I realize that my posts have been full of doom and gloom lately. So I’m putting this out there: Friday and Monday’s shows (2/15 and 2/18 ) were actually, honestly, really good. I even have scientific evidence to prove it: on Monday I looked at my Tivo clock while fast-forwarding through some commercials and was startled by how far into the show I was. “Thirty-eight minutes already? No!”
They say Higley writes Events not stories. And for Friday’s show, I would agree. It was a dramatic event, suspenseful and exciting but no more. But on Monday, it was the small, sometimes unexpected moments of character interaction that made the difference. I love big soapy events as much as the next person, but it’s the little character moments that truly hook me in. Otherwise I might as well go watch a Jerry Bruckheimer movie.
I loved how Monday’s episode started, with RoboJohn the Indestructible walking around looking at everyone with nearly perfect indifference. His non-reaction upped the emotional ante and made me more concerned, as I mentally pleaded with him to check for pulses. And when he did, I loved that it was Steve’s pulse he checked—and not just because I love Steve so much, but because it followed up on their odd bonding in the cockpit. (“Couldn’t have done it without you, wingman.”)
John bonding with Claire was unexpected and surprisingly well-acted … for both parties, hee. When Claire asked when they were going home, damn if she didn’t pull back a little on the word “home,” giving it a slightly mournful spin. I also loved the moment when she ran up to spend time with him the second time with that look of happy expectation on her face. I loved the contrast between her look and Belle’s comment, “For some reason she likes to hang out with you.”
There were interesting moments of (intentional) black humor, mostly John’s one-liners, but also in the scenes with Phillip and Chloe. I loved Phillip laughing, and apologizing for laughing—and looking damn hot while he was doing it—about the fact that it was his fake leg that was crushed. And Jay Kenneth Johnson was perfect, so matter-of-fact, but with a touch of embarrassment and regret, when he asked Chloe if it would bother her if he removed his leg.
Mary Beth Evans broke my heart reacting to her father’s death. I also love how she seems to be the only one willing to criticize John. But the best part was her worry about Steve, and when she told him she was pregnant. First of all it was a lovely moment in the middle of all the tragedy, and they didn’t overplay it. They seemed to me to act just like a couple in the middle of a terrible tragedy would act, quietly trying to help and support each other, with the anguish underneath the surface.
The dialogue was much, much better, with some fairly witty one-liners:
John (when he sees the injured Marlena): You messed up your hair.
Belle (when John calls her “Dink”): It’s Tink. Your nickname for me is Tink.
(The best part of that was Martha Madison’s look of utter disgust as she said it.)
And even one heart-wrencher, when Kayla finds Steve’s unconscious body:
Kayla: I’m not doing this alone … again.