatsoever to resist tears in useful contexts.
[edit: and good grief, how did I completely forget about this part -- Derek fretting in the on call room about Callie's brain function and inability to tell Mark the potentially bad news until Meredith orders him to sleep?]
Huh. I just realized that everybody came out of this alive and well I would be more annoyed if I could process that, but I'm afraid I'm still punch-drunk from the overall effect. Although I did dimly register something about Callie saying yes, meaning that now this stupid wedding is on and I'mma have to smack it down instead of quietly ignoring it like I want to.
Up Next: Aha, how silly of me to forget that we're not at happily ever after yet, preemie babies have a zillion possible things that could go wrong. There's plenty of time to ruin things and for me to get my way in the end!
Voice (in her best Meredith voice): You are evil.
CSI, 11x18, "Hitting for the Cycle": That was great. Smart, sparky writing all over the place between Nick & Greg's cycle bet, Henry The Reluctant Bookie, Sara awesomely reacting to everything, and the spectacularly awful new coroner's assistant, whose ability to make everyone hate him on sight cracked me up. When David hates you to the very core of his being, you have made some wrong turns in life (I particularly liked his angry defense of Catherine's honor at the appalling suggestion that she would lower herself to sleeping with Kevin).
As soon as ol' Kev popped a pill, though, I had the feeling he was going to aneurysm out (according to the internet, I should have guessed sooner). Is it wrong that I was almost sorry to see him go? I could have taken at least a couple more weeks of watching him piss off the entire lab. Oh well...at least Doc Robbins is a wise (and now somewhat richer) man.
Case-wise, one of TV's more entertaining MMORPG storylines. And not just for Commander Buzzkill's "Game over, bitches" delivery (see, when Brass does it, it's funny because it's supposed to be). Watching Greg geek out is always fun.
I don't know why the first two lines of this exchange delight me so much, but they do:
Sara: I just got flowers from one of the day shift guys.
Greg: Does he know you're married?
Sara: Yeah. He was wishing me luck on The Cycle.
As for Nick's case: people really need to stop trying to make their suicides look like murders so life insurance policies will pay out. It never works.
Next Week: Lady Heather is apparently back, and as always, I will be skipping it on principle.
I'm posting after midnight and didn't get enough sleep last night. Don't make me regret not waiting until morning to submit this.