Sunday, December 18, 2016

KNOTS LANDING Episode 081 of 344: ...AND NEVER BROUGHT TO MIND



Season 05, Episode 06

Episode 081 of 344

Written by Diana Gould

Directed by Sheldon Larry

Original Airdate: Thursday, November 3rd, 1983

The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Lilimae is arrested for running over Chip. Gary wants to pay her bail but Val declines and pays instead. Chip is rushed to surgery. He wakes up, but later goes into a coma. Diana blames Karen for running him over. Laura tells Abby that the apartment her uncle left her at Lotus Point was left to Sid, too, so Karen owns half. Abby instructs her to buy Karen out, but Karen won't sell. Abby suggests to Gary they get married, but he wants to wait. After Lilimae goes to the ranch looking for Diana, Gary takes her home to Val's. Val's upset, so Gary comforts her and they sleep together. When he gets home, Abby's leaving. Val tells Mack she slept with Gary and is happy. Gary tells Laura about it and says how it's great that they can be friends with no strings. Val has a psychiatrist, Dr. Bovane, see Lilimae.

 


                I’m so excited to be back talking about KL, and I must declare right away that this most recent disk My Beloved Grammy and I powered through, which spanned this episode in question up through Homecoming, was sooooooo good that it’s a contender for our best disk ever, five glorious episodes of excitement and nighttime soap perfection, and I reiterate that, if I was not doing this writing for this blog, even though it was about 10:00PM by the time we finished up, I would have turned to My Beloved Grammy and said we should just watch an entire other disk of five episodes right away.  How could viewers in 1983 possibly wait seven agonizing days between eps of KL?  Anyway, let’s go ahead and get started with the episode in question for today.

                When we last left off, we were watching a riveting and stylish slow motion sequence set to scary-ass horror movie music in which Lilimae ran Chip over with her car and then simply sat, motionless, behind the wheel with a look on her face that said to us, “I only did what needed to be done,” and indeed, that seems to be her little mantra this week, as she just keeps repeating it over and over again.  When we begin …And Never Brought to Mind, we start on a very ER sequence in which a bloody Chip is wheeled through the hospital corridors while a panicked Diana trails behind him.  Will Chip live or die?  We’ll have to watch to find out.

                Meanwhile, Lilimae is making absolutely no effort to hide what she’s done or why she’s done it.  As she sits in an interrogation room with Richard Donner’s cousin, she says for the first time, “I only did what needed to be done.”  All the cops surrounding her are like, “Jesus, lady, stop saying that until you’ve got a lawyer present,” but Lilimae pays them no mind.  Even though her approach is questionable, I kinda dig what she’s doing here.  I think if I ever kill someone or try to kill someone (and trust me, I’m just a ticking time bomb), I’ll probably just be super candid and totally admit to what I did and try to score some honesty points.  I mean, let’s be real, here.  Chip is a piece-of-shit murderer sociopath who bashed Ciji over the head with a blunt instrument until she was dead and then tossed her body into the ocean like it was garbage.  If I ran him over with my car, I’d be proud of it, and Lilimae does make the point that he was about to walk free, a murderer walking the streets perfectly capable of killing again if he so chose. 


                Anyway, Lilimae’s in a lot of trouble for what she did, but I think the cops are able to see that she’s basically a harmless old woman who’s not gonna go around running over everyone she sees, so she is allowed out on bail.  A real fast tangent here, but I noted the beautiful way that all the characters continue to be weaved into the ongoing story arc with such fine skill.  For instance, we get scenes of the other characters hanging out, doing their thing, like for instance Sumner and Mack are enjoying some hot dogs on the street together when Mack uses Sumner’s amazing ‘80s car phone to hear from Karen about what has happened.  Just like how I admired the Ciji murder last season linking everyone in the cast together, I still feel like everyone is linked here, everyone is still involved in what’s going on and everyone is effected by what Lilimae has done.

 

                Now, on the subject of bail, I almost just wrote, “Oh, the cops let Lilimae out or something,” since I didn’t put in my notes exactly what happens, but then I remembered an important detail, which is this: Gary rushes to the police station to meet up with Val and he immediately offers to pay the bail for her.  In another example of Val’s continued declaration of independence, she thanks Gary but says she’ll take care of it herself.  I just love Gary for rushing to Val’s side to help her at this time and offer this money.  After all, he’s got plenty, and I love his character for not just blowing the money on stupid luxuries, but for trying to use it to help someone he cares about.  I also love Val for refusing the money when she could easily take it.  She continues to be her own woman who takes care of herself and supports herself.  This is a prime example of the dynamic duo at their absolute finest.

 

                Meanwhile, Chip is lying in the hospital bed with Diana at his side when he realizes he’s in a nighttime soap opera and decides to slip into a coma.  Diana and he are exchanging some sort of dialogue together, something about how they love each other, and then he just sorta drifts away and Diana starts screaming for a nurse while the music swells dramatically just before we cut to a commercial.  During this scene, I proposed to My Beloved Grammy my theory that Diana is mentally ill and she actually said it’s a good theory and that she agrees with me.  She then went on to expound on my theory, pointing out that Diana loved her dad and that he died, which could probably cause a mental strain that could lead to insanity.  Isn’t My Beloved Grammy smart?  Great television is so much richer when you have someone to watch it with and speak to about all the characters and ongoing plot developments, let me tell you.

                Anyway, Chip’s gonna be in the coma for a little while, but during that time Karen stays at home and continues to act, well, a little nutty.  There’s no doubt about it at this point; Karen is coming unglued.  Her own stresses over the past four years have finally really gotten to her and she’s starting to become quite a nut.  For instance, we have an early scene (which is fabulously shot, by the way, as Karen’s face is really big in the foreground and right side of the screen as she sits in a chair, and then Laura enters in the background and it almost looks like some sort of split diopter shot) in which Laura comes to visit Karen and the two almost, but don’t quite, make up and become friends again.  If you’ll recall, Karen was mad at Laura for running around and telling anyone who would listen that Richard killed Ciji.  This week, Laura is ready to admit that she realizes Richard didn’t kill Ciji because he’s not part of the cast anymore and it’s just bad writing to have the culprit in a whodunit murder mystery be someone who’s not even on the show anymore.  So, she comes to apologize to Karen, says they should be friends again, the two are right on the edge of making up, and then Laura brings up some property that Abs and Karen are both sharing and how Karen should sell her share to Abs.  As soon as Karen hears this, she gets mad again and goes on a speech about how Laura only came to butter her up for Abs and she asks her to leave.

                While we’re on the subject of this property, allow me to expand a bit.  This is the first ep in which we hear the words “Lotus Point,” and my ears immediately perked up because I remembered this being a really important thing that spans several seasons.  However, this is another one of those storylines where I remember it being important, I remember a lot happening, and I remember it taking up a lot of time, but I don’t remember precisely what happens or why it happens and I also recall that I was sorta confused with the whole thing upon first viewing.  This time, however, I shall try to pay strict attention and really understand what is going on.  Anyway, early in the ep Laura and Abs have a little sit-down in Abby’s palatial office/apartment/sex suite and Laura tells her that she looked into the property that uncle of Abs left her.  She says it’s called Lotus Point and that her uncle also left it to Sid.  Now that Sid is dead, that means half of this belongs to Karen.  It’s at this point that Abs tells Laura to buy Karen out for some huge sum of money, I think to the amount of $100,000.00 or somewhere in that ballpark.  This and the Karen/Laura fight scene are about all we get on Lotus Point this week, but stay tuned cuz it’s gonna be important and it’s gonna stick with us for seasons and seasons to come.

                One last thing about Karen this week: It seems she still hasn’t gotten the hint that Diana wants nothing to do with her, because while Chip takes his soap opera nap, she goes to visit Diana at the hospital, where she finds her waiting out in the hallways much like Karen herself way back at the start of season three.  She tries to make nice with Diana, but Diana will have none of it and instead goes on a really long and nasty speech about how she blames Karen for what has happened.  She even goes so far as to say that she thinks Karen arranged for Chip to get hit by the car, and she concludes by saying that she’ll never come to Karen for anything else ever again.  I think this speech finally does the trick, that Karen finally understands just how much her daughter really hates her at this point and so she gets up and walks away and, presumably, won’t be bothering Diana anymore.

                I’m gonna say something complimentary about Diana, so get ready.  I have to admit that, upon this rewatch, I’m definitely seeing Claudia Lonow grow as an actress and really start to show off some chops at this point in the series.  Around seasons one and two era, I think I said she wasn’t a very good actress and I would often make fun of the heart-to-heart scenes between her and Karen.  Well, starting around season four, but really picking up here in season five, I think Lonow is starting to show some real dramatic skill, managing to handle a lot of different, conflicting emotions all at once.  We just saw her go from terror towards Chip with Fugitives to his Stockholm Syndrome type defender in Nowhere to Run, and now I actually believe that she’s legit heartbroken that he’s in a coma and may not come out of it.  That’s a lot of different weighty material to handle, and she’s doing a good job.  She’s really grown since season one and I think the reason I didn’t recognize it upon first viewing was that the character of Diana is just so inherently reprehensible that I refused to like anything about her.  Well, the character is still reprehensible, an awful brat who is defending a murderer and treating her wonderful mother like shit, but I think that stuff is all intentional on the part of the writers, and Lonow is actually playing the part very well.  In fact, I’d say she deserves some props for even doing this character, who is nasty and unpleasant in a way that’s not even fun; Abby is wicked, too, but she’s also fun to watch and of course unbelievably sexy, so Donna gets to work with all that different stuff while the character of Diana is just a bitch.

 

                The biggest and most important story development this week is easily the triangle of Gary, Val, and Abs.  Early on, we get a scene between Abs and her ever-faithful Westmont in which he reminds her that she just has a few short days to rope Gary into marriage before he gets his inheritance and that the two must already be married when that money comes in or else she will have no claim on it.  My Beloved Grammy opined that she thinks this isn’t actually how marriage laws work, but I have no knowledge of the subject.  I don’t really know my marital laws stuff and I never plan to get married myself, so I don’t particularly care.  In 1983, in California, was this how marriage worked?  Do you need to have a big flow of money come in after you’ve married a person in order to get half of it when you divorce?  Sounds realistic enough to me, but even if it’s not, I’m willing to go with it cuz it’s KL and it’s such unbelievably great entertainment.  Even if this doesn’t adhere absolutely strictly to real-life marital laws and isn’t 100% realistic, it’s still more realistic than bringing a character back from the dead by erasing an entire season as a dream, wouldn’t you agree?  Moving on.

 

                Abs is in a big hurry to get Gary, so she has to do some fabulous acting to try and convince him.  First, we begin on her painting Olivia’s nails by the pool and declaring that tonight’s the night she’s gonna propose to Gary.  She ships both Brian and Olivia off to stay with friends so that she and Gary can have some privacy, then her big baby blue eyes get all wide and excited and she says in her breathy voice, “Oh, Gary, let’s get married; let’s get married right away!”  Interestingly, Gary doesn’t really wanna (despite the fact that, in just the previous episode, he introduced Abs to Sumner as “my fiancé,” but I’m willing to let that slide) and he goes on a bit of a speech about how they have a good thing going for them now and marriage will only ruin it.  Then, in one of her greatest moments of lying and manipulating ever, Abs looks Gary straight in the eyes and tells him that if he’s worried about the money, money’s not important to her and she’d even be willing to sign a pre-nup before they get married.

 

                Holy cow!  At this point, I said to My Beloved Grammy that I think Abs is an even better liar than J.R. and she agreed with me, also adding, “Abs is even more evil than J.R.”  What do you think?  I’m not sure I agree with the “evil” part, but a better liar, for sure.  Whenever J.R. over on Dallas was up to something no good and needed to lie about it, if he told Bobby or Sue Ellen a blatant lie, it was always kinda funny and you could tell they were sorta rolling their eyes and totally not believing him.  The brilliance of Abs and the way that Donna plays her is that she does such a good job at lying that even we, the audience, kinda wanna believe her, too.  It’s a remarkable bit of acting to have to play someone who is scheming and lying and manipulating and we know that and yet, when the time comes for her to really bluff and tell a complete lie, we still kinda, in the back of our heads, wanna believe that she might be sincere. 

 

                Next up, we get a fabulously uncomfortable scene in which Gary and Abs have just finished having a nice shag in the bedroom when Lilimae just comes walking in.  Geez, she didn’t even knock or anything; instead she just let herself into the house and walked right into the bedroom where naked Gary and Abs lay.  This scene is preceded by one of Lilimae sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night, clearly up to something.  My Beloved Grammy thought she was going to blow town or something, but it turns out she’s just looking for Diana, which she says after walking in on Gary and Abs.  I kinda appreciate that, even though the situation is uncomfortable, Gary doesn’t act too weird about it.  Honestly, if I was caught shagging Donna Mills, I would just be proud of myself and probably ask whoever caught us to take some pictures for me to put in my scrapbook.  But anyway, Gary acts very mature and adult and hops out of bed and gets dressed and says that Lilimae is in no condition to drive, so he’s gonna take her home.  Abs does not like the sound of this and boldly declares, “Gary, if you leave, I’m not gonna be here when you come back.”  In what might be Gary’s coolest moment ever, he just turns around and walks away; he doesn’t even think about it, not even for like one split little microsecond.  It was totally boss and reminds me of how cool Gary is becoming at this juncture in the series.



                Anyway, the two return to Val’s home and he drops Lilimae off, but then something happens.  Now, follow me along here, because as we were watching this scene, I found myself wondering, “Is this the scene,” because if it is, it’s actually one of the most important developments in the entire series history.  See, while Gary is just about getting ready to leave, he and Val start to kiss a little, but then “a little” turns into “a lot” and it becomes this epic make out session just before we go to commercial.  So my question was: Did they shag or did they just kiss?  Well, according to the plot description I stole from TV.com, the two definitely shagged, and I think this information is confirmed for us a few eps down the line.  Now, why is it such a big deal that they shagged?  Well, because if I’m doing my math and my timeline-layout right, then this has to be the big shag that leads to, wait for it….Val’s pregnancy.  Now, I don’t know if I should put a spoiler alert thing around that or not, because I kinda feel like every KL fan, when they think about KL, they immediately think about Val’s babies and the glorious story arc of season six.  I think most would agree that Val’s babies during season six is a serious contender for the greatest storyline in KL history and, well, the seed for that is being quite literally planted right here, before our very eyes, which is unbelievably exciting.  Of course, I’m gonna pay attention to the outline of the pregnancy and when Val actually gives birth and I’m pretty sure we’re gonna see  that she’s pregnant for well over a year, but why fret?  Pregnancies are always weird in TV land, mostly because of those mysterious missing summers.



                Even so, nobody watching this ep in 1983 could possibly have any idea of the repercussions of this scene.  Taking in this episode as an individual little snowflake, I think the reason we are meant to be excited is because this shagging reunion could possibly mean Gary and Val might get back together.  After all, he just ran off on Abs after her little “I’m not gonna be here,” threat, and we all saw the loving way he looked at Val at the close of The People vs. Gary Ewing, and of course the utterly fabulous scene of them speaking while Val was sitting in her car back in Marital Privileges, so yeah, all signs definitely seem to be pointing to them getting back together.  But will they?

                When Gary returns to Westfork, I was surprised to see that Abs has packed a bag and is getting ready to leave.  I really thought her comment from before was mere bluffing, and I also at first thought that maybe her suitcase was actually empty and that she had just been waiting at the door for Gary to come back so that she could come dramatically marching out with a suitcase in hand, creating the illusion that she’s leaving.  But no, Gary tells her to stay and she says nope, that he blew it, and she gets in her car and drives away.  Even so, I think one could argue that this act is also, in and of itself, another kind of bluff, because when we get our very final scene of the ep, Abs is at her office, speaking to Westmont, and he’s starting to get nervous that things are going to fall apart for Abs.  Ever confident, Abs tells Westmont that he has nothing to worry about and that Gary will return to her very shortly and we actually get a rare freeze-frame ending on Abby’s smiling face, utterly sure of herself and her sexual powers over Gary.  From there, our episode concludes.



                KL is officially so good at this point that I feel like basically every episode is just me saying what a masterpiece it was.  …And Never Brought to Mind is no exception, and considering that I didn’t even particularly remember this episode as we got settled in to watch it, that makes it more impressive.  As we go through eps, we hit ones that I remember vividly and I’m like, “Oooh, this is gonna be a good one.”  For instance, our previous ep, One Kind of Justice, was one of those.  After an ep as good as that one, you’d feel like there would be a sort of comedown effect, a “morning after” feeling to whatever episode has to follow Lilimae hitting Chip with her car, but you’d be wrong.  Instead, the show just keeps powering along, just as good as our prior eps.  What we are seeing here is really a show at the top of its game, the peak of its powers, not making a single misstep along the way.  I’ll be curious to see if there are any eps during season five (or the towering masterpiece of television known as season six) that I don’t just plain love; the show is that good at this point.

                Also, the wonderful style and just the way the show is shot continues to be on full display here, and this is coming from a director, Sheldon Larry (pictured below), who only contributes two KL eps overall (this one right here and Reconcilable Differences a little later this season), making me wonder who specifically to credit for the fantastic camera shots and cool mirror motifs going on this week.  Do you think the showrunners like David Jacobs and Peter Dunne just basically made a decision that KL would be a great looking show always shot with style and whoever was brought onboard to direct the eps was told to make them look good?  Or do you think they are just picking solid directors and then giving them the freedom to do what they want with the camera, like for instance the cool shot of Karen’s head near the start of the ep?

 

                Last of all, the fact that this is the ep in which Gary and Val have their shag and knowing all the great stories this is going to lead to, not just for next season but for several seasons down the road, also makes this a really important episode in the overall KL story, making this an easy episode to love and to recommend.  So yeah, …And Never Brought to Mind was a fucking great episode and, spoiler alert, our next episode is going to be a fucking great episode, as well.  If we had any doubts about the impending union of Gary and Abs, we should all take a great big hint from the title of our next show, Sacred Vows.

3 comments:

  1. I always wondered about this episode. How did Gary or lillimae get home? Lillimae drove to the ranch and Gary drove her home in his car, so what happened to lillimaes car? And why did Abby wait to leave until Gary came back? How far was the ranch from the cul de sac and how long would a proper shag last?

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  2. You're too too kind to Lonow. I find her to be just as tedious here as in all previous episodes.

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  3. What's funny is Abby waits for Gary to come home so she can leave ! That was a manipulative move. What did she do with the kids ?

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