Life Unexpected, 2x13, "Affair Remembered" [ironically, I forgot the title]
I have no idea why this took me so long to wrap my head around -- well, I do; Medium's godawful finale crushed my spirit the same week--> February sweeps happened --> Off The Map stole this show's spot in my heart --> night work started --> May sweeps --> Primeval consumed my world -- but after the Epic Post that was my review for 2x12, this was such an unpleasant coda I just pushed it out of my head. Five months later, I don't even know if I will feel the same way. I've opened the draft of this post about 8 times, but what happens is I either get muddled up and confused by my enormous mess of raw notes, or I start going through the episode and wind up doing the inevitable downhill slide from "Yes! I am totally ready to confront and come to terms this monster!" to, well, the Kelly Clarkson line.
But I did it. *\o/*
Previously under the Life Unexpected tag on this blog: I freaked out at the finale in real time. It did not improve with age. And despite my determination to be succinct, this ended up being a couple thousand words anyway. All I did was lower the quality.
Me circa 1/29
Eric/Lux: I don't know how or why or when, but head canon has just managed to convince itself that this is a mere break, and they're reuniting in the future. And sure, maybe it will end again. But at least one of them is damn sure going to be out of love when it happens. (Hah, I say this like it had any effect at all on my ability to stop shipping Mr. Schue & his now-ex wife on Glee).
Me circa 6/29
Time softens all. I can look back on them wistfully without needing it to happen...except on every nice day, when the breeze blows past and I think of them, wistful at the warm weather they are not enjoying, reverting back to my Lux-brain and wondering where he is now. And then I get sad and mopey and mentally reject Jones all over again.
Watching Pretty Little Liars flaunt its soulmate ship in my face every week does not help.
Categories are my favorite way of dealing with things, right?
I love the entire opening scene. The defense of her relationship, the twenty-seven or so jabs she gets in at Cate, the way she manages to be adorable in a hoodie and sweatpants, all of it.
Baze/Emma/Baze's Lame Family
The real reason I hate this episode is how this storyline takes over and is just! so! boring and irrelevant! I can't bring myself to watch even a scrap of it again. Baze dumps Emma, boom, the end.
Also mad that we never get to see Tasha's response to the glass case of emotion that Lux is in the wake of Eric's departure. I can only conclude that their heads exploded trying to think of a way to do such an amazing scene justice within their time constraints.
I like Jones. I do. I even like him with Lux. But there's just no place for him in my post-season-1 timeline. It existing in canon feels wrong in a way that Eric never did. Said it before and will say it again: it is the equivalent of Greg/Sara. It's cute, it's appealing, it's more age-appropriate and he seems like a sweetheart, but you can't in good conscience ship it over what you've already been offered. Especially not when you have also already optioned Jones/Tasha, and no explanation for that breakup will ever satisfy me.
There were some amazing friendship displays, though. Loved him offering to blow off school with her to drive up and to see Tasha. See, he is excellent in the role of best friend's boyfriend. I can't even hate when he stupidly tries to cheer her up by pointing out at least she's not the girl who slept with her teacher*. Lux is more than fully justified in jumping out of the car at that point, but I love the expression on his face when he realizes why, and hope some sort of protective white-knight feelings cropped up. Only cute teenage boys interested in defending Lux are allowed to find that relationship wrong without incurring my wrath.
(*how did that rumor get started? Is that just the conclusion people jump to whenever a teacher leaves nowadays, or has Sam been spreading seeds of discord again? And, even if they believe it's true, these teenagers are assholes for completely blowing off his actual teaching credit in favor of juicy gossip. Does no one care that they just lost a good teacher? Maybe consider two sides to the story?)
The basketball court conversation is really at the heart of my Sara/Greg analogy. His background is super interesting stuff, and I like that he has a setting other than perma-grin. On the night of airing I was busy making barf faces and violently threatening the show for trying to Go There, which is still my default setting, but it's not so bad if one just focuses on his various amazing and judgment-free expressions. This is as close as I come to thinking he might at least make an okay interim boyfriend for her.
Cate/Ryan: We're a Team
There aren't even words after they're told they lost the baby. There are just furious scribbles that for all the times I am trying to make this happen in canon -- whether for emotional gold mining or pure I-don't-want-this-baby-to-exist spite -- it happens HERE, where I emphatically wanted this to happen. (OK, I may have hated it when introduced, but I came around extra fast.)
On the other hand, one of the few good bits of this episode is that after this happens, Ryan becomes the best person in it and sends my love for him through the roof. Wasn't he always one of my favorites? Perfect supportive husband Ryan is perfect.
Still incoherent about the bonus "lol also you can NEVER have another kid" twist; moving on.
I will try, but never quite fully understand how Julia and Baze got between this in the end: "I'm not stuck with you, Cate. I'm here with you. You and I, we're partners. ...I know I've done some things where it didn't really feel like it. I never should have let the station fire you. And I never should have made you feel like having a kid of my own was more imprtant than you and Lux. Because if I had to choose," YOU KNOW, LIKE HOW YOU WILL HAVE TO CHOOSE IN ABOUT 20 MINUTES WHEN JULIA SHOWS UP ALL PREGNANT, "I would choose what keeps me with you."
[BREAK: *throws self around dog, weeping* I have had five months to get over Eric/Lux. I have not come to terms with this marriage ending. I locked my feelings about this scene in a box and shoved it under the bed because I couldn't handle losing both at once, and now it is hitting me for the first time with gale force strength.]
And then there is crying and hugging over how much they both wanted that baby, and it's heart-wrenching but also kind of my favorite part. I wish that the new version of MS Paint on my computer was less stupid so I could easily use it for efficient screencapping purposes again.
( I know this is inappropriate commentary, but I can't help loudly flaunting my contempt for Windows 7 whenever possible. Depriving me of navigation bars and visually arranging everything in clumps with pictures is nettlesome.)
I love how Lux, raring for a fight after missing Tasha, tears into Cate and won't let anything go. I can't decide if I love or hate the rest of this conversation, because it's awesomely raw and intense but all I ever seem to remember is the special hurty bit where Lux acknowledges that it is not normal to have dated her teacher because "weirdly enough, he made me feel more normal than anyone else."
No, Lux, not weirdly! Don't give in! Never admit that they're right! Whenever I try to admit that they might be right, what happens is that I shoot back to episode 11 on the steps, and there is just nothing suggesting how wrong this supposedly is. It's straight up love and support, and the reason I so easily slipped between the Lux perspective and the Cate one is because right there, it's coming from the same place.
Do love the part where Cate invites her to tell The Story Of Them, though.
"That was the day we met. He thought I was a bartender..."
There the scene cuts off, and my live viewing note goes like so: NOOOOOOO, screw Baze's entire moronic and completely unnecessary "dad's birthday" party storyline, and his entire resolution with Emma (I mean, seriously? What more was there to say after "You just did"? THAT STORYLINE ENDED. SHUT IT DOWN ALREADY), I want to hear Lux retell this story in her own words. The more ways you say it, the more enchanting it gets.
"You're mad at me? That's interesting. See, you knew about Emma and my dad, and you didn't say a word."
Live Viewing Note: Of course she's mad at you, idiot. Look, Baze, I don't want to have to hate you for the entirety of season 2, but: point, Lux. She would have told you before you did something stupid, and meanwhile, that was not her secret to tell. She did everything she could to force it out. And yes, she may also have ultimately told you by throwing it in your face to hurt you. But she has my full support on that front. (still does, for the record. I would not change a thing about that revelation)
[WARNING, DIGRESSION AHEAD] I really like that she picks Ryan for driving practice, and not just because she's doing it to spite her dad. You know what there is not enough of? Ryan & Lux. I am acutely interested in how he factors into the post-revelation world, because while holding the same position as her parents, he's not on the front lines of her wrath. He must be a kind of haven, yeah? He doesn't have to say anything about this; they can just go out and practice driving, concentrate on the alignment of wheels to curbs and compensating for people who don't know what a turn signal is. I rather like the thought of them having conversations of no particular importance. ...I can feel my brain drifting off here; I'm going to send it with Muse while she whips up some possibilities of bonding over meal preparation when the smell of food makes Cate sick, or something.
tl;dr: It's hard to warm up to him, but I do adore this line: "I could deal with losing anyone in the world -- my dad, Emma...Cate -- but not you. I never, ever want to lose you." *wibble*
Lux/Baze, Final Scene, Live Viewing Notes Version
Because apparently my original feelings about the above line were a lot different: "Great. Just great, show. You've managed to destroy the only good Baze/Lux hug I've ever seen in context by making me just want to, I don't know, punch him or something. How in god's name did this show make me hate Baze? I just. Nice going, Liz. Smooth.
Also, after Baze's whole "you are the most important person in the world" speech, I found myself wanting Lux to...I don't know...shut him out of her life for the next year or so, because driving Emma out just doesn't seem to be hurting him enough. Payback: I want it, even when I am merrily denying canon/convinced of belief in future canon/totally Over This and pretty much refusing to believe episode 13 exists at all."
Final Scene: Last Call for Happy
The entire basis of the group teasing is faulty, since one does not immediately get one's photo license after passing, but I'll let it slide because there is so much that is cute about Baze and Ryan teasing her. Shame that Math the Chucklehead is still here, as is That One Really Boring Dude, but on the other hand -- you see this, with Lux hanging out with all the guys? This is her social circle. This only adds to my shipping determination; 23 is like a whippersnapper compared to this.
You know how I cope with Cate coming in to bust up this party mood up forever? Pretending she was so upset she got in a car accident on the way over, and this is her ghost taking one last look. If you stop before they notice her, when the sound is all echoey and out of focus, this theory works extra well.
The entire internet was outraged about Lux being valedictorian, but I just can't imagine she was. My school, for example, didn't bother with valedictorians because there were multiple people with a perfect 4.0 every year. Having a 4.0 was not a requirement for giving a speech, and a speech was not a requirement of having a 4.0. We had 3 or 4 key speakers, all volunteers, chosen by administration from written submissions of their planned speeches. They were typically hardworking, well-rounded, involved-in-activities kids, which I imagine Lux could certainly have become.
The above is the only thing I do not hate about the last five minutes. I hate that Math gets to be part of the Big Happy Family. I wanted someone better for Baze, sure, but I hate that Baze/Cate are endgame; just like with Jones/Lux, it was a beautiful dream once upon a time, but not after the route they took. Sometimes the path behind you is overgrown and strewn with thorns, okay?
I can't be happy for Jones and Lux, as evidenced by the fact that exposure to the kiss still makes me cross-eyed with anger and destroys the good will the basketball court painstakingly built up for them. And I can't be happy they found a way to fold Julia back in, not even with her The One That Got Away stamp of approval. The reason for her presence will always sting like a bitch.
There is a limit to my tolerance for blended families, and I was handling it relatively well up to this point -- honestly, pretty proud of myself that I was able to tolerate the equivalent of divorced parents AND the idea of a half-sibling a generation younger for the first time in my life -- but now it is gone. Ryan's there on the most tenuous of threads -- what, a year of being a stepdad and a legal guardian he only became through a now-dissolved marriage? -- and I'm sorry, but I reject it. I'd rather he just cut out entirely, because having him there but not-there hurts too much. I see how you're trying to bring your theme song metaphor to life, but I am not buying what you're selling.
(edit: I just made the foolish mistake of trying to watch the scene one last time instead of relying on memory. I HATE EVERYONE.)
In Conclusion: Yet another series fades out in disappointment. I understand the coda decision from a creative standpoint, it just doesn't jive with me. One thing I have gained with time is the ability to accept the show's cancellation. Based on what I've heard, I would not have loved the Eric-free direction it was heading, and it's probably for the best that everything shut down when it did. With that aspect, at least, I have made peace.
PART II: EXTRAS
I kept thinking of random extra stuff to say at the end, but it was getting way too long, so I split it off under its own cut.
Questions about the Future
When was this show supposed to take place, and was Lux really supposed to be a sophomore in season 2? It won't stop me, but my entire shipping process has been based on her being a junior. If she turned sixteen at the end of season 1, she would have been a sophomore then, and I assumed that was meant to take place when it aired, in the spring, with season 2 starting in fall? Unless she got held back a year in there somewhere, taken at face value she would have been a junior. There is still no creative stretching that can make the time between January 2011 and May/June 2012 "two years" later, though.
(a/k/a "random quotes I found entertaining")
On Eric/Lux: I don't even fully watch Life Unexpected, but my mom watches it a bit & from what I've seen, they are actually really cute together. Validation from the outside. Nyah.
On the flash-forward: It was like all the characters on LUX were on Oprah and found happy endings under their seats. Or, as Carrie Raisler put it on Twitter: “And you get a happy ending! And you! And you! (But not YOU TASH. NEVER YOU.)”
Barely Related To This Post
* Best genre swap meme ever: "You and someone had a kid" done with Will & Terri & Hayden Panettiere for said kid. IT IS EERIE.
Theoretical Eric/Lux Fanmix
Still want this to happen. I have yet to do a complete rewatch to see if I can find every song that plays over their scene -- surely there were more than 5 -- but this is what I've come up with so far as the canon tracks that really stand out for them, plus the Taylor Swift one that I co-opted for use as their theme.
1. Bonnie Piesse -- All I Have
2. Matt Nathanson -- Come On Get Higher (though mostly a backdrop for the eye-scarring parental sex montages, due to the lake bits mixed in I cannot help perking up every time it comes on the radio)
3. James Morrison -- Undiscovered
4. Gareth Dunlop - Tangled Up
5. Taylor Swift -- Haunted
6. Joshua Radin/Patty Griffin - You Got Growin' Up to Do
Season 2: Episode Ranking
(disclaimer: I STILL have not watched all of these in full. In fact, I've barely even watched episodes 3 and 4 at all. This is not stopping me. I figured I watched all the Lux scenes and that was enough. At best, episodes 3-5 and 10 might shuffle themselves around within those 4 spots)
11 - Stand Untaken (I am actually kind of wavering between first and second now that I reflect on the incessant amount of courtroom time vs. how I loved ALL the parts of #8, but it feels wrong to back down after I called this one of the best episodes of 2010, period)
8 - Plumber Cracked. [Code name: Astoria Trip]
7 - Camp Grounded
6 - Honeymoon Interrupted [Code name: The Outsiders]
1 - Oceans Uncharted, which is also the title of this ship in my head. It has an imaginary blog and the hypothetical ship_manifesto essay will be called this
12 - Teacher Schooled
2 - Parents Unemployed
5 - Music Faced
4 - Team Rebounded
3 - Criminal Incriminated
10 - Thanks Ungiven
9 - Homecoming Crashed
13 - Affair Remembered
FINALLY. DONE. And now I get to grab ahold of season 1, free of the albatross that is my duty to write this post. Note that when I say "now," I mean "someday in the future that is not tomorrow, because The Sarah Jane Adventures has seniority."