Thursday, June 28, 2018

KNOTS LANDING Episode 179 of 344: NEVER TRICK A TRICKSTER


Episode Title: Never Trick a Trickster

Season 08, Episode 19

Episode 179 of 344

Written by Alan Goldfein

Directed by Joe Coppoletta

Original Airdate: Thursday, January 29th, 1987

The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Seeing Anne's immature behavior, Karen feels sorry for Paige and wants her to stay with them. Anne wants Paige to come back to NY, and threatens to cut her off financially. Peter tells Paige it isn't good for his image to live with someone, so she moves back to the MacKenzies. Anne says she'll stay until Paige agrees to leave with her. Greg finds the bug in his office, and suspects that someone has hooked up to his computer. He makes phony deals, and tells Ben about it. Ben tells Jean, who's upset because she fell for it. Abby tells Gary she will fight for the ranch unless he gives her $3 million so Gary gives her the money. Ben tells Val that no matter what happens, to always remember he loves her. Jean tells Ben that his new assignment is to kill Greg.




When we last left off, we were in the midst of a very stupid storyline and hey, wouldn’t you know it, we begin Never Trick a Trickster by picking up right where that stupid storyline left off and continuing to run with it.  You’ll all recall how our previous ep ended with Ben tackling his dangerous assignment of planting a bug in Greg’s home office, but then somebody started to turn the doorknob and enter the room just as we got our “Executive Producers” credit.  I’d say we pick up right there as we begin this ep, but that would be a lie, because what actually happens is we are forced to rewatch a smidge of the scene where Hackney gives Ben his assignment and then a rather sizable chunk of footage involving him arriving at Sumner’s home and putting the bug in his office.  As this occurred, My Beloved Grammy bemoaned the fact that we would have to watch the whole entire scene again, and I’m right there with her, although fortunately they do tighten this down considerably for the opening moments of this ep.  In any case, I’m still irritated by this, though I’m not entirely sure why.  It’s not like this is the first ep to begin by replaying the closing minutes of our last ep, but for some reason this instance really annoys me.  Perhaps it just boils down to the fact that this whole plot is stupid, so having to see the same stupid footage repeated is just irritating.  It also might have to do with the fact that I can actually feel the writers and producers trying with all their might to kill time, to try and fill this 30-episode season with material, grasping at straws by filling out the 48 minutes by replaying several minutes of the prior ep.

When we finally get to some new footage and get to see the continuation of the epic turning doorknob and slow opening the door, we should all be feeling real disappointed at the reveal.  We all saw that doorknob start turning and could only imagine who might come walking in.  Could it be Carlos The Butler, curious to see what Ben is really up to in this computer room?  Could it be Laura, ready to catch Ben in the act and blow the whistle to Greg?  Could it perhaps be Greg himself, catching Ben red-handed in the act of turning into a spy for the purposes of a terrible storyline?  The answers are no, no, and no, because it actually just turns out to be Jason 4 (the worst of the Jasons, I’d have to say, aside from the completely forgettable one that only played him in the Pilot, perhaps) coming to retrieve his math book or some other sort of plot contrivance.  Ben looks like he’s about to shit his pants (which is basically the way he looks all season) and then Jason 4 says, “Mr. Gibson, this room is off limits,” and there’s a long pause before he adds, “For me.”  He asks that Ben not tell Greg he saw him in here and Ben is, of course, happy to oblige.  Uck.  I guess the scene is, you know, fine, it’s whatever, but watching it, I did put myself into the mindset of a 1987 viewer and I can tell you that I would have been pretty pissed if I waited all week to see how things would turn out for Ben and found out that it’s only non-character Jason 4 entering the room.  This kinds of things play differently nowadays, particularly with the way My Beloved Grammy and I watch the show by always doing five eps in a row.  When you do it that way, you just hop from one ep to the next and are not as hyper-aware of the little cliffhangers each ep presents you, but I think this one is a real loser.  Imagine waiting seven days to see who might be on the other end of that door, only to have the door open and show that it’s nothing more substantial than Jason 4.



The badness and stupidity continues well into the final scene of our ep, which is about the only other important scene Ben gets this week.  In it, he’s paying a visit to Hackney’s stupid dress shop and Hackney is there and she looks stupid and is dressed stupid and this whole character is just stupid, Bob Loblaw.  They exchange some dialogue about how Greg discovered the bug in his office (we’ll discuss it) and Ben is being kinda condescending and sarcastic, talking about how bad Hackney is at her job.  Then the terrible synth 1987 music starts coming out of the soundtrack and Hackney ominously says, “You have a new assignment.”  There’s a slight pause and then she says, “Your assignment is to kill Greg Sumner,” to which Ben has a little chuckle before realizing that she’s actually serious.  I still love Sheehan as Ben, but you can just tell this storyline hurts him because his acting is not what it once was.  The laugh he delivers after Hackney gives him his assignment is just…..no.  Clearly he’s supposed to be playing it like he assumes her declaration is a joke and has a chuckle, but it’s just way too exaggerated and not the way a person would really laugh, and then the fact that we just end on his face as he realizes that she’s serious….just awful.  Another awful thing about this ending is that we’ve already done this.  We ended an ep way back near the start of the season with Hackney lying in bed with some dude and telling him that Ben’s assignment was to kill Greg.  Okay, it was a stupid ending for that ep, but now it’s a stupid ending for this ep, yet in the course of being doubly stupid, it also gives us no new information.  Yes, it’s true that Ben didn’t know this was going to be his assignment, but we viewers did, and a long time ago, as well.  Do the writers think we have forgotten about that ep?  Do they think this how you make a good cliffhanger?  In any case, it’s terrible, so let’s move on.

I mentioned how Greg finds the bug in his office.  Well, that’s because he does.  How does he wind up discovering the bug?  Well, that I can’t tell you, because I do not know.  I want to make sure and point out that, as I am writing this, I have the ep pulled up in front of me on a separate screen, and I not only double checked, I triple checked, and I am fairly positive that we never see Greg discover the bug; we just hear about it after the fact.  Am I crazy?  Was something cut out?  Am I just somehow not noticing footage that she be clearly going on right in front of me?  Cuz see, we start the ep with Ben and Jason 4, then we cut to some shenanigans involving Karen and Mack and Anne, then we cut to Paige and Peter shagging, at which point Peter receives a phonecall from Greg, leaving him a message on his 1987 voicemail, and then we cut over to Greg and Laura talking about how Laura thinks Peter planted the bug.  See what I mean?  When did Greg find the bug, and how?  Once again, I must insult the writing staff for not properly crossing their T’s and dotting their lower case j's; instead just allowing stuff to happen offscreen and telling us about it after the fact.

Even though I’m critical of that one aspect of this story, I will confess that Greg probably gets the best material this week, courtesy of Laura.  First off and obviously of the utmost urgency, Greg smokes two cigars in this ep, making them #24 and #25 on the Sumner Cigar Counter.  #24 comes at some point early in the ep when he’s just working on his computer, and then #25 comes closer to the end of the day, when he and Laura are preparing for bed.  I like Cigar #25 better cuz it also helps to remind us of plot functions.  Laura is relaxing on the couch and, I think, reading a book or a magazine or something (she’s wearing her Librarian Glasses, in any case) when Greg comes walking in sucking on his cigar, to which she says, “Secondary smoke; I’m pregnant, remember?”  This does a good job of reminding us of Laura’s pregnancy and it also shows Greg’s tendency to sometimes be kinda an asshole, even to someone he loves, like Laura.  Earlier in the ep, Laura challenged him on why he’s so allergic to the idea of having a kid, telling him how this kid will love him no matter what, even though, “You’ve done nothing to deserve it.”  It might be in this ep or it might be in another one, but at some point Greg says something about how he doesn’t think there need to be any more Sumners running around, that he wants to kill the bloodline of Paul Galveston or, you know, whatever.  I guess he’s forgotten about his daughter, Mary Frances, lost spotted in the middle section of season five, or perhaps he’s doing that sexist patriarchal thing where you don’t even bother to count girls as a part of your bloodline, I dunno. 



Abs is also a busy little bee this ep, exchanging some truly awful A.D.R dialogue with Peter while they walk around some fancy house that Abs is considering buying.  I’m pretty sure this is the house that Abs and Olivia wind up moving into for the next bundle of seasons, although I could be mistaken.  Whether or not they buy it, I can tell you that I certainly want it.  This house looks fabulously California, like it belongs to a movie star, and it also kinda reminds me of Miles Dyson’s fabulously metallic house in Terminator 2.  Obviously there’s also a pool, because of course there is, and I definitely think I’d be very happy living here.  Even so, I will say that I’d rather stay living on Westfork with the big open land and the sauna and the full gym and all that good stuff, but that option’s not on the table for Abs, who is inching ever closer to a divorce from Gary. 

On that topic, Abs gets wicked once again this week, telling Gary that the divorce settlement he’s concocted is not enough for her, and that she will require either three million dollars or the rights to Westfork.  This whole thing is barely even worth writing about, because after a very small back and forth between the two characters about how Abs doesn’t even like the ranch, Gary agrees to give her the three million dollars and he does so and, well, that’s about it.  I’m looking at my notes right now and I see that I wrote, “They just sorta bring stuff up and then wrap it up real fast during this era.”  Well, let me just say that I completely agree with myself, and this little sub-story in the ep is a prime example of this lazy writing.  Why even bother to bring up Abs wanting to take Westfork from Gary if it’s not going to lead anywhere?  The conclusion I come to is, once again, that the writers are just trying to fill out time.  Oh how I yearn for the days of Ciji, of Wolfbridge, and of Val’s babies, when the showrunners were able to map out a really strong central storyline to keep all of the cast linked together.  Now I feel the characters are often disparate and separated from each other, just getting a little material here and a little material there in order to fill up the time, all before it’s inauspiciously wrapped up and we move on to something else.

Despite my bitching, I do still appreciate one aspect of this bit of business, and that is the fact that Abs is being evil and wicked.  If I was watching this in 1987 and had just finished up the Olivia-on-coke saga, I might be wondering if Abs was starting to go soft on me, but this confirms that she’s still her same old self.  Even though Olivia-on-coke gave us a fabulous new window into Abby’s character, there’s always gonna be the selfish, lying, exploiting part of her personality as well, and God bless her for it.  I have read some interviews where Donna says that she didn’t believe Latham and Leckowick (and I’m officially just calling them “L & L” from now until the end of time) represented her character very well, that she felt her character started going downhill and becoming too soft.  I’d be curious to know where Donna thinks that started to happen, and I shall pay strict attention in the next two seasons to see if I notice anything, but right now I have no complaints.  I still think Abs feels like Abs and I still think Donna plays her perfectly.  I’m not terribly interested in her quest for Westfork as a story, mostly because we barely even get enough time with it to call it a story, but I am pleased to see that she’s not going to suddenly turn into a super nice woman who goes out on public speaking tours to talk out against teenaged drug use.

Oh God, and speaking of storylines that are brought up and then abruptly go absolutely nowhere or are immediately taken back, we also have Paige moving in with Peter for all of five minutes.  Again, why bother with this?  Paige is upset about her mother being in town, so she goes to live with Peter, they shag once or twice, and then by the end of the ep she’s moving back in with Karen and Mack.  Once again, I can mentally picture the writers sitting around and being like, “Alright, Paige, we gotta find something to do with Paige in this ep, something that takes up enough time to fill the ep and also gives her a few minutes of material.  Hmmmmm…..how about she moves in with Peter and then immediately moves right back into the Fairgate/MacKenzie house?”  Honestly, I might rather just not have Paige show up at all in the ep if this is all they’re going to do with her.



But wait, I actually spoke too soon, because now I remember that we get several fabulous exchanges of dialogue between Paige and Anne as we make our way through this ep.  Anne is already getting pretty cozy hanging around the cul-de-sac and attempting to seduce Mack.  In a stunning display of hospitality, Karen and Mack are allowing Anne to stay at the house for awhile, and early in the ep she comes walking in with a stack of flowers from their garden and declares how much she loves their house and how, “This is like what happy couples must have.”  Like all of her lines, this one is delivered just perfectly by Michelle Phillips, who I’m already finding insanely amusing.  I love the way her face moves when she talks and I love how her eyes are consistently opened super wide.  I love the fact that she’s wicked and she’s blonde but she manages to make herself completely distinctive from the wicked blondeness of Abs; she plays her character more deliberately over-the-top and it really works for me.



Everything between Paige and Anne is also working for me.  The middle of the ep concerns itself with a tremendously awkward lunch date between Karen, Mack, Anne, and Paige.  Before that, however, we see how remarkably unconcerned Anne is to finally see her daughter alive and well after believing she was dead for, you know, however long Paige has been claiming to be dead (two years?).  We learn that she gave away Paige’s cat and that this really upsets her, and I enjoy the way that you can tell Anne is only telling her this specifically to upset her.  At the lunch, they continue to bicker and Anne says how they’re trying to enjoy a nice lunch, to which Paige says, “A lunch at a restaurant you chose, and you’ll probably stick him with the bill.”  I appreciate Paige telling it like it is, and I also appreciate Karen and Mack’s discomfort.  I’m sure there was more witty dialogue in this scene to be enjoyed, but my fingers are getting tired, so let’s talk about Val and then wrap this up.



Before I get into Val’s story for the week, I’m gonna go ahead and make a prediction based on my memory and my prediction is: Val’s story will go absolutely nowhere.  We will have to proceed forward through the rest of this season and then the six other seasons still in our future, but for the moment I feel pretty comfortable saying this.  Anyway, you all remember how Ramilar Productions was getting ready to turn Val’s book into a big TV movie?  Well, in this ep Val is all excited to meet the woman who will be playing her, Deborah Kensington.  This is a good fake movie star name, because at first I experienced a moment of wondering whether this would be a real actress, sorta like how Zsa Zsa Gabor and Mike Douglas showed up as themselves in season four with Svengali.  But no, Deborah Kensington is just a fake name (that sounds really real) and she is being played by Katherine Moffat.  Now, that name sounded really God damn familiar to me and I was convinced I would realize why I know it when I looked at her IMDb, but that didn’t help.  This actress is in stuff but none of her credits leapt out at me.  In any case, the main point of this story is that Val meets the lady who’s going to be playing her character and realizes that she is completely wrong for the part.  The woman is too glamorous and too Hollywood to play an effective Valene, plus she wants all sorts of changes and tweaks made to the script and her character (this might happen in the next ep and there’s a chance I’m getting the two confused).  I am almost 100% sure that this whole TV movie and Deborah Kensington and all this will just disappear up into the sky along with Abs and Gary’s methanol adventures from season three before too long, but I’ve been known to remember things incorrectly, so there’s still hope that Val’s TV movie will actually amount to a significant storyline. 

That’s about all I have to say for this ep.  What did I think of it?  Hmmmm……I’d say it was better than our previous ep, but not even close to the two eps that came before that one.  So far, Olivia-on-coke has been the highlight of this season, and I predict it will remain that way.  Now that they’ve finished up that storyline, we are back to the same old problems that have been plaguing season eight since it began, the desperate attempts to fill up time, the storylines that start and then finish almost immediately, the truly wretched Hackney storyline.  Despite this disappointing drop in quality, there are also good aspects to this ep, mostly involving Greg and Laura or Paige and Anne.  There’s always hope that our next ep will be an even greater improvement, so let’s move right along to A Plan of Action.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

KNOTS LANDING Episode 178 of 344: MY TRUE LOVE


Episode Title: My True Love

Season 08, Episode 18

Episode 178 of 344

Written by Lynn Marie Latham

Directed by Lorraine Senna

Original Airdate: Thursday, January 15th, 1987

The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Paige tells Karen she'd better worry about Anne's intentions with Mack. She then packs and goes to stay with Peter. Anne tells Mack that he's the only man she ever loved, but didn't tell him she was pregnant, because she found out her father paid him $5,000.00 to leave her. Mack says that isn't true. She says she's afraid she'll fall in love with Mack again. Karen is jealous of Anne's looks, and they talk uncomfortably while waiting for Paige. Anne says Paige did this to bring her and Mack back together and she is snide to Karen. Olivia goes to AA with Gary, and apologizes to Brian. Abby still wants to postpone the divorce, but Gary says no. Jean has Ben bug Greg's office. They hear Peter ask Greg where he sent Sylvia on vacation, but Greg won't tell him. Then Jean calls and says she wants Ben to break into Greg's computer.





                Welcome back to the wonderful world of KL.  I must confess that, yes, I still love KL and always have and always will, but sadly it’s already becoming very clear to me that season eight is going to wind up ranking very low on my list of all fourteen seasons and I’m finding it rather difficult to muster up the energy and enthusiasm necessary to write about these eps.  I bring this up to once again provide a little context for the way I am doing these writeups, so follow me along here.  My Beloved Grammy and I gathered and watched a whole disk of eps, spanning The Unraveling through A Plan of Action.  After this, we parted and I began to work on writing about those eps, but then My Beloved Grammy and I wound up gathering and watching another ep of disks (Survival of the Fittest through Deadly Combination) before I was finished writing about our previous batch.  So now here we are and I’m sitting to write about My True Love, but then I will have a rather heavy load of seven whole eps left to discuss, all because I allowed myself to get behind and we watched more eps before I was prepared to do so.  Will this negatively affect my writing or my ability to remember all the nitty gritty and details?  I guess we’ll find out cuz I’m gonna start writing about My True Love now.



                I wanna make sure and devote a lot of special attention to our newest character, Anne Matheson, and the fabulously fabulous actress who plays her, Michelle Phillips, but I think I’ll try to cover the other story beats first and then save the best for last.  Okay, so what’s going on in the cul-de-sac right now?  Well, you should all vividly recall our last three or four eps and all that heavy focus on Olivia and her predilection for nose candy.  After Bobby Briggs beat the shit out of B.A.G in the concluding moments of No Miracle Worker, Olivia seemed to finally and fully reject her coke habit and choose the path of a better life.  One might be tempted to wonder if this path to sobriety will continue as we move forward, but I’m happy to say that we open our episode in question at an AA meeting with Gary in attendance and Olivia coming to join him.  Ah, such bliss.  Since I seem to be bitching so much about my problems with season eight in general, I’d like to take a moment to say that I love this, and I love it for more reasons than I can probably even express.

                First off, I always love seeing Gary at AA or having some sort of dialogue about his AA visits to help remind us that he still goes to the meetings regularly.  I flash back to the very final seconds of season one when Gary made the bold announcement, “I’m Gary and I’m an alcoholic,” and then I think of the voyage we have been taking with Gary since that defining moment.  We’ve seen him have his ups and downs with AA (such as becoming the sponsor for The Other Paul Rudd and then almost immediately starting to shag his wife) and we’ve also seen him fall off the wagon once (“WE’RE RUINING LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVES!”), but then we hit season five and Gary started to become all cool and responsible and self-actualized and a model citizen.  Now here we are in season eight and, as I look at Gary sitting calmly in his AA meeting and showing his support for a fellow alcoholic (this one’s name is Margorie and she hasn’t had a drink in eight months and sixteen days, so you go, girl!), I just want to climb into the TV and give Gary a big old pat on the back and say, “Good job, Gary, you haven’t had a drink since season four and you’re doing great!”  So yeah, I love this scene for what it shows us about Gary’s continued growth, but then I love it more when the music swells and Olivia comes walking in and Gary looks over at her and you can tell he’s super proud.  The meeting is kinda crowded so Olivia isn’t able to sit next to him, but she sits a few rows behind him and then Gary has this smile on his face that is super cute and I love it and I want to write poetry about it. 



                Gary’s busy this ep because, after his AA meeting, he also takes the time to speak with Abs about their impending divorce.  He tells her that now that he’s lost the senatorial race and Empire Valley has stopped being a storyline on the show, he’s ready to be officially divorced.  I’d say he’s right to get the wheels moving, since he first asked Abs for a divorce at some point in mid to late season seven and now here we are in mid to late season eight and they are still legally married.  Anyway, we quickly see that just because we saw some whole new layers to Abs character in the last batch of eps, that doesn’t mean she can’t switch right back to being calculating and wicked again, and she does it quickly here.  See, another reason Gary wants to get this divorce rolling is cuz he wants to marry J.B., but Abs gives a lovely little speech here that is, in truth, probably very accurate, starting with, “J.B. is nothing more than a brunette Valene.”  She continues by telling Gary, “Of course being with J.B. was exciting, but not because you were with her, but because you were cheating.  Cheating turns you on, not J.B.”  Even though I just praised Gary for all his growth and conquering his demons throughout the last few seasons, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still a few flaws in his character, and yes, this love affair that he has with cheating on people is one of his less admirable traits and I’d say Abs is correct to call him out on it.  Will Gary wind up cheating on J.B. just as he cheated on Abs and Valene before her?  I wish I could tell you, but I honestly don’t remember, and maybe, just maybe, Gary will be a really excellent husband this time around.  Oh yeah, and also, the scene ends with the soon-to-be-ex-couple discussing the settlement Gary has arranged and Abs saying, “I’ve very nice, but it’s not enough.”  Clearly Abs is going to want something more, but just what that something might be remains a mystery throughout the confines of this ep.



                Meanwhile, Peter Hollister is still on the show, so I suppose we must talk about him even though he’s not doing anything too terribly interesting at the moment (and I’m gonna make a rather glass-is-half-empty prediction and say Peter won’t be given anything too interesting to do for the rest of his time on the series, which shouldn’t be lasting much longer).  The only thing I can really think of to talk about here is that, I think, Paige officially goes to move in with Peter.  She arrives at his apartment eager to avoid her mother, telling Peter how she was going to check into a hotel, but then she thought she’d hit him up and see if she could stay with him.  Peter says how it’s fine if she wants to stay with him, and then some truly awful music (sounding both saxxy and yet tinny all at the same time) comes blasting out of the soundtrack while Paige and Peter exchange a rather pathetic bit of “sexy” dialogue.  See, Paige asks if he’d mind her sleeping on the couch, and he says, “No, but I think you’ll find my bed more comfortable.”  Then they start making out.  Can I go ahead and make a bold declaration and say that it’s impossible for any scene with Peter in it to be sexy?  I’m not calling Hunt Block an ugly man, because he’s not, and when he has taken his shirt off in the past, we’ve seen clearly that he’s been hitting the gym on a regular basis, but there’s just something totally unsexy about this character, and I’m starting to find it rather funny how seemingly every woman in town is eager to spread her legs open in front of Peter.  Perhaps it’s just that thing about power being the best aphrodisiac?  Peter is hardly in the same league as, say, someone like Sexy Michael, and yet all the women are wanting to shag him, so I must conclude that it’s the fact that he’s a senator and has power.  Anyway, this scene is not sexy, but then neither were any of the other Peter shag scenes, including that silly one from way earlier this season in which he and Abs shagged and the entire sequence kept cutting to EXTREME CLOSEUPS of their various body parts.  Yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and call it right now: I am ready for Peter to leave the show.  Whatever interest he provided for me back in season seven (and I do remember finding him interesting throughout that year), that interest has now expired and I’m just waiting for this character to be retired.



                Speaking of characters being retired, where the hell is Ruth Roman lately?  I’m glad you asked, because this ep answers that question for us….sort of.  Basically, we are having a scene with Sumner hanging out on his ranch or whatever, and some character brings up Sylvia Lean and how she’s Peter’s mother and whether she’ll be around at some point, to which Greg replies, “Peter’s mother is permanently not available for comment.”  When I heard this line, I immediately jotted in my notes, “Huh?  She’s just gone?”  A little later on, we get a few more details from Greg and he says that, basically, Sylvia just wanted to go away and so she went away.  Boy, is this ever some clumsy writing.  Sylvia’s been around since the second half of season seven and she was getting a fairly large chunk of material to work with in season eight, most especially with Peter poisoning her for, you know, a few eps and then just, you know, not poisoning her anymore (not to imply the writers were just desperate to fill up time on the show or anything like that), and then she hung out at Westfork for a little while, and then she gave that note to Olivia, and then she just sorta stopped showing up on the series.  Now we just have this tossed off bit of dialogue from Greg about how she’s gone and she won’t be coming back, and uck, I don’t like it.  What really happened here?  Ruth Roman is maybe not A GIGANTIC MOVIE STAR, but I’d say she’s a known actress and was probably something of a get for the series.  Was she supposed to be in more eps and then she didn’t renew a contract or something?  Did she get sick and wasn’t able to finish the season?  Why on earth would you give this character so much material for roughly a solid year and then just ship her out inauspiciously and then, several eps later, throw in a quick line about how she’s gone and won’t be coming back?  It’s shit like this that is really annoying me as we move through this year, because I know for a fact that if the master genius of television Peter Dunne was still running the show, this kind of crappy storytelling would not fly.  Peter would be able to find some way to organically ship Sylvia out of the series or build a really great drama out of her leaving the proceedings; this is the man who ran seasons four through six, when the show was brilliant and perfect and could do no wrong, and he would never allow this kind of shitty storytelling to pass by under his watch.

                Nor is this the only bad storytelling that Greg is getting sucked into this ep.  The ever toxic Jean Hackney is still hanging around, hellbent on polluting everything that is good and pure about KL with her ridiculous dialogue and stupid-as-hell story.  At this point, you all should remember that we viewers have been clued in on the fact that Hackney wants Ben to kill Greg, but I don’t believe Ben is aware of that fact quite yet (when it comes to putting the pieces together for this Hackney storyline, Ben is moving very, very slowly).  In this ep, Hackney gives Ben the assignment to put a bug in Greg’s home office (like a Nixon/Watergate bug, not like a spider or a cockroach), and of course no scene with Hackney would be complete without some truly wretched dialogue.  In this case, I kid you not, we actually begin a scene with her and Ben walking through a park and poor Doug Sheehan being forced to spit out this line of “dialogue”: “You’re the woman with a thousand faces and a million disguises.”  You can tell I really hated this line because I wrote it down in my notes and then added, “Or some such nonsense.” Seriously, this is bad.  Every single scene with Hackney is bad, but this is really really really incredibly bad (oh yeah, and since I know you were all wondering what ridiculous outfit Hackney was wearing in this scene, I shall tell you that it appears to be some sort of purple leather zip-up jacket and a pair of blue gloves that don’t even match the color of her outfit) and I again find myself feeling sorry for Doug Sheehan as I watch this unfold before my eyes.  After three years of finding Ben to be a remarkably amazing and wonderful character that I adore watching, it hurts me to see him being handed such pure human feces as his main storyline for his last year on the show, and I find myself really watching his performance and trying to figure out what’s going on.  Okay, so the way he delivers that “thousand faces/million disguises” line really makes it sound like Sheehan can barely get this dialogue out without having to vomit, and so it creates this weird effect where I can’t tell if he’s giving a bad performance or if the disgust in his voice is supposed to register the character’s disgust.  I’m gonna have to say I’m leaning for the former option; I think it truly hurt Sheehan to deliver this dialogue and I think you can tell he’s gritting his teeth and tightening his sphincter as he tries to say these words out loud.  I keep saying this, but I feel I must stress again how much happier I would have been if Ben had just run off with Cathy and left the show at the end of season seven.  Would our memories of Ben have been tainted by the fact that he cheated on Val and then blew town?  Perhaps, but at least we would have three solid seasons of him being a great character and we would never have had to hear the words “Jean” or “Hackney” for the rest of the series’ run.  Also, even if the whole cheating/blowing town thing did sully our esteem for Ben, it couldn’t sully it any worse than this storyline, which has been dragging on for an agonizing eighteen eps and counting, is already doing.



                Ugh, I guess I have to talk about this, so here we go.  Hackney wants Ben to put a bug in Greg’s office, and even though she’s “the women with a thousand faces and a million disguises,” it seems Ben is the only person who can handle this assignment since he’s currently on Sumner’s payroll and has easy access to his home and office.  Anyway, the scene where she gives Ben his assignment comes and goes and then we don’t really see Ben too much until we hit the final ten minutes of the ep.  We catch up with him playing the piano in the living room in the loving company of Val, but then the phone rings, he picks it up, and Hackney (dressed in a humongous brown suit thing that would be right at home in Mike Brady’s wardrobe) tells him, “They’ve gone,” obviously meaning Sumner and Laura.  Then we get another example of the writing forcing characters I love to act stupid and oblivious, because Ben pauses for a second and then does a terrible job of making it sound like he was on the phone with a magazine salesman, delivering this way-too-long little speech about how, “I have so many magazines I can’t deduct them from my taxes, and by the way, I don’t like people who canvass for magazines.”  Okay, so that sucks because he does a terrible job of making it seem like a magazine salesman was on the phone, but what sucks even more is that after this bizarrely angry tirade he delivers to nobody, Val is just sitting right near him and is like, “Did you ever have a chance to read my final draft?”  Okay, so you’re gonna tell me that Valene doesn’t notice her husband acting like a complete psycho to a “magazine salesman” on the phone?  She just lets it come and go and doesn’t say, “Gee, Ben, what’s up your ass?”  I’ll cut her a small break because at least she puts up a protest when Ben abruptly grabs his coat and announces he must head to the office immediately.  Still, it’s not enough.  I believe Valene is a smart woman and I believe she would be way more observant about her husband’s weirdo behavior as of late, but that would overly complicate the story, so instead the writers keep her acting stupid, a problem that I predict we will be encountering a lot throughout the Latham/Leckowick era. 

                Anyway, Ben goes to Sumner’s ranch and manages to make it past the butler guy and then we get a long scene of him fiddling with Sumner’s computer.  Honestly, isn’t Ben’s plan already shot because he had to awkwardly saddle his way past that butler?  If this bug is discovered, couldn’t Greg easily find out who planted it because the butler would tell him, “Yeah, Ben showed up real late at night for some reason and was acting super weird and made a beeline for your office and didn’t want me to come with him”?  Okay, but whatever, let’s not think too much about that and instead focus on Ben putting the bug in the office, a scene that lasts for fucking ever and is then repeated in the opening moments of our very next ep, so we have to watch it twice (I will at least point out that, when they repeat it, they do shorten it down fairly significantly so it isn’t quite as long).  After a few hiccups and little flirtations with Ben failing in his mission, the bug is successfully installed and we’re all getting ready to breathe a big sigh of relief when, GASP!, the doorknob to the office starts to turn!  This is our big cliffhanger for the next ep, but it’s far from one of the best we’ve ever seen.  The blaring music on the soundtrack doesn’t help much, either. 

                I clearly hate everything involving Ben and Hackney and all this gibberish, so let’s end on a positive note by talking about something I have absolutely no complains about, and that is the glorious arrival to the series of Michelle Phillips as Anne.  Technically, she arrived in the last two seconds of our previous ep, but this is really the ep that introduces her to us, and she’s just perfect.  I’ll go ahead and spoil my thoughts (or at least my memories of my thoughts) and say that Anne was one of my favorite characters upon first viewing and I loved the humor she brought to proceedings and thought she was one of the best aspects of the later years.  Due to my fond memories, I immediately light up whenever she is onscreen, but I’m also already noting that this season eight version of Anne is a little different than the Anne we will have in seasons twelve through fourteen (and, I think, a little smidge of season eleven, as well).  During that era, Anne is mostly a comedic character, having funny dialogue and getting into adventures and shenanigans with her friends and lovers. Here, as she’s first introduced, I don’t know that she comes off as funny.  In fact, the immediate impression I get is that we are being introduced to another Abs, a hot older blonde who is set on stealing a husband away from his wife.



                It’s hardly a spoiler to say that Anne is going to go after Mack, because it’s very obvious right away.  When we first catch up with them in this ep, they’re in that hotel room in New York (even though obviously nobody from the production went anywhere near New York to film any of this footage and it’s all set-bound) and she says something about how great Mack looks and then she sorta sighs his name out, “Marion Patrick.”  Just the way she delivers that line tells us that she’s getting wet just by being in the same room as Mack.  We also get a nice little hint of her manipulative nature right and quick, because when Mack says how they need to get on a plane at four, she says how she needs to take care of all these different something or others and they should take a later flight, and Mack agrees.

                I do want to say there are still stupid aspects to this story, most notably the fact that it was completely unnecessary for Mack to fly out to New York only to meet Anne and, um, fly back to California?  Why on earth couldn’t he just call Anne and say, “You ought to fly out to California and see Paige”?  Why must Mack fly all the way to the big apple only to then head to the airport and fly back?  It’s pretty obviously a plot contrivance designed to keep Anne and Mack together for as long as possible, but even so, I’m still willing to go with it.  In any case, the two hang around New York for a little while and get some drinks and Anne goes on about how Mack is the only man she ever loved, an exchange of dialogue that both My Beloved Grammy and I found a bit perplexing.  Surely Anne must know that Mack is married to Karen, right?  But she goes on and on about her love of Mack and how much she wants him to slip it inside of her to the point that it seems like perhaps she doesn’t know Mack is now married.  Also, Mack has plenty of opportunities to jump in and be like, “I’m married, so you should probably stop hitting on me constantly,” but he does not.  Anyway, I’m excited to see Anne and I’m glad Michelle Phillips is on the scene now, but I’ll save more thoughts on her for later, since she’s going to be hanging around and getting lots of storyline attention throughout this latter portion of season eight.



                I think that’s all I have to say about this ep.  I’m not even sure what to say in wrap-up as far as whether this ep was good or not.  Clearly it had many aspects that bothered me and clearly I still detest the Hackney storyline, but I think I’m just starting to get used to being underwhelmed by season eight.  This ep is only okay, but I’d say it comes off looking worse for following on the heels of the excellent The Unraveling and No Miracle Worker.  We’re done with the excitement of Olivia on coke, so now we’re returning to proceedings a bit more standard, characters getting divorced, characters shagging each other, characters attempting to shag other characters, all that stuff.  It’s alright and perfectly watchable but, as seems to be the case with the majority of season eight, also heavily flawed. 

                Shall our next ep prove better than this one?  Tune in for my next writeup, which will be all about the episode called Never Trick a Trickster. 



               

Thursday, June 14, 2018

KNOTS LANDING Episode 177 of 344: NO MIRACLE WORKER


Episode Title: No Miracle Worker 

Season 08, Episode 17

Episode 177 of 344

Written by Bernard Lechowick

Directed by Kate Tilley

Original Airdate: Thursday, January 8th, 1987

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





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

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

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


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



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



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



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



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

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

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



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



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

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