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This one's going to need a rewatch

With a lot of story to fit into not all that many episodes, the BH writers have always employed some very economical storytelling. The kind you can't get away with if you don't assume your audience is bright enough to keep up with you, which is something I was appreciating about the show before I really processed that I was appreciating it.

This ep, while it has a lot to love, is the first time I've experienced some real cognitive dissonance.

There are a couple reasons, the main one being Josie. It's serendipitous that I hit this ep just after a cool discussion with diannelamerc, who pointed out that Mitchell's uncharacteristic awkwardness with Lucy makes sense in light of the likelihood that his experience of honest-to-goodness, there's-a-whole-wonky-process-to-this dating is extremely limited. Which I agreed with, and which led me to the realization that he also doesn't know what to do with Lucy in particular because she's so unmistakably a grownup.

Granted, the women we've previously seen him easily connect with, Lauren and Becca, were set up as flip sides of a coin for dramatic reasons. But the fact remains that both had very definite vestiges of teenagerness about them. (Completely aside from Lauren's behavior as a vampire, just look at her bedroom!) Then, later in the season, there's the reminiscence with Josie, painting a vivid and charming picture of a flustered girl trying to light the wrong end of a cigarette, which fits right in with the pattern.

So now I'm trying to figure out how to reconcile that image with the Josie we meet in these flashbacks. Who is very young, yes, but also very self-possessed. I can imagine the S1 conversation as describing their first actual date, casting a whole different light on "You made me so nervous!" But I'm also almost positive she said "The first time I saw you." (Yes, I will be going back to check.) *sigh* I'll make it jell, but it's taking more work than I'd prefer, when their continuity is usually so elegant. They know this is a critically important person in Mitchell's life; they've made her so on purpose. They should know that what they already told us about her made an impression.

And, well, he's not sure how to date a grownup, but he sure as hell knows how to show up on her doorstep and beg her to fix him. *headdesk* (What was it Ivan said? "It makes children of us all." I do not like Ivan. I'm getting tired of his being right.) Yeah, because pinning all this on one other person is the "right conditions!" What does that even mean? *shake*rattle*repeat* And why the FUCK did you not go home to the people who know what you are and... well, enough of what you've done, and who've demonstrated time and again that they love you anyway? Because you stormed out on an argument? Big fat hairy deal! Arrrrgggh. "Right conditions." What are your FRIENDS, dipshit, chopped liver? Or do you think the magic ingredient is a human? Because holy hell is there absolutely no way that can end well.

*deep breath*

I'm not surprised -- or even particularly shocked -- that he killed the dirty cop. Hell, they made the guy such a moral vacuum, I'm having trouble being sorry, except for the damage Mitchell has done to himself by it. Which is just skin-crawlingly icky and diabolical, because no, nobody deserves to die like that, and that should be a given.

More than the only-bad-choices Michael Corleone thing, I'm fascinated by how Mitchell's being forced to confront how incredibly privileged he's been -- not just in general, but relative to other vampires. (Also interesting in that what little we know of his mortal background indicates that it was anything but privileged.) Daisy sparked it with her challenge in the church, and now he can't help seeing it everywhere. All the things he's taken for granted for so long, how the crown prince was encouraged to do whatever he damn well pleased while others did the invisible work to clean it up. He never gave any thought to how any of that happened (barring, apparently, the flashback incident of coloring outside the lines, and how impressed am I that Herrick gave him an hour to get that flat in order and he did?); now he has to be the one to either make it happen or rewrite reality so it doesn't have to.

Given that, I'm frankly amazed that he can still string a sentence together. But Lucy was still the wrong place to go, completely aside from the complications he's still unaware of.

Back on the cognitive dissonance front... I feel like I'm missing a handful of puzzle pieces with George. Do the other two know he locked himself in the cage sobbing? Do they know why? He said something to Sam about not being able to make a go of the language school job -- did he quit? I mean, it would make sense, but it's not all that clear. And if he is out of a job, again, do Annie and Mitchell know? Any of the above would be valid objections to his proposal about Sam moving in, but they're not mentioned. So is George jumping on the secret-keeping bandwagon, or were the others just too taken aback to come up with sensible points? I'm inclined to think the former, if only because Mitchell repeatedly frames his concerns solely in the context of Nina's departure, which I don't think he would do if he were aware of the other shit going down.

Sam and Molly are, of course, the most delightful thing ever. And I adore Sam beyond words for going from deer-in-headlights-what-have-I-gotten-myself-into-with-this-guy to "Hey, stay over tonight, because, see, that is appropriate at this juncture," and getting George to sync up with her at a sane velocity. It would be nice to see that last, but, well.

And then there's Annie, whose subplot with the baby doesn't quite hang right for me, and I can't put my finger on why. It makes sense for her to be ambivalent about the whole thing -- we know she very much wanted a family with Owen, but that's tainted by, y'know, Owen. She's been questioning whether she's capable of good relationship choices at all. Then bam, Flaky Ghost Mum turns up, drops off, and flits away before Annie is entirely sure what just happened. And then there's a day and a half with the CUTEST BABY IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE OMG, and adorably dramatic spooky-story rendition from Annie, and the boys both being absolute goobers and making me grin like a gorpy grinning thing. And Annie's pendulum swings between possessiveness of "Tim" and girl-bonding with FGM are, well, very Annie. And yet, with all that, it feels... like it doesn't hang together quite right. I dunno.

Definitely going to need a rewatch.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
maidm
Mar. 11th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC)
More of Marion's silly and non-plot relevant observations, but how cute did Mitchell look in the flashback? He looked all clean and lovely! I know they have to make look run-down in the show, but he would be so much prettier if he washed his hair!
wiliqueen
Mar. 12th, 2010 12:56 am (UTC)
As long as he doesn't part it hard in the center like that. And beat the curl out of it. That was unfortunate.

Shaving was a nice change, though poor Aidan seems to be in the same boat with my hubby, who gets, like, 10 am shadow.

If you want pretty Aidan, you need Desperate Romantics. Gabriel totally makes up for Mitchell's vanity deficit, with bonus early Victorian.
wiliqueen
Mar. 12th, 2010 11:31 pm (UTC)
thanatos_kalos
Mar. 12th, 2010 12:24 am (UTC)
I felt much the same about some of the points-- Annie and the baby didn't work for at all, apart from allowign George to express his desire for parenthood. It felt...oddly stereotyped-- 'we have plots for Mitchell and George, what do we do with Annie for the ep? Hey, she's a girl, we'll do the whole "mom" thing!' And given how they've skirted the stereotypes-- George in s1 was dangerously close to 'whiny Jewish boy' but they let him grow enough-- and how their the double-layered Othering (it's a proper term if I say it is!) works (the 'monster' type reflects some of the Othering; i.e., the werewolf represents the 'savagery' of the Jews in some anti-Semitic stuff, the Irishman is a 'parasite' and the black woman disappears) I was actually pretty disappointed with that.

I can see Josie in both contexts easily enough, mostly because we don't see exactly how their relationship grows from 2.5 to where we see it in 1. Though it's interesting that she asks Mitchell to be the one to kill her here, and then asks/allows him to kill her in 1.6.

I'm assuming they don't know about George's reaction. I don't think he'd be able to tell them, it's too...personal, that loss of control. Plus he knows something's up with Mitchell and...well, there's stuff which comes in later eps that will explain some of your questions.

I do not like Ivan.

I love Ivan. You'll understand why soon.
wiliqueen
Mar. 12th, 2010 12:49 am (UTC)
It felt...oddly stereotyped-- 'we have plots for Mitchell and George, what do we do with Annie for the ep? Hey, she's a girl, we'll do the whole "mom" thing!'

Hmmm. It actually doesn't bother me on that level, because I've always felt that they've subverted that stereotype with her. I actually quite like that she triumphed over the most negative expression of traditional women's roles without having to entirely reject being traditionally feminine, which is the standard trajectory there.

And given that, the fact that she did explicitly want a family -- remember that her most out-of-control moment of fury with Owen was "It was GOING to be the nursery!" -- I don't have a problem with life (or rather Sykes) sending the issue bobbing back up at her. It's just something about the execution that feels wonky to me.

I can see Josie in both contexts easily enough,

Oh, I can totally see her as the same person we met last season. That dovetails beautifully. It's the circumstances of their meeting that present the hiccup. And like I said, I can handwave it. I'm just not used to having to with thise show. :-)

I'm now more curious than ever about who left whom, and why. It must have been on pretty good terms, since there wasn't even a whiff of rancor in the reunion.

I don't think he'd be able to tell them, it's too...personal, that loss of control.

True. Even though they did know he was having issues that could end up there... and he suddenly isn't so much.

I love Ivan. You'll understand why soon.

I am entertained by Ivan. He's going to have to do something pretty impressive to earn more than that. :-)
thanatos_kalos
Mar. 12th, 2010 11:47 am (UTC)
'm now more curious than ever about who left whom, and why. It must have been on pretty good terms, since there wasn't even a whiff of rancor in the reunion.

Josie got a job singing with a new band, the pussycats, and went on tour?

I don't think he'd be able to tell them, it's too...personal, that loss of control.

True. Even though they did know he was having issues that could end up there... and he suddenly isn't so much.


They might also misinterpret it as goign too fast with Sam, maybe. Though you'll see moer when you get ther.

I love Ivan. You'll understand why soon.

I am entertained by Ivan. He's going to have to do something pretty impressive to earn more than that. :-)


Ep 2.7. :)
wiliqueen
Mar. 12th, 2010 02:08 pm (UTC)
Josie got a job singing with a new band, the pussycats, and went on tour?

You think being 3800 miles away makes you safe, don't you? :-P

(Speaking of which, could I prevail on you to send your snail addy? Maybe I'll actually manage to send that Yule gift from ~5 years ago to this one...)

Ep 2.7. :)

Shush. Right now I'm enjoying disliking him. :-)

Edited at 2010-03-12 02:11 pm (UTC)
thanatos_kalos
Mar. 12th, 2010 03:55 pm (UTC)
Josie got a job singing with a new band, the pussycats, and went on tour?

You think being 3800 miles away makes you safe, don't you? :-P


Clearly not from the madness. Also, given that BH are moving prduction here... ;P

(Speaking of which, could I prevail on you to send your snail addy? Maybe I'll actually manage to send that Yule gift from ~5 years ago to this one...)

::g:: I'll email it to you. :)

Ep 2.7. :)

Shush. Right now I'm enjoying disliking him. :-)


;)
wiliqueen
Mar. 12th, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)
Clearly not from the madness.

Or from Madness. ;->

Meddle not in the affair of Horsechicks, for you have brain cells that are fun to make go *pop*.
thanatos_kalos
Mar. 12th, 2010 04:15 pm (UTC)
Clearly not from the madness.

Or from Madness. ;->


the sad thing there is that I thought you meant the New Wave band... ;P

Meddle not in the affair of Horsechicks, for you have brain cells that are fun to make go *pop*.

If you can find ANY brain cells in here that have not already GONE *pop* I'd be amazed! ;)
thanatos_kalos
Mar. 12th, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC)
oh-- now I think on it, I got the ep wrong-- I think it's end of 2.6 where the 'I-wuv-Ivan' thing happens. Can't recall exactly, btu, well, you'll know it when you see it. :)
sabaceanbabe
Mar. 12th, 2010 02:35 am (UTC)
I didn't like Ivan at first, but he grows on you. ;)

There was a lot that I loved in this episode and a lot that, well, I just didn't. Too many "wait, what?" moments. It was... uneven. And I kept getting distracted by Mitchell's flashback hair. :P But I think, having seen the whole season as it aired (more or less) that this ep may fare better in rewatch, especially if I just take a weekend and watch them all back to back.
wiliqueen
Mar. 12th, 2010 02:54 am (UTC)
I didn't like Ivan at first, but he grows on you. ;)

Like a fungus? ;->

One thing I've failed to mention is that we haven't seen him and Daisy together since the first ep. They've been taking turns, and then neither of them was in this one. At some point I'm going to have to rewatch just with an eye on that pattern and how it influences Mitchell.

The flashback hair was so very unfortunate. At least the suit was cute.
studiesinlight
Aug. 4th, 2010 08:49 pm (UTC)
BH S2 E5 - things begin to come together? or not
>"What was it Ivan said? "It makes children of us all." I do not like Ivan. I'm getting tired of his being right."

He's the only one who keeps being right this season (so far). It makes me take him seriously, and want him on my side, for all that he is evil and dangerous by all indications. As you've pointed out, however, he already told Mitchell in so many words that he is here for the fun of things falling apart. It's not like he didn't give fair warning.

I complained in my own LJ that Mitchell here in the fifth episode suddenly sounds like the soundtrack to a particularly immature "true love conquers all, including vampirism" romance ("save me! I can't do it for myself, but I'll do it for you!" ~gag~), so I won't revisit that. But this is the place to note that the plot early in the season with The Vampire Whose Name I've Forgotten Who Killed His Partner clicks in as foreshadowing. No wonder Mitchell believes that it takes True Love (from a human). It's the only way he's seen it done!

Too bad.

The concept that the blood here is less an ordinary addiction than a kind of Lethe water, numbing away and burying past atrocities, is very nicely different from most vampire universes, and, I must admit, supports the need for someone to hold the vampire's hand through confronting those memories more than the usual withdrawal construction. But I don't see why it couldn't be a true friend as much as a lover. Or a werewolf or a ghost as much as a human.

And Mitchell needs to build backsliding into his little twelve-step group not only for himself and Ivan and for any hope of maintaining authority, but because it happens. In real life. It just does. Some people screw up and have to start again. Some people have false starts, but are willing to try again. He didn't do his research.

Regarding "Tim" and his mum... there has to be something more there, something about a ghost community, right? Because she said that Sykes was bragging about Annie, and she herself had a date. One way or another, the stuff with the doors and electronic devices and beings who want to drag Annie to the other side -- that's all coming back before the season ends, I'm sure. How it connects with Generic Theist Evil Humans is still beyond my grasp, but surely it must converge somehow. (I'm a little surprised that the dirty cop did not converge at all before his end.)
wiliqueen
Aug. 5th, 2010 12:41 am (UTC)
Re: BH S2 E5 - things begin to come together? or not
As you've pointed out, however, he already told Mitchell in so many words that he is here for the fun of things falling apart.

True. Of course, this is the point at which I started to not believe him. Or at least to think that had ceased to be his objective. Perhaps that's what happens when Mr. Globetrotting-I-Don't-Feel-Or-Care-About-Anything stays in one place long enough to (re?) solidify what is evidently a sincere (if rather weird) friendship and get embroiled in the friend's concerns.

And oh, you're so right about Carl! I can't believe that didn't occur to me. I've noted (in a later post) that Mitchell didn't have a chance to process the lesson of Carl and Dan's tragedy, that the line between control and catastrophe is just as fine when there isn't a crisis. But of course you're right, that he did process the lesson of their relationship, except he didn't register it quite right. And of course seeing them together, and seeing Carl's success, would connect in his head with whatever success he had while he was with Josie.

The fact that both stories ended in failure, of course, is ignored by his desperate little brain. *sigh*

But I don't see why it couldn't be a true friend as much as a lover. Or a werewolf or a ghost as much as a human.

Nor do I. Though I lend a lot of credence to thanatos_kalos' perspective, that they're the ones he's too bone-deep terrified of scaring off.

Some people screw up and have to start again. Some people have false starts, but are willing to try again. He didn't do his research.

And he is his research! It's so weird that he's so stuck on the "failure is not an option" thing when he's failed and started over repeatedly. But stuck he is.

there has to be something more there, something about a ghost community, right?

It's so strange to me that Annie doesn't pursue that more, especially as the boys are increasingly preoccupied with their own outside interests. Then again, her luck with meeting new people has sucked pretty royally lately -- Saul nearly turned her over to the gatekeepers, Hugh can't see or hear her anymore, and Sykes is apparently adamantly opposed to getting too close to anyone. I'm not sure I can blame her for not seeking out social opportunities, even as circumstances are making her aware that they exist.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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