Episode Title: A Turn of Events
Season 08, Episode 11
Episode 171 of 344
Directed by Kate Tilley
Original Airdate: Thursday, November 20th, 1986
The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Abby suggests Sylvia have an attorney draw up a letter with the truth about Peter, to be released to the public if anything happens to her. The attorney then gives the letter to Abby. Sylvia gives another copy to Olivia. Karen walks in on Sexy Michael and Paige cuddled up asleep, and tells Mack that they're sleeping together. Ben and Mack try to figure out the link between Peter, Jill, Abby, and Sylvia. After Jill falls off the cliff, Peter calls 911. At the hospital, Gary apologizes to Jill for his ultimatum. Peter tells Mack and Ben he used to date Jill, but now they're good friends. Gary tells Abby that he loves Jill. Something goes wrong, and a code blue is called for Jill. Abby and Gary overhear a Doctor saying that Jill is pregnant. Jean tells Ben to report that Peter was seen with Jill before the accident. Another man tells Ben he saw Jill fall off the cliff and that Peter was with her.
Welcome to A Turn of Events and prepare to be bored as basically nothing happens for the majority of the ep’s 48 minutes. Sorry to blow my wad so fast, but Jesus, what the heck happened with today’s ep up for discussion? I’ll just go ahead and dive right in and say that we pick up immediately where we last left off in Over the Edge. J.B. has taken a nasty fall over the cliff and, as we pick up now, we start with Peter speeding off and leaving her all alone like a pathetic little coward. As he speeds around, we start flashbacking to stuff, a lot of stuff, and these flashbacks really seem to go on forever and become almost comical the more they happen. Seriously, how many times are they gonna re-show the shot of J.B. clutching onto that branch and it snapping? Why do they keep re-showing it? Is it just to further remind us that Peter had a moment of opportunity to help her and he chose to let her fall? Okay, cool, but I got that; I already saw it in our previous ep and I don’t need to see it seventeen more times in this ep. Also, the shot of J.B. falling off the cliff wasn’t even that cool; it was rather cheap looking and should really be the kind of shot they allow to pass us by and then quickly bury and hope we forget about. Every time they show her going, “Peter, listen to me,” and then suddenly taking that plunge off the cliff, it just further emphasizes how cheap this all looks.
But that’s just some of the flashing back. Really, Peter kinda flashes back through everything these two characters have done with eachother since they were first brought into the fabric of the series. I suppose this stuff is helpful for those new viewers or for people who have missed a few weeks, but it still stuck out as odd to me and felt like an attempt to pad the running time. At first, I theorized that perhaps this was the first ep to air after a long break, but I took a peek at airdates and nope, this is only airing one short week after our last one. It honestly feels more like the start of a new season, in which they need to remind us of everything that went down last season in a five minute recap. The fact that it’s all happening here, in a random ep in the middle of the season, just feels vexing. Oh yeah, and one last complaint while I’m bitching about this; it would be one thing if they started the ep with Peter driving around and the flashbacks and then got them all nicely finished up and put away for the remainder of the ep, but instead we keep cutting to other characters and then returning to Peter, and whenever we return to Peter, you guessed it, he’s speeding around the road and suffering from flashbacks. I guess the drama of this scene (I should maybe put “drama” in quotations) comes in seeing how Peter is going to behave now that his sister has taken this big plunge off this cheap cliff. Will he turn around and go back to rescue her? Will he find a phone and call an ambulance? Well, for awhile it looks like he’ll do nothing, but then he speeds in a circle and starts to go back the way he came, and a little later we see him making an anonymous phone call to 911 telling them about J.B. and the cliff, which is a good thing, because before he does this, we see some rather jolly hikers come right within a few feet of where J.B. is lying, but failing to notice her. If Peter didn’t call someone, J.B. could still be lying there up to the present day!
Oooh, I just thought of another thing to complain about after taking a glance at my notes! Looks like I wrote, “Really bad obvious stock news footage of helicopter rescuing J.B.” I’m glad I looked at my notes and was reminded of this, because it’s awful. When a helicopter arrives to rescue J.B., we see Peter hiding in a bush and watching it take her away. When the camera is on Peter, it looks fine, it looks the way the show generally looks, right? But when we cut to the helicopter, it goes into like, video, and it’s obviously some stock shit that they got from the CBS news vaults or whatever, looking totally different from the other footage, and it’s way obvious. I know I shouldn’t bitch that much about this because it’s standard practice for television to borrow recycled footage and it often sticks out even worse than it does here, but damn it, I don’t think of KL as standard television and I don’t like them resorting to standard television techniques, and if they simply must resort to those techniques, couldn’t they at least do a better job of hiding it?
Anyway, J.B. goes to the hospital and then, like, slips into a Plot Contrivance Coma or something. Honestly, not a lot to talk about in this department, as I find this a monumentally underwhelming story. At this point I’m seeing the creative team really stretching to fill all 30 eps of the season, and I’m yearning for the days of the 30-episode season six, in which every single ep still had weight and story and plenty of juicy material for the entire cast, all while building to a greater overall story that was compelling and clearly super well thought out. Well, that was then and this is now, and now it’s becoming very clear to me that the powers that be could have easily sliced five or even ten eps out of this season order and it would have improved things exponentially. Everything about this J.B. story feels like a desperate attempt to kill time, to take something that could be wrapped up very quickly and try as hard as possible to draw it out over the course of four or five eps. Now, perhaps I’m confusing my beloved readers, since I believe I mentioned being excited to see J.B. take that plunge because it meant we would be entering my favorite era of J.B. very shortly, and yes, that is true, but that era is still not quite here. I’m thinking of the glory that will be J.B. when we hit the season nine finale and one of my favorite cliffhangers of the whole show, and yes, I think her taking the fall off the cliff is the start of her journey to that season nine finale, but it’s just the start. Here, at this exact moment in time at this precise juncture within the series, all we are seeing is J.B. slip into a Plot Contrivance Coma for an ep or two and then quickly come back out of it.
Oh yeah, and we also find out she’s pregnant. Why is this important? Perhaps I shouldn’t be so critical because maybe, just maybe, this will wind up paying off in the future and I just can’t remember right now. However, it sure seems odd to me to introduce a J.B. pregnancy at the precise same time that you’re killing the pregnancy off. What happens in this ep is that we are told for the first time that she’s pregnant and she might lose the baby, and then, you guessed it, she loses the baby. So why bring it up in the first place? It’s not like it’s gonna lead to some sort of “Who’s the real baby daddy?” storyline or anything like that; it’s just brought up and then forgotten just as quickly, an example of some rather lazy writing that I find very unbecoming for KL.
Honestly, that’s about it for J.B. and, in truth, is about it for the whole ep, since we really don’t get much else going on with the other characters, although I suppose the majority of the non-J.B. stuff relates to Karen and Mack. The cat is finally out of the bag this ep when Karen decides to sneak into Sexy Michael’s bedroom at night to, like, gather his laundry or something. Honestly, I do kinda question this, but I am sure Karen had no ulterior motive; she probably just felt like doing the laundry and decided to go and grab it right now. Still, Sexy Michael is a young man now with raging hormones; how does she know she won’t open the door to find him violently masturbating? That’s not what she finds, of course, but she is about to make her way out the door when she decides to stop and properly tuck Sexy Michael in, at which point she realizes that Sexy Michael is not alone, that Paige lies sleeping in the bed alongside him. The two look very cozy, by the way, spooning as they sleep and I note with approval that Sexy Michael is the big spoon. I can tell you that if I had just been given the divine pleasure of sex with Sexy Michael and we were drifting to sleep, I would really hope for him to be the big spoon for me so that I could rest comfortably all night with his arms around me, breathing that sweet smell of Sexy Michael in the air, dripping with testosterone and raw masculine sexual energy. Mmmmmm, yeah baby, Sexy Michael, oh yeah.
Oh wait, I got distracted again. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, Karen discovers Paige and Sexy Michael together. This leads to her telling Mack what’s going on over a lovely lunch together. I liked this scene because of my love for both characters, but Karen is wearing a very unfortunate hat and it provides me with the perfect opportunity to talk about another thing I don’t like about this season: The wardrobe. Seriously, the show lost Travilla at the end of the seventh season and, right now, I’m really missing him. For this entire disk, scene after scene, My Beloved Grammy and I would talk about how hideous the outfit that some character or other was wearing was and it was nonstop. This season is an explosion of bad sweaters and truly awful colors that have no business being together somehow being forced to co-exist on top of clothing that’s already ugly enough to begin with. My Beloved Grammy says she misses the costuming of the last few seasons, and I agree with her and question why everyone is dressed so badly this year. Is it just the loss of Travilla? Was this just an ugly time in history? I’m trying to think really hard about 1986-1987 and what kinds of fashions were in style then and I’m sorta coming up blank. I think my vision of what 1980s fashion is kinda lies frozen around 1984-1985 and I just sorta take that look as the all-encompassing “80s look.” However, we are now closer to the end of the ‘80s than we are to the start of it, as we are about to cross into 1987 and enter that awful era of clothes where it’s not quite the ‘80s and not quite the ‘90s yet, but rather this weird blending of grey and ugliness (picture the wardrobe of A Very Brady Christmas if you’re having a hard time visualizing this). In any case, I’m not sure who to blame, but the wardrobe sucks pretty consistently this year, with even the divine goddess Abs being forced to wear many a butt ugly sweater.
So that’s about it for Karen and Mack and all of that this ep; I’d say the only other important thing to talk about is Sylvia and this little letter she decides to write. See, now that she’s afraid of Peter poisoning her with pills (Peter’s poisoned pills persistently produced problems), she’s decided to live with Abs at Westfork for a little while, and this ep she hands Abs a letter and says, “If anything strange should happen to me, I’d like that letter opened by my attorney,” or, you know, something like that. Abs assures her that the letter will be given to the proper authorities, but then she leaves the room and immediately hands it over to some lackey to dispose of. However, a little later in the ep, we see that Sylvia is a pretty clever girl, because she takes Olivia aside and also gives her a copy of the letter. Sylvia may be old and get a little silly when she has too much to drink, but she’s sharp enough to know not to trust Abs outright. Will this letter ever lead anywhere? I can’t remember, but I’ll pay attention as we move forward to see.
Real fast on the Sylvia character; I’d like to take this moment to say that I have absolutely no memory of what happens to her or where she goes. I know that season eight is the end of her time on the show, that she shan’t be following us into season nine, but I have no idea how her time on the series winds up concluding. Does she die? Does she move away? Does her storyline just sorta get finished up with and she goes away? I have absolutely no recollection whatsoever, and I’m kinda curious to see how this winds up playing out, since it’s playing as brand new for me upon this viewing. I will say that I still like the character and the performance, even if I’m maybe a bit underwhelmed by the story developments at this point.
And you know what? “Underwhelmed” is pretty much how I felt about this entire ep. It really didn’t do much for me and I really don’t have anything else to say about it. For me, this is the very definition of a “filler” episode, as nothing much happened, with the only vital story stuff being the further developments in the Paige/Sexy Michael camp and the fact that Karen and Mack are now aware of the constant shagging between the two characters. Sylvia’s little letter might wind up being important, as well, but I’m not sure yet. Aside from that, this ep had a lot of Peter driving around in a car and having flashbacks, and then it had an absolute snooze of a story for J.B., and this snooze is only gonna draw out longer, over the course of the entire disk, if I’m remembering correctly. So yeah, that’s about all I got for A Turn of Events, which I’d say is easily the worst episode we’ve seen so far this season, and probably one of the worst in a couple of years. While I didn’t hate this episode, I also didn’t love it and I didn’t really particularly like it, either. Considering this was penned by Lawrence Kasha and Michael Filerman, I’d expect a little more from them, something more than boring filler and a ton of flashbacks.
Okay, enough about that. Let’s go ahead and move right along to Touch and Go.