|A Lie Agreed Upon, part 2
||[Mar. 14th, 2005|10:59 am]
I posted some thoughts (okay, mostly squeeful bouncing) in my journal about last night's episode. I'm reposting them here - please forgive the crossposting if you see this both places.|
Wow. I should have had faith in this show. Now that it's been restored, and I won't be harshing anyone's immediate buzz, I'll say that I wasn't so sure, after last week's setup, whether I could get on board with what had become of Seth over the missing six months, and I have to admit I was kind of with Al in thinking he needed to get some sense knocked into him.
This was exacerbated by the fact that the writing and directing in last week's episode were not really working for me in a lot of ways. I felt like starting the episode with tension between Seth and Al already ratcheted so high, after where they'd left things at the end of season 1, presented pacing problems. I wanted more show and less tell for why Al was so disgusted with him, and I felt like the debacle at the No. 10 didn't really cover showing me that Seth was fucking up. Several of the scenes felt awkward and stiff, and even if that was intentional, it wasn't working all that well for me. Jane's appearance was sort of funny, but it was pie-in-the-face funny, instead of razor-cut funny, and I felt like they'd tried to crowd all the characters in while letting Ian McShane rampage all over the set, chewing up scenery and characters alike and taking time away from characters I wanted to spend more time with. There was good stuff in there, and I loved the Cy/Joanie parts whole-heartedly, but the episode as a whole was not destined to become one of my favorites.
(Let me just add here, because I realize it may not be clear -- I adore Seth. Seth is my raison d'viewing. When I say he needs to get the crap kicked out of him, or he's fucking up, it's said with adoration and love.)
This episode? Rocked. First, Trixie. Oh, my god, Trixie. Her spitting-mad disgust with Seth was so much more effective at communicating to me how far down the hole he'd gotten himself, and how much damage he's been doing while he's been digging. I love everything about Trixie in this episode, from the way she never leaves Sol's side (while Seth barely can make himself look at him), the way she rages at Seth and then at Sol, her sharp little tongue, and the way she still goes to Sol when she knows Seth's about to get himself killed, even after what happened the first time. How much did I love her just standing there with that rifle trained from across the street? I think it was an open question whether she'd shoot Seth, Al, or both of them, and I loved her pragmatism in giving Sol the six-shooter. Her muttered "Self-deluding interfering motherfucker," to no one in particular, made me laugh out loud :-D :-D
Next, Sol. Sol!! This is the first time in way too long that we've gotten to see him act as Seth's conscience, and not only is he utterly adorable smashed out of his mind, but I think I whooped when he finally told Seth off. I also may have gotten a tiny bit choked up when Trixie put her hand on his chest and he laid his hand over hers. "The type that insinuates himself." And on top of all my wholehearted love for His Adorableness, how slashy was this episode?? Jeez, I don't think I could have asked for much more subtext, and every bit of it made me squee and wriggle with delight. Seth going to Sol from his meeting with Alma, and stumbling around in such a mess, trying to say what he's never been able to say, unable to look at Sol when he finally says it. And Sol telling him he doesn't get to walk away, after "what we've built and been through," and looking him in the eye and telling him to grow the fuck up. "I'm sick of knowing, and you not saying." *dies* The way he says Seth's name, like a weapon, but it comes out all breathless. Oh, the ouch! "I like telling you what the fuck I think!" And throwing "Cocksucker!" over and over at him until he runs! Eeee! And how much do I love how fast he gets out of bed when Trixie tells him Seth is going to get himself killed? "Your fuckin stupid fuck of a fuckin partner!" "Wants to die?" And he's up and moving. And he's still angry after it's all over, still walks away from Seth and doesn't accept his thanks. Oh, the ouch! Man, I just can't even express how happy.
Cy and Joanie. Still in love. (Me, not them.) Cy still scaring the shit out of me. That rage. Joanie is still my girl. I wonder what they're going to do with Maddie, and I'm intrigued by her dynamic in the Cy/Joanie mix. I wonder if Joanie and Charlie are going to get more scenes together.
Dan Dority, "a wookie scorned!" kadymae, thank you - you made my week with that one. Joanie's "Pay him no heed. That's the mayor." And Al's parting shot, about just where Dolly's hand (most recently on Seth's hat) has been. Snerk.
Seth and Alma. This show continues to surprise me. Alma has been one of my favorite characters from the beginning, but she can be a hard woman to sympathize with. I love that it was ultimately her connection to Sofia and the link between Sofia and her freedom from laudanum addiction that made her realize she's not the same weak woman she once was, and that she can live without Seth. I love the parallel that brings Seth to the same realization, that it's the memory of his brother and the importance of family and honor that brings ultimately him to the hard truth. Now I'm excited to see what happens with Alma as a strong character in her own right, and a player in the camp.
Jane! And the Doc! Love. Just, love. I am incoherent over Doc Cochran. He is my hero. Clear-seeing and unafraid of death, but at the same time refusing to give it an inch. Some of my favorite Jane moments ever in this episode -- I loved her telling Doc to give her back the knife and lift her up so she could cut herself free of the contraption she rigged up to keep her on her horse. The pathos of Jane is so often saved from being maudlin by throwing Doc's pity-free compassion into the scene. Her big grin when she sees Charlie - so cute! I loved how Jane's story about the guy offering to suck her cock was played, in the middle of that incredibly painful and sweet and helpless scene between Charlie and Seth.
And that scene was just such beauty. Charlie's "fainting spell" and his tone of pleading with Seth, that feeling that he's been through all this before, with Bill, and all he knows is how to just keep trying to save them from themselves. Charlie breaks my heart over and over. Joanie would be such a good thing for him. Of course, I almost lost it when it looked like Seth was about to start crying and Charlie jumped up and averted his eyes.
Because, Seth! Oh, man. It all comes crashing down. Because he doesn't want to be that man, the man who breaks his word and lives in shame, but he's done just that. His father was right about him after all. Except, he wasn't. He isn't that man, and that's why he has to let go of this thing he has with Alma, and he knows it, but everything is just so hard. I love how he always seems to falter when he has to make emotional judgments. He trusts himself to know injustice when he sees it, and to make it right for others, but he doesn't trust himself where those he cares about are concerned. His failure where his brother was concerned just kills me, of course. "Let it wait too long." That is so my pet theme, and the little bits of revelation in this scene are just beauty to behold.
The final confrontation in the street -- squee!! Charlie telling Jane she'll "roil the fuckin' waters" and Charlie and Jane and Sol all standing behind Seth in spite of everything, and Al seeing the whole picture better than any of them and making the smart play, the master play. I loved the look on Seth's face, the bewilderment and exhaustion and not-quite belief. The last scene with Martha was a masterwork of writing between the lines, as was this entire episode, and I am just in awe. In awe. And in love. With every single one of them.