I also think everyone at TPTB is seriously underestimating the amount I now rely on Barbie/Julia as a stupid-in-love couple to anchor my interest in the overall plots.
I didn't even watch last week; I gave it the Pretty Little Liars treatment of letting Tumblr round up the gifs. There was a nice moment at the end where she started walking away and he couldn't let her go without grabbing her into a hug and promising, "I love you," but it was kinda like that big spinny hug Jim tried to pull off after his and Pam's conflict had boiled over. TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE. I FEEL NOTHING IN MY HEART.
Also Christine stabbed Melanie, so. That was some disappointing Samgate 2.0.
(Right down the part where I still adore her in spite of everything. She's just so cool and destructive and sinister. Like an evil witch, but with a smile. Like a Stepford witch. God, Marg Helgenberger is magic.)
I suffered through it tonight because it was a means to avoid working for a while, and because someone on Tumblr talked about how Julia isn't hurt over the relationship exactly, it's more that she knows Something Is Up with Barbie. and specifically phrased it as "it's kind of like Barbie has a brain tumor." Which is something TV hasn't made me tackle before -- when the person you love stops loving you for reasons beyond their control -- and is a challenge I like to think I could take on.
I did not account for just how holy-mother-of-god excruciating Eva and all scenes with Eva would be. She makes Rebecca look like the best character ever. From now on she is not allowed to talk in Barbie's presence.
Also, the Hunter/Norrie thing is something that I really wanted to like, as there is definitely some sparky age-mismatched chemistry that theoretically appeals to me, but every time he creeps up on her I just find myself shuddering. He's too, what's the word, not motivated by emotional or intellectual connection.
But then at 9:45, as I was writing out the above, the show unexpectedly turned a corner.
9:45 pm: HOLY CRAP, OKAY FINE, NOW I'M INTERESTED.
a.k.a. Barbie's response to Julia's screaming accusations about him screwing Eva is to abruptly go SCARY VIOLENT AND CHARGE JULIA FLAT AGAINST THE WALL, PUTTING A FIST THROUGH SAID WALL NEXT TO HER HEAD.
I feel like after 3.75 straight episodes of being a petulant child whining and rolling my eyes and telling the show how much it sucks, it just slapped me to make me behave. Gotta say...it worked.
Anyway. You're right. Clearly not himself. So now this show has done two impressive things, it's made me willing to sit through whatever weird twists their relationship will take in hopes of collecting spectacular payoff, and it's created the first instance where I can see how a guy you trust despite not being Jim Halpert levels of perfect can become abusive. Even though if you weren't sure he was morphing into an alien before, you definitely knew it as soon as he walked away with no remorse or even acknowledgment of what just happened. The review I read talked about the pod-people seeming dead behind the eyes, but I couldn't picture it until I saw it.
So fine. Now that she (hopefully) realizes he's not her ally anymore and she has to go back to her investigative journalist roots on her own, I might be a little curious to see how she pulls it off. (I cannot believe this show has manage to create a scenario where I want her and Big Jim to work together. Damn you.)
Then, before I had even recovered from that epic moment, we had the Joe and Norrie scene. I have been ducking and running from them because it's sad and weird and uncomfortable and I don't want to deal with the fact that it's realistically what I think would/will/should happen in a post-show offscreen future, so I've been pretending it's not happening.
But that wonderful moment. Where the light came back into his eyes and the smile spread across his face because "this is you. You're back." Awwwwwwww. And all was right in the puppy love world again, all his innocent, naive, inexperienced belief in love.
Then, while I was a dopey love haze, Norrie abruptly slammed him against the door and he took that as a cue to proposition her and I snapped right out of that with a horrified NO AUGH WHAT ARE YOU DOING CHILDREN WHY. This is not you either! You have shot right past "you," which last I checked had barely progressed to kissing, and overcorrected in the opposite direction.
And then the inappropriate sexing just kept going on. (is this part of the weird alien control? It seems not coincidental that everyone decided to get it on at the exact same moment.) But I would like to note for the record that about 5 seconds after Sam cut her down, I eyeballed the prettily-named Abby's pretty curls and miserably lost expression, perked right up and hopefully asked, "I can has Sam/Abby? Or at the very least a drunken hookup to drown their sorrows in each other?"
AND IT HAPPENED.
Yes! Finally, a pairing this season that doesn't have me spitting tacks. I have waited a lot of years to see him strip off a shirt with intent. BRING ME MORE. (actually don't. That was exactly the perfect amount of time for it to go on)
Now let's go back to thoroughly ignoring that THING WHICH TOTALLY NEVER HAPPENED at episode's end, mm-kay?
In conclusion, it might all go back to hell next week, but at least for a few days it's great to be excited again.