Three Checks in the Plus Column

Conveniently located all in one post, reviews of Monday’s procedurals (minus House, because I have enough to say to justify a separate post).

Castle “Inventing the Girl”

I do love having this show back to its standard monster-of-the-week formula. I don’t mean to suggest that the end/beginning-of-season dramatic plotness wasn’t spectacular; sometimes it’s just enoyable to have nothing more or less complicated than a good ol’ murder case. This case was maybe not the most interesting ever. A young model killed over misplaced jealousy is fine in its own right, but it’s no ritual hoodoo homicide. Still, it was more than satisfactorily convoluted. And less weirdness in the murder itself means more time for Castle-Beckett rapport, which is unquestionably the best part of any episode. The snarky dialogue in “Inventing the Girl” was particularly enjoyable because it was inspired by an issue of Cosmo and suspected creeperdom, and because in the end it led to a touching moment you would have to be a baby killer not to enjoy. (So to speak…)

Three notes on this episode:

  1. I noticed a potential inconsistency in the evidence. And I did not even care. It was a wonderful thing.
  2. Stana Katic’s doe-eyed, injured look is a dangerous and effective weapon.
  3. I love Ryan and Esposito. I want to marry both them. But only both of them. See: final scene with Beckett (or, you know, the entire series).

Lie to Me “Truth or Consequences”

This was an unexpectedly phenomenal episode. At the very beginning it seemed like the high point was going to be the incredible serendipity of airing an episode about statutory rape right after all that Roman Polanski craziness came to light. That was plenty excellent all on its own. And things just got better. Lightman’s (intertwined masterfully with his personal life) and Foster’s wrangling with a religious cult both managed to branch out from their provocative topics to address almost ever imagineable related element and dilemma. And all of it came off so genuine, from the threat of racism to the uglier complexities of a father/teen daughter relationship to the contention between upholding personal beliefs and carrying out professional obligations.

The only part of the episode I wasn’t satisfied with by the end was that Foster did approximately the same thing Loker got demoted for that was SUCH A BIG DEAL (namely, acting according to personal beliefs that contradicted her professional duty and, as a result, jeopardizing the integrity of the Lightman Group), but there was absolutely no recognition of the similarity between those two events. Maybe I’m just being overly sensitive because I go gooey for Brendan Hines‘ puppy eyes, but that seems like a rather egregious oversight that had damn well better be addressed soon.

Final comment on Lie to Me, some cyber-applause for some damn fine guest work by John Carroll Lynch, James Marsters, and John Pyper-Ferguson.

Trauma “All’s Fair”

The conclusion I have come to after the second episode of Trauma is that this show is far from phenomenal, but it has the potential to get there.

So many things went on in this episode – so many storylines, so many emergencies, so many characters – that it ended up being pretty exhausting to watch. Trauma is a new show, so there is a true need for it to establish itself and its characters in the hearts and minds of the general public. But juggling the development of several (I counted three) vital aspects of Rabbit’s convoluticated personality, elaborating on the twisted and questionable moral/emotional context of Boone, and setting up future complications for Nancy and her new partner Glenn all in the same fortyish minute span is just too much. Especially when there are also no fewer than four EMS calls (one major) in that same fortyish minutes.

That is a definitely flaw in the show’s makeup, but it is easily fixed. And when the craziness gets toned down (I’m making an uncharacteristically optimistic assumption here), it will be easier to fully enjoy the capacity that Trauma has already shown for genius. Case in point: they combined a wood chipper, a small child, an inattentive mother, a sketchy hired worker, and a dubious substance and came up with garden variety (no pun intended) head trauma due to tripping. If that isn’t masterful manipulation of expectations to set up for a real suprise, I don’t know what is.

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  • Lena  On October 8, 2009 at 9:57 AM

    I agree with the sentiments about Ryan and Esposito!!! I suppose I would take one by themselves if it was all I could get, though. But holding out for both is optimal.

    And the Beckett “I can’t believe you didn’t give me the book” scene was SO ADORABLE

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