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Cold Case: Torn
Remember how excited I was to see them solve the case from 1919?  How I thought it would be completely incredible?  Yeah, I failed to take into account this show's liberal agenda.  Normally I can overlook that but it seemed particularly bold this episode, and having my mother gripe about it non-stop just made me twice as aware.

Right off the bat, there were signs of trouble.  The woman who came in looking for answers said she was majoring in women's studies, and my mom was on instant alert.  (It's just...not good to mention that around her.  If ever there was a program she considered a waste of time, that's it.)  Admittedly, it was kind of amusing the way Lily, Kat and Vera were all just like, "hey cool, a 90-year-old murder where all possible suspects are long dead.  Can't think of a better way to spend the week, let's go!"  Was the boss on vacation?  I would think he'd have enough sense to rein them in.  Oh well.  On to further antics:

From the look shared between Phillippa and Francis after the latter unhappily accepted a marriage proposal, Mom deduced, "they're having an affair."  I pulled a "WTF?" face and slapped her knee in scolding.  "SLASHER!"  Not five minutes later, the detectives were running with the same theory.  I turned around to bash my head into the wall.  All I can say is, I'm glad that said theory ended up being quite wrong.  See, see, sometimes behaviors that were publicly frowned upon were actually less prevalent then, as opposed to "exactly as common as today, just all in secret."  (That goes for teenage promiscuity too, by the way.)

Both Mom and I think the way the suffragettes were portrayed was...perhaps not exactly the most accurate.  I'm sure they were full of vim and vigor, but somehow I doubt they were so bent on "getting back" at men.  I do not believe their fondest hopes about the right to vote centered around the ability to put men in jail; I really don't.  Much of what I heard throughout the episode sounded more like N.O.W. talk.  I could go on about this for several paragraphs, but I think I'll rein myself in, because I just can't articulate it well enough.  Wait, give me one more paragraph to whine.

Just when we thought all was safe, they showed a gratuitous clip of Nancy Pelosi, and I thought Mom was going to die from laughing (in a mocking sort of way).  This house is nae fond of Ms. Pelosi.  I forget exactly why, so I did a quick little Wikipedia search on her policies, and I almost choked on my gum at her stances on abortion and gun control.  Neither am I overfond of most of her opinions on war and the spending of tax money, so...I concur with Mother.

The little old lady playing the 2007 version of Phil's daughter cracked me up.  She had the cutest voice and demeanor; I smiled every time she was on screen.  But...the woman who initially brought the case to the detectives' attention?  The college student?  Oh my God, she has to be the least curious person ever.  "Wow, I never knew there was a civil war within my family.  Despite the fact that I was majoring in women's studies and interested in the historical aspect, I had no ambition whatsoever to read this PERSONAL DIARY from the 1910's..."  And she didn't notice the personal recording on the shelf either?  Even with a phonograph right there in the room?  She didn't need the detectives; she could have solved the case herself just by poking around the room full of stuff.  In fact, she probably should have started there before she went bothering the public servants whose time could have been much better spent pursuing cases where killers might actually be brought to justice.

I have to ask about that again - the detectives seemed to be making an awful lot of leaps in this episode.  Where exactly did they get all those details about what happened when Francis was in the jail cell?  I thought they were just reading prison logs.  Pretty sure those don't include transcriptions of prisoner conversations.  But that didn't bug me nearly as much as how they figured out who the killer was.  What, did the mother actually confess to accidentally killing her daughter?  If so, why did she start out saying she wanted to be able to play the recording over and over?  And if she did, then how had nobody ever heard it before now?  I just didn't get that at all.

That being said, I did very much enjoy the way they went into flashbacks, with the old style filmstrip quality, and I really loved how they ended on a sepia-toned frame of Lill. Oh, and inexplicably, tears came to my eyes when we finally found out how Francis died.  You could see it coming a mile away, but...DANG, actually seeing her fall over the railing and land on the floor, her eyes slowly closing, was heartbreaking.  I hadn't even particularly liked Francis up until that point, but still, tears.

Although it did occur to me at several points throughout this episode that had I been born a hundred years ago, I would totally have been one of those women hissing about foolhardy women trying to make stupid changes, a woman's place was in the home raising a family, I would be perfectly content with life as a housewife, politics was a dirty business run by dirty men...and otherwise generally opposing any sort of change. 

Oops - and I almost forgot, there was some nonsense side story about Lilly's mother drinking again.  Meh.  I don't really care about Lilly's personal life unless it involves cats, so I was unaffected by that aspect.
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Without a Trace: Skin Deep.  Oh hey, another one of those completely worthless episodes with no character development whatsoever.  I hate those episodes.  How many more times can the whole issue of racism/white supremacy be dragged out, really?  That was a false lead, thank goodness, but still...completely stupid.  I reacted to very little in this episode; the most I took issue with was the way the agents kept accusing the poor mother and talking about how ROUGH she got with her kid.  Please.  Rough?  First the kid goes off hand-in-hand with a strange man, then he almost runs in front of a car chasing his soccer ball.  After this latter incident, the mother sharply shook his shoulder (one shoulder) to get it through his head that he needed to listen to her.  It was not at all violent and looked perfectly acceptable to me.  People will cry "child abuse" at the drop of a hat these days.

I tuned most of the episode out and busied my brain with replaying the kidnapping of Sophie.  Belatedly, I found out this episode was directed by Eric Close.  You would think that would make it better than usual, not worse. Okay then...have we learned our lesson yet about handing over direction of this show to the series stars?  IT DOESN'T WORK.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
spicedogs
Apr. 9th, 2007 12:25 pm (UTC)
I gave up on Without a Trace. They were good in the beginning, but as you said, they are beating old themes to death.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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