Primeval, 5x04: Pretty sure this is the happiest television has made me all year. Official review style, away!
It's another one of those posts where I want to open at least 3 different ways, so:
Option 1: I stand corrected. The greatest possible field team is Becker, Abby and Emily (if Jess is along, that is a bonus point). I now pretty much want this entire series to feature Becker & the girls. Matt can pop in from time to time to direct things and Connor can just be locked in a lab offscreen.
Option 2: This review is apparently determined to challenge my typical Glee installments for sheer baffling length. Most of which is talking while saying nothing.
Option 3: In case I ever forget why I split most of my time between crime drama (or other shows with a lot of guns) and medical drama...this is why. Because The Office just doesn't threaten people with death unless they're Stanley. The best you can hope for is Pam going into labor at work.
Option 4: If you have ever wondered what my brain looks like when it gets its Tragic Scenarios setting on, IT LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE THIS. Guys rushing to screaming women's defense! Heroic rescue carrying! Delirium! Fever! Freezing! Shhhh-ing! Unconsciousness! Tight holding! General threats of pending death! Handholding! 11th hour miracle cures and subsequent relief!
The Main Theme
I keep forgetting that the first 8 and the last 5 minutes of this episode exist. Everything seems so irrelevant before Becker arrives and after he leaves....
Remember this? I found a promo pic of them in a scene together so frankly I don't care how cut and dried the dialogue might be, that is finally happening in some capacity.
GREATEST. UNDERSTATEMENT. EVER.
Tumblr and several fanvids (especially this fanvid, with bonus flashback bits) have covered all of it. I also spent over an hour on my favorite off-LJ activity, novelizing all the shippy bits into my epic Word doc -- it's like you get to live inside the moments! And then you get to read them over and over and savor them just a little bit more -- so I think I'm going to avoid in-depth embarrassing myself any further and just hit a few highlights. Note that I said think.
The important thing is that I can't actually count how many amazing scenes there are, because there are so many tiny little things, like when the wave of bugs + queen is advancing on them, and while they're backing away he has his arm around her, or how it generally amuses me that he asks her if she's okay every five minutes, or how in the wake of the energy blast, he's not just holding her hand, he's got both hands wrapped around hers.
...also, even though I can find the relevant scenes in video-clip form all over the internet, I find that for every five minutes I spend on this post, I have spent like 15 staring at the 30 or so gifs made from this episode. They loop over and over and over! You can just gaze to your heart's content!
Things I forgot to include in the list of things listed in Opening Option #1: Becker responds to her worsening condition/his inability to help her by yelling and throwing things. More than once. Haaaaave you met me? Inappropriate responses are happening here.
I still can't figure out what the last thing Jess says before falling unconscious is. Popular fandom theories are "Can I touch your hair?", "I'm glad you're here," and "that you are." I like the first option, because this indicates that Jess's priorities are properly lined up and fashioned after my own heart.
When the end-of-year-fandom survey asks me what the best shippy moment of the year was, it is going to be THIS SCENE. RIGHT HERE. The scene in the car feels like the greatest thing I have seen in years. In fact, the last thing that made my heart explode with squee like this was "Angels and Devils" on Numb3rs.
I also really like that the camera follows him out, because it seems like this could have been cut for time, but him yelling in apostrophe at Philip was fantastic - he goes to a whole new level of unhinged when there's nobody else around.
AND THE END. Their adorable smiles slay me. And then he abruptly lets go of the hand he's been so boldly holding in front of everyone with the lame excuse to go, uh, "do some security stuff." I love that he is such a guy. NEVER STOP BEING UNCOMFORTABLE WITH YOUR FEELINGS, SIR. Especially when you are not fooling anyone.
The Main Theme's Harmony
Equally important in this? Emily's role. It is easy...very easy...to get distracted by all the other stuff, but from the minute Emily catches her as she first collapses, I loved their interaction just as much. The parallels between Jess and Charlotte are impossible to ignore, so I loved how she was able to worry but stay calm and focused (and no doubt delighted to have someone less psychotic than Ethan to talk down this time).
And/or take over nursemaid duties as appropriate, yes, thank you. Very sweet. My very, very favorite thing in that final scene is the affectionate touch of the chin Emily gives her, making Jess suddenly even more innocent and precious than usual. This is officially my new favorite friendship.
The Other Stuff
See subject line: I actually liked everyone in this episode...well, not Philip; I said everyone in the ARC. Even Connor, as much as it is possible to like his moron full-of-fail self, which is a very small amount. But, to his credit, he did get jump on the Becker train of "The hell with my safety, the woman I love is in danger" at the end, which helped a lot. As did ripping the wool off his eyes, FINALLY. But I also rather liked that frustrated moment early on, where he said he hadn't told her because he knew it would just go over her head, and it was pretty much the first time I ever thought of him as being smart. I suddenly understood what might make him appealing.
Matt, too, I was impressed with his leadership, which I rarely am (maybe I was also fond of the too-quick shots we got of him with Jess, in all their big-brother-mode glory).
I didn't think I could get more proud of Abby than when she tried to save all the animals from euthanasia, but I was wrong. Risking her life to save Rex won her a whole new level of respect, because that is ABSOLUTELY the appropriate response. Ordinarily I would only do that for mammal pets, but Rex is clever and adorable enough to merit the same risk.
Becker + Emily = my new favorite dynamic. I like when he & Abby out in the field together, but Emily's casual flaunting of every rule is so GREAT.
("What the HELL. I gave you a direct order."
"I know. I just thought you were wrong."
Ah, Becker and his prized chain of command that nobody outside of those dressed in all black actually follows.)
She is also fantastic while toting around a gun and providing legitimate cover in between nursing Jess. She's like a pioneer woman. If Oregon Trail II worked on this computer, I would have her leading wagon train parties all over the place.
The Leftover Bits
Remind me that the next time I get attacked by mosquitoes, my subject line will relate to feeling insecty-bitey.
This episode = WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE. I think I screamed as loudly as Jess did when the bug fell on her, and my heart was definitely pounding about twice as fast as usual the whole time, wondering when the next wave of bugs would hit.
CUTTER REFERENCE. CUTTER REFERENCE! That gets buried in all the other squee, but that was huge.
I barely remember what all happened in this episode outside of The Main Theme, because I have gone through all those parts a hundred times and the others zero times, but I know that during my first go-round, I was in love with every second. This...might be my favorite episode of all time, even though it should be automatically disqualified for featuring many-legged invertebrates instead of many-toothed reptiles.
You know that bit where Becker has his hand on her neck, checking her out? ...I wish people would stop including it in their picspams, because it is just too easy to look at it and see an alternate reality where he's strangling her.
Jess loses 10 respect points for having previously felt worse due to a tequila binge. Luckily, she wins 100 for dead-shooting a beetle despite being feverish and hallucinatory. (favorite Tumblr quote: "Can you even imagine what a turn-on this is for Becker?")
My initial reaction to "That'll kill everything in the ARC," which seemed to implicitly include Rex and the mammoth:
In conclusion/up next: BEST. And once again, it has taken me the better part of a week to begin wrapping my brain around this (and I'm far from done), so I can absolutely make it the > 48 hours to a new episode. In fact, who knows if I will even have finished adoring this one by that point? (I kid. Expect a repeat of last week's bouncing-off-walls countdown).
Hey, you know what other show I haven't seen since 2009? Law & Order: UK! After I made it through all the courtroom scenes in "Evelyn," I figured I was primed for sitting through a lot more of them. Turns out I've missed my little poodle-skin-rug-wearing show (yes. I will always mock that).
It took roughly 8 seconds for Matt & Ronnie to come on screen snarking at each other, being more enjoyable than Hawaii Five-0 in the process, and I remembered why I love this show even though it's pretty dry on the surface. And throughout, I guess, except for those fifteen or twenty minutes of character insight we get each season.
Since I can't make heads or tails of the way this show has 4 seasons in Britain but is considered 2 seasons so far everywhere else, I'm just going by episode titles.
Broken: I like to think I am immune to kid cases, as I'm pretty sure my American dramas have killed at least a hundred kids by now and been more graphic in the process, but this still ended up being really hard to watch because...well...the girls were so pretty, I wanted them both to be completely innocent. It was also really hard to watch Matt being nice and striking up a friendship for the sole purpose of prising a confession out of the elder one. I was doing OK with it all until the sentencing, and then it was just extra-tragic. Also, in the first of many times I felt this way, I didn't understand why Steele was allowed to keep relentlessly bearing down on the kid. "This is EXTREME badgering of the witness. This is honey-badgering the witness."
Hounded: That one was almost harder to watch, especially after the way it ended (serial rapist released from prison...apparently not quite as rehabilitated as he claims). The only thing worse than Steele being a dick is when his dickishness is JUSTIFIED.
Defence: Whackjob with a sword! (well, more like an elongated military-issued knife) That is new and kind of fun, especially if we get some Action Man Devlin tackling. One of the more entertaining cases this season. Although I do wish these vague but still creepy Steele/Alesha vibes would stop...
Confession: Oh good! Just when I can't handle any more Steele, along comes a Devlin feature with so much that is amazing. And while ideally another goddamn Molesting Priest scandal would not be the vehicle for it, I'll take what I can get. This was really frustrating, though, between the abuse and the ridiculous farce of a trial (please repeat after me, NO ONE. IS EVER. RESPONSIBLE. FOR SOMEONE ELSE'S. SUICIDE unless they are literally standing right there and making them do it under threat of physical violence).
I almost quit halfway through. Luckily I didn't, or I would have missed that extremely awesome, season-highlight moment of Alesha taking his hand while thanking him before testifying on behalf of his friend, and him halfheartedly joking, "Damaged goods? If I'd have known about that I would have told you about the day my pet goldfish died years ago." (FLAIL. FYI, DEAD OF FLAIL.) And also, that lovely church scene at the end with Brooks lending moral support before leaving him alone to cry. New theory: fourth episodes of 7-episode arcs are required to be brilliant.
Survivor: And now it is Alesha's turn to be awesome, with a lot of go-betweening in an attempt to help a
Masquerade: UGH, MATTY, THUMBS DOWN ON YOUR COLLEGE LIBRARY TRYSTS. I am with Brooks on this one. "What's the matter with you? This is a place of learning." However, thumbs up for your immediate defense of the girl claiming rape ("From where I'm sitting, I see a nice young girl who's been through hell.") and everyone's (BUT MOSTLY HIS) tongue-tied reactions to Alesha unexpectedly arriving in the midst of your argument about said girl's level of truth-telling. This. Always. More. Where are 1x07 and 1x08, again?
Anonymous: Well, that was duly horrifying. There is nothing worse than gaining a stalker who hasn't even seen you. Unless maybe it's a stalker who kills you dead after the police choose not to believe he's a physical threat. Really, though, my strongest reaction to this episode was: SHUT UP, STEELE. ALWAYS. And thank you, Alesha, for later lacing into him over the unnecessary level of beating Matt up on the stand. ♥
P.S. Oh, look! I found a fantastic picspam/shipper's manifesto for Matt/Alesha. It's specially designed for people who have not seen the show and everything. If nothing else, you should click to observe Jamie Bamber and Freema Agyeman being pretty.
Dear Falling Skies: Why do you taunt me with scruffy Noah Wyle in a desolate future world...but have it be the result of stupid ALIENS? No! Why can't anybody just write nice survivalist stories about the after-effects of war and/or mass illness.
In garage sale news, BUST. I am disgusted with the garage sales in my immediate area, as I found nothing that made me flail. Oh, I managed to spend $1.50 on three pairs of earrings -- one because they were adorable jingle bells with tiny clappers and I love Christmas earrings, and two simple pairs (silver hearts and small gold hoops) because they were a quarter, and how could you not buy earrings that cheap? -- but nothing lit my fire. We spent THREE HOURS walking around the huge church sale & pretty big concentrated neighborhood sale, and there was not one single book that caught my eye. What is wrong with this picture?
But on the bright side, I got to pet the most adorable little dog: a longhaired black-and-tan Dachshund who was apparently half Chihuahua, but bore no traces of the latter breed except perhaps in her miniature size. She was super silky and delicate like a cat, and boy, I just love it when little dogs appeal to me. It's rare.
Actually, the best thing I got this week was free, and not at a sale -- a new computer chair. My dad knows someone who has to get rid of a bunch of office chairs because the company is replacing them, so we picked up a bunch and replaced all the dinky swivel computer chairs in our house with great big comfy swivel chairs -- they lean back (solid, closed back) and have arms and everything. I may never leave this lap of luxury.