Thursday, June 14, 2018

KNOTS LANDING Episode 177 of 344: NO MIRACLE WORKER


Episode Title: No Miracle Worker 

Season 08, Episode 17

Episode 177 of 344

Written by Bernard Lechowick

Directed by Kate Tilley

Original Airdate: Thursday, January 8th, 1987

The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Mack flies to New York to see Anne. Under house arrest, Olivia sneaks out and does drugs in the barn. Olivia locks herself in the bathroom, so Abby chops the door down and finds drugs which Olivia tried to flush. Olivia makes calls, and tells Brian that her friends will bring her homework to his school. Abby catches Olivia stealing money from her purse, and they fight. Olivia trashes Abby's room, and Abby has to restrain her. Olivia gives Brian an envelope and tells him it's her homework to give to her friends. Lilimae brings Brian to school, but comes back with Olivia's "homework." It is actually money. Upset, Olivia says she had to give it to Brian, or her friends would beat him up. Abby rushes to Brian's school, but he's already been beaten up. Abby brings him home and forces Olivia to face her bruised and bloodied brother. Upset, Olivia runs to the chicken coop and gives Abby all of her drugs.





                Welcome back.  When we last left off, Abs was boldly declaring to Olivia that she wasn’t going to lock her out of the house; she was going to lock her in the house and keep her on a strict house arrest.  This plot development pretty much propels us through No Miracle Worker, which wisely focuses the majority of its attention on all this drama between Abs and Olivia.  As with our last ep, I feel like there’s not a whole lot to say about the other characters, but I’ll start with Mack and Anne.  Actually, Mack and Anne are about the only characters besides Olivia and Abs to get any attention this week, so once I’m done with them, I’ll just glide right over to Olivia and her coke.

                Okay, so last ep the grumpy old man Winston came to the Fairgate/MacKenzie house and confirmed that Paige is, indeed, Paige.  He also confirmed that her mother is still alive and well and living in New York, prompting Karen to tell Mack he should fly to New York to see her and tell her about Paige.  My Beloved Grammy and I were both immediately confused by this; wouldn’t a simple phone call be more than sufficient?  Why must Mack fly all the way to another state in order to meet his old ex-lover from twenty years ago and tell her that her daughter’s alive?  I get that it’s big news, but you call the person on the phone, you tell them you have big news, you give them the big news, and you’re done.  Is it perhaps just the fact that it’s been so long since Mack’s seen her?  Has it been so long that he thinks it would be inappropriate to reintroduce himself into her life without a little gentleness?  Now this is starting to make more sense to me.  In any case, not all that much happens with Mack and Anne this ep, and we don’t even physically see Anne until two seconds before the ep ends, but the basic gist of it is that Mack flies to New York to see her, even returning to the big, epic, scary mansion where their entire romance once started.  We are treated to a Sepia Toned Flashback, although in this instance the creative team is recycling flashbacks we’ve already seen.  See, this flashback is the one in which Young Mack is sitting by the pool and Young Anne is in the pool, trying to pretend like she’s naked under the water.  Then she sorta lifts herself up out of the water in this slow motion shot, water dripping off of her, and for just a second we think we might see some boobage, but then we reveal that she’s wearing a top.  I can’t remember what prior ep this comes from, but it’s somewhere in the eighth season.  I don’t mind seeing it again, however; if these are Mack’s flashbacks and memories, it makes sense that he would keep remembering the same incidents over and over again.  When we return to 1987 and Mack knocks on the door of the mansion, it is answered by the butler we saw in a previous ep (his name is Philip), before Mr. Winston shows up and announces to Mack that Anne is not here and he has no idea where she is.

                A little later, Mack calls Karen and explains that Anne is actually on a trip in the Caribbean and that she changed her plans without telling anybody.  Now I guess Mack just has to hang around and wait, leading us to an interesting scene in his hotel room between him and Winston.  I rather enjoyed this little window into Winston’s life as he makes an attempt to give Mack some form of apology.  He talks about how, “To someone like you, someone from my generation must seem from a different planet,” to which Mack replies, “Some of my best friends are from other planets.”  Then Winston adds how things were done different back in the olden days, how societal norms change, Bob Loblaw.  It would be hard to apologize to someone for taking the love of their life away, but Winston goes for it here and I’d say it’s pretty genuine.  This doesn’t make me like the character, but I appreciate his complexities and that the writers don’t just pen him as a one dimensional old villain. 


                We finally get to see Anne in the last two seconds of the ep, in Mack’s hotel room.  There’s a knock at the door and he answers to find Anne standing there, declaring, “Daddy told me you were here,” and that’s pretty much how we end the ep.  It’s our first sighting of the fabulous Michelle Phillips, who I remember enjoying very much my first time watching the series and I’m eager to see if I feel the same way this time.  However, I think I’ll save my thoughts on her for our next ep, when she gets a lot more attention, more than a door opening and her delivering one line of dialogue.



                The only other aspect worth noting in all this Mack/Anne business is a real hint of jealousy and insecurity coming from Karen.  There’s a scene in this ep that I had forgotten about, but which came right back at me as soon as I saw it again, and that is Karen and her sweater.  See, we catch up with Karen and Val hanging out in Karen’s bedroom, where Karen is positively horrified to find that a sweater which used to fit her perfectly fine doesn’t slide on quite so smoothly anymore.  She declares, “I’m fat!” and Val asks if the cleaners shrunk it.  When Karen says this used to be a big sweater, Val asks, “Have you gotten to be a big girl?”  This is a funny line that made me smile, but I also feel sorry for Karen when she says how she’s afraid to weigh herself.  Now might be a good time to get super personal and start talking about some aspects of my own life and how they help me relate to this scene and Karen’s feelings.  I’ve had my share of issues with weight and body image throughout my life, and I used to be a pretty big boy, peaking somewhere near the end of high school, when I was over 200 pounds.  Then, after college, I went on this diet and lost a shit ton of weight and was going to the gym all the time and was super skinny.  As soon as I lost my weight, people couldn’t shut up about how good I looked and how handsome I was (see super sexy picture below for an example), and it is a rather interesting feeling after so many years without anyone really making any comments on such things.  Of course, I got a little nutty and obsessed with my weight and my diet and ended up hitting a bottom of 120 pounds (which is not a lot) when the doctor told me I need to eat more and said she thought I had a minor eating disorder.  Okay, so since then I have eaten more, but now I know I’ve gotten fatter, and even though I know I was way too skinny beforehand, it still bums me out to gain any weight and, much like Karen, I’m too afraid to step on the scale myself.  The point of my long and boring personal story is that I can relate to Karen and her body image issues.  She’s worried about her husband going off to a see the former love of his life, she’s looking at her own body for any sign of imperfection, and she’s thinking too much about her weight and this sweater that used to fit her.



                This stuff is all good, pretty interesting and compelling and well acted, but the real stuff that everyone remembers from this ep is Abs and Olivia, so let’s return over to them.  Honestly, in my memories, this entire ep is all about Abs and Olivia, never cutting away from them for anybody else, although obviously that’s an inaccurate recollection.  It’s just that all this material is so compelling that it sticks in the memory more than anything else going on, starting right away, as soon as we begin the ep.  See, we all saw Abby’s attempts last ep to clear the house of all drugs and drug related paraphernalia, but Olivia remains two steps ahead of her, as she’s actually got a secret coke stash hidden away in the barn, or at least one of the barns (I don’t know how many barns Westfork actually as), so late at night, when nobody else is awake, she sneaks out to get her little coke fix that she so desperately craves.  However, Abs quickly catches her as she’s attempting to climb back into her bedroom window and slide into bed.  Now, this scene mildly confused me, but it’s not a big thing.  Basically, Abs can tell that Olivia’s already been outside even though Olivia is saying she was about to go outside just this moment, hoping to take a nice walk.  Then Abs grabs her robe and starts going through the pockets and such and we get a closeup of Olivia slipping the baggie of coke out of her pocket and hiding it.  The first time I watched this, I didn’t understand and thought the closeup was showing us Abs discovering the coke in her pocket, but it’s not that at all, so my bad.  In any case, even though Olivia manages to get the coke out of sight right and quick, Abs is sharp and decides she’s going to spend the night with her daughter, sleeping in the same bed and keeping an eye on her, leading us to the very best scene of the ep.



                We return to Westfork a little later that night to discover Abs sleeping alone, Olivia having snuck off into the bathroom for some midnight coke.  Abs knocks on the door and tells her to unlock it, which Olivia refuses to do.  Again, my memories prove slightly inaccurate because I was 100% convinced that we actually see Olivia doing the coke, that we see her breaking it up into different lines and actually snorting it up her nose, but that’s not accurate.  We can tell that she’s working with the coke and then she will lower her head down out of frame and we hear her snort before her head returns back into frame, so we definitely get the picture with what’s happening, but it’s not quite as explicit as I had remembered.  Anyway, Olivia just wants to finish doing her lines and go back to bed, but Abs has other plans, plans involving a hammer to the bathroom door.  Oh, what sweet bliss this scene is, as Abs starts smashing through the door like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.  Olivia has enough time to toss her baggie into the toilet and flush it, but she doesn’t count on the baggie floating, so once Abs gets into the bathroom, she quickly discovers what Olivia was hiding.  From there, she goes to work taking the door off its hinges and declares, “You want to get high, you let us watch you get high.” Ooooh baby.



                What a glorious scene.  Everything is firing on all cylinders in this scene, although obviously the best part is Donna’s acting.  Her frustrations are palpable and you truly feel sorry for her as she tries to stop Olivia from using.  This prompted My Beloved Grammy to say, “This is the first time I’ve ever felt sorry for Abby since we started watching the show.”  These are bold words from her, although I have had several moments of sympathy for Abs throughout the last years, mostly in those moments where she lets her guard down and shows her true emotions.  That’s what we’ve got going on here and that’s why it works so well.  I can actually remember watching this scene for the first time back in college and finding it so amazing and so exciting that I immediately ran upstairs and found my friend and forced him to come back to my room and watch the scene with me, which he did even though I’m sure he didn’t particularly care about the show or this scene from the show.

                Brian is figuring fairly prominently in this storyline, which makes it a glaring oversight that I have barely talked about him or the new actor playing him, Brian Austin Greene (BAG.).  When Brian and Olivia first made their way to the cul-de-sac back at the start of season two, Brian was played by the kid from Tremors, who played him from Hitchhike: Part One in 1980 through Finishing Touches in 1984, racking up 26 appearances (at least according to the not-always-accurate IMDb). Then we entered this weird period through all of seasons six and seven in which Brian might occasionally be mentioned but we never, ever saw him, not once.  I wouldn’t really notice or care about this development were it not for the fact that My Beloved Grammy would constantly bring up, “Where the hell is Abby’s other kid?”  Like I said, he remains offscreen for an entire two year period, and sometimes I wouldn’t really notice, but sometimes it would stick out more, like when Gary was getting ready to blow up Empire Valley and he was shuffling the whole family out of the state and yet we still didn’t see Brian.  Then we started season eight and Brian officially morphed into BAG with the episode Past Tense.  In my notes for that ep, I even scribbled down “Note that Brian has morphed into BAG,” but then I forgot to talk about it when I wrote about that ep.  In any case, here’s BAG and he’s here to play Brian until the end of season ten in 1989, so we’ll be seeing him fairly frequently until he decides to move to West Beverly.  I will need a few more eps with this Brian to decide which one I prefer, but right now I’ll venture a guess that I like BAG more than the Tremors kid, because he seems sweeter.  Tremors Brian seemed like kinda a brat, being introduced playing that annoying horn constantly and just being irritating.  This Brian is a lot nicer to Abs and to Olivia, trying to make them both feel better, which in turn makes me feel kinda sorry for him.  Abs doesn’t sit him down and have a nice long talk about the exact problems Olivia is dealing with, so I feel the kid is probably pretty confused when he walks into his sister’s bedroom at night and finds his mother busting down the bathroom door with a hammer. 

                I finally bring up Brian because Olivia ends up using him to further her means of getting more coke.  See, she tells him how she wants to do all of her homework in great secret so that Abs will be pleased when she finds out, and she says how she needs Brian to pick up textbooks from her friends, except her friends are actually Bobby Briggs and the textbooks actually have coke cleverly slipped into the spine.  As soon as Brian arrives with the books, Olivia carefully removes the baggie of coke and she’s set for, well, at least the next couple of hours.  This ruse doesn’t last long, however, because later we get a fabulous scene of Abs dropping Brian off at school and then starting to cry behind the wheel.  The scene would be fabulous enough if it was just Abs crying, since I love all these new layers to the character that we are witnessing visa vis this storyline, but then Brian returns to the car and tries to comfort her by being like, “Look, Olivia’s doing all her homework and everything!”  He shows her the “homework” that he is supposed to deliver to the friends, but Abs sees that it’s an envelope filled with money.  Uh oh! 



                Abs takes the money from Brian and says how she’ll deliver it herself, but the problem of course is that Bobby Briggs is waiting for his money and he’s not gonna be pleased when Brian doesn’t deliver.  Abs returns to Westfork, where Lilimae is hanging out with Olivia and boring her with stories about what a trotline is, and barges in demanding to hear an explanation for this money.  See, she assumes that Olivia was having Brian deliver the money in order to return with drugs, but really Olivia owes Bobby Briggs a lot of money from working with him as a salesperson.  From here, we cut to a little scene of Bobby Briggs roughing up Brian.  There’s some style here, as most of the violence is implied when Bobby Briggs pulls Brian into a school-bus and slides the door shut.  We can imagine that Brian is not having a great time in that bus, but we don’t get all the gory details. 
                We do, however, see the aftermath, in which Brian returns home with his face all bruised and ugly.  Abs grabs Olivia and forces her to look at her brother and see what her drug use has caused to happen.  This is the big emotional climax, as Olivia goes running off to the barn, grabbing her stash and handing it all over to Abs.  She’s crying and all out of sorts and the acting is very good from both actresses, as always.  One thing worth noting is that my copy of this ep appears to be a smidge shorter than the originally aired version; if you watch the CBS version from 1987, after Olivia hands the drugs over, Abs hugs her and the two sorta slide onto the ground and stay in this big dramatic embrace for a few seconds before we cut to Mack in New York.  The SoapNet version cuts before the hug occurs, which is a shame, because I do think that added a nice touch of finality to this storyline.



                Okay, so it looks like seeing her baby brother all beat up and bloody was all Olivia needed to fully renounce her habit.  Her handing the drugs over pretty much finishes this storyline, although I’ll pay attention to see how events play out in the coming eps.  I’m thinking really hard right now and I’m fairly certain Olivia behaves herself for the rest of her time on the series and never slides back into her coke habit, but I’ve been proven wrong before.  For now, let me just say that this is still a highlight storyline of the series, and it arrives like a cool breeze of air on a hot day.  With so many stories going on that I am not interested in (Paige and Sexy Michael) or that I just flat-out dislike (Hackney), having a story this good arrive in the middle of the season is a real tonic.  There’s a lot to love about this stuff, starting off with how it humanizes Abs and continues to keep her character interesting.  This is Abby’s seventh year on the series, and for most other shows, by this point, her character would be established as being one certain way and the writers would stick to that.  With KL and the writing of Abs, the writers are always keeping us on our toes, showing Abs being duplicitous and wicked but then surprising us by showing a very human side of her here.  Also, I just think it’s ballsy that the show tackled teenage drug abuse in 1987.  I would be curious to know what the reaction to this was upon first airing; I know the ratings right here are not what they used to be, but the show is still in the top 30, so I’m sure it’s getting plenty of viewers.  Did people talk about this story?  Did it seem cutting edge at the time?  I have to imagine it did.  If I have a complaint, it’s that this all felt much faster than I remembered.  If you had asked me to tell you based on memory how long this storyline spanned, I would have said something like ten eps, but it’s really more like four.  I actually think there’s enough dramatic weight to this material to stretch the story out way longer, and I kinda wish they had since I find it so compelling.  But no, when looked at in the grand scope of the season, this actually doesn’t go on nearly as long as I had remembered, but I think it could have.

                Because of the strength of the Abs/Olivia storyline in this ep, I think I’m gonna go ahead and declare No Miracle Worker to be the best ep of season eight thus far, and I have the feeling it will remain the best one when all is said and done.  Now it’s time to shift the attention away from cocaine and over to a potential romantic triangle between Karen, Mack, and new arrival Anne.  Next up, we shall discuss the romance of Mack MacKenzie and Anne Matheson with My True Love.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

KNOTS LANDING Episode 176 of 344: THE UNRAVELING


Episode Title: The Unraveling

Season 08, Episode 16

Episode 176 of 344


Directed by Nicholas Sgarro

Original Airdate: Thursday, January 1st, 1987

The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Mr. Winston flies into town and confirms that Paige really is his granddaughter. Paige is upset to see him. Karen convinces Mack he needs to fly to New York and tell Anne that Paige is alive. Paige cooks a romantic dinner for Peter. Jill admits to Gary that Peter is her brother. Gary thinks she means she is Galveston's daughter. Gary asks Jill to marry him. Abby demands Olivia give her all of her drug paraphernalia, but Olivia gives her baking soda. Gary invites her to AA, but Olivia refuses. Gary tells Abby they'll have to wait until she hits bottom. Abby finds out that Olivia has drained her and Brian's bank account, has been skipping school, is failing all of her classes, and didn't pay her tuition. Out of money, Olivia decides to sell drugs, and her dealer hits her when she uses them instead. Abby takes Olivia's house and car keys and puts her under house arrest.





Welcome to 1987 and a whole fresh batch of exciting KL eps to sink our teeth into.  I wanna go on a long and pointless rant real fast about how much I like it when the eps just happen to coincide with January 1st, the start of a brand new, fresh year full of possibilities and excitement.  I don’t think a year in history could possibly be bad if it started with an ep of KL on the very first day.  I’m also pretty sure this is the first time we’ve seen this occur in six years, that the last time was the season two ep Step One, airing January 1st, 1981.  Now, aside from one very memorable scene in a hot tub, that ep kinda sucked and had one of the worst/creepiest ending sequences in all of KL history (Karen and Diana dancing around in KISS makeup and singing some stupid song together).  Happily, this ep proves to be a large improvement over that season two ep, but I’d also say it proves to be a large improvement over a lot of our more recent season eight eps, mostly thanks to one very significant and very exciting storyline involving Olivia and Abs.  In fact, I’ll be kinda frank and say that, really, probably most or all of the non Olivia/Abs stuff in this ep is just okay, nothing too special and nothing too terrible, just perfectly fine and dandy, but the Olivia/Abs stuff is so strong that it elevates the entire episode upwards. 



Since I care so much more about what’s going on with Olivia and Abs and so much less about what everyone else is up to, I’m gonna just sorta zoom through the other characters real fast and then put the majority of my focus over on Abs and her daughter, and I’ll probably wind up doing the same for our next episode, as well.  Let’s go ahead and get started by talking about Paige and Sexy Michael and the whole Fairgate/MacKenzie/Matheson clan.  Okay, so when we last left off, Paige was giving Sexy Michael the cold shoulder and, rather than taking a look in the mirror and realizing that he could easily have sex with absolutely any man or woman in the entire universe if he wanted to, Sexy Michael instead chose to act like a 12 year old girl and mope around and blame Karen for his problems and use words like “love” towards Paige ad nauseam.  I don’t know why I continue to be so bored and disinterested by this story, but I am, and I also feel I can’t properly explain why I’m so annoyed with Sexy Michael, a creature so divine and so beautiful that it’s really just plain wrong for me to dare to criticize anything about him, since he exists at a level so far beyond us mere mortals.  In any case, in this ep I think think think think we pretty much finish up the lovey dovey drama with these two characters, although perhaps they hook up again a little later down the road; I honestly can’t remember.  Like I said, I think this might be it for them, as we see Sexy Michael approaching Paige for a little candid conversation and saying, “Just tell me one thing; why did you sleep with me?”  Paige’s response?  “Because you were there.”  Ouch!  I’d say that’s definitely more than a bit cold, and honestly, I’m having a hard time understanding how Paige could actually have Sexy Michael’s penis inside of her not once, but several times, and then just write it off as, “Oh yeah, you were there.”  If I had sex with Sexy Michael, I can tell you right away that I wouldn’t be ignoring him and saying things about how I only slept with him cuz he was there; I would be begging to continue sleeping with him for the rest of my life and desperately worrying that at any moment he might realize he is far too beautiful for me and run off with someone more on his level.  Paige must think she’s pretty hot shit, because after knowing a divine pleasure that most of us can only dream of, she casually dismisses this sexual relationship as no big deal.



That’s hardly all Paige is up to in this ep, however.  You’ll all recall how our last ep ended with Mack calling the wicked Winstons and learning about how Anne is actually alive and played by Michelle Phillips (well, Mack learned that she was alive, but I suppose he doesn’t know she’s played by Michelle Phillips yet, since he and we don’t actually meet this character until our next ep).  That was our big cliffhanger for our last ep, the shocking reveal that Anne is actually alive.  As we pick up with this ep, Karen and Mack are talking in the living room about how to handle this situation, and then a little later Paige comes in and they have a bit of a fight.  Let me just take a moment to say that, as much as I love Karen and always have and always will, I really wish Michele was showing the same subtlety and natural talent that was well on display for all of season three.  Right now, I’m starting to get a little tired of the overdramatic way that Karen likes to make pronouncements, and this scene has a good example of it.  See, Paige comes walking in and then Karen gets the very dramatic, very somber tone in her voice and says, “Paige, you had to know we’d find out about you.”  That line is, you know, okay, but then she raises her voice way more and says, “YOU HAD TO KNOW WE’D FIND OUT ABOUT YOUR MOTHER!  WHAT DID YOU THINK YOU WERE DOING?!”  You all see what I mean?  Does anyone else remember when Karen was a little more mellow a little more frequently?  The scene gets worse when Karen feels the need to yell even louder and then grabs some, like, red thing (it honestly looks like a hemorrhoid pillow) and blares, “WHAT COLOR IS THIS?  BECAUSE IF YOU SAY IT IS RED, THEN IT MUST BE BLUE! I feel like we’re getting way too much of the “WHAT IS AN A.P.B.?!” Karen right now, and I wonder/doubt if it’s ever gonna go away. 



Fortunately Mack enters the scene to act a little less nutty, and he just quietly says, “You’ve got a lot of explaining to do.”  Karen says how she doesn’t believe anything Paige says, Bob Loblaw, and she goes marching off (even doing a total prima donna head thrust as she makes her exodus) and leaves Paige and Mack alone, at which point Paige continues to lie, telling Mack how she made up this story only because “I knew how you felt about her and I didn’t want to jeopardize your marriage to Karen.”  Well, we can all clearly see that this is a lie, but then the lies keep coming as Paige declares that her mother didn’t care when, “I told her about my stepfather, about all the horrible things he did….in private.”  Mack is pretty perfect in this scene and I love the way he manages to keep nice and balanced, because he says how if this whole stepfather business is true, “I’ll tear him apart limb for limb,” but then he adds, “If you’re lying to me, if you’re telling me things that aren’t true to cover up your lies, nobody does that to me, nobody.”  In an interesting contrast to Michele’s hyperventilating overacting at this juncture, I actually think The Dobsonator does a swell job of taking what could be an incredibly corny bit of dialogue and making it seem genuine and grounded in reality.  I also like how at first you think Mack is going to be fooled by Paige’s new lie, but he quickly shows that he’s not that stupid and that she’s going to have to go about earning his trust back.

A little later, Paige is dressed in a sexy green leather outfit and heading out the door when Mack stops her and says there’s someone here to see her, and it’s her evil, wicked grandfather, Mr. Winston, who the hell cares what his first name is.  We go to a commercial just about here, as Karen says, “Mr. Winston, this is the woman who claims to be your granddaughter,” but when we return from that lovely 1987 commercial break, we see Winston asking, “Paige, why did you do this?”  Ah, so we now have official confirmation that Paige is Paige, just like she says.  Then we get a decent little confrontation between her and Mack in which she confesses that she hates how he never went after her mother, never rescued Anne from the evil grandparents, never came looking for his daughter, to which Mack says, “I never even knew you existed,” to which Paige starts sobbing and saying, “That’s what I hate the most!”  Then she starts crying on Mack’s shoulder.  I would say I like Paige a lot more whenever she’s not crying and I do not think crying is one of Nicolette’s strong suits, so here’s hoping the writers don’t keep asking her to do it.



Also, now that Paige has dumped Sexy Michael (bad choice), she quickly shifts her attentions over to the far less sexy, rather bizarre looking Peter Hollister, randomly showing up at his apartment to cook a fancy dinner complete with candlelight.  He shows up looking tired and slightly put off (he probably just got the memo that he won’t be returning for the ninth season), but Paige declares how he’s not gonna believe how good her pasta primavera is and says to prepare himself for a seven course meal.  Jesus!  There’s a little exchange of dialogue that made me smile, in which Peter says, “This could take all night,” and then Paige sorta hops into his lap and says, “So could dinner.”  Oh my!  In any case, I’m still not too terribly interested in this development or this story.  In fact, I’m gonna go ahead and take the time to say I don’t really care about Peter at all anymore.  Like I said, he’s about to be shown the exit door (and actually, I misspoke slightly because he just barely bleeds into season nine, making his final official appearance on the series in the fifth episode of the season, There Are Smiles), so it’s not like I’m going to have to talk about Peter too much more once we’ve finished up this eighth season.  I believe that somewhere within the massive season seven run, I declared that I like this character a lot and that I like the energy he brings to proceedings and Bob Loblaw.  I’m not entirely sure when those feelings went away, but it may have started when we concluded the whole senate storyline from the start of the year and started to turn our attention to Peter poisoning Sylvia (and where the hell is she now, by the way?).  Right now, Peter is existing and he’s moving around and he’s getting some focus of the attention, but I just kinda don’t care.  He’s not a bad character like Hackney is, and he plays the part fine, but it’s just sorta blah.  I also wonder if part of the problem is the slow drip drip drip of information that’s been going on since the start of season seven.  It took so damn long to finally figure out precisely who Peter is and precisely what he’s up to, and I feel like by the time we’ve finally got all that squared away, he’s just about ready to leave.  For now, I’ll hold off on further thoughts until we get closer to his last appearance.



Tangentially related to Peter: In this ep, J.B. finally tells Gary the truth about how Peter is her brother.  This goes over fine, although I think that Gary misunderstands slightly.  If I’m following the proceedings alright, I think that Gary believes J.B.’s story, but he takes it to mean that she is Galveston’s daughter.  I’m having a hard time keeping track of who all knows the real truth about Peter not even being kinda sorta related to Galveston in any way, shape, or form.  So far, I’m pretty sure the only people to know the truth are Peter, J.B., Sylvia, Greg, and Abs (remember her clever blank paper trick?).  Also, in this ep, Gary decides to marry J.B., which is pretty exciting.  The most exciting part is that I can’t remember if the two actually wind up getting married, but I know we’ve still got J.B. until we are deep into the tenth season, so that’s about two more solid years with her, so I’m betting they will get married somewhere in those two years.  Let’s find out!

Okay, that’s enough about the less interesting stuff.  Now, you understand, I still find this stuff kinda interesting, although obviously a pretty far cry from how interesting I found seasons four through six, but I’m saying it becomes significantly less interesting when put up against the epic and fabulous Olivia/Abs story.  Okay, so we all know Olivia is having a bit of trouble with the nose candy, right?  And we all saw how she crashed her car while she was driving with Lilimae, right?  Then we all saw how Lilimae handed some cocaine to Abs and, rather than saying, “Let’s sneak into the bathroom and snort this together,” she declared that she had found it in Olivia’s car.  Then Abs caught Olivia trying to buy some coke last ep, and that brings us nicely up to date.  As we start this ep, Abs and Olivia are arguing in Olivia’s bedroom, and I gotta say Olivia’s excuses are stretching credibility more than just a little bit.  When Abs says, “I saw you buying drugs,” Olivia says, “I was only doing it so the other kids would think I use it; they all say I’m too straight.” Does she honestly think this crappy lie is going to fool Abs?  Probably not, I guess, but that’s because Olivia is deep into her addiction, in which you’re just lying your ass off constantly in your obsessive quest for more coke. 



Right away, this is clearly the best story going on, and it starts just as soon as the ep starts.  See, Abs is being a clever girl, but Olivia is already several steps ahead of her, having planned for this moment.  Abs orders Olivia to show her all her hiding spots where there might be coke, declaring how, even though she already searched her room, “I’ll search it again, and this time you’ll think a bomb went off.”  So then Olivia makes her circle around the room and pulls coke (or what we and Abs think is coke) out of a myriad of hiding spots.  She starts with a big boot positively stashed with delights, and I note with interest that it’s not just coke.  She also has caffeine pills (which feels slightly weird and Saved by the Bell-ish) and, I think, even some pills?  Basically, by the time she’s done emptying her stash, there’s a nice little collection of different things piled up, and am I completely crazy or did I also see a needle?  It is very possible that I’m hallucinating this needle, and it also doesn’t help that the picture quality is less than perfect on my copies, but I even paused the image of all the crap Olivia has dumped and I am pretty sure I see at least one needle.  Jesus, what all is Olivia doing to her body besides filling in with massive amounts of white powder?  In any case, Abs takes all the paraphernalia out of the bedroom and seems satisfied, but then later we hear Olivia on the phone with a friend, declaring how she filled most of those bags up with baking soda, knowing her mother would search her room again.  Ooooh, clever coked out girl!




This is only the first confrontation of the ep, but it immediately sets the tone for brilliance.  I love everything this storyline for as long as it goes on (which is not long enough, in my opinion), but obviously the first important bit of business is the tremendous acting from the two ladies.  I’ve said how much I like Olivia since pretty much the moment she arrived at the cul-de-sac.  Back then, she was mostly just a cute little girl that would occasionally have a few lines in eps, but didn’t do all that much.  Now it’s seven years later and she’s really blossomed into an important character and Tonya’s acting chops show that she can hold her own.  While a lot of this stuff threatens to become over-the-top, I feel it stays nicely grounded because I believe in Tonya as a real teenager with a real drug problem.  Also, while it goes without saying that Donna is always perfect as Abs, this is some of her finest work.  I love seeing Abs kick into mother lion mode and be harsh with Olivia in the name of helping her.  I also love how Abs stays sharp and watchful over Olivia, not being easily fooled.  This is demonstrated even in small ways, like the way Olivia is very slowly emptying her boot of all her drugs and Abs just grabs it from her and starts emptying it herself, or the way she stands next to her afterwards and says, “There’s got to be more.”  We are also seeing a fabulous new side to Abby’s character, as her mission here is not to sleep with some senator in order to get a business deal or screw someone out of money they deserve or whatever else she might be doing in another ep of the series.  Instead, we are shifting our focus strictly to Abs trying to save Olivia before her problems get even more out of hand, and we are focusing on Abs strictly as a mother and I really like that.

Over the course of the ep, Abs comes to realize that Olivia’s problem is even more serious than it first appeared.  This starts when she gets a phonecall from some richie rich clothing store, saying they are sorry that they weren’t able to return Olivia’s clothes for cash.  Turns out that Olivia showed up at this store wanting to return a whole ton of clothes and get some cash back, but the store doesn’t play that way.  Oh, by the way, I like how this is shot, and even though I’ve bitched throughout the season about how everything looks and sounds way cheaper than it used to, the directors still consistently throw some stylistic flair into the eps.  In this case, Abs gets the call from the department store, and then as the lady on the phone is describing what happened, we see it play out in front of us, like we see Olivia trying to return the clothes and being told no, only we can’t hear her dialogue, since the lady on the phone is speaking over it, you all follow?  I don’t know if they filmed a whole big Olivia-trying-to-return-clothes scene and then cut it out and then decided to sorta cleverly use it for different purposes within this sequence or if it was always planned out that way, but in any case, I like it.  I also like it later in the ep when Abs pays the high school a visit and finds out that Olivia still has several unpaid tuition fees on her record, and I like the next scene where she finds out that Olivia sold Brian’s little pocket TV for coke money, and I really like the next scene where Abs finds out that both Olivia and Brian’s bank accounts have been drained.  Jeez, how did Olivia manage to get Brian’s money out of that account? 



Meanwhile, Olivia is hanging around the high school and going to work for Bobby Briggs (pictured below), who is only allowed to exist in movies or TV shows if he plays a teenaged kid selling drugs to other teenaged kids.  Actually, I got pretty excited when I saw Bobby Briggs on the show, and I love how he is in many ways very similar to the way he’ll be in a few short years on Twin Peaks.  In this case, dressed in a leather jacket and wearing sunglasses, he tells Olivia how if she wants some of his drugs, she’ll need to give him some cold hard cash.  She says that she doesn’t have any cash, so he offers her a “sales job.”  At first, Olivia says no, prompting Bobby Briggs to say, “You rich kids can always find money somewhere, right?”  Later, Olivia’s resolve crumbles as we see her agreeing to work for Bobby Briggs, but then sneaking off into a back alley to steal some of the coke for herself.  Unfortunately for her, Bobby Briggs quickly catches her and takes the coke back and then shoves her against a wall, all while that stylistic device I liked so much from earlier returns with another character piping dialogue over the soundtrack (in this case, it’s a cop giving a lecture about teenage drug use at some sort of seminar Abs is attending).



My other favorite scene in this ep is a grand conversation between Abs and Gary.  Ever the wise and seasoned recovering alcoholic, Gary says how Olivia is supporting a coke habit now, a word which frightens Abs.  Then Abs has one of her fabulous moments of naked emotion when she just says, “I don’t know what to do,” and then Gary sorta sighs and says, “I don’t know what to do, either,” and then he adds, “I know it’s awful, but Olivia may have to hit rock bottom before she realizes what kind of trouble she’s in.”  These are wise words, and Gary of course knows that of which he speaks.  I think it’s obvious that Gary’s rock bottom was waking up on a beach in 1983 all hungover and lying just a few short dashes from Ciji’s dead body.  Will Olivia suffer a similar fate?  Watch on! 

Oh yeah, and the very last thing I wanna talk about with this episode before wrapping it up: Urine.  Once again, KL doesn’t shy away from talking about their characters’ urine and I continue to appreciate it.  Everybody in the world goes pee and poop, yet these bodily functions are hardly ever seen or talked on network TV, and especially not in this era, so I really like the scene where Abs orders Olivia to give her a urine sample and Olivia declares, “This is really gross,” to which Abs retorts, “You’re right; this is really gross.”  Anyway, Olivia gives the sample, but before giving it to her mother, we have a quick scene of her telling Brian that she needs some bleach right and quick because she spilled something on the carpet.  Later, she passes the drug test and I didn’t understand why, but My Beloved Grammy helpfully said how you can use bleach to mess with the results of a urinalysis (apparently My Beloved Grammy does a lot more coke than I do). 

That oughta about do it for this ep.  If my enthusiasm seems lesser as of late, I apologize for that and I want to stress that I think all the Abs and Olivia material is stellar this ep and it’s only gonna get more stellar in our next ep, the classic No Miracle Worker.

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Friday, June 1, 2018

KNOTS LANDING Episode 175 of 344: TRUTH WILL OUT


Episode Title: Truth Will Out

Season 08, Episode 15

Episode 175 of 344

Written by Scott Hamner

Directed by Timna Ranon

Original Airdate: Thursday, December 18th, 1986

The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Gary goes to Jill's to get her some clothes. He sees her yearbook where her name is Dorothy Simpkins, and pictures of Peter that are signed "for my sis." Home, Jill asks Gary to marry her, but he says he needs to get to know her better. Lilimae gives Abby a packet of cocaine she found in Olivia's car. Abby searches Olivia's room as Olivia is in the barn snorting coke. Abby follows Olivia and sees her buying drugs. Abby grabs her purse and dumps out the drugs. Greg wants Laura to have an abortion. Paige tells Mack and Karen that she faked her death to get away from her grandparents. They are not sure if they believe her. Karen researches and finds an obituary saying Paige died in a boating accident. Mack decides to call the Winston's, and Mr. Winston tells him to stop calling because it upsets Anne. Mack is surprised to hear that Anne is alive.


                When we last left off, we were in the middle of a dangling cliffhanger involving a coked up Olivia driving Lilimae around in her new car and getting them, presumably, into a car crash.  However, we also left off on a cliffhanger involving Karen and the Winstons, and that’s where we start this ep.  We open with Karen telling Mack what she heard, namely that Paige is actually dead and buried.  What’s interesting is that Mack rejects this news as soon as he hears it, saying that Winston is just a vicious old liar and that when he said Paige was dead, he was referring to the fact that he has disowned her.  Now, see, this I like a lot more than when the story is focused squarely on Paige.  I’m not entirely sure why this is playing so differently for me now, but I am finding myself remarkably unengaged by Paige’s story at this point, whereas I like the story whenever it relates over to Mack.  I find myself much more interested in those Sepia Toned Flashbacks (and we get another one this ep, in which Young Mack and Young Sumner try to pull a fast one on Winston and fail miserably) than I am in the current stuff going on.  I like that are learning more about Mack’s life as a young man and the woman he was in love with and this potential alternate life he could have had if things had gone differently.  For me, this stuff enriches the character and makes him more interesting, but the stuff with Paige and Sexy Michael and whether they’re sleeping together or not sleeping together, I dunno, for some reason it’s leaving me pretty cold at this point.

                I’m gonna get into spoiler territory here, so please skip this paragraph if you wanna stay fresh.  I wonder if part of the problem is that I know how all this Paige business will play out.  Having seen the whole show once before, I know that Paige is around for the entire second half of the series and I know that she’s just, you know, Paige.  She is Paige Matheson, she is the person she says she is, and for the vast majority of her time on the series, this is just a fact that we accept.  However, looking back over this eighth season, she is surrounded by mystery and it is going to take some time before we know if she’s telling the truth about anything in her life.  Certainly, My Beloved Grammy thinks she’s completely duplicitous and dishonest and is not the person she says she is, but I’m having a hard time getting my brain into that mindset, simply because I’ve seen this before and I know how it all unfolds.  I think this is the main reason why I’m feeling underwhelmed by the Paige portions of the story right now.

                Even so, there’s still plenty of drama in that department this week.  See, when Karen and Mack speak to Paige about what they’ve heard, let’s just say it doesn’t go well.  Karen gets very direct, as is her wont, and says how she doesn’t believe Paige is really who she says she is, and she asks, “Who are you?”  When Paige answers that she’s Paige Matheson, Karen simply says, “I don’t believe you.”  In this scene, Mack still seems to be taking Paige’s side, saying stuff like, “Come on, Karen,” and then Paige gets to yell a bit when she says, “She’s calling me a liar, Mack!” and then storms off upstairs.  Later, she comes up to Karen and Mack’s bedroom to tell them how this whole death business came about in the first place.  She says how she picked up a hitchhiker and then they crashed the car and, while she went flying, the poor hitchhiker just went up in flames, burning slowly to death.  This is jolly, and Paige shows herself to be very empathetic when she’s like, “Well, she was already dead, so I decided to just fake my own death and run off.”
 


                Later, Karen decides it’s been too long since we’ve had a “scrolling through the microfilms” scene (I believe our last one was way back in season six’s Inside Information when Parker Winslow went scrolling through the microfilms to find out if Verna was really Val), so she pays a visit to the local library and starts scrolling through the microfilms.  As is typical of this type of scene when it’s done in every single movie or television show ever made, Karen doesn’t actually read the articles, but instead just scrolls through headlines before reaching one that says Paige Matheson died in a boating accident.  But wait, the story Paige just told them….this was not a boat accident!  Now Paige has been caught in yet another lie, what to do?



                Meanwhile, Gary and J.B. are still at the hospital, not getting anything interesting to do, so this ep, the writers finally let Gary leave the surroundings of the hospital for a pretty bad scene that only exists to further propel the plot.  See, Gary is speaking with J.B. and they’re talking about how he’s gonna go to her apartment and get her some stuff, and of course as soon as we hear this dialogue, we all know that Gary is going to find something incriminating when he gets there, and that’s obviously what happens.  Ugh, I hated this scene, and it’s strikingly similar to all those awful scenes on Desperate Housewives where someone very conveniently “accidentally” finds some bit of evidence that’s super duper important.  In this case, Gary walks into J.B.’s apartment and opens a closet door and her damn high school yearbook just falls right out onto the floor, so of course Gary picks it up and of course he immediately finds the photo of J.B. with the name “Dorothy Simpkins” underneath it, and of course he finds that because the yearbook is already open to that page.  Oh yeah, and what else should come spilling out of this yearbook but a photo of J.B. and Peter standing together, and no photo is complete without a message on the other side, so of course Gary sees this message, “Congratulations, sis, I knew you could do it, love Petie.”  Ugh, could Gary have possibly stumbled upon this evidence in a more haphazard, obvious way?  This sucks and it all happens to fast, within the space of a couple of seconds.  Couldn’t the writers have found a more organic way to let this unfold?  Also, and this is so not relevant and I know it’s stupid for me to focus on it and care about it, but why on earth does Peter underline the word, “knew”?  “I knew you could do it!”  Huh?  Why is that the dominant word in that sentence?  What was Peter thinking when he wrote that? 



                Let’s shift our attention over to the best storyline going on right now, Olivia and the coke.  As we pick up at the start of this ep, we find both Olivia and Lilimae in the hospital, although thankfully neither were hurt.  Lilimae is presumably hurt worse than Olivia, since she’s in a hospital bed and broke her arm while Olivia is just chilling in a chair, and then when Abs comes to see her, the lies begin.  She claims that the accident wasn’t her fault, that there was a truck and this truck swerved right into her lane.  I think Abs buys Olivia’s story initially, but then when Val shows up, Olivia gives the same impassioned plea of, “It wasn’t my fault!” and then says a car came flying into her lane.  I think this is significant, because as she says this, the camera goes into a closeup of Abby’s face, looking suspicious.  Is it the fact that Olivia has suddenly changed her story from “truck” to “car?”  I have to say I don’t find this too terribly incriminating, since I would probably refer to a truck as a car and I don’t view them as too terribly different.  I think we are supposed to infer that Olivia has been caught in a lie, but I don’t know, if I was living in the universe of the show, if I would be so quick to see it as a lie.



                Later, Lilimae requests to speak to Abs one-on-one, displaying a nice bit of classy behavior.  See, she specifically waits until everyone else has left before she reveals to Abs the bag of cocaine she found on the floor of Olivia’s car.  She says how she spotted it and immediately hid it in the purse, and she says, “I don’t know why I hid it; that was probably the wrong thing to do.”  Um, yeah, you think?  I view this as a bit of bad writing that the writers are trying to explain over by simply having Lilimae point it out.  Why would you climb into a person’s car, see that this person has cocaine in this car and is acting rather manic and, you know, coked up, and then simply stuff the cocaine into your purse and allow this person to drive you around in their car?  I suppose we never know how we will behave in any given situation if it happens to us, so perhaps I shouldn’t be too hard on Lilimae here.  However, this is still a good scene because of Donna’s acting, which is stellar.  When Lilimae presents her with the coke, we do another little slow closeup into Abby’s face, and it’s a very subtle bit of acting, but we see that Abs is realizing how much trouble her daughter is really in and is beginning to question what to do about it.



                We go to a commercial and come back on a pretty intense fight between Olivia and Abs.  Olivia once again tries to pull the “I was just holding it for a friend” excuse, but that old story has long passed its sell-by date, and Abs helpfully reminds her that this is what she told them when they found the grass in Sexy Michael’s car last season, and of course that grass turned out to actually be Olivia’s, as well.  I enjoyed this callback and I think it helps to keep Olivia’s drug problems from feeling invented for the purposes of drama.  I really like the fact that the writers didn’t just bust out a coke addiction for Olivia randomly; instead, we have seen her experimenting with drugs that aren’t really drugs, like pot, throughout the last season, and it feels organic that she has now moved on to nose candy.  I’m also glad the writers upped her drug of choice, because I confess that I found myself snickering during season seven whenever Olivia would blaze up and the music would get all ominous and scary, like, “My God, this girl is smoking a marijuana cigarette; can you believe it?!”  It’s hard to take that seriously, and having a character be all out of control because of smoking pot seems something more at home on 7th Heaven, so having Olivia switch to an actual drug definitely adds dramatic punch.



                Another small scene I liked in this ep occurs when Olivia pays Lilimae a visit and apologizes for the accident.  She says how she feels all bad, and then she adds, “I know what you’re thinking,” and immediately reassures her that the drugs were not hers, but just a friend’s.  I how we see Lilimae striving to be helpful, trying to be a person Olivia can talk to, as she says something about how if Olivia’s got anything in her backpack, she can go ahead and give it to Lilimae and she will dispose of it.  Olivia chooses to ignore this little attempt at help, instead rushing off and saying, “If there’s anything I can do for you, just tell me.” 

                My favorite scene in the ep is completely free of dialogue, and is simply a crosscutting extravaganza in which we watch Abs go through Olivia’s room, searching high and low (tee hee) for any sign of drugs, all while we see Olivia snorting coke in the barn nearby.  Looks like the barn is where Olivia has chosen to stash her coke, and that seems a solid choice, in my opinion.  I highly doubt Abs puts on her high heels and heads out to the dirty, smelly barn where she can potentially step on horseshit any second.  This whole scene of Olivia snorting coke while Abs searches desperately for any sign of some coke all plays out over the course of nearly 2 and ½ minutes with nothing but a mellow background score going on, and it actually becomes rather hypnotic as you watch.  I’ve spent a lot of time bitching about the score for this season and how awful it is in general, which it is, but I like this very mellow and soothingly repetitive bit of music that plays throughout this scene.  I also like the fact that it’s 2 and ½ minutes and all done without dialogue, just visual storytelling, all very Brian De Palma-esque (except obviously not nearly as visually interesting). 

                Later we get another fight between Abs and Olivia, this one regarding Olivia’s allowance, or lack thereof.  Looks like Abs is cutting Olivia off from her funds, causing her to bemoan, “What am I supposed to do without money?  I can’t even buy a hamburger or a pair of socks,” to which Abs adds, “Or drugs.”  Olivia is really good at cutting to the quick, so she adds, “Oh I see, you don’t trust me, because you don’t trust anybody, because you think everybody is just like you, lying and cheating and mean.”  This is a nice burn and, even though Olivia is clearly lying, I admire how good she is at really insulting her mother when she wants to.  However, Abs is also ready to go with a strong comeback when Olivia declares, “Whatever I learned, I learned it from you.”  At this, Abs says, “Oh no, young lady, what you’re doing you’re doing to yourself, and I am not going to give you money to contribute to your problem.”  Ugh, I love this and I especially love the way that we are seeing Abs kick into action and act like a real mama lion.  It’s this stuff that keeps Abs so interesting, never just a one-dimensional slutty vixen.  I’ll refrain from saying more because this is all great stuff and it’s going to continue to be great stuff for our next batch of eps, where I will further discuss the brilliance of this storyline in greater detail.



                That’s almost all I have to say about this ep, but I do want to talk about our very final scene and the cliffhanger it leaves us on, because it’s another thing for me to get excited about.  In the last scene, Mack finally works up the courage to call those wicked Winstons up and speak to them.  He gets the head asshole Winston, and after a moment of awkwardness with the whole, “Yeah, it’s me, that guy you hated and were awful to twenty years ago,” the real shocker comes when Winston says, “I told Anne about your wife calling the other day and she didn’t understand it any more than I do,” to which a severely-taken-aback Mack says, “Anne is alive?”  This excites me tremendously because, yes, Anne is alive, and yes, Anne is played by Michele Phillips and, yes, I love Anne.  I have tremendously fond memories of the Anne character and her place in the later years of the show, and I’m excited because now I see that we shall be meeting her very shortly, perhaps in our very next ep, and I’m excited.



               
                          Before I move on to my final thoughts, it is worth noting that this marks our very last ep of 1986, a rather turbulent year for KL, probably one of the weakest overall years when you consider all that happened during it and how the show's general quality held up.  We began 1986 with Unbroken Bonds, when we were deep into the not-very-interesting-at-all story of the fallout from Joshua's death and how the police were grilling Lilimae and Cathy and, you know, whatever.  Now here we are and we are finishing 1986.  Aside from the show's quality taking a rather serious dive, what other important events happened in 1986?  Well, the Challenger disaster happened on January 28th and that was pretty horrible, although my new favorite President Ronald Reagan did give a really beautiful and uplifting speech afterwards about how the people who died are heroes who take chances to make the world a better place.  Keeping to a political theme, the United States Senate decided on February 27th to allow their debates to be televised.  November 3rd saw the unleashing of the epic Iran-Contra affair, which was a pretty big scandal back then.  Now we have scandals every five minutes and it's easy to get numb and forget when they were a big deal, but this one was.  As far as books went, this is the year my man Stephen King released his epic IT, which I still think is one of his best books ever and definitely one of his scariest.  Brian De Palma released Wise Guys, which I think is pretty funny and cute, but it made no money and signals that we are entering a somewhat lesser period for BDP.  David Lynch released Blue Velvet which is a brilliant movie that everybody should see right away.  Overall, it was a great year for movies, but my fingers hurt and I don't feel like writing about 1986 anymore, so let's move on.  Oh wait, let's talk about the top ten shows, going from #10 to #1, and then we can move on.  The top ten shows of the 1985-1986 season were Who's the Boss?, Miami Vice, The Golden Girls, Dynasty, Dallas, Cheers, 60 Minutes, Murder, She Wrote, Family Ties, and The Cosby Show.  I think it's definitely worth noting that, at this point, the sitcom is making a rise from the ashes and the nighttime soap is clearly beginning its slow descent.  We have both Dallas and Dynasty in the top ten this year, but they won't be going anywhere near a top ten after this, and neither will any of the other soaps.  Yes, we are now officially past the prime time of the genre of the nighttime soap and their ratings are sliding and new shows are coming in to take their place.  It's kinda sad, but it's also the nature of the business and part of what makes the grand KL experience feel so vast and so sprawling is how the show takes us from one era of late '70s television all the way through the entire '80s and then ends with us comfortably settled into early '90s television.  Other, smaller shows can feel like this blip on the radar forever frozen in a certain time period, but KL spans us all the way from one era into a completely different era, and so much changes in both the real world as well as the world of television during that time.   

                          Let me talk real fast about the way I felt about this entire disk, spanning A Turn of Events through Truth Will Out.  In all honesty, I found it pretty boring, and that’s a real bummer.  However, that does not mean my love affair with the show is over; it just means that this season is way more spotty and inconsistent than I remembered and I am just seeing that stuff more clearly this time, since I’m older and wiser and sexier.  Also, I feel we are now on an upswing, with the impending arrival of Anne to the proceedings getting me excited and the blossoming Olivia storyline getting me even more excited.  However, as an overall disk of five eps, this one was pretty bland.  It’s hard to get excited about J.B. hitting her head and then spending five eps just sorta hanging around a hospital with Gary, doing nothing.  It’s also hard to get excited about Peter speeding around and flashing back to J.B. holding onto that damn twig over and over again.  It’s moments like these that make me feel like the powers that be are really struggling to fill all thirty eps of the season. 



                Even so, I’m very excited to proceed onward and see what happens between Olivia and Abs in the whole cocaine storyline department, so let’s go ahead and start talking about a brand new disk of eps with The Unraveling.