Thursday, December 28, 2017

KNOTS LANDING Episode 155 of 344: THE LEGACY

       Episode Title: The Legacy

       Season 07, Episode 25

       Episode 155 of 344

       Written by Lynn Marie Latham

       Directed by Timna Ranon

       Original Airdate: Thursday, April 3rd, 1986

       The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Greg asks Laura to marry him. She says she will consider it. Greg fires Peter. Eric is very sick with arsenic poisoning. Abby finds out that Galveston dumped acid and arsenic in Empire Valley. She offers to sell Empire Valley to Greg, but he doesn't buy it, suspicious she wants to sell it so fast. Peter's mad at Sylvia for telling Abby everything. Sylvia says she deserves the money, as she really had Galveston's baby. Peter says he has done all the work and threatens Sylvia. Abby tells Peter she wants 51% of whatever money he gets or she will tell Greg that he's not Sylvia's son. When Jill finds out Gary gave Empire Valley to Abby, she agrees to work with Peter to get it from Abby. Gary calls Jill, but she ignores him. Jill tells Peter that she wants out of the plan, because she's fallen in love with Gary and doesn't want to hurt him. Peter reminds her that Galveston killed their parents, and that they've come too far to turn back now.

        Welcome to The Legacy, the episode that concluded yet another disk of five eps for My Beloved Grammy and myself.  After this ep, we’ve just got one more disk to go and then season seven shall be finished and we’ll move on to season eight.  We open The Legacy on the Fairgate MacKenzies at the hospital, hoping to see a very sick Eric.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s probably because I did a crappy job in my last essay and forget to write about a fairly major plot point, which is Eric getting sick.  Actually, if I’m remembering correctly, the whole “Eric getting sick” thing sorta spans the whole disk, starting with him just complaining of feeling kinda sick and groggy and then he was rushed to the hospital in our previous ep, Phoenix Rising.  Hmmm, what could be wrong with him?

        I think I neglected to write about this Eric-related drama in prior eps because, well, I kinda don’t care.  It hurts to say that, and perhaps some of my feelings just boil down to my sick obsession with Sexy Michael Fairgate that tends to make me ignore his much less sexy older brother.  On the other hand, maybe I’m having a hard time caring about this because, well, it’s just not that exciting?  Throughout the ep, we get a whole lot of footage of Karen in the hospital, being all upset, and lots of footage of Eric lying in a bed, all sweaty and sickly, but somehow none of this really engaged me.  I found myself thinking back to previous trips that different Fairgates took to the hospital.  The first one was of course Saint Sid in his final moments on the series, and then we had Diana in the hospital with kidney trouble for the season four low points of Emergency and Abby’s Choice, and then we had Karen getting major spinal surgery in season six’s #14 With A Bullet.  All of these prior hospital visits have gripped me more than Eric’s trip to the hospital now, and that even includes Diana’s.  What is it about this storyline that is so fundamentally uninteresting to me?  I’m not entirely sure, but I do wanna note real fast that My Beloved Grammy seems fairly convinced that Eric is going to die, and I take that as a compliment to the show’s writing and prior events.  As I seem to say over and over again, killing Sid Fairgate off at the start of season three permanently created a “nobody’s safe” feeling on the series, so when characters wind up in the hospital with major problems, we always think back on Sid and how he died and realize that any character could die at any minute.  Even so, I still find this storyline a bit of a snore.

        One thing about the storyline that I did note with interest was the actress playing Eric’s doctor, Fran Bennett.  Ring a bell?  It should, because I went on and on about this blacktress (black actress) way back in the third episode of the series, Let Me Count the Ways, when she made her first of three appearances that designate her as a Tangled Knot. 

       In that ep, she played Bev Tolner, although I don’t think they ever said her name within the confines of the ep.  She was just one of the people at the school board meeting near the start of that ep, if I’m remembering correctly, but then she returned in Abby’s Choice as Kimya Haman, although I confess I do not remember her in this ep and I forgot to make mention of her when I talked about the ep so long ago. 

       Anyway, now here she is to finish her trilogy of appearances and now she is Dr. Faulker, so not only is she a Tangled Knot, she’s sorta a Triple Tangled Knot cuz she showed up three times and played three different characters each time.  She also wound up doing this on E.R., by the way, since she showed up in 1996 for the episode Union Station and then showed up again way later in 2008 for Owner of a Broken Heart, playing a different character.  Quite the actress, no?

        I really don’t care that much about this storyline, even though I can’t quite put my finger on why, so let’s just finish talking about it for the time being and move on to some other business.  Hmmm, well yet another plot point I neglected to mention last ep was that we actually concluded with Gary agreeing to give Empire Valley to Abs in exchange for her not dragging his name through the mud during an ugly public divorce.  Okay, so now Abs has Empire Valley, I guess, although I confess to being a bit confused about how much of it she gets when we factor in the whole Val’s babies thing.  Didn’t Gary leave, like, half of Empire Valley to them?  Or was it more complicated than that?  Did the trust he left them entitle them to some sort of money or royalties (probably the wrong word to use) for the land, in general?  Or does Abby’s taking over of Empire Valley mean the twins are now going to get screwed out of it?  A confusing state of affairs, but then all this Empire Valley stuff has been fairly confusing pretty much since it was first introduced, so I guess that’s nothing new.  Anyway, when we catch up with Abs in this ep, she’s spending some time at one of her super boring planning commission meetings, looking generally bored and disinterested, but then she hears something that spikes her interest.  See, the old bald white guy with a moustache who seems to be leading the meeting turns to the topic of toxic waste disposal and how it should be handled.  Then, a different old white guy (sans moustache) says how, “Until the 1970s, it was legal to dig a big hole, so long as it was on your property, and pour toxic waste into it.”  Then he starts saying how a lot of different groups used to dispose of toxic waste in the same fashion, and he happens to mention Galveston Industries.  Abs gets a look on her face and we can tell she’s doing some thinking. Perhaps Empire Valley could be polluted because of toxic waste within the grounds?  Hmmm, what do you think? 

       Well, Abs does a little bit of research and discovers that, yes indeed, Galveston Industries most definitely dumped all sorts of toxic chemicals, including acid and arsenic.  Oh no!  From there, it’s time for her to figure out how to get rid of this toxic land she’s just gotten property rights of, so she pays Greg a visit at his skyscraper office to discuss selling it to him.  First off, I must note the fabulous way that Abs and Greg greet each other.  Abs comes into the office and says hello in a sorta cute way, like mellow but jolly, and then Greg has this wonderful line where he says, “How many thank you cards did you get, you old baby saver, you?”  It’s that last part, the “baby saver” part, that I find so amusing.  Devane just delivers it in this fabulously sarcastic way and I am once again convinced that this was a line he improvised.  Ever since I learned that Devane improvised so much of his dialogue, I’ve found myself obsessed with thinking about which lines those could have been.  Nearly every line of dialogue out of Greg Sumner’s mouth is always brilliant, and I wish I could always know who to credit for that, the writers of whatever episode or the actor himself.  In any case, Abs tells Greg that she’s getting Empire Valley (and she answers my earlier question when she clarifies that she’s getting what’s left of Empire Valley) and that she is willing to sell it to him.  Now that we’ve lived and breathed with Sumner for nearly three years, we should be able to see that he’s a pretty sharp cookie, and he demonstrates that again right here by not immediately jumping for joy at Abby’s pronouncement.  He is rightfully suspicious of Abby’s sudden spurt of generosity, pointing out, “You’re awfully eager to get rid of this piece of ground, aren’t you?  You’re too kind to me all of the sudden.”  Because of this, he says he does want the land, but he’s not gonna sign the document quite yet. 

       Greg is a busy boy this week because not only is he working with Abs to potentially buy Empire Valley, but he’s also making some pretty bold suggestions to Laura.  See, we first catch up with Greg and Laura (and add Cigar #13 to The Sumner Cigar Counter) in his office when he’s moping around, smoking his cigar and doing pretty much nothing.  Laura gives a terrifically impassioned speech that I loved and which was delivered fabulously by Constance, starting with her saying, “Cynicism may be fashionable, but it’s really really boring.”  I like the line and the way she delivers it, but I do have to take some issue with it, because wouldn’t most fans of the series describe Laura’s character as “cynical”?  Maybe this is a little example of the pot calling the kettle black, that Laura is able to see the unappealing aspects of Greg’s cynicism but doesn’t recognize that she’s usually ready to go with a cynical comment of her own.  Let me make it clear that I’m not judging; I love Laura and her cynicism is part of what I love the most about her.  I am just pointing out that she might be acting like a smidge of a hypocrite.  Her speech gets even better when she adds, “The guy I fell in love with was a lot happier when he was going after something and you went after whatever you wanted.”  Then she adds how all Greg does nowadays is sit in his office and drink and feel sorry for himself.  She raises her voice and she’s amazing and it’s wonderful and then Greg’s reaction is even better, cuz as Laura is about to get going, he casually suggests, “What do you say we get married?”  This is then followed by one of my favorite Laura lines ever, a line I remember loving as soon as I heard it.  She sorta sighs and then she says, “I appreciate the offer and I’ll seriously consider it.”  Even as I type the line out, I find myself smiling and laughing; there is just something about this line that has always tickled my funny bone.  I love the line not just because it’s funny, but also because it’s perfect for Laura’s character, especially Laura at this juncture, now three years post-Richard.  I imagine that when Greg throws this offer out, Laura immediately finds herself thinking about two things, one of which is how much she loves Greg and wants to marry him, and one of which is how horribly her first marriage went.  I can remember being in college and having dinner with my friend and updating him on what was going on in the KL (although I’m sure he didn’t really care) and telling him about this line and how funny I found it and how brilliant the writing on KL was.  Well, I loved the line then and I love the line now and think it’s one of Laura’s top ten quotes.

       Greg also makes yet another big decision in this ep when he finally decides to fire Peter.  See, he previously offered five million dollars to both Peter and Sylvia as something of a test to see how they’d react.  Sylvia wanted to take the five million and run with it, but Peter got greedy and decided to say no.  Now, Greg asks him one more time, “You sure you don’t want that five million?” and when Peter says no, Greg tells him he’s fired and to go clean out his desk.  Pretty cool scene well acted by both Devane and Hunt, who plays Peter as completely caught off guard, shaken and very sad about what has just happened. 

       This glides us nicely into a scene between Sylvia and Peter that greatly helps to fill us in on their backstory and what exactly they’ve been up to together.  Peter is really pissed off with Sylvia for telling Abs that he’s not her real son (during the Trump-esque blank pages scene, you’ll all remember), and then Sylvia says, “But I did have Galveston’s son and I deserve what’s mine,” so we realize officially that Peter and Sylvia are not related.  Then Peter has a line that’s a bit clunky, one of those lines that’s overly loaded with exposition in which he says, “I found your file while I was working at Galveston Industries and I found your little white lie!”  This is information that’s necessary for us viewers to have, but it’s delivered in a bit of a silly way, cuz of course Sylvia would already know this stuff, so having Peter say “while I was working at Galveston Industries” is, you know, a little bit of crummy writing.  Actually, it makes me think of what is quite possibly my all time favorite Simpsons joke, which is from the season five episode, Bart’s Inner Child.  The joke is that, well, let me just lay it out in quotes so you can all see the brilliance.  It happens when Homer drives the family to a self help lecture and is just parking the car:

       Homer: Well, here we are at the Brad Goodman lecture.

       Lisa: We know, Dad.

       Homer: I just thought I’d remind everybody.  After all, we did all agree to attend this self help seminar.

       Bart: What an odd thing to say.

       Fuck, that joke is brilliant, so funny that it makes me laugh every time I even think about it.  Anyway, Peter’s line here is similar to what that joke is making fun of, those clunky exposition dumps that are sometimes necessary in film and television and sometimes work well and sometimes do not work well.  I would argue this isn’t one of the better examples, but whatever, I’m way over-focusing on this one microscopic aspect.  Throughout the scene, we learn that Peter is the one who did most of the brainwork on this scheme, doctoring up certain files or whatever, figuring out a way to make it look like he’s Sylvia’s son.  Frankly, I’m still kinda confused on all this stuff, but I think it’ll become clearer as we move through the rest of the season.  Also, I am not confused in the way that I am finding the writing flawed, but in the way that it’s just a complicated story and my poor little brain can’t totally comprehend it quite yet.

       Now that Gary has gotten rid of his claim to Empire Valley, J.B. really has no reason to keep hanging around him, although she does tell Peter in this ep that she’s in love with Gary, prompting Peter’s brilliant insight, “Jill, you don’t have to fall in love with everybody you sleep with.”  Anyway, J.B. spends this entire episode giving Gary the cold shoulder and ignoring his calls, which seems odd.  I get that she originally started hanging around Gary specifically cuz of the Empire Valley stuff, but if she wants to cut him off now, wouldn’t it be better to officially break up with him?  How does dodging all of his phone calls somehow work out better?  All that happens is Gary spends most of the episode confused and upset cuz he can’t get ahold of J.B. and, when he does, she’s super weird and distant.  I do believe that J.B. is in love with Gary (even though she was going after Mack just a handful of eps ago, but we’ll let that slide) and I do believe that she’s wrestling with some pretty confusing thoughts, and I continue to find this character endlessly watchable and fantastically played.  Oh yeah, and one last thing on J.B.  The Legacy ends with a big plot revelation when Peter and J.B. are hanging out and she’s all upset and asks, “Don’t you care how I feel?” and Peter hugs her and answers, get ready for it, “Of course I care; you’re my sister; you’re the only family I’ve got.”  Oh my God! 

       Meanwhile, Cathy continues to mope around and wish she had something to do.  Ugh, it truly hurts me to watch Lisa get so very little to do in her final hours on the series.  Basically all she does in this ep is make a bunch of phone calls trying to get someone to hang out with her only to find out that everyone is busy, and then I think she announces to Ben that she’s going on the road or……something.  The scenes where Cathy makes futile calls to her friends made me imagine that it’s actually Lisa making phonecalls to different KL writers to see if any of them will write her an interesting storyline.  I’ve found myself rather baffled to see that so many KL fans seem to strongly dislike Cathy, a character I’ve loved since as soon as she was introduced (I even loved her back when she was Ciji!), but now I’m starting to wonder if this is the reason why.  Do fans just remember Cathy as she was in her last batch of eps on the show, being given nothing interesting to do?  I think that might be part of the reason, and I also find myself wondering if, at this point, Lisa knew that she would not be returning to the series for season eight.  Who made the decision to have the character leave?  Did Lisa wanna leave the show or did the writers decide to write her out?  In any case, it’s sad to watch her do nothing knowing that, in just five more eps, she will be gone forever.

       That about does it for The Legacy, an ep that was, you know, okay.  I really liked our previous ep and think that was probably the highlight of this disk of eps, and The Legacy is a bit of a step down.  There are great moments, of course, and some killer lines of dialogue that I’ve already mentioned, but the ep is also lacking in terms of excitement.  I don’t care about the Eric-being-poisoned storyline, so that fails to get my heart pumping, and then a lot of the other stuff going on is, you know, good, but it just lacks a certain punch, a comment I’ll probably be making about most of the concluding eps of season seven.
       Next up, we shall start our last disk of eps for the season, beginning with Arsenic and Old Waste.

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Episode Title: Phoenix Rising

Season 07, Episode 24

Episode 154 of 344

Written by Bernard Lechowick

Directed by Nicholas Sgarro

Original Airdate: Thursday, March 27th, 1986

The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Abby doesn't want a divorce, and tells Gary that if he doesn't give her the rest of Empire Valley, she will drag out their divorce, and involve Val and the twins. Gary gives it to her. Abby tricks Sylvia into telling her that Peter is not really her son. Abby has Peter escort her to a fundraiser. Gary is there with Jill, so Abby says if Peter doesn't distract her, she will stop paying his attorney. Peter says he'll tell about the twins. Then Greg threatens Abby with the twins. Abby, tired of everyone holding this over her, declares in front of everyone that she knew about the twins. She knew the twins were alive all along, but didn't want to say anything until she had proof, and as soon as she got it, she was the one who brought Val to the babies. Then Ben steps in and tells everyone it's none of their business. Cathy tells Ben she's been offered a tour. Abby brings Olivia home. Eric gets sick and is taken to Intensive Care.

When we last left off, we were in the concluding moments of Distant Rumblings, with Gary declaring to Abs that he wanted a divorce, something that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been watching the series for the last several years.  Fittingly, we pick up in the opening moments of Phoenix Rising with Abs sitting quietly and passively as her divorce attorney explains all the different aspects of the split, who’s gonna be entitled to what, how they’re gonna split stuff, and so on and so forth.  Through the whole scene, Abs just sits, not speaking, looking stoned, reminding me of some Gary behavior from way back in season four.  I can’t remember the exact ep or any of that stuff, but it was when he was hitting rock bottom big time with the alcohol and he was sitting with Abs and, I think, Westmont, and they were droning on and on about something while he looked fidgety and uncomfortable being there.  In this instance, it’s not that Abs looks fidgety or uncomfortable, but that she instead looks completely broken.

I liked everything about this starting scene and I feel like I have a million things to say about it.  Right off the bat, if we are just talking in terms of style and camera moves, I really liked how we never see the face of her lawyer, but only hear her voice rattling on and on, and then I liked how the camera did a slow circle around Abs as she sits in the chair and then how it starts to go in for a close up when the lawyer finally starts to realize that Abs is acting weird.  Abs looks totally out of it, not hearing a word this lady is saying, and then she just abruptly gets up and says, “I’ll call you.”  Ugh, so much to say about this.  I find myself wondering what precisely is going on in Abby’s brain right now.  What thoughts are going through her head?  How is she feeling?  What is she thinking about? 

I’ll go ahead and say that I truly believe Abs is heartbroken, and this goes back to my theory I originally presented way back in season two that Abs does truly love Gary.  It’s a different kind of love than the kind Gary and Val have for each other, which is the kind of true love that dates all the way back to Romeo and Juliet and continues up through Jack and Rose.  Gary and Val are soulmates and are simply meant by the alignment of the stars in the sky to be together, but the relationship of Abs and Gary is a little trickier.  I think Abs loves Gary without even necessarily understanding her own feelings, like I think she has built up such a wall after her divorce and has to always seem strong and confident, so it’s impossible for her to be completely genuine and give her heart to someone; everything she does ends up being done in a duplicitous, deceitful way, but I think that’s perhaps because it’s the only way Abs knows to operate, you know?  So yes, I think she loves Gary and I think she’s feeling deep sadness about losing him as her husband, but I also wonder if she’s thinking back on her choices throughout their marriage and wondering if she could have behaved differently.  Do you think Abs recognizes the reasons for why Gary is divorcing her?  Or do you think she truly believes she’s right and that Gary just can’t understand her reasons for doing things the way she does them?  Honestly, I have no answers for any of these questions right now, but they’re certainly interesting ones to chew on.

Conversely, Gary is handling the divorce with a far greater amount of joy.  When we first catch up with him this ep, he’s checking into some super expensive suite at some super expensive hotel, peering around the place and then nodding and saying, “This will do.”  I enjoyed this very much and it made me flash to the George Lazenby James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (my favorite Bond film and one of my top ten favorite movies of all time) checking into a similarly fancy hotel and saying, “This’ll do; this’ll do me nicely.”  By moving into a hotel, at least for the time being, Gary gets to share a kinship with Greg, who spent pretty much all of season six living in a hotel.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but this is a type of lifestyle I relish and would love to have one day.  The idea of just living in a hotel is unbelievably romantic to me and I feel I would be so happy living there that I would just never check out and, instead of paying rent, would end up paying some exorbitant hotel fee after living out the remainder of my life as a guest of that hotel. 

Gary is probably excited to have J.B. over as soon as possible for a nice I’m-officially-getting-a-divorce shag, but he’s not nearly as excited to receive a visit from his soon-to-be-ex-wife.  He asks her how she got in and she says how “the room clerk didn’t see anything wrong with giving Mr. Ewing’s key to Mrs. Ewing,” to which Gary gives one of his classic sighs and says, “I’ll educate the desk clerk.”  Yup, I think we can all see that Abs has officially crossed the line and there’s no getting back on Gary’s good graces.  I wonder if Abs has realized this yet, if perhaps she was having that realization in the first scene of the ep, or if she still thinks that she can manipulate Gary into taking her back.  It’s worked before, right?  Maybe she thinks she can just pull the same tricks that she did after the fallout from Wolfbridge, since Gary was sure pissed at her about that, yet he wound up taking her back. 

Anyway, Gary and Abs wind up talking, and even though at first Gary says how she can talk to his lawyer about anything she needs to, he sorta caves in a few seconds later, setting the stage for a pretty dynamite little scene.  We get a good sense of the perspectives of both characters in this scene, because we start with Gary saying, “Instead of a partner, I got an adversary, someone who takes advantage of me at every turn, someone who lies to me at every turn,” and Abs responds with, “For God’s sake; what would have happened if I hadn’t looked after your interests?”  Gary starts to talk about how their divorce is gonna go, saying how they’ll split everything exactly equal right down the middle, but of course that’s not what Abs is interested in, oh no.  She tells Gary that what she really wants is Empire Valley and that if he gives it to her, they’ll have the nicest divorce ever, but if he refuses, it won’t be so pleasant.  She says how she is “very good on the witness stand,” and will drag his name through the mud and call up every woman he has been with during their marriage.  Finally she brings out the big guns by saying that she will drag Val and her babies into it, humiliating Gary as well as both Val and Ben.  This is classic Abs and, as always, rather delightful to watch.  Again, it’s a testament to the power and magic of KL that I find both Gary and Abs so fascinating to watch and so complicated that I can enjoy all the different angles of this scene.  I support Gary and his decision for divorce and I want it to be nice and painless for him, yet I still get a giddy joy out of watching Abs work her magic with threats and blackmail.

This whole ep is set against the backdrop of some sort of fundraiser or something, a good excuse to get the entire cast dressed up in nice Travilla outfits and have them mingle.  Even though we have seen fundraisers and gatherings and big balls (meaning large ceremonies, not large testicles) on the series before, this one gave me a distinctive whiff of all those oil baron’s balls over on Dallas, another little hint of the Dallas flavor sorta seeping into KL, although I don’t necessarily mean that as a criticism, just an observation.  Actually, I really liked this big gathering and all of the costumes the cast gets to wear, not to mention the fabulous hair.  In fact, I’m gonna pause talking about the plot to take a huge detour and write several hundred pages on Donna Mills’ hair.  Seriously, does she have the best hair ever or what?  Have I mentioned her hair even once in the past? I really don’t think I have, and for that, shame on me, because she has legendary hair.  Donna’s hair is so amazing because it’s the kind of hair that you can do anything to and style in any way and it’s always going to look good.  While my all time favorite look for her will always be the short haircut at the start of season six (pictured below), I also really love whenever she straightens it, as she does for this party.  Arguably even better than her hair is her fabulous outfit, which isn’t quite as sexy as I’ve come to expect from Abs, but has a terrifically wicked aura all its own.  I fail at being a complete homosexual stereotype because, unlike lots of gay guys, I’m not very good at spotting outfits and knowing what they are made out of or who the designer was or any of that stuff, but I’ll best describe Abby’s outfit by saying it’s a sorta gold color and she wears these long black gloves that sorta cover her whole arm.  It’s a sleek look and it makes her look rather evil.

As for the rest of the cast, the men are all mostly dressed up in tuxedos, all looking the same, and Karen’s outfit is ugly and not worth talking about (the most notable thing about it is, of course, the shoulder pads, which make it look more like Karen’s on her way to be the quarterback in a football game), but Cathy’s outfit is a scream.  With Cathy getting so little to do at this point as well as being about five minutes away from leaving the series forever, I take solace in the fact that I can at least appreciate/mock/love this bizarre outfit she chooses to wear to this fundraiser.  Yes, I remind you that this is a fundraiser and not a wild beach party, so the fact that Cathy appears to have chosen to wear a bathing suit to the fundraiser is a tad vexing.  Cathy’s outfit is a purple colored, um, thing, and it barely covers up any of her body.  If she was going to high school and she showed up in this outfit, she would be sent home, as the outfit really only covers her boobs and her lower half (the half where the vagina is, or so I've read), with her shoulders and her entire belly button region completely exposed.  This is definitely one of the strangest outfits Lisa has ever worn on the series, even stranger than Ciji’s Alien dress from season four, because at least the Alien outfit wouldn’t get her arrested for indecent exposure.  The thing I loved most especially about this outfit was how absolutely nobody comments on the fact that it’s strange.  If we’re speaking about Dallas stuff sorta oozing over into KL, this is definitely another good example because this is the same season that Dallas had Angelica Nero and Travilla was dressing her up in the most ridiculous and lavish outfits you’ve ever seen.  KL generally operates a little differently, with characters often observing and vocally pointing out some of the absurdities around them (think about when Abs first moved into her palace office in season five and Gary looked at the weirdo light fixture and said, “What is that, a waffle iron?”), so I would kinda expect one of the characters to walk up to Cathy and make some sort of comment on her outfit (I can imagine a pissed off Abs saddling up next to her and making a comment like, “Not leaving much to the imagination, are we?”), but nobody does, and in a way, it makes me like the outfit even more.  Ben just saddles up to Cathy and starts making conversation, all while she’s dressed in this swim suit thing, and the conversation continues just as normal as can be, nobody finding anything odd about her wardrobe choices.  In a way, this made the whole thing even more amusing to me.  Finally, in doing a little online research looking for pictures, I discovered several photos of Lisa and Paul Stanley together and she is wearing the exact same outfit!  This tells me that Lisa wanted to wear this, or was being paid to wear it, or something similar.  Everyone look at the photo below to get a sense of her swimsuit attire.

This fundraiser climaxes with a scene of unbelievable excitement and drama, a scene that had somehow completely slipped my mind.  I’m gonna go ahead and confess something real fast, and that is the fact that I can’t really remember the exact layout of how things go down with Val’s babies and the issue of their true father.  When I say this, I’m talking about years and years away from this, like when we reach the final season and the show is starting to wrap up.  I cannot remember if, by that point, everyone knows who the babies belong to and how they were conceived and Bob Loblaw.  Because the story of the babies spans so many years and unfolds at such a gloriously slow burn pace, it’s hard to remember all the exact details, so perhaps that’s how this wild scene fell out of my memories.  See, basically, we start up with Abs and Greg chatting and Greg once again throws out the threat about how he knows about Val’s babies and could tell everyone about it.  Now that Abs is dealing with threats of exposure from not just Greg, but also her own rebellious daughter, she has finally had enough and decides to lay it all out on the table.  She grabs Gary and takes him over to Greg and says, “Here he is, Greg; tell him.”  When Greg plays coy, Abs goes ahead and tells everyone at the gathering the truth.  She looks Gary straight in the eyes and says, “I knew about Val’s babies all along, Gary; I knew about the kidnapping.”  Then we go to a commercial and, when we come back from commercial, we hear that line again, followed by Gary’s fabulous response, which is a sarcastic, “Why am I not surprised?”  Ugh, I love this, because you could easily understand the temptation of the writers to have Gary get all wide eyed and freak out and be like, “How could you?!”  Instead, they know he has dealt with years of this kind of deceit, so when he finally hears this news, he’s not shocked at all.  Abs continues with the story, saying how she knew the truth, but she didn’t tell anyone because it would be irresponsible to raise Val’s hopes before getting some kind of proof.  This must all seem fairly shocking enough, but then Greg adds, “What about the paternity of the babies?” Everybody’s eyes widen and Ben gets all pissed and says, “Excuse me, but my kids are none of your damn business.”  My sphincter tightens up as Abs says, “Of course; everybody knows who the father is,” and we have several agonizing seconds before she motions to Ben and then says to Greg, “I don’t understand the accusation you’re making.”  Then she puts a little bow on her speech by saying how she did a good thing and reunited a mother and her children and, “I just don’t understand why you hold that against me.”  The mood in the air after all of this is hard to describe.  I’d say it’s like everyone is breathing a temporary sigh of relief, but they are also realizing what a close call this could have been.

Clearly I loved this development, and I’d say a lot of my love comes from not remembering it happening, so I felt fairly shocked when it did happen.  I simply didn’t expect Abs to just tell everyone all of this right in the middle of the party, so when it happened, I was surprised.  I also like the downplayed reactions from everyone, keeping things true to the more grounded spirit of KL.  If this was a Dallas oil baron’s ball, you can bet Cliff Barnes and J.R. would get into some big fistfight and someone else would get strangled and someone would have a cake thrown in their face or, you know, whatever, something like that.  On KL, this doesn’t all devolve into some big, goofy fight, but instead sorta peters out the way such an event would really occur in real life. 

Following the party, Abs decides to stop by Sylvia’s house for a visit in a scene that’s, well, a little strange.  First of all, Abs shows up with her fabulous hair and makeup and earrings and her evil-looking outfit and claims to be, like, a lawyer, or something.  Actually, that’s not accurate, what happens is that she says how she was supposed to meet Peter here, and when Sylvia asks if she’s from the lawyer’s office, Abs answers, “No, I’m the one who pays for the lawyers.”  I’m not really sure what that means, but it works well enough that Sylvia lets her in and is suddenly quite happy to speak with her.  Abs pulls out a manila folder with a bunch of blank sheets of paper in it and then pretends like the papers actually have something written on them, a move that Trump must have seen because it inspired him to pull the same trick at one of his press conferences, when he pretended he was divesting from his business interests before becoming president and wasn't merely using the presidency to profit off the American people.  Abs is taking a real gamble here, because all she does is open up the folder and say how there’s one little bit of evidence that the lawyers think won’t hold up in court.  At this point, she basically starts improvising, flipping through the blank sheets and saying, “Let’s see here, elementary school transcript,” flashing a quick look at Sylvia to see if this means anything to her, which it does not. Next, she goes through vaccination records and birth certificate before finally landing on medical history.  Suddenly, Sylvia is happy as a clam to tell Abs everything, saying, “I told Peter that he didn’t match my son’s medical history.  He doesn’t have the right scars or the right birthmarks or the right anything, but then he went ahead with this anyhow.” 

Hmmm, well this is sure some awfully incriminating information, isn’t it?  The big plot twist we are to understand now is that Peter is, in fact, not related to Sylvia Lean at all, but then how did all of this get cooked up in the first place?  What happened to her real son?  How did she meet Peter?  These are all things to be further explored as we move along, and I appreciate the slow way different plot twists are being unveiled, although I also confess to some confusion about one aspect of this scene.  See, after Abs leaves, Sylvia shuts the door and locks it and we hold on her face for several seconds before cutting to a new scene, and I honestly can’t quite figure out what this face means. She looks concerned, she looks upset, and she looks like she’s thinking really hard about something.  At first, I was tempted to say that she was lying to Abs with the whole “Peter doesn’t match my son’s records” rhetoric, but I’m not so sure.  Is she suspicious of this super glamorous lady dressed in a fabulous outfit randomly arriving one night with a folder full of blank papers?  I suppose that could also be it, but then why immediately volunteer the information about Peter?  Lots of questions to be asked here.

The last thing I wanna discuss about this ep is a small detail that adds to the richness of the KL world and characters.  We catch up with Olivia and Gary hanging together on a bench outside of, I think, Olivia’s high school.  Gary starts the scene by saying how Olivia is fifteen years old and telling her, “I was fourteen years old the first time I got drunk.”  My antenna immediately went up right away, because I saw that now we were going to get some backstory and context for how Gary first discovered alcohol.  Gary tells Olivia how, one Saturday night, he sat down with three sixteen ounce cans of beer and drank them all and got sick and then, the next Saturday, he did it again.  Gary’s speech is a fabulous example of how to talk to a person who needs help for addictions, because he shows Olivia he can relate to her, only with alcohol instead of weed, and he shares personal details of his own life to help her feel trusting, and then he concludes with, “No matter what happens, I love you,” which is precisely what she needs to hear at this time.  I loved this scene for that reason, but I loved it more for filling us in on Gary’s past some more, showing that even at episode 154, we can still learn new things about characters we’ve been watching since episode one.  While we have always known that Gary’s an alcoholic, actually having him talk about his first time drinking adds even more richness to his character, and this is only one example of KL managing to do this very consistently with nearly all of their characters over the course of all fourteen seasons. 

After rewatching this particular block of five eps to prepare for these essays, I confirmed what I had already suspected, which is that this was my favorite one on the disk.  I wouldn’t call this a KL classic, but it was a good ep with lots of aspects I appreciated.  I most especially enjoyed the fundraiser because I like seeing my characters all dressed up and looking good, socializing and being super interesting, and I of course enjoyed the big revelation from Abs to everyone at the party about how she knew about Val’s babies.  That scene is probably the highlight of the ep for me, followed by Gary’s speech to Olivia.  All in all, a solid 48 minutes.

Next up, we shall discuss The Legacy.

Thursday, December 14, 2017


Episode Title: Distant Rumblings

Season 07, Episode 23

Episode 153 of 344

Written by Tom Citrano and Joel Okmin

Directed by Michael Preece

Original Airdate: Thursday, March 13th, 1986

The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Abby finds a joint in Olivia's purse, and makes her tell the truth. Olivia threatens her with the twins, and Abby says to go ahead and tell. The judge lets Olivia off, but says she has to join a support group. Greg offers Peter five million dollars. Peter doesn't accept, and tells Sylvia it's a test. Jill tells Mack that her father used to own Empire Valley, and Galveston swindled him out of it, so her father shot himself. Cathy tells Ben she wants to leave the show. He confides in her (and later Mack) that he is tired of Gary being in his life whichever way he turns. He and Cathy kiss. Mack tells Gary that his little trust fund stunt could cost Val her marriage, and he needs to think of consequences before he does things. Abby tells Gary that he failed Olivia, Lotus Point, and their marriage. Gary says he's decided to divorce her.

Welcome back to my blog and I’m sure you all must be very excited to hear my thoughts on Distant Rumblings.  Continuing with my decision to rewatch the five eps on this disk before doing my writing, I pretentiously went to Starbucks again this morning and watched the episode we are about to discuss, along with the two that follow it.  I am pleased to say that I made the right decision, as I had obviously forgotten a ton of the little details throughout these five eps and watching them again did a good job of refreshing me and getting me back into the world I know and love.  Let’s dive in.

In our last ep, Gary crashed his car in a very dramatic scene and wound up in the hospital, ignoring Abs and shagging J.B. in his hospital bed.  Fittingly, we begin Distant Rumblings with Gary receiving a visit from his one true soulmate, Valene.  Right off the bat, we get some real great Gary/Val footage this ep, keeping their characters super interesting and fascinating, as always.  In this case, Val has come to express her concern for Gary’s rather reckless lifestyle as of late.  She says how Gary is not drinking anymore, but his love affair with racing cars is very similar, that he is suffering from the need for a thrill high.  

          It’s lovely to watch Val try to say these things in a way that is gentle, and we can all feel the love that is just permeating this entire room, but Gary reminds her of their chat last ep in which she asked him to stay out of her life, and now he’s asking her to do the same thing.  I like the gentle but firm way that Shack plays this scene, and I like the way J.V.A. portrays Val as realizing that she’s potentially out of line and respecting Gary’s wishes that they don’t talk about it.

Another thing I noted about this scene is that, just as Val first arrives, Gary is in the middle of what looks like a very pleasant chat with Cathy.  This image made me smile, something about how happy these two are to be around each other and talking to each other, and it also made me reflect on their relationship.  What exactly is Gary and Cathy’s relationship at this point?  Is there any threat of sexual tension anymore?  Back in season five, the two were getting pretty hot and heavy before Gary put the kibosh on it right near the start of season six.  Since then, I feel like we haven’t had a lot of footage of the two characters together, so perhaps that’s why I liked this little bit.  Since Cathy has been gearing up (she’s been Cathy Gearing up; I’m Gene Shalit!) to have an affair with Ben nearly the whole season, I think it’s safe to assume that she’s no longer viewing Gary as a romantic interest, but just a really good friend.  Finally, I’d say I liked this scene because it shows that Gary is a beloved person.  I feel like if this was season four and Gary was in the middle of his gigantic bender and he crashed his car then, the only person coming to see him at the hospital would be Abs and, probably, Val.  Here, now that Gary is a good person and an ethical person and Bob Loblaw, he’s a more popular guy and more people are concerned for his well being.

Val’s hospital visit provides for some good drama between her and Ben a little later in the ep. See, Ben hears through the grapevine that Val went to visit Gary, so he confronts her with it first chance he gets.  I like the way he does this, by the way, because he doesn’t wait around long.  He arrives home to find Val spread out on the couch, looking tired and worn out, and he sits in a chair and when she asks how his day was, he says, “Good; how was Gary?  You went to see him today, didn’t you?”  I like how Ben doesn’t hold it in forever, but instead gets straight to the point upon arriving home.  After Val admits to it, Ben delivers a little speech that I found rather interesting, a speech in which he seems to take more understanding of Val and her emotions.  He basically talks about issues of right and wrong, asking, “Is it right for me to be so angry about this trust fund?  Is it right for my normal anger to deprive my kids of the kind of security it would take me ten lifetimes to be able to give them?”  Ugh, I really like this scene and it only makes me prouder to hold my new role as President of the Ben Gibson Fan Club.  With only the rest of season seven and then the span of season eight left to go before Ben leaves the series forever, I am finding myself appreciating him more and more with each ep that we watch.  In this case, I admire the way he is able to step back from his anger and his resentment and be reflective about his own feelings and decisions and talk about them in a very open way.  Other people would just hold in their resentments or hope that, by not mentioning them, they might magically go away, but Ben instead tries to lay it all out and discuss it openly.  To think I could have ever dismissed this character as “boring;” surely I must have been out of my mind to reach such a conclusion.  Ben is way more multifaceted and interesting than I ever gave him credit for upon first viewing, and this excellent little scene is just one of several that I’ve spotted and appreciated upon this rewatch.

Later in the ep, we see Val taking out her garbage.  I immediately jotted it in my notes, as I tend to always jot in my notes when we see the characters taking care of some domestic chore.  Once again, when on Dallas did we ever see anybody taking the garbage out?  The fact that KL shows the little details of life on the cul-de-sac is one of the many reasons I love it so much, and I kinda loved this scene, I must admit.  See, Val is taking out the garbage and Laura is getting ready to go to work, but then Val spills the garbage everywhere and Laura comes to help her with it.  At this point, Val breaks down and starts crying and I had an immediately brilliant thought because I’m super smart and I’m a genius and all that.  My thought was that this scene of a strong Laura comforting a crying Val is the mirroring of a memorable scene from one of our very earliest eps, The Lie.  Way back in that ep, Laura was the one sitting on the stairs, crying and acting weak, and Val was the strong one who came over to give her emotional support, but now it’s been reversed.  I loved this scene for that reason as well as J.V.A.’s acting when she cries and asks, “Laura, why doesn’t anything ever work out the way you planned?”  Oh yeah, I also liked this scene because we get a callback to Richard when Laura announces that her divorce is final.  See, as I’m always saying time and time again, it’s the small details I appreciate most.  Richard has been absent since the end of season four, nearly three years ago, so the writers don’t really need to bring him up here, but they do it anyway and I appreciate that.  I also appreciate that we learn the divorce is final because, in real life, it takes forever for a divorce to become final.  On another show, I feel like Richard would leave the series and Laura would just, you know, somehow be divorced from him in the next ep.  Here, it’s been natural and it’s taken the appropriate amount of time that it would actually take to finalize the divorce.

The next person to come visit Gary is perhaps the person he wishes to see least, Abs.  I really love how openly hostile Gary is being towards Abs at this point; for some reason it just really makes me smile.  In this instance, Abs comes walking into the hospital room, attempting to look all jolly and happy to see her husband, but Gary only turns around, sighs, and then bemoans, “I thought you were the nurse.”  I just find it hilarious how clearly unhappy Gary is to even have to look at his wife, and I think by this point, we can all smell what’s going to happen in the concluding seconds of this ep.  I am also amused by watching Abs attempt to kinda sorta pretend like everything is alright.  She still speaks to Gary with a certain tone in her voice, as if she can simply will their marriage back into some semblance of happiness if she just pretends hard enough.

Abs is busy this ep and gets lots of great material, but her best material has to come via her confrontation with Olivia.  The jig is finally up for the confused fifteen year old girl when Abs finds a joint in her purse.  Even though the presence of this one joint should seem inalterably incriminating for the girl after all the shenanigans of the mysterious joints in Sexy Michael’s car, Olivia still tries to grasp at straws by giving Abs the old story of, “It’s not mine; I was just holding it for a friend!”  Honestly, this excuse has never held much water for me.  How many kids run around handing joints to each other and saying, “Just hold this for me for awhile”?  It’s always the excuse kids seem to go to, but I would certainly never buy it if I was a parent.  Abs is a sharp cookie and so after the “holding it for a friend” nonsense, she busts out another baggie filled with even more joints and asks, “‘It’?”  A second later, she tells Olivia to get her coat and take a ride with her to the Fairgate/MacKenzie house, where she will tell Karen and everybody else the truth.

It's shit like this that keeps Abs such a fascinating character to watch.  Other wicked female characters on television dramas would most likely be portrayed as far more snarling and far more one-dimensional.  Abs has never been that way and this little scene further proves it.  As soon as she realizes that her daughter lied to her and that Sexy Michael is taking the fall for something Olivia did, she doesn’t even think twice about marching her over to Karen and Mack’s to tell the truth.  This shows a sense of ethics that is almost surprising considering the way Abs behaves in the other aspects of her life, most specifically her duplicitous business dealings.  What I think it really boils down to is that, for all her flaws and lies and backstabbing, when it comes to her kids, Abs is a very decent and responsible mother.

The scene only gets more exciting when Abs and Olivia arrive at the house.  Olivia doesn’t want to go in and is throwing around any excuse she can to get out of it, when finally she settles on using Val’s babies as her weapon.  But wait, there’s more!  Right before Olivia brings up Val’s babies, we get a Sid callback.  See, Abs says, “Sexy Michael is my brother’s son and I won’t have him go to jail for something you did.”  Olivia retorts with, “Since when do you care so much about Uncle Sid’s family?” and Abs replies, “I loved my brother and you know that.  Whether you believe it or not, I love you, too.”  All of this is very genuine; Abs isn’t using the memory of Sid for some sort of manipulation but is only stating plain facts, yet another example of keeping the character consistently three-dimensional and interesting.  It’s at this point that Olivia brings out the big guns, saying, “Maybe I should tell them the whole truth, including your part in the kidnapping of Val’s babies.”  Abs barely even blinks at this, merely saying, “You tell them whatever you want to.”  Ugh, I have so many thoughts on this part.  First off, it’s kinda amazing to watch Olivia pull a move right out of Abby's playbook, threatening her with information about what she knows.  There’s a real like-mother-like-daughter thing going on here, and that certainly brings me a lot of joy, but even better is how calmly Abs reacts to the whole thing, brushing off Olivia’s comments and knocking on the front door.  We should all be feeling good and tense at this point, but we breathe a sigh of relief when Olivia decides not to go through with it and doesn’t say one word to anybody about any babies.  She does, however, confess to the fact that the joints really belonged to her and not Sexy Michael.

Remember when Lilimae ran Chip over with the car and then her trial wound up taking place off-screen and we were just told that the judge gave her a suspended sentence or whatever?  That kinda bugged me back when that happened somewhere in season five, and a similar thing happens here, though it bugs me less.  In this instance, Olivia and Sexy Michael both go to court to talk to the judge together, but all of this stuff occurs off-screen.  Through the dialogue from certain characters, we learn that the judge let Olivia off but made her join a program, or something like that.  Why doesn’t it bother me that we don’t see this?  I’d say probably because of the allergic reaction I tend to have to storylines involving courtrooms.  There is just something about putting a scene in a courtroom that inherently makes me want to go to sleep, unless we are talking about some really excellent piece of art like Kramer vs Kramer.  If it’s just some random terrible episode of one of the five hundred thousand Law & Order shows, then I’ll probably start throwing up, however.  Therefore, I’m kinda fine with not actually seeing the courtroom, although I also suppose it wouldn’t have killed them. 

The fact that Gary doesn’t show up for Olivia’s little chat with the judge is also pretty significant.  Later in the ep, Mack visits Gary while he’s working on his race-car and chews him out for not acting like a father to Olivia.  Gary isn’t even aware of the drama with the joints, showing how isolated he has made himself from his Westfork family.  This provides the impetus for our fabulous final scene of the ep, in which Gary returns home to Westfork and an angry Abs.  Abs yells at him for never being around, for only thinking of himself, for creating lots of problems for the family, but she gets a real shocker when Gary calmly answers with, “You’re right,” and then flatly declares, “I’m divorcing you, Abby.”  I think this is a great ending not just because we know it will create great drama in the future, but also because it’s presented in that gloriously undramatic and down to earth KL way.  I don’t think anyone viewing the show is going to GASP when Gary calls for a divorce, but I also don’t think we are supposed to.  We have smelled this divorce coming for a long time now, arguably since the moment Gary and Abs stood at the altar together in Sacred Vows.  If we weren’t thinking of divorce at that point, I’d say we were all thinking of divorce near the end of season five when Gary found out what Abs was really up to with his inheritance money and threw her off the ranch.  The fact that it’s been two years since that occurred and Gary is only now asking for the divorce is actually kind of surprising, yet it’s another example of KL’s slow burn storytelling that I love so much.  I’m glad that Gary didn’t divorce Abs back in season five over the Wolfbridge stuff, because having him divorce her now makes a lot more sense for me.  In the marriage of Gary and Abs, I see a man trying very hard to be patient and understanding with a wife that he knows he can’t trust.  He let her off the hook several times in the past, but her behavior regarding Empire Valley and his realization that the two of them are, at their core, completely different people, is what I think has finally landed him on the decision of divorce.

Meanwhile, Karen’s frigidity that’s been going on for about three eps gets pretty quickly wrapped up in this ep.  I’ll set the scene a little bit by saying that we catch up with Karen and Mack having a nice lunch together at Lotus Point.  Mack mentions how he took the rest of the afternoon off and it’s too bad that Karen has to work, but then Karen sneaks off and has a waiter deliver a note to Mack asking to meet her in room 503, which he promptly does.  When Mack arrives, he finds Karen dressed in a nice little outfit, a sexy little red nighty with a sorta see-through black thing that she’s wearing on top.  She says, “I thought we could use some time alone,” and then also adds, “I’m not sure this is going to work,” to which Mack replies, “We won’t know until we try.”  This is a superbly sweet little scene set to some rather lovely background music, and it’s a scene that’s always stuck in my brain as very memorable, so yes, I like this scene very much.  At the same time, I’m feeling slightly critical, not of the scene necessarily, but of this little story.  I’ll attempt to collect my thoughts in an eloquent enough manner to explain myself.

I specifically remember really liking this storyline the first time I watched the show, and I even remember that the reason I liked it so much was because I appreciated that, even this deep into the series when the show might be tempted to just copy what all the other nighttime soaps are doing, KL still manages to keep it simple in the most wonderful way by presenting regular adults having regular adult issues.  In this case, a husband and wife not being on the same page sexually, having a hard time getting their sex life back on track, that all feels very adult to me and I appreciate the show for being about adult issues.  Also, I appreciate the acting from both parties, as always.  However, taking another look at it now, I’m not so sure I like this story all that much anymore, and I think my problem with it might boil back down to that feeling I’m getting that the creative powers are just trying to fill time, to fill the thirty episode season at all costs.  When you look at in the big picture way, in the scope of the whole season, this frigidity storyline was really just a tiny little blip on the radar, only taking up three eps out of thirty.  While I can see the logical storytelling that lead us from Karen discovering J.B.’s room key to her and Mack fighting for several eps to her going frigid for a few eps, it still feels a little bit like something coming out of nowhere and then returning quickly back to where it came from.  I hate to say it, but it sorta feels like the writers saying, “Okay, we gotta give Karen something to do for a few eps, um, how about she and Mack are sexually incompatible for like two or three eps and then they get over it and move on?”  Perhaps I’m just spoiled by the absolutely masterful storytelling structure of seasons four, five, and six, in which you felt that not a single storyline was wasted, and now that we are drifting through a rather more meandering season and so it’s making these issues really stick out to me much more.

There’s a lot of really important information revealed about J.B. in this ep, starting when Mack confronts her about the Franklin High yearbook and her original name.  J.B. asks, “Did you ever have a past, Mack?” and then she proceeds to explain herself, saying how her name used to be Dorothy Jill Simpkins but she became J.B. after a short marriage and she decided to keep J.B. because, well, it’s such a fucking great name that just rolls off of the tongue and is super fun to say and it's also the same name as an actress who was in For Your Eyes Only.  The big reveal, however, comes when J.B. confesses that she has a personal vendetta against Paul Galveston and Galveston Industries because it was his evil and immoral business dealings with her father that lead to daddy dearest eating a bullet when she was only ten years old.  Apparently Galveston decided he wanted the land that J.B. and her family lived on, and he found some way to screw them out of their land and their very home, leading to Papa J.B. killing himself.  Hmmmm, so now we see along with Mack that J.B. has a bone to pick with Galveston Industries, although she claims, “Somewhere along the line, I went from revenge to a social consciousness.”  She also says she plans to prove that Galveston destroyed her family and the entire town of Wesphall.  All pretty interesting stuff, no?  I have to say, right off the bat, from the moment she entered the show, I’m just loving J.B.  I loved J.B. the first time, but I don’t know if I loved her character in season seven the way I’m loving her now.  There’s just something about the way Teri Austin plays her character; she’s inherently watchable and always interesting, even when she isn’t really doing anything.  The fact that the character is so draped in mystery and we’re still not really sure if she’s altruistic or duplicitous only keeps her more fascinating.

The last story point worth bringing up is also probably my least favorite one, and that would be Eric feeling sick.  I’m cool with Eric and he’s had some fine moments throughout the show, yet I think I must just be too busy drooling whenever his much sexier younger brother walks onscreen, because I seem to just never be thinking much about the character of Eric at all, although every now and then he’ll slap Diana and I’ll be like, “Oh yeah, I forgot, Eric is cool!”  In this case, Eric announces he’s been feeling poorly and we get some dropped lines about how lots of the workers at Lotus Point are getting ill lately, how there must be some sort of a bug going around, Bob Loblaw.  Nothing particularly exciting happens within the confines of Distant Rumblings, but the writers are planting seeds for some future eps and a storyline that I’m willing to bet is nobody’s favorite, as it’s certainly not mine.  We’ll discuss it when we discuss it.

I think that’ll do it for my thoughts on Distant Rumblings.  What was my opinion?  Well, I liked it, and I’d say I liked it better than the previous two eps right before it.  This one had a lot going on and enough excitement to keep me happy, yet it also had those little bits of grounded and relatable stuff that keeps the show feeling fairly realistic.  My favorite part of the whole ep was Abs ordering Olivia to go tell the truth, acting like a tough, badass mother and making her daughter take responsibility for her actions.  I would classify that as big drama, but then I equally appreciate those little things like Val taking her trash out and crying to Laura.  While I’d say this isn’t an ep that, years and years down the line, I will think back on and remember specifically, it still felt like an upswing from our last two and I predict that this upspring will continue in our next ep, Phoenix Rising.