Thursday, July 6, 2017

KNOTS LANDING Episode 132 of 344: HERE IN MY ARMS


Episode Title:  Here in My Arms

Season 07, Episode 02

Episode 132 of 344

Written by Parke Perine

Directed by Nicholas Sgarro

Original Airdate: Thursday, October 3rd, 1985

The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): At the studio, Cathy tells Joshua she's getting an apartment - with or without him. Joshua grabs her really hard and says to NEVER speak to him in public like that. Gary goes to Dallas for Bobby's funeral. Greg tells the Empire Valley foremen, Elliot, to blast for the TV station in another position, but he won't without Gary's okay. Val waits outside of the Fishers' house. Ben tells Harry that the twins might not be Val's, but either way they need to clear it up. Nurse Wilson finally shows up at the Judge's, and Mack gets a court order barring the Fishers from leaving. Sheila is really losing it, so Harry agrees to run away with her. Karen drives by the Fishers' house. She sees Sheila leaving, and Mack's men follow her. Karen sees that Harry is inside, so she tells him she knows that Sheila doesn't really have the babies with her. Karen pleads with Harry and tells him that even if he didn't know the babies were stolen before, he knows now. She says they have no moral choice but to give them back to Val because how could they raise the children knowing the truth of the situation? Lilimae answers the door and screams for Val. It's Karen and Harry with the babies. They hand them to Val who hugs and kisses them, crying and laughing at the same time. Choked up, Harry slips out the door unnoticed.

 
 

Well, now that we’ve finished our brief stop over in Texas for Bobby’s funeral, how lovely and exciting it is to return to the wonderful world of KL and all the amazing characters and great drama of this fabulous series.  When we last left off in the KL world, the quest to determine the truth about Val’s babies was still underway, but the characters had just stumbled into a roadblock when they went to the hospital Val delivered at (on either November 18th or November 24th or November 29th; it clearly seems to vary from episode to episode), only to be told that there no records of any twins born in that hospital at that time.  Oh shit, what to do now?

We shall talk about what the characters do now, but first I want to talk about Joshua and Cathy, whom I neglected to mention last ep (did they even have any scenes last week?).  Over the course of the stunningly brilliant season six, we watched Joshua make a transition from meek and mild to scary and mean.  I’m not sure if he had made the switch to officially 100% evil quite yet, but he’s definitely on his way now.  By this point, Joshua is actually rather frightening.  When we catch up with him and Cathy this week, they are at Pacific Cable Whatever and Joshua is getting his makeup applied (and acting like a prima donna about it) while talking to Cathy, who is understandably upset because, you know, they’re still living in a house with Val and Lilimae and, if everything goes well in the rest of the ep, two little twin babies.  She wants them to find an apartment and she’s getting frustrated at the way Joshua constantly makes up excuses for why he can’t go see the apartments or why such and such an apartment isn’t right for them.  Cathy’s finally getting some sass and speaking her mind to Joshua, which I appreciate, but Joshua certainly doesn’t appreciate it.  After Cathy says how he’s making excuses, he grabs her arm and pulls her aside and gets really scary and angry and says, “Don’t you ever talk to me like that in front of someone else.”  At this point, he’s squeezing Cathy’s arm really hard and she tells him to stop, then she sorta shoves him and he flies back and cuts his hand.  Oooh, I like this bit, because my asshole is all tensed up as I prepare for some sort of epic explosion from Joshua or for him to start beating her mercilessly, but instead the scene ends quietly, with him sorta staring at his bleeding hand.  This is a small scene, but a significant one, and it sets the tone nicely for a lot of the Joshua/Cathy stuff that we’re gonna be seeing in the next batch of eps.
 
 
 

Meanwhile, we’ve got all sorts of exciting but confusing shit going on over at Empire Valley.  Honestly, a lot of this stuff is just flying right over my head, and My Beloved Grammy appears to be having the same problem.  Usually she’s a lot sharper than I am with following the basic plot machinations and twists (whenever I watch overly plotted and complicated movies with tons of twists and turns, I usually just get bored pretty quickly and tune out; it’s just part of the bizarre way that I’m wired), but in this case when I told her how confusing all this stuff is for me, she agreed and told me she’s not entirely clear on what’s going on.  Basically Greg wants to blast, um, something.  I’m not sure what he wants to blast, I’m not sure why he wants to blast it, and I’m not sure what the significance of this blasting is.  I don’t know if the confusion I’m feeling with this storyline is the fault of the show or the fault of me.  I tend to just blame myself, but the fact that it’s confusing My Beloved Grammy as well may reflect badly on the writing; what do you think?  Anyway, Greg is talking to this guy named Frank Elliot and Elliot is saying how he won’t blast stuff or do whatever until he hears from Gary personally.  Greg says that Gary is in Texas for his brother’s funeral (again I stress how smoothly that Dallas Interlude squeezed in between two KL eps) and tells a fib by saying that Gary is cool with all this stuff and, you know, whatever. 




While being confused with what’s going on in this storyline, I also became transfixed on the actor playing Elliot.  He sounds like Humphrey Bogart when he speaks, he’s always chewing on a pipe for some reason, and whenever he would show up onscreen, I’d ask My Beloved Grammy, “Who is this guy and why do I recognize him?”  Imagine my surprise when I went and looked up the actor, Jonathan Goldsmith, and discovered that he is, in fact, The Most Interesting Man in the World.  Amazing!  It’s kinda hilarious to think that a guy can appear in (according to Wikipedia) 350 episodes of television and then wind up being best remembered for a series of television commercials, but I guess that’s just the nature of the business sometimes.  However, I can tell you that I didn’t recognize him as The Most Interesting Man in the World while watching this eps; I just recognized him for, um, something else.  He doesn’t even look or sound the same here; he doesn’t have the beard or that rugged older man look that he has now, and, as I said, he sounds a hell of a lot like Humphrey Bogart.  My research did show that he is a Transmorpher, and a pretty big one, because he’s one of those Transmorphers who played two characters over on Dallas.  He was in three 1982 episodes playing Joe Smith and then he showed up again from 1986 to 1989, making his last appearance in the ep And Away We Go!  I remember neither of these characters one bit and would greatly appreciate it if someone could remind me of who they were and what they did within the context of the Dallas story, but I’ve concluded that my subconscious mind must just have some sort of sense memory of him being on that show and that’s why I recognized him right here.
 
 
 

I’m gonna talk about one more thing involving Bobby and his death before I return my focus back to Val’s babies, and that’s a small little scene between Karen and Abs that I appreciated.  Basically, Abs is visibly stressed and upset about something and Karen comes in to talk to her and Abs tells her that Bobby died and that’s why Gary is in Texas right now.  Good acting here from both of my girls, and I liked Karen’s quiet little response where she says, “I met him.”  This slipped my mind, by the way, or perhaps the writers are kinda sorta lying about past events.  See, Karen says how she met Bobby when he was dropping Gary and Val off at their new house way back in Pilot, but I’m fairly certain that we didn’t actually see these two characters interacting; am I mistaken?  Even if we didn’t see it, it of course stands to reason that they interacted offscreen.  It’s much like I’ve said in the past; we never see the characters taking a shit, but that doesn’t mean they don’t do it, right?  Or for another example, we never see Sexy Michael masturbating, but we all know he does, in fact, masturbate frequently and we all know that we really, really, really wanna watch him do so, now don’t we?  The same could be true of Karen interacting with Bobby back in that first episode from so long ago.
 
 
 

Okay, let’s get back to Val’s babies, which we are now in the last lap of.  Basically, the characters return to the hospital and this time they are presented with a very official looking certificate of fetal death.  Hmmm, last ep they got a certificate of live birth from Harry Fisher and now a certificate of fetal death from the hospital; the deck is really starting to stack up against them, isn’t it?  I think it’s worth noting that Karen and Mack don’t believe this certificate for a second but Ben seems to really have some doubts now.  How strong is his conviction in the truth of Val’s claims?  He seems to fluctuate a bit lately from believing her strongly to sorta doubting her, but I can understand his point.  Oh yeah, I also wrote in my notes, “Ben rocking the Miami Vice look,” because he’s wearing a white suit and I’m pretty sure he had the sleeves rolled up.  Now, that series would have been very fresh and hot at this point, in its second season and ranking at #9 in the Nielsen ratings, and so at first I assumed that the costume designer for this season (still Travilla, also busy at the same time creating ridiculous gowns for Barbara Carrera over on Dallas) was ripping off Miami Vice, but then I remembered that Ben was shown rocking this look way back in the fifth season, which would have been before Miami Vice was even on TV.  Therefore, Ben got there first and is, therefore, the originator of this look way more than Crockett and Tubbs and this only further escalates my newfound love affair with Ben Gibson.
 
 
 

Mack catches a lucky break around the middle of this ep when he meets up with Judge Spaulding and insists that Nurse Wilson is on her way, even though he doesn’t know for sure.  Last ep I think I neglected to mention that Mack met Nurse Wilson’s brother (Jesse D. Goins, who was in the Seinfeld ep The Hamptons as well as Robocop) at her trailer park and he said how she wasn’t home or whatever.  In this ep, Mack meets up with him again and says how he’d better tell Nurse Wilson to show up to this meeting with the judge because she’s the key witness in this case.  Then we get some nice suspense where Mack and Judge Spaulding are waiting for Nurse Wilson to show up and we don’t know if she’s going to, except we sorta do, cuz My Beloved Grammy announced, “She’s going to show up at the exact last minute,” and of course she was right.  Just as Judge Spaulding is saying how she’s gotta get going, in walks Nurse Wilson to speak the truth, yay!  This is the last appearance of Nurse Wilson on the series, and even though she was a small character and not some vital and essential part of the main cast, I kinda dug her and I’m gonna miss her.  I also think that, from a morality standpoint, she has redeemed herself from her involvement in the baby snatching by speaking up and helping Mack and everyone else get Val’s babies back. 

Meanwhile, Val is still lurking around the Fisher house, making sure they don’t try to blow town.  We get a very interesting and well acted scene between Val and Sheila, a character I’m rather fascinated by.  Sheila is in her back yard doing, um, something or other with the babies, and Val is peering at her through the chainlink fence.  At first Sheila is angry and is all like, “Go away; you’re not supposed to be here,” but then she sorta softens and tells Val how the kids have ear infections (good continuity, by the way, because in the season six finale, Sheila told Harry he had to go and pick up ear medication for the kids).  Then Val gives her some advice about how to help the kids with their ears (I can’t remember the advice; sorry) and her and Sheila have this brief moment of bonding that’s pretty interesting to watch.  It’s quick, though, because Sheila gets angry and says, “I’m sorry your babies got taken from you, but these are my babies, not yours,” and she also says this line that I noted, which is, “You don’t really want to talk.”  There’s a loneliness in her tone when she says this, indicating to me that Sheila probably doesn’t have many friends.  This coupled with Harry’s line about “Don’t lose it again” from our last ep really make me wonder what’s going on with Sheila.
 
 
 

Because of Nurse Wilson’s last minute appearance in Judge Spaulding’s office, the judge has ordered that Harry and Sheila are not to leave town.  Even so, when Karen comes driving up to their house late at night to, I dunno, trade places with Val on who gets to stake out the Fisher house for the night, she sees Sheila hopping into the station wagon, presumably with the babies, and speeding away with Mack’s guys hot on her tail.  Now here’s an example of some fine KL writing, because as we see the station wagon speeding away, I said to My Beloved Grammy, “These people deserve to have the babies taken away just for driving so recklessly with them in the car,” but then Karen marches up to Harry at the front door and she says, “She would never drive like that if the babies were really in the car with her,” and this is how she comes to realize that the babies are in the house and this was a deception to distract the cops Mack hired so Harry would have enough time to sneak the babies out of the house unnoticed.  A very clever plan, but Karen is a very clever woman and she was able to piece it together, and I appreciate that she points out the speeding car as her big clue.  From here, Karen gives a terrific speech delivered fabulously by Michele, a speech so good I wish I had transcribed it word for word but, again, I was just staring at the screen in awe and not taking notes by this point.  The basic gist of the speech is that Karen says she can tell Harry and Sheila are good people, that she knows they weren’t aware they were receiving stolen babies snatched away from their birth mother, but that they can’t possibly live a moral life and raise moral children if they continue to raise them after knowing this truth.  Clearly the way Karen says this is much more eloquent than the way I have described it, but whatever, I’m tired. 
 
 
 

In any case, we can tell Karen’s speech works because our next scene is her and Harry arriving at Val’s place, each brandishing a baby and presenting them to her.  Ah, yes, what a good scene this is, as Val comes rushing down from the upstairs and she’s on the stairs and then she sees the two holding the babies and realizes what is happening.  Karen gives her one baby and Harry gives her the other and then Harry slips quietly out the door while Val holds them.  One thing I liked about the scene was that the babies are screaming and crying and freaking out, much like babies do in real life.  I don’t like screaming babies in real life because they are awful, but I recognize that, in real life, they do scream, and I like that they are screaming here.  On another show, this would probably all be very graceful; Val would just be handed this angelic, super duper silent babies and it would all be very smooth and elegant.  On KL, it’s more real, because the babies are crying as they probably would be if this was happening to them.  After all, they are being taken away from their home (I should probably say “home” in quotation marks) in the middle of the night and brought to a new home with this new lady who is now going to hold them, so it’s easy to imagine this would be frightening for two little babies. 

I liked everything about this scene and I really appreciated it as a culmination of a story that has been going on for a very long time now.  Think about it, the saga of Val’s babies really kicked off when she gave birth in Tomorrow Never Knows, and that was episode 108 and aired on November 29th, 1985.  Now here we are with episode 132 on October 3rd, 1985, a gap of about ten months and 24 eps.  Pretty cool, huh?  And you really feel it here, that this is a big moment for Val and for the series and for the storytelling and that we are wrapping up a big thing that’s been going on for nearly a year.  It’s a nearly perfect scene with my only complaint being the music, which I just thought was too damn loud.  Is it just me or is the music really blaring as we get started with season seven?  I tend to think of very overdramatic and blaring music as more of a Dallas thing but there is a chance that I am glamorizing the KL music because of my deep love affair with the series; perhaps the KL music can be just as blaring and I just ignore it or let it slide cuz I love the show so much.  Basically, I just feel the scene would be even better if it had played maybe a slower, quieter, more emotional bit of music instead of this music that indicates BIG LOUD DRAMA.
 
 
 

So that was Here In My Arms and obviously I enjoyed it very much.  When Val finally got her babies back in the last scene, My Beloved Grammy said that she was ready for that story to be done, that she thought they were drawing it out too long, but I disagree.  This is only the second episode out of a 30-episode season, so in the great context of the year as a whole, they really didn’t draw this out long at all and I’d actually argue the pacing is perfect.  By this point, we should be getting used to the first batch of eps of any given season being concerned with wrapping up the big stuff from the season beforehand.  Season four opened with Gary and Val starting out their lives without being together before Ciji came along a few eps in and became a central focus of the season, then season five spent its first eps wrapping up the whole “Who Killed Ciji?” mystery from season four before moving on to Mack and the Wolfbridge investigations and all that good stuff, and then season six opened up by finishing off the Wolfbridge story before shifting its focus over to Val and her stolen babies.  This is the way the seasons are designed and it’s worked brilliantly for the past three seasons in a row, so of course season seven should follow the same template.  In fact, I’m gonna say I admire their restraint, because you just know that if another series had a storyline this good and this dramatic going on, they would be like, “How about the Fishers escape to Europe and then we can spend the rest of the season trying to track them down?” or something like that.  I’m glad that KL gives Val her babies back good and early in the season, because if they had drawn it out just a few episodes more, it would have become tiresome.  By wrapping it up here, I think Val’s babies officially becomes the greatest story in KL history; do you agree or disagree?

Gary actually sat out this episode, quite possibly the first time he has done so in KL up to this point (is this true or am I making it up?), but his absence shall propel us into the central plot for our next ep, the aptly titled While the Cat’s Away.
 
 
 


3 comments:

  1. Bobby and Karen did meet in "Pilot". Karen came over and introduced herself to Gary and Val as well as inviting them to dinner. Bobby said he had to pass because he needed to get to the airport. Small scene, but I love how Knots always remembered their characters' pasts.

    I think I remember the point of the Empire Valley happenings. Since it is supposed to be some top-secret communications center, it was important for the underground bunker to be in a place to pick up the best satellite reception. But there was an environmental study that said the chosen spot was not "eco-friendly". So Gary's architect wanted to move it. Greg needed it to stay where it was. It was surprisingly overly complicated. LOL

    And I agree...Val's babies was the best Knots storyline ever!

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  2. Yes, best story line, but still lots of excellent ones to come. I'm not sure if the music would have blared so much when it ran on network. The compression crap that episodes go through when they hit syndication, then lesser syndication, than SoapNet sometimes throws a lot of the elements out of whack.

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  3. Jonathan Goldsmith earliest Dallas appearance was as a drugdealer. Then he showed up later as Bruce Harvey, the producer that helps Sue Ellen launch Mandy Wingers movie career.

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