Guys, this was a really good episode! I don't know - the pacing between the two plots was complementary this time, whereas I felt like the episode with Busy Phillips didn't jive so well. But this week I felt like both plots gelled so that the overall feeling you got was how difficult Sarah and John's lives are, and how the free-will/determinism debate has kind of screwed John Connor over.
The sub-plots first. Seeing Ellison re-trace Sarah's steps and then find Sarah there was wonderful. I like how he's still guarded around Catherine Weaver, and that ultimately he doesn't reveal Sarah to her. He does bring up the possibility of a second terminator, and Weaver's response to that is very interesting because it suggests that (a) she hadn't thought of that and (b) that her mission is entirely separate from the John Connor side of things, which is also interesting in that it means the machines' plan extends beyond simple execution. Seeing Weaver kill the plant manager was also pretty insane. She is fucking psycho, and yet, so calculating. Love that.
Seeing Sarah with that young boy was very, very touching, and I think Lena Headey really balances that fine line between being a world-weary fighter and an anxious mother. I loved that scene where the child thanks her and she doesn't know what to do with the kindness. Sarah's entire life has become about her son in such a way that's it's both about her motherhood and also about not being able to be John's mother. And her story is also about cruelty: about not being able to be a mother in the way that others may be able to, and about not letting her son be the child that he needs to be before he can be a man.
This ties in neatly with the A-plot, and Derek Reese. What Derek says to John in the car is heartbreaking - we all die for you. What a thing to put on a young man; what a thing to put on anyone. And John knows that this is how it works; that this is what happens around him, but it must seem incompatible with the person that he is in the present. He can't define his own destiny, he feels, and he couldn't help Bedell escape that path either. And by keeping Bedell on the path to his future, John signs his death warrant. It's horribly deterministic for a show that works on the premise that there are opportunities for change. (I was thinking about this with regards to last week's Supernatural and with that show there was a sense that some things had to happen in order for other things to be malleable. But with this show, everything is riding on determinism. You can change the past, but it still maintains the future. There are things you have to change, and things you have to maintain.)
Derek's flashforwards, once again, were wonderful. I love how incredibly unsettling it is to juxtapose what Derek knows against what we're watching. The moment when he recognises Bedell is rending, as is the final scene in the car when he explains Bedell's fate.
I wonder what John thinks about these things. Whether he feels ashamed about bitching about his lack of autonomy when everyone in his life is there to make sure that he lives whilst they die. And what is it about John Connor that makes him so worthy? What is it in the revolution that makes him so needed, so revered? From man to god; what is that road?
Let's end this with another treatise on how fantastically creepy Cameron is, because: YES, YES, SHE IS. (Would you like me to read you a story? Oh boy.)
I'm really going to miss being able to watch two episodes of this show a week. I'm just saying.
I felt sorely for Ted this week, who kind of got run over by Charlie and his Charlie-ness. That poor guy. I wonder if he gets the job? Plus: I wonder if Olivia is going to make a reappearance.
Oh Dani. DANI. Facing off against her father, being the child in that house - oh my. That felt very real, having them silently stare-down, and then watching her build up the courage, and then fleeing, just flashing off the screen. An outsider in that moment to everything around her; dislocated from everything around her. That was a powerful section of that montage. What was great about that, and then seeing her in the car with her anger, was that she and her father were both outsiders. What makes Dani strong is what makes her father strong. She is her father's daughter. And she loves him, and he didn't answer, but he did, and she knew he was part of it, or she'd never have asked in the first place.
And then getting her hair stuck in the car door.
On the one hand, yeah, it's funny; on the other hand, it's so sad, too. She's so young sometimes. And all this happens without Crews knowing, too.
Charlie Crews, you fool. a) Breaking the victim! b) Getting high! c) Asking your ex-wife's husband for permission to sleep with her! Charlie, too, for all his years on Dani, has this outward appearance of being so young. The way Connie blanked him on Reese, too, was a chilling moment because (whilst I think she's probably saving him, herself, or both of them) that's the moment where Connie breaks loose from him. It's no longer her and Charlie against the world. They're in separate camps now.
I also loved the crime this week - that monkey, oh my, and then that fractured relationship that permeated the case. We've had some stellar guest actors so far - last episode, the victim's eldest daughter was played so convincingly by that actress, and this episode, the woman with two names. (On that note: 'threesie'? Really? That was the phrase you wanted to use?) Next episode, please!
Is it me, or are they really pushing Emerson's sub-plot this year? I mean, I'm excited, because he's still one of the show's strongest characters, but it just felt hamm-fisted. Well. more than usual.
I was a bit annoyed by the nunnery plot to begin with but this week that was hilarious. I love how Lily's eye patch matches the habit she wears. Those secrets, oh boy.
The case was pretty funny, too, though I was disappointed that we didn't get more about Ned's father being close by, because that's what I was interested in. I especially loved the scene where they're taking bodies out of the clown car, and there's hundreds of them in there. I saw it coming, and it still made me laugh! I love the coroner, too; he's a great minor addition to that cast.
But come on! I don't know; the show is lacking in something recently. What's with that?
I think a lot of people will find this episode very mid-season, run-of-the-mill, mostly because that's exactly what it is. That said, it took me three days to watch because every time I hit play Jethro would make his woeface and I'd be all achey. And this episode was really tough in that regard because Patrick (Jonesy from Carnivàle!) and Lynn Kiley seemed very much of Jethro's life in the before, and the way Kiley tried to play him was rough enough without Mrs Kiley adding to the fray. (Talk; you did the same for me. OH GOD). I loved the scene with the boat, because I love all of Jethro's boat scenes, but I loved the way you could contrast that scene with the end when they've both been lying to him. Oh gosh. (And apparently the next episode features Jethro's hometown. This show is trying to kill me omg.)
MCGEE ATE ABBY'S CUPCAKE WTF.
To conclude: Ziva, you are completely divine, and I adore you. The scene where she goes to meet Reed? Fuck yes.
I can take it. I can take it. Oh, Emily.
Not your average episode, but some amazing character pieces. Emily taking the hit whilst the men listen in from outside was a really painful scene, and then watching her communicate via the window was brilliance. So competent. So together. And then those closing scenes, when she repeats Reid and Morgan's names, juxtaposed with the way she made contact with Reid in the very final scene - oh gosh, Paget broke my heart. When her voice breaks? Reid? Morgan?
And Reid, too, who put his mind next to Benjamin Cyrus and was with him toe to toe - leading him, playing him, and eventually squaring off against him. Reid's scenes with Emily were beautiful, too, with each character looking to out for the other, each one asking out for the other. The way Reid looks when Emily reappears, and how she quiets that in him. Oh gosh, that final scene, where there are too many emotions - how she grabs his hands and pulls down the book, and makes him really listen. The way he strokes her hand? The intimacy there is so fragile.
Rossi was wonderful, too; skilled, calm, thoughtful without being arrogant. Hotch, having to stand aside, knowing he can't help. Morgan and that opening scene in the BAU HQ where he yells for Hotchner, because that's what you do. I'm going to have to watch this again later.
And I've always liked Luke Perry, so it was refreshing to see him actually acting.
Part II later, once I've actually caught up already.