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Second verse, same as the first

Okay, I know, everybody does a Groundhog Day ep. But -- like Coreen watching Henry do his vampy thing (and was it my imagination, or did she actually get a smile out of him for that comment??) -- I just don't get tired of 'em. Mind you, nobody is EVER gonna top Xena nailing Joxer with her chakram and going back to sleep. Just not possible. But I digress.

I was actually suprised -- on reflection, pleasantly so -- by how tightly this was structured. My primary question going in was "How many different ways are they going to kill everyone?" Which would have been the obvious way to go, in a peril-fraught world in which our heroine has been branded her own walking Hellmouth. The time-loop device is an all-too-tempting excuse to pull out all the wild and crazy things you can't do in a normal episode without turning your universe inside-out. But once Vicki was latched onto the problem, of course she would never be distracted until it was solved. It was such a foregone conclusion that I, er, may actually literally have smacked myself in the forehead for thinking it could be otherwise. (But nobody saw me. There's no proof!)

I had to stifle a groan when I walked in the door last night to find hubby watching the last couple minutes, just in time to hear Vicki ask Mike how the date with Kate went. I deliberately tuned out the rest until I could watch the ep, so I was very relieved that the "date" was only a date in Vicki's stressed-out imagination. (And the utter lack of logic involved in the whole "lucky tie" hamster-wheel spinning in her brain was... well, apparently all her rational faculties were tied up in the case.) Having just commented in the discussion thread on phantomminuet's post last week that I was happy to see they didn't seem to be going there with the Mike-Kate partnership, I would have been pretty peeved if they had, in fact, promptly gone there. Seriously, Mike and Kate's professional relationship is quite complicated enough, TYVM! So I loved, loved, loved the slightly freaked "WTF??" tone of Kate's reaction to the notion of Mike asking her out. Vicki must be beyond relieved that all the mortifyingly embarrassing things she said as a result of that particular bizarre bugaboo of jealousy got wiped out for everyone else. And is probably still going to turn fourteen shades of red every time she thinks about it for some time to come.

Interesting -- and so very Vicki -- that she started the whole marathon fatigued, having instructed Coreen to limit her to a half-hour nap. Watching her get more so on each successive reset was outright painful; at one point I actually said out loud "Honey, if you do this too many more times, your brain is just going to disintegrate!"

And it's after all this is over, and we're back to playing for keeps...that they pick as the moment for her to choose to allow Henry to feed from her under non-emergency circumstances. *jawdrop* It makes sense for so many reasons: What she's just stated overtly, i.e. gratitude for his faith in her and for giving Mike back to her -- even though the Henry standing next to her didn't actually live that choice, she knows he would. That it's one of those rare moments where he's giving the charm and the arrogance a rest (contrasted with, say, "I don't need sexual advances. I am one." *eyeroll*), and just talking honestly, and when he finally asks it's so quiet and simple it's hard to even remember what a huge step it represents. And that she's just plain too exhausted to really care.

That last, and Henry's complete inability to keep his attention off her neck for most of the conversation, makes me think maybe he was hungrier than he was really letting on -- not desperate, but on the road to it. I'd be pretty annoyed with him if I thought otherwise, or if there had been any of his usual cockiness in the request, because Vicki's defenses were so completely shot (not to mention taking any amount of blood from someone that tired = not the wisest of ideas). As it is, I can't call it entirely fair, but with everything taken into consideration he deserves a pass. But I'm still watching you, buster.

One vital thing lost in the final reset: Henry's realization and acknowledgment of just how important to her Mike really is. With the reset, he's back to being able to say what he did in an earlier loop, to the effect of "good for him for moving on, maybe you should give it a try." What he learned in the penultimate loop is that she...really can't do that. Sooner or later, he's going to have to learn it again.

Poor Mike. He must think Vicki's finally gone completely round the bend. But was there anything cuter than that hug, EVER?

Love the last "waking-up" scene, with one irritating exception: I understand the need to have it be plausible for Vicki to be half afraid she's reset again. It's tradition, after all. But of all people, Coreen wearing the same outfit two days in a row??? Knocked me right out of the scene, I kid you not. I'd chalk it up to her pulling an all-nighter obsessively researching something, except for the part where it's evening. *sigh* Maybe she just napped in the office too...

Once again, no promo for next week. Clearly Lifetime doesn't love me. *pout*

[xposted to bloodties_tv]

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
maiac
Oct. 31st, 2007 10:07 pm (UTC)
This is a terrific recap of the episode. When the show began, I was afraid that the plots would be silly even though the writers totally nailed the characters and Tanya's witty dialogue. But this episode shows how well they're handling storyling and character development.
wiliqueen
Nov. 1st, 2007 02:48 pm (UTC)
I've been pretty consistently impressed by their inventiveness in finding new spins on the MOWs. Not easy these days! And the character stuff, which is what I'm really in it for, is just a continual delight.

It's so nice to fall in love with a show where that's actually happening on purpose, driven by Them What's In Charge. With so many of my other favorites, it's mostly come from what the actors brought to it in spite of indifference at the top.
studiesinlight
Dec. 8th, 2007 10:28 pm (UTC)
Catching up on BT: "5:55"
>"Vicki must be beyond relieved that all the mortifyingly embarrassing things she said..."

Oh, yes. And there's a fic game: five things only Vicki remembers, which insist on popping into her brain at the most inappropriate times and convulsing her with embarrassment.

>"Poor Mike. He must think Vicki's finally gone completely round the bend. But was there anything cuter than that hug, EVER?"

She needed that hug so very much. I'm glad he was in a position to give it to her right then.

I think that Vicki, being prickly about her independence and fierce (if not feisty ~g~), doesn't get her RDA of hugs. I think that she is just not a huggy person, and doesn't have many opportunities even if she were. But she needed that reassurance all the way down to body heat and the press of bones.

>"Maybe she just napped in the office too..."

Worried about crazy overtired Vicki, Coreen was unwilling to leave Vicki alone just yet if Vicki wasn't even going to make it home to her own bed? Bouncy energetic teenager up for anything not minding being awake too long?

>"One vital thing lost in the final reset: Henry's realization and acknowledgment of just how important to her Mike really is."

I keep thinking about that loop's lessons.

On one hand, Henry says, "You'd die for him," and then lets her have Pandora's Box -- lets her kill them both and destroy the world, knowing only that she believes -- no proof -- she'll get another chance for them all. I don't think Mike would have done the same thing. I don't have a firm enough grasp on canon yet to be sure, but I think that if it had been Mike holding the Evil Box, he would not have let Vicki destroy the world to save Henry -- not because he dislikes Henry, though he pretty much does, but because Vicki's confidence that the day would repeat one more time is based in nothing he understands, and . . . Henry let her kill herself (and the world). I just don't think Mike would have. I think Mike would have made her live. Good, bad? I don't know. Different. You won. You don't get to call "do over" when you win. What if you try, and are overruled?

Henry -- immortal, undying -- is very impressed by someone being willing to die for someone, and by the value of a life. Here in "5:55," where he gives her the box on the realization that she'd die for Mike (even though she thinks she'll be back, she's said that she feels the dying and it's horrific), and also in "Bugged," which (if I've got the titles right) is the most recent I've seen, where he tells Mike that "Vicki trusts you with her life" and that's "good enough for" him (I would have been more impressed if he had said: "Vicki trusts you wish her life. So I'm trusting you with her life, too." But that's for another post.).

I'm sure there's a lot more to that scene that I'm not pulling out at the moment. One thing, though, is that I increasingly think that while Vicki would choose vampirism over death should it come to that -- which is no big thing in this universe given Henry's clear philosophy of vampirism, as it would be in other universes -- she's really a contradiction, as she's very death-averse and willing to deal with vampirism or demons or whatever it takes to stay alive and keep her people alive, while on the other hand she's a full-speed-ahead risk taker, plunging into extremely, unnecessarily perilous situations, one of which will surely eventually call for that decision.

>"that they pick as the moment for her to choose to allow Henry to feed from her under non-emergency circumstances. *jawdrop*"

Yeah. Don't know quite what to do with that. So far, I've come up with that it ties into the earlier banter in the episode about him not knowing much about dating except for their sex-free relationship, and that in addition to coming at a moment when she's exhausted and he's ravenous, it comes after the adrenalin high of almost getting killed and successfully saving the world, each other and Mike. Sex after almost dying is a convention . . . ?

Edited at 2007-12-08 10:32 pm (UTC)
wiliqueen
Dec. 9th, 2007 03:02 am (UTC)
Re: Catching up on BT: "5:55"
And there's a fic game: five things only Vicki remembers, which insist on popping into her brain at the most inappropriate times and convulsing her with embarrassment.

*chortle*

but because Vicki's confidence that the day would repeat one more time is based in nothing he understands, and . . . Henry let her kill herself (and the world). I just don't think Mike would have. I think Mike would have made her live. Good, bad? I don't know. Different.

ITA, on all counts.

she's very death-averse and willing to deal with vampirism or demons or whatever it takes to stay alive and keep her people alive, while on the other hand she's a full-speed-ahead risk taker, plunging into extremely, unnecessarily perilous situations, one of which will surely eventually call for that decision.

Yes to the nth. I know I've read/heard at least one interview where Peter Mohan intimated that "where the books end up isn't something we're going to deal with" because it would implode the structure of the show, and I assume that's what he's talking about. But it is a pretty foregone conclusion, at least looking at her from outside. If you asked her before she was actually at the crisis point, I'm not sure what answer you'd get, of course. But there's no question in my mind of the outcome, and there wouldn't be even if I knew nothing of the books.

it comes after the adrenalin high of almost getting killed and successfully saving the world, each other and Mike. Sex after almost dying is a convention . . . ?

True. There was a big split in discussion over whether it was particularly sexual; I'm on the fence m'self. There was a bit of undercurrent in the lines about trust being stimulating, but overall I still felt there was at least an attempt on his part to keep it uncomplicated.
wiliqueen
Dec. 9th, 2007 03:47 am (UTC)
Crazy overtired Vicki
Missed this in the other reply...

Worried about crazy overtired Vicki, Coreen was unwilling to leave Vicki alone just yet if Vicki wasn't even going to make it home to her own bed?

Or even pull it out of the couch she's on. She's already home. Took me a little while to figure that out. For a while I thought she had a bedroom with the same wallpaper, but she just has the hide-a-bed in her office. Which we saw in the incubus ep, both in the earlier dream sequence (I had to go back and check it to see the arm of the couch next to her) and when they set the trap.

I later found out they made that choice because they had neither money nor space for another standing set, but the result is interesting character-wise.
studiesinlight
Dec. 8th, 2007 11:44 pm (UTC)
on Henry's attractiveness and lack thereof
As another note, I haven't mentioned yet that I'm finding Henry less and less attractive (romantically) with every episode. Not that he ever blew me away, personally, and not that he's not a great character to have around for other purposes, but Vicki's romantic attraction to him is becoming less comprehensible to me, instead of more.

She knows he's not rooting for monogamy. She's been warned that these things usually end very badly. His arrogance about his own attractiveness is either disgusting or adorable, in a puppy-like, little-brother way. He's not really courting her. They don't seem to share anything besides the Hellmouthy things.

So does she just want a fling? Even so . . . Is there a particular scene I should re-watch? Some jaw-dropping, oh-my-goodness-now-I-see moment? (I happily watched Angel for years without thinking the lead was romantically attractive, until someone showed me some BVS episodes I'd missed, and then boy, did I ever Get It. Context can be all.)
wiliqueen
Dec. 9th, 2007 03:35 am (UTC)
Re: on Henry's attractiveness and lack thereof
I can't point to anything specific like you're asking for, but oddly, I do find Vicki's attraction to him more comprehensible as we go along. Couldn't begin to explain why, but at some point I did stop blaming it mostly on her self-destructive streak.

I'm not sure that "she just wants a fling" is exactly accurate, but it's probably in the ballpark, at least in an attempt to consider it aside from her (recently less insistent) insistence to herself that she doesn't want anything from him romantically.

There's an interesting contradiction going on, in that he's both accepting of her recklessness and determined to protect her, that I think figures into the mix somewhere.

There's also a lot of it that I think comes from his fixed focus on her. For all that she mocks him about "snacking on a different girl in his bed every night," she does recognize that he made a big emotional investment in her pretty much right off the bat (which seems to be something that comes naturally to him, and of course not at all to her). That's a tough thing not to be impacted by unless you really have zero attraction to the person.
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