I was actually super anxious/excited for the show this week, which is the first time I've felt that way since the season started, and I chalked it up to the basic adrenaline of knowing I only had two more chances for sweet shipper scenes. But then the episode aired, and I was blown away by amazing it was.
That was everything I expected and didn't get from the 11th episode. Intense, exciting, full of emotional depth, and with happy surprises around every corner. My pulse was working double time from start to finish...I think I just need to break it down by category:
The Nefarious Deeds Of Sam & Junior Sam
First, watching Sam and Junior compete for Christine's affections and gleam smugly at each other whenever she shows a hint of favoritism is so creepy, in a way I can't quite articulate.
Second, holy cow, "take the elderly down to the lake, do what needs to be done" is the second time I've had any use for the Kinship (the first being the quasi-virgin sacrifices), because when they pull off creepy mass suicide it chills me to the bone in the best possible way.
I really appreciate that Sam is the one to be like "whoa no hold up nobody said anything about killing the kids," even if he is easily persuaded that it's the best course of action.
Watching Julia effectively take a tire iron to Junior when Barbie's usual method of ass-kicking proved ineffective brought a lot of joy to my heart.
Thoughts On The Alien Queen
I will say I like her face much better as an emotionless alien monster than as Eva. Still crossing my fingers that when they kill her, it ain't quick.
Watching the spell break was beautiful. Julia's near-instant empathy serves to remind me why she is my favorite character and a kick-ass human being in general: unlike everyone else, she is not one to let rage or revenge cloud her excellent instincts (at least, not since she learned her lesson about trusting Sam). And Christine's distraught face and heartbroken recollection of all the death she's caused just gutted me. "If you knew me...the real me..." It's all the sympathy Human!Eva never had a prayer of gaining from me hitting me with double-strength force.
Which it makes it that much worse to watch CREEPY ALIEN QUEEN morph her into liquid nothingness. Damn it, Eva Jr!
I also really enjoyed her bluffing her way through Sam and Junior's Assembly Line of Death, and spent a ridiculous amount of time being jealous of how good she looks in that perfectly fitted tank top. Combined with the open button-down over it, I wonder if I have subconsciously been choosing my summer oufits to look like her.
I am too lazy to look it up right now but I've always gotten the impression that Norrie is a year older than Joe, and she's certainly always been more wordlly, which is why I love how she's suddenly looking up to him, her big liquid eyes begging him for both miracles and reassurance with her imploring, "Are we going to die?"
And while I had a flash of "that eerie calmness sounds like Kinship voice to me" when he told her it would be fine because Christine promised they'd both be safe, that disappeared quickly behind his alarm at the idea of her refusing to leave without him (who's a good white knight in training?). I am also pretty much a sucker for him tucking her hair behind her ear like that and reminding her he loves her. And tying bits of rope around her wrist as a promise everything will be fine, while carefully not actually promising he'll be okay in so many words.
By this point, my notes were a shrieking festival of "I DON'T EVEN CARE IF I NEVER GET CLOSURE ON BARBIE/JULIA BECAUSE THIS SCENE IS SO PERFECT."
[reference to preview here]
[given that the preview shows her being carried away kicking and screaming, I kind of feel like they will not be fine and this might be the last sweet scene they ever get, so I'm clinging to it extra tight.]
Scene 2: Joe is physically shaking while gripping that bit of metal as feeble protection against a soldier with a machine gun, and that is some A+ acting. This scene could have gone so many terrible ways, so I appreciated seeing that justified fear before Norrie Calvert, Badass Lady In Training, blows his biggest threat away.
Before they both face down a new gun, defenseless.
And while I am not sure why Hector would hesitate long enough for Big Jim to shoot him, instead of pulling the trigger as fast as he can and killing at least one of them on the spot, I did enjoy seeing Murder Jim back in full force for the greater good. I was just thinking to myself that we hadn't had to suffer as many personal deaths as usual this year...
My happiness with them started early, as Julia FINALLY said things Barbie needed to hear ("She's. NOT. HUMAN."), and Barbie said things I needed to hear ("I didn't love her. I never even knew her,"), the latter allowing Julia to break out the very enjoyable face of "I will not accept the thing, but I am willing to be genuinely sympathetic that you lost the thing."
And then I got immense thrill out of them teaming up again to hunt down the alien queen(s), just like in the old days.
But then, remember my capslock of joy above? Yeah, as soon as that first tear slipped out of Barbie's eye, I was on a whole new plane of jubiliation.
And then Julia sent everyone off to bed so she could talk to him alone and HALLELUJAH, there is everything I complained about not getting in episode 10, all the lukewarm, watered-down apologies transformed into genuine, painful, raw emotion.
"I almost killed you." I feel like he's been repeating this to himself for a few days and the realization just keeps getting worse as he adds shame into it. Because even when Julia tried to counter that it wasn't his fault, it was the alien goo...
"Other people fought back." (and by the way, there's another tear) Joe fought. Norrie fought. So why couldn't he?
idealisticrealism has, per usual, some of the beest commentary ever: everything just comes out, all this pain and self-hatred that has clearly been brewing inside him since Julia broke him free of the kinship, feelings that were initially overshadowed by shock and confusion, and then deliberately pushed deep down as he focused all of his attention on rescuing the baby. Now that those distractions are gone it’s all finally hitting him, all the things he remembers doing and experiencing while under the kinship’s spell, and of course bc it’s Barbie he only blames himself— for not being strong enough, for not fighting hard enough, for not being enough — and he can’t look at it rationally, can’t see that others were able to fight back bc the kinship didn’t care about them, whereas he was being continuously forced deeper into the maximum-security prison that was his mind because the kinship needed him there.
(you should read the whole post; there are even more impressive things describing this scene, but I had to cut myself off somewhere)
Then he ruins it by yapping about his "daughter" again, so I ignore the rest except insofar as using the dialogue as an AU where he ACTUALLY has a daughter, one option being that Eva was a hookup from before he arrived in Chester's Mill, and the baby started out real before being infected with Alien Goo, so he has a reason for feeling like he lost a child. I am totally down with Surprise Woodwork Kids if they appear before the kid is old enough to remember anything and it happened before your ship ever got together.
But for what we got, I am so so so happy. Especially Julia's "You're you. You're back. The man that I fell in love with." Looking as exceptionally pretty as ever, by the way.
* Shame about Dr. Bloom. Why does this show hate women in science?
* Julia/Norrie hug!!
* "The kid's a pain in the ass, but he's as smart as they come." -- Jim painting an accurate picture of Joe
* Jim relating to Barbie as a father ("For what she did to my kid, and yours...") is something I would like to imagine happening again in the future, when it's real. It reminds me of Dr. Cox suddenly finding common ground with Dr. Turk on Scrubs.
* "There's no curing these mutants," Big Jim says in disgust while throwing away the umbilical cord and its ultra-precious stem cells, whereupon I spent a full HOUR searching the internet in vain for a gif from the pilot episode of The Office where Dwight's saying, "Damn it, Jim!"
* The extra who comes creeping around with a gun to shoot Joe? That guy's face is an awesome blend of smug and soulless. I would like to recognize that featured extra with a raised glass.
* By next week, I really want an answer to why Indy showed up. I've been assuming he's a reincarnated human, or a benevolent spy from the aliens, or would save the life of someone important, find a key clue, or otherwise be the key to everything, because so far he seems to be there for no reason other than "we're sad we don't have any dogs on this show," or possibly because they thought the audience needed help accepting Jim as Julia's ally vs. cold-blooded killer and a dog was the fastest way to humanize him, and both possibilities seem weird.
Honestly, I'm afraid to move on to the finale. Even though they managed to wrap everything up reasonably well at the end of last season when I never thought they could, I'm still terrified that this is going to end with couples ripped apart and more questions than answers and all manner of cliffhanger-y hellfire and damnation leaving me to twist in the wind forever. I just want to stay here, relatively happy.
As for my other summer show: apparently the actress who plays Chloe is 26, which is blowing my mind because I seriously thought Chloe was supposed to be in her mid to late 30s. Meanwhile, I was pretty sure Jackson was supposed to be about a decade younger than her. That's half the reason I liked them, it was all age-mismatched and I was proud of myself for subverting my own natural inclination to ship the Pretty Young Things a.k.a. Jackson/Jamie. And maybe Chloe as a character is supposed to be older than 26 -- do we see any birthdates in the part of the voiceover where they show their files? -- but if not, don't know what to do with myself.