Monday, April 20, 2015

Mad Men 7.10: "Fast Girl"

"She's a fast girl," Don says to his daughter, Sally, taking him to task for responding as a man to Sally's 17-year friend at dinner, and this struck me as a good shorthand for this episode, 7.10, one the last few in the series, to be exact.

Betty goes through much the same thing with Glen, almost grown up now.  He comes to visit on the eve of his going off to Vietnam, but the real purpose of his visit is to, well, declare his continuing infatuation for Betty.   That in itself is not surprising.  But Betty, although she resists, is clearly taken by Glen's teenage passion for her.   She primps her hair, and looks at him in that Betty way.

So what's going on with Don and Betty in their separate interactions with teenagers?   Their response is symbolic of what the series has always been about:  fantasy gratification, which you could say is the basis of most advertising, certainly the kind we've seen under development for years on this show.

Also significantly, we do get one interaction which is not fantasy, and not out of line, and which may hold a happy ending for one of our main characters.  Joan meets a man on the West Coast, when he accidentally walks into her office, looking for his optometrist, and can't believe his eyes or his luck when he sees Joan.   It's not easy going, but at the end of this episode, it sure looks as if love will conquer all.   And, by the way, it's good to see Bruce Greenwood in this role.

The one major character we haven't seen very much of so far in these final episodes is Pete.  His hair looks bad, he still feels like he's getting the short end of some stick, as we saw tonight, and it will be fun to see where he winds up when the series ends.   His sleeping with Peggy was probably the most shocking development in the first season, to bring this back to maybe the ultimate fast girl in this series, but also so much more than that.

-> 20-minute interview with Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) in 2007 at Light On Light Through

See also Mad Men 7.1: Vignettes and Playboy ... Mad Men 7.2:  Flowers and the Hung-Up Phone ... Mad Men 7.3: "Lunch with Rod Serling" ... Mad Men 7.4: Computer! ... Mad Men 7.5: Retrofit Paranoia ... Mad Men 7.6: The Dance ...  Mad Men Mid-Season 7 Finale: Telescope vs. Television ... Mad Men 7.8: Don, Rachel, and the Waitress ... Mad Men 7.9: Fast Ride

And see also Mad Men 6.1-2: The Lighter and the Twist ... Mad Men 6.3: Good Company ... Mad Men 6.4: McLuhan, Heinz, and Don's Imagination ... Mad Men 6.5: MLK ... Mad Men 6.6: Good News Comes in a Chevy ...  Mad Men 6.7: Merger and Margarine ... Mad Men 6.8: Dr. Feelgood and Grandma Ida ... Mad Men 6.9: Don and Betty ... Mad Men 6.10: Medium Cool ... Mad Men 6.11: Hand in the Cookie Jar and Guy de Maupassant ... Mad Men 6.12: Rosemary's Baby, Dick Cheney, and Sunkist ... Mad Men Season 6 Finale: Beyond California

And see also Why "You Only Live Twice" for Mad Men Season 5 Finale ... Mad Men Season Five Finale

And see also Mad Men Season 5 Debut: It's Don's Party  ... Mad Men 5.3: Heinz Is On My Side ... Mad Men 5.4: Volunteer, Dream, Trust ... Mad Men 5.5: Ben Hargrove ... Mad Men 5.6: LSD Orange ... Mad Men 5.7: People of High Degree ... Mad Men 5.8: Mad Man and Gilmore Girl ...Mad Men 5.9: Don's Creativity  ... Mad Men 5.10: "The Negron Complex" ... Mad Men 5.11: Prostitution and Power ... Mad Men 5.12: Exit Lane

And from Season 4: Mad Men 4.1: Chicken Kiev, Lethal Interview, Ham Fight ... 4.2: "Good Time, Bad Time?" "Yes." ... 4.3: Both Coasts ... 4.4: "The following program contains brief nudity ..." 4.5: Fake Out and Neurosis ... 4.6: Emmys, Clio, Blackout, Flashback  ... 4.7: 'No Credits on Commercials' ... 4.8: A Tale of Two Women ... 4.9: "Business of Sadists and Masochists" ...4.10: Grim Tidings ... 4.11: "Look at that Punim" ... 4.12: No Smoking!  ... Mad Men Season 4 Finale: Don and -

And from Season 3Mad Men Back for 3 and 3.2: Carvel, Penn Station, and Diet Soda and 3.3: Gibbon, Blackface, and Eliot and 3.4: Caned Seats and a Multiple Choice about Sal's Patio Furniture and 3.5: Admiral TV, MLK, and a Baby Boy and 3.6: A Saving John Deere and 3.7: Brutal Edges ... August Flights in 3.8 ... Unlucky Strikes and To the Moon Don in 3.9 ... 3.10: The Faintest Ink, The Strongest Television ... Don's Day of Reckoning in Mad Men 3.11 ... Mad Men 3.12: The End of the World in Mad Men ... Mad Men Season 3 Finale: The End of the World

And from Season TwoMad Men Returns with a Xerox and a Call Girl ... 2.2: The Advertising Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ... 2.3 Double-Barreled Power ... 2.4: Betty and Don's Son ... 2.5: Best Montage Since Hitchcock ... 2.6: Jackie, Marilyn, and Liberty Valance ... 2.7: Double Dons... 2.8: Did Don Get What He Deserved? ... 2.9: Don and Roger ... 2.10: Between Ray Bradbury and Telstar ... 2.11: Welcome to the Hotel California ... 2.12 The Day the Earth Stood Still on Mad Men ... 2.13 Saving the Best for Last on Mad Men

And from Season OneMad Men Debuts on AMC: Cigarette Companies and Nixon ... Mad Men 2: Smoke and Television ... Mad Men 3: Hot 1960 Kiss ... Mad Men 4 and 5: Double Mad Men ...Mad Men 6: The Medium is the Message! ... Mad Men 7: Revenge of the Mollusk ... Mad Men 8: Weed, Twist, Hobo ... Mad Man 9: Betty Grace Kelly ... Mad men 10: Life, Death, and Politics ...Mad Men 11: Heat! ... Mad Men 12: Admirable Don ... Mad 13: Double-Endings, Lascaux, and Holes

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Outlander 1.11: Vaccination and Time Travel

Outlander 1.11 was a perfect episode - love, tenderness, moving the story along in profound and sea-changing ways, all keyed to time travel.

The first inkling I had that something was up with Geillis was when she said "barbecue," but it turns out that the word has been in parlance since the 1500s.   But "1968" has not, and opened the door to one of the big revelations in the story: Geillis is herself someone who traveled through time, more than 200 years back to Scotland.   She would make a great continuing character in the series, and my one regret in this episode would be if she was really burned at the end.   True, she murdered her husband - but she's pregnant, and too good a potential ally of Claire's to kill.  (I should mention, again, that I haven't read any of the novels, because I want to enjoy the television series on its own terms.)

In any case, Geillis's revelation raises the possibility that there may be other time travelers afoot in this crucial time in Scottish history.   And this in turn raises further, intriguing questions:  Do the stones always bring people back from the future to this very time in the past?  Are the only time travelers women?

The vaccination as a telling "Devil's Mark" was one of the best details of this sort we've seen in the series.   (But why does Claire call it a "vaccine" rather than a "vaccination" when she's explaining it all to Jaime?)   I love pivotal little details like this in time travel stories - any time traveler from the age of vaccination could be identified as a time traveler by those in the past who were also time travelers, or who, like Jaime, knew that time travel was possible and real.   (Hmm ... maybe that's what's motivating some of the anti-vaxxers in our own time ... but I shouldn't be joking about that.)

Fine food for thought.  But the emotional payoff in this episode happens in the last few minutes. After Claire tells Jaime "the whole story," he privately decides to bring her back to the Stones and her avenue to her life in the future.  He spends a tender evening with Claire, leads her to the Stones, and leaves her.  She has every reason to want to get back to Frank and the 20th century, having just come this close to being burned as a witch in the 1700s,  but Claire decides that her home - at least, for now - is with Jaime, in Lallybroch.

Outlander continues as time travel on television with heart, savvy, and soul, and it's getting more of that with each episode.

See also Outlander 1.1-3: The Hope of Time Travel ... Outlander 1.6:  Outstanding ... Outlander 1.7: Tender Intertemporal Polygamy ...Outlander 1.8: The Other Side ... Outlander 1.9: Spanking Good ... Outlander 1.10: A Glimmer of Paradox

Sierra Waters series, #1, time travel


Saturday, April 18, 2015

American Crime 1.7: The Truest Love

Amidst all the lies, half-truths, betrayals, incompetence, and just plain evil that populates so much of American Crime - and in the case of the evil, especially some of the authorities - the one relationship that increasingly rings true and reliable is Aubry and Carter.

And never more true than in episode 1.7.   Carter is increasingly pressured by his sister to quit Aubry. But he just can't seem to do it, even though, as we've just seen, her instincts aren't the best, to say the least, for keeping the two of them out of trouble.   But Carter tells his sister that Aubry saved him. And, in his recollection, we see that was literally the case.

Meanwhile, Aubry is getting similar pressure to leave Carter from everyone around her.   In her case, there's a motive that the police are dangling in front of her: if she testifies against Carter, that would be her ticket to freedom.   For a moment, in the hospital, it seemed that she might be turning against Carter, though I couldn't believe it.   And I was gratified with that last scene, in which her horror story of what was done to her turns out to have her brother as the perpetrator.

So Aubry and Carter are the improbable rock of Gibraltar in this story, holding firm, for now, against the cesspool tempest of deceit that is daily hurled against them.  The question is how long can they endure it.   Optimist that I always am, I'm hoping they can, to the end - but the forces arrayed against them are powerful, indeed.

Although it's still not clear who committed this American crime, it's very clear that the police don't have a creditable witness against Carter.   Hector's obviously a complete liar, and the detectives know it.   The question is whether they'll allow the prosecutors to go ahead and use it.   Chances are they will - which is part of what I meant earlier about the authorities being reprehensible.

Not reprehensible, and indeed superb, to switch gears here, is the acting in this series.  Caitlin Gerard as Aubry and Elvis Nolasco as Carter are just outstanding - and, in episode 1.7 especially, delivered Emmy-worthy performances.   Richard Cabral as Hector is excellent, as is Regina King as Aliyah Shadeed (born Doreen Nix, Carter's sister), and I haven't even mentioned the big names such as Timothy Hutton and Felicity Huffman, who are putting in what will counted as among the best performances of their careers.   The other related stories, such as Alonzo and his family, are also searing and well acted.

John Ridley's American Crime is television at its hard-hitting, truth-searching, very best.

See also: American Crime, American Fine

a different kind of crime


Friday, April 17, 2015

Bones 10.14: Meets La Parure

A charming Bones 10.14 last night, in which the best part of the episode was Wendell's, which riffs on one of my favorite short stories of all time, "La Parure" by Guy De Maupassant.

The story - translated as "The Necklace" or "The Diamond Necklace" - was first published in 1884. A woman borrows a beautiful diamond necklace from her friend for an important event.  She loses it, and, honorable woman that she is, goes heavily into debt to buy a replacement, which she gives to her friend.   The two run into each other ten years later.   The woman who borrowed the necklace is a mess - she and her husband struggled all of these years to pay off the debt.   She finally tells the truth to the original owner, who replies, "but the original diamond necklace was paste" - i.e., it was just inexpensive costume jewelry!

On Bones, Wendell is desperate to fix or replace his girlfriend's clock, an heirloom from her grandmother, which Wendell thinks he broke while winding it.   Those old clocks are indeed easy to break. He enlists the resourceful Hodgins, who figures out a way to get the clock working.   When Wendell gives the clock back to his girlfriend, admitting that he broke it but did the right thing and got it working, she tells him it was broken to begin with.

But Bones comes up happier than De Maupassant, because the experience brings Wendell and his girlfriend closer together.   And speaking of happiness, we get a good Max episode, too, with a happy ending, in which his new round of secretiveness was all to retrieve a ring she loved and lost as a child.  We also learn why he left the family, and the reason brings him and Bones closer together.

And the murder in the episode?  It concerns a miniature golf course - not the most profound story in the world - but who cares, when we get a modern retelling of De Maupassant.

Bones 100 and 200 podcast reviews

And see also Bones 9.1: The Sweet Misery of Love ... Bones 9.2: Bobcat, Identity Theft, and Sweets ... Bones 9.3 and NCIS 11.2: Sweets and Ziva ... Bones 9.4: Metaphysics of Death in a Television Series ... Bones 9.5: Val and Deep Blue ... Bones 9.6: The Wedding ... Bones 9.7: Watch Out, Buenos Aires ...Bones 9.8: The Bug in the Neck ... Bones 9.9: Friday Night Bones in the Courtroom ... Bones 9.10: Horse Pucky ... Bones 9.11: Angels in Equations ... Bones 9.12: Fingernails ... Bones 9.13: Meets Nashville, and Wendell ... Bones 9.14: "You Cannot Drink Your Glass Away" ... Bones 9.15: Hodgins' Brother and the Ripped Off Toe ... Bones 9.16: Lampreys, Professors, and Insurance Companies ... Bones 9.17: Spartacus in the Kitchen ... Bones 9.18: Meets Day of the Triffids ... Bones 9.19: The Cornucopic Urn ... Bones 9.20: Above the Law ... Bones 9.21: Freezing and Thawing ... Bones 9.22: Promotion ... Bones 9.23: The New Intern ... Bones Season 9 Finale: Upping the Ante

And see also Bones 8.1: Walk Like an Egyptian ... Bones 8.2 of Contention ... Bones 8.3: Not Rotting Behind a Desk  ... Bones 8.4: Slashing Tiger and Donald Trump ... Bones 8.5: Applesauce on Election Eve ... Bones 8.6: Election Day ... Bones 8.7: Dollops in the Sky with Diamonds ...Bones 8.8: The Talking Remains ... Bones 8.9: I Am A Camera ... Bones 8.10-11: Double Bones ...Bones 8.12: Face of Enigmatic Evil ... Bones 8.13: Two for the Price of One ... Bones 8.14: Real Life ... Bones 8.15: The Magic Bullet and the Be-Spontaneous Paradox ... Bones 8.16: Bitter-Sweet Sweets and Honest Finn ... Bones 8.17: "Not Time Share, Time Travel" ... Bones 8.18: Couples ... Bones 8.19: The Head in the Toilet ... Bones 8.20: On Camera ... Bones 8.21: Christine, Hot Sauce, and the Judge ... Bones 8.22: Musical-Chair Parents ... Bones 8.23: The Bluff ... Bones Season 8 Finale: Can't Buy the Last Few Minutes

And see also Bones 7.1: Almost Home Sweet Home ... Bones 7.2: The New Kid and the Fluke ...Bones 7.3: Lance Bond and Prince Charmington ... Bones 7.4: The Tush on the Xerox ... Bones 7.5: Sexy Vehicle ... Bones 7.6: The Reassembler ... Bones 7.7: Baby! ... Bones 7.8: Parents ...Bones 7.9: Tabitha's Salon ... Bones 7.10: Mobile ... Bones 7.11: Truffles and Max ... Bones 7.12: The Corpse is Hanson ... Bones Season 7 Finale: Suspect Bones

And see also Bones 6.1: The Linchpin ... Bones 6.2: Hannah and her Prospects ... Bones 6.3 at the Jersey Shore, Yo, and Plymouth Rock ... Bones 6.4 Sans Hannah ... Bones 6.5: Shot and Pretty ... Bones 6.6: Accidental Relations ... Bones 6.7:  Newman and "Death by Chocolate" ...Bones 6.8: Melted Bones ... Bones 6.9: Adelbert Ames, Jr. ... Bones 6.10: Reflections ... Bones 6.11: The End and the Beginning of a Mystery ... Bones 6.12 Meets Big Love ... Bones 6.13: The Marrying Kind ... Bones 6.14: Bones' Acting Ability ... Bones 6.15: "Lunch for the Palin Family" ...Bones 6.16: Stuck in an Elevator, Stuck in Times ... Bones 6.17: The 8th Pair of Feet ... Bones 6.18: The Wile E. Chupacabra ... Bones 6.19 Test Runs The Finder ... Bones 6.20: This Very Statement is a Lie ... Bones 6.21: Sensitive Bones ... Bones 6.22: Phoenix Love ... Bones Season 6 Finale: Beautiful

And see also Bones: Hilarity and Crime and Bones is Back For Season 5: What Is Love? and 5.2: Anonymous Donors and Pipes and 5.3: Bones in Amish Country and 5.4: Bones Meets Peyton Place and Desperate Housewives and Ancient Bones 5.5 and Bones 5.6: A Chicken in Every Viewer's Pot and Psychological Bones 5.7 and Bones 5.8: Booth's "Pops" and Bones 5.9 Meets Avatar and Videogamers ... Bad Santa, Heart-Warming Bones 5.10 ... Bones 5.11: Of UFOs, Bloggers, and Triangles ... Bones 5.12: A Famous Skeleton and Angela's Baby ... Love with Teeth on Bones 5.13 ... Faith vs. Science vs. Psychology in Bones 5.14 ... Page 187 in Bones 5.15 ...Bones 100: Two Deep Kisses and One Wild Relationship ... Bones 5.17: The Deadly Stars ...Bones Under Water in 5.18 ... Bones 5.19: Ergo Together ...  Bones 5.20: Ergo Together ... Bones 5.21: The Rarity of Happy Endings ... Bones Season 5 Finale: Eye and Evolution


Neanderthal bones - novel on through Sunday for 99 cents