Thursday, August 20, 2020

KNOTS LANDING Episode 207 of 344: IN TOO DEEP

 Episode Title: In Too Deep

Season 09, Episode 17

Episode 207 of 344

Written by James Stanley

Directed by Jerome Courtland

Original Airdate: Thursday, February 4th, 1988

The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Johnny delivers packages for the shady business man and a woman accidentally sees them. Sexy Michael won't take Jody back because she's annoying, and when he sees a woman jump off a cliff to her death at the beach, he thinks it's Jody, but it's actually the woman who walked in on Johnny and The Dealer. At a gallery opening, Greg asks Paige to introduce him to a woman who catches his eye. Paige is jealous and gets drunk. She goes to see Johnny and they sleep together. Frank is super paranoid and Pat is worried that his paranoia is what will call attention to them. Karen is called to give a deposition in the twins' custody case. She tries to get Val and Gary to work it out. Val asks Karen to lie and say the twins aren't Gary's and Karen doesn't know what to do.

                Welcome to In Too Deep and I’d like to begin by discussing something I haven’t discussed in a long time, and that’s the little thirty second preview before the opening.  It’s been awhile since we’ve had a total fakeout in the little preview (the one that springs immediately to mind is Celebration, where we see a flash of Val pushing Ciji back and Ciji hitting her head on the table, leading us to think she might be dead from the impact).  In this case, we’ve got a real doozy here, because we see a flash of Sexy Michael on the phone, talking to Olivia, and Olivia is like, “How could you dump Jody?  You’re all she could think about!”  From there, we have a rapid flash to the dead body of a Laura-Palmer-looking-broad washed up on the beach and Sexy Michael being like, “Oh no!”  Well, I’ll let the cat out of the bag right now and say this dead Laura-Palmer-looking-broad is not Jody, but rather just, um, some broad.

                Actually, that connects the dots well to the first characters I wanna discuss this ep, and they would be Johnny Rourke and Leland Palmer.  We get a bit more of these two together, adding to the mystery of why Johnny is really here and what he is really up to and why we should even care.  See, we first see Leland Palmer standing around his motel room and talking to some random guy about doing some sort of drug deal or other, and he says, “You tell them that we’ll do thirty thousand; tell them that I’ll send someone out there to do the sale and if he comes back in one piece, with the money, then I’ll know we have a relationship.”  Later, Johnny takes Olivia and Jody out for the day, a walk on the beach, buying some sort of fattening food on the boardwalk, and then they end up at this restaurant called Crown and Anchor that, presumably, sells seafood, and then he’s like “Ooooh, an American jukebox!” and he goes up to the jukebox to do a drug deal with some guy.  He does a sorta James Bond esque secret exchange where he says, “Do they have any Rolling Stones?”  Then he gets a little homoerotic and is like, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” and he gets the drugs or the money or, you know, whatever.  This whole scene, he’s carrying around an obnoxiously gigantic teddy bear, and I think we all know that he shoved the goods up Teddy’s ass for safekeeping, and then he gives the teddy to the girls and heads to the men’s room for a fairly lame little fight with the dealer guy that he just did the exchange with.  The guy comes into the men’s room brandishing a knife, but then Johnny bursts out of a stall and kicks his ass and then proceeds along with his day, although he does then get attacked by like two or three more guys and there’s this big fight and Bob Loblaw.  Before moving on from this bit of business, let me just take a moment to say that I love jukeboxes and wish they were still prevalent.  I’ve also always loved the idea of having a jukebox in your home, like Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in Ghost.  I would love to have a real, authentic, old fashioned jukebox that I could play my records on.  One day when I’m rich and famous, I plan to do just that.

                Okay, so a little later, Johnny is meeting up with Leland Palmer at Leland Palmer’s little motel so they can exchange the money.  Leland Palmer is very pleased with Johnny’s work and is about to dole out his cut of the money when the door bursts open and this blonde chick comes walking in.  Yes, this is the blonde chick who is going to be buying the farm soon, and it’s all because she accidentally burst into Leland Palmer’s motel room.  By the way, the method with which Johnny chooses to make this interaction appear innocent in the eyes of this woman is a little silly.  See, as soon as the door opens, Leland Palmer pulls out his pistol and is ready to bust a cap, and then Johnny’s like, “Oh, come now, Leland Palmer, you’re gonna make the poor girl think this is real!”  I’m pretty sure this girl is not fooled into thinking that Johnny and Leland Palmer are working on a play, but whatever, Johnny had to think fast.  Anyway, later, as I already mentioned, Sexy Michael is walking on the beach when he sees this woman all dead and shit, being loaded up into an ambulance.  At first, he’s like, “Oh shit, it’s Jody!” but then Jody materializes behind him and is like, “Nah, that’s some other dead chick; unfortunately I am still alive.”  Then the camera sorta pans over to reveal Leland Palmer wearing a jogging suit and chewing on a toothpick as he watches the dead girl get loaded up.  Hmmm, does anyone else think it’s a bit cavalier for Leland Palmer to hang out in his jogging suit right next to the dead body that he made dead?  Perhaps he’s trying the hide-in-plain-sight method, or perhaps he likes the thrill of risking exposure, or perhaps he’s just so cool and calm and collected that he doesn’t care. 

                MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE ORIGINAL TWIN PEAKS SERIES HERE, but this whole business gave me a major whiff of Who-Killed-Laura-Palmer?  It’s actually kinda bizarre how similar it is, considering that series is still two years in the future and I’m sure David Lynch and Mark Frost weren’t ripping this off or anything, but think about it.  On Twin Peaks, Ray Wise plays a man who kills his own daughter, Laura Palmer, and she is blonde and looks pretty much like Jody and this dead chick, and her body washes ashore on the beach.  Well, that’s what’s happening right here.  I got this same weird feeling of strange similarities back in season four when Ciji was killed (and her body washed ashore) and then in season five when she came back as a new character, ala Laura Palmer coming back to Peaks as Maddy Ferguson.  This one is even more eerie, though, because the man doing the murder is the same exact actor.  END TWIN PEAKS SPOILERS.

                Okay, so that’s Johnny and Leland Palmer, but what about our other characters?  Gary and Val’s big blowout from last ep continues in this ep as they get ready to head to court.  Early in the ep, Val gets an order to appear before a judge.  You all know I love the small details of KL and this scene has to come to mind immediately.  One is the fact that we see the mailman leaving the letter for Val and we see Val come strolling out and telling him thanks.  She even uses his name (which I can’t remember) and it was that detail which I liked, cuz it tells us that this is her regular mailman and that the residents of the cul-de-sac know him well.  The second thing I liked is that Karen and Mack and Meg are hanging out on their driveway and they shout over at Val and ask if she wants to go to the zoo with them later.  Ugh, I love this, because I love anything that keeps the cul-de-sac atmosphere going strong.  As I said, I felt our last two seasons got too bogged down in other things like, cough, Hackney, and the focus shifted too far away from the cul-de-sac.  The series is at its best when we feel that neighborhood atmosphere, and a little scene like this, with the neighbors talking to each other about taking the kids out to the zoo, helps to keep that homey feeling going.

                Later, Karen and Val are talking in the kitchen, Karen wondering why she has been given an order to appear before a judge and give a deposition.  Val says that her lawyer says Gary has no legal right to the twins, but that anyone can file a lawsuit, which he did, and that it will most likely be thrown out without going to trial.  Then she and Karen walk into the other room and things get a little intense when Val says, “You never told Gary, did you?”  She is, of course, referring to the fact that Karen knows who’s sperm truly created those children, because Val told her way back in season five.  Karen assures her that she never told Gary anything, and then they argue a bit.  The scene concludes with Val saying, “Karen, you just can’t tell them, because I’m not going to, and if you don’t and I don’t, then no one will ever know.”  We can all tell by Karen’s face and her eyes that she is horrified at the idea of committing perjury, even for her best friend.  Karen is a woman of ethics and that’s why I love her, even when she’s having a hyperventilating fit.  I try to live my life with some sense of ethics and I admire the fact that Karen does the same.  Later, we get a phone conversation between Karen and Val in which Karen gets very serious and says, “I’m not going to lie; you’re not asking me to lie, are you?”  This is an intense scene, but I also got a little chuckle out of the way Val responds, which is, “Yes, I am” followed by a very abrupt “Bye bye,” that sounds a smidge too jolly for all the shit that’s going down.  This launches us into the final scene of the ep, in which Karen is answering the questions.  The question-asking guy (Prosecutor?  Judge?) asks her if Val ever told her the true father of the babies and Karen says yes, and then he asks, “Who did she name?”  This is worth noting, because I watched this ep twice, once with MBG and once with Brother, and both of them predicted that the ep would end without Karen giving an answer, that we would be left hanging until the next one to find out what she says.  In actuality, we hear Karen give the answer, and she tells the truth and says the father is Gary, and then we get our “Executive Producers” credits.  I could see why MBG and Brother thought the ep would leave us hanging, but I like this much better.  Ending without an answer would certainly provide impetus for the viewers to tune back in, but I think having her answer is the better choice and it actually gets me more excited for the next ep.  I have a strong feeling that all the other nighttime soaps would do it the other way, simply ending on Karen’s face as she silently wrestles with what to say.

                Meanwhile, we’re still getting to know the new neighbors on the block, the glorious Williams trio.  Now, before I get to talking about their material this ep, I fear I have to eat my words and take back some of the comments I made before about black people existing in the nighttime soaps.  See, in one of my previous essays I had an attack of Smug Liberal Douchery and went on this long rant about how only KL would have black people on their series while the other soaps ignored them.  But something has changed since then, and that is the fact that I am finally watching Dynasty (along with Brother).  So, we’ve been watching Dynasty, enjoying the trashy silliness, Bob Loblaw, and then we hit 1984 and we had not one, but two black characters added to the fact, Diahann Carroll and Lando Calrissian.  As soon as they showed up, Brother was like, “Ah hah!  You always say that KL was the first to have black people but here they are now!”  He’s absolutely right, because KL didn’t bring black people into the main fold until 1988, and here we are with some 1984 Dynasty and we’ve got two black people.  However, I want it noted that we’ve only just gotten started with that season, so I haven’t had time to see what these black people contribute to the series or how long they stick around.  Having become familiar with Dynasty’s completely trash qualities over the course of the last four seasons, I have a strong feeling that these black people will not exactly be the most progressive in their representation, just as I think the portrayal of Steven Carrington as a homosexual is abhorrent and I would probably be offended by it if the entire series wasn’t such complete tasteless trash.  I know I’m taking a detour here, but I want to note that I am thoroughly enjoying Dynasty but I am thoroughly enjoying it because it’s trash and because it knows it’s trash and so it just owns it and then throws glorious entertainment at us.  While I often call KL “trart” (trash-art), Dynasty is just-plain-trash, but I kinda love it for that reason.

                Anyway, let’s get back to the Williams family.  We first catch up with them as Frank stands in front of the window and glares and looks like a complete psychopath, an image I found endlessly amusing.  I already spoiled it and said they’re in the witness protection program, right?  So I know they’re in the witness protection program, and MBG called it immediately, but I still confess that if I had a new neighbor who just stood at his window and fucking glared like this, I would be nervous.  Frank looks really fucking scary here, and Pat is right to be like “Dude, take a chill pill.”  What she actually tells him is, “I’ll tell you what’s going to draw attention to us, and it’s you.”  More small details here, but I liked how Pat is folding towels during their conversation.  Again, it’s the shit like this that keeps the show feeling grounded; I’m pretty sure we never saw The Texas Ewings or The Denver Carringtons folding towels or doing any sort of laundry over on their series.  Later, Julie comes home from school all excited to show off her new class pictures, but Frank is not too happy about it.  He sits her down later and asks, “Why didn’t you tell us you were being photographed?”  Then Frank declares how he’s going to head down to the photographers to get the photos back and Pat tells him he’s being silly, to which he says, “Right next door is a government special prosecutor who would love a copy of her photograph.”  Later, we see Frank sneak into the photo lab or whatever and obtain the negatives, which he then burns in his fireplace.  Oh sigh, how very much I would love to have a working fireplace so that I could throw things into them. 

                I guess the last people worth discussing are Greg and Paige, who are going to prove to be a major focus of the later years of the show.  In this ep, Greg is at the art gallery Paige works at, looking at art or whatever, and he asks Paige to introduce him to some chick, and then later he dates the chick (while smoking a cigar, but I don’t have my notes with me so I don’t quite know where this brings us in The Sumner Cigar Counter).  Paige is upset, so she gets drunk and sleeps with Johnny, and that’s about it for this ep.  All this stuff is fine, well, and good, but I am just feeling lazy and don’t have too much to say about this storyline right now.

                Okay, so that was In Too Deep.  I thought it was pretty solid and I liked all the stuff with the Williams family and with Gary and Val and the big epic deposition stuff.  As usual, the bottom dweller storyline for this ep was Abs and Basil, and you can tell how much I cared becuase I didn't even bother to write about it.  I can’t wait for Basil to go away so that Abby can be given something interesting to do again.  With that said, let’s move right along to The Blushing Bride.