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Coming Around Again

Apparently Citytv pulled an unexpected scheduling scramble, so "We'll Meet Again" has now aired in Canada. (What is it with those last two eps? It's like some sort of weird loyalty test!)

First, a confession: I caved and went the iTunes-via-Firefox-News route, so it's actually been a few weeks since I saw it. I thought about rewatching before I posted, but I just have too much going on right now to carve out another 43 minutes for something I've already watched.

Second confession: I'd probably rewatch it anyway, and stay up later to write this, but I'm a little bit "meh" about it. I've been trying to figure out why, and not coming up with anything.

Not so much the character arc stuff, which is messy and uncomfortable but certainly not uninteresting. But the plot just...didn't do it for me. It may be that I'm simply doomed to be "meh" about reincarnation stories in general. I've never been overly enamored of them anyway. And I think maybe the shorthanding -- an acknowledgment that the trope has been done, and attempt to get beyond it to the meat of what they specifically wanted to say with it? -- went a little too far, with the skipping right over any doubt or confusion on the lovers' parts. It should have been an interesting variation that they knew immediately who they were from life to life, and didn't waste any time thinking they were crazy or whatever, but it just ended up feeling too neat somehow.

Ditto the immediate acceptance from Henry, and near-immediate acceptance from Vicki, that what Lee was telling them was true and he wasn't leaving anything out. And yet intellectually I get it. With Henry it tracks with the ep's emphasis -- which certainly doesn't contradict anything we already knew of him! -- on his being a big ol' romantic at heart, in spite of everything. And Vicki trusting his judgment and instincts on it also makes sense. So why was I sitting there squirming and going "But... but..." and not having anything to put after the "but"? No idea, but it just wouldn't go away.

It may simply have been a subtle early indication that Lee, for all his sincerity, was going about this all wrong, and/or for the wrong reasons. As I think about it, I was paradoxically more on board with it the more that became apparent. Maybe I just don't know how to deal with finding myself reacting more cynically than Vicki! %-} But then, I have well-documented issues with the whole construct of "soulmates"/One True Love... (Yes, those of you who were at my wedding and witnessed the substitution of "From this life to the next" for "Till death do us part" -- due to my gut-level loathing for the latter -- may feel free to point and laugh. It's the Ultimate-Goal-Everyone-Must-Have-To-Be-Complete-ness of it, and the idealization of one person being your ENTIRE reason for living, that I object to. But you're all tired of me beating that drum by now.) The fine line between love and obsession, the question of whether love really conquers all, whether that means what people think it does, and whether Sacrificing Everything For Love really is worth it at the end of the day, at what point do "teenage hormones" stop being sufficient explanation for doing Seriously Stupid Shit... Lots of Great Big Questions are necessarily invoked, but barely asked let alone answered. Which I would ordinarily consider a good thing, as I love being left with more questions than answers once in a while. But I'm still... unsettled and unsatisfied. And I'll stop saying that now.

Maybe it's simply that it reads to me as too transparent a vehicle for forcing Vicki and Henry to address things hanging between them that they were pretty steadfastly not addressing. The fact that they do so in a weird sort of code, couched always in terms of making pronouncements about Lee and Helen's predicament, is interesting, but not half as much so as the fact that their decoding keeps being faulty. Case in point: The exchange about recognizing when you need to let go. Which Henry reads as being told he should let go of her. Which makes me want to dopesmack him until his brain rattles in his undead skull, because she means exactly the reverse: Every signal he's sent since "Wrapped" says that he doesn't see her the same way anymore, and in fact that he resents continuing to be attached to her. She's saying that she needs to accept that, accept that things aren't going to be the same, stop drawing on his obligation to her (previous ep: "I can't keep doing this." -- "Neither can I.") and let him go. That's just one example, and the whole slow train wreck of talking past each other is beautifully and really rather insidiously constructed.

Also in the "seemingly off until you know what's going on behind it" category is Henry's apparent lack of tension with Vicki at the beginning. There's a casualness in that first visit with Lee that made me go "Wait, huh??? What the hell did we miss?" And then we meet Augustus, and suddenly it becomes clear: Henry can be all smiles and repartee -- put on a face that more closely resembles the very beginning of their association than anything else -- because he's already made the decision to leave. With that resolved in his head, his control of what he shows to people is more solid than it's been in weeks. And it's... um, kinda wiggy, actually. I'm way more comfortable with cranky!Henry later on, even in the middle of wanting to dopesmack him. At least that's honest.

The other interesting thing going on with him, in siding so completely with Lee, is an underlining of the extent to which love, sex and marriage exist in overlapping but decidedly independent spheres on Planet Fitzroy. Which, really, is true in general -- it's just that our society defaults to overlapping them as completely as possible, and holds this as the morally correct model. But Henry, in making a case that the "soulmate" thing could trump Helen's marriage, is true to both his background and the way that he conducts his own love life in the face of certain necessities. I understand Vicki being indignant about it, but she shouldn't have been surprised.

LOVE Augustus. Partly because, dude, it's Blu!! But he's also just such a neat mix of competence, a little snobbery, and complete lack of hesitation to look Henry in the eye and tell him exactly what he thinks. The family line entrusted with "keeping the peace" opens up all sorts of cool questions. Who started it? Why that particular person? How on earth did they get presumably dozens of vampires to sign on to the arrangement, and how much of a mess was it at the outset? All underlying one comfortable conversation between old friends over a glass of wine. Score.

Also, anyone who throws a knife by way of greeting? Automatic cool points right there, baby.

The running gag of Coreen getting weepy over the oh-so-romantic situation cracks me up. And good girl, doing exactly the right thing when Lee pulled the knife on her and demanded her wallet. I don't know if I could have done it, faced with someone holding a knife way out at arm's length like that, and he would no doubt have proven not nearly as inept as he looked right that second. There's no telling whether he would really have gone through with hurting her or not, but he was WAY too unpredictable and it wasn't worth testing. Somebody remembers the basic self-defense lecture everyone gets during freshman orientation, and good for her.

Through all this, it's Mike's turn to be the one with his head screwed on straight. By no means has he resolved all his questions about where the hell to draw the line with Vicki and how to hold it, but he's looking at things a whole lot more squarely than pretty much anyone else in sight, and it's serving him well. The scene with Lee, with the whole beautiful story about that girl at the academy that he couldn't even talk to and how it turned out great for a while but that's never the end of it, is just... damn. Just for a few minutes there, everything felt pointed and connected and on.

Hmmmm. Now that I've written all this out, it sounds all interesting and makes me want to watch it again. %-}

And then there was one. :-/

[xposted to bloodties_tv]

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Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
kevenn
Jan. 10th, 2008 12:12 pm (UTC)
I watched this episode on Lifetime.com a coupla' weeks ago and liked it. I still need to watch the last one.
kevenn
Jan. 10th, 2008 03:11 pm (UTC)
HOLY CRAP!!! Look at the article just posted by Kristen @ E!

http://www.eonline.com/gossip/kristin/detail/index.jsp?uuid=f4893417-244d-461a-8b48-c5e6817daf56

(And check out the poll at the bottom of the article too!)

Edited at 2008-01-10 06:11 pm (UTC)
wiliqueen
Jan. 10th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
Yup, that got posted on the comm earlier today.

I'm still in a mode of taking all news as neutral short of a reliable announcement that Kaleidoscope is going ahead. My sanity can't take anything else. But it was still nice to see. :-)
abstract_truth
Jan. 10th, 2008 12:39 pm (UTC)
Wandered Over from Bloodties_TV
Also, anyone who throws a knife by way of greeting? Automatic cool points right there, baby.

This made the entire episode for me!

Based on the mutual fondness for music, vampires, and project runway...mind if I friend you?
wiliqueen
Jan. 10th, 2008 12:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Wandered Over from Bloodties_TV
Absolutely I don't mind! Don't be offended if I don't reciprocate right away, though -- I was just thinking I need to prune because I'm starting to have trouble keeping up again, so it's really not the time to add...

Nice to "meet" you! :-)

Edited at 2008-01-10 03:58 pm (UTC)
studiesinlight
Jan. 11th, 2008 04:35 am (UTC)
I wanted to let you know that I read your "We'll Meet Again" post tonight. It's been a week of excessively long workdays, though, so I have insufficient brain for responding. I will get back to you! In brief, I hadn't imagined I would want to rewatch that one for anything but Augustus, but your post hooked me on some other points ... it was a better constructed episode in retrospect than it felt the first time through.
wiliqueen
Jan. 11th, 2008 10:24 am (UTC)
*chuckle* I did the same thing to myself, curiously enough. One of the reasons I've been putting off the post is that I was so very "meh" about the episode! Then by the time I finished typing all that up (and then going back and editing to add some points I had forgotten!), I wanted to watch it again, but it was 10:45 and the need for a prudent sleep schedule prevailed.

Much sympathy on the long hours! It seems like every industry has its turn-of-the-year craziness.

Edited at 2008-01-11 01:27 pm (UTC)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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