Sunday, October 28, 2012

Week Six

Lundy Watches...

The theme of the week is the connection between characters, whether that connection is expressed through romance or friendship. These bonds are often broken or deteriorating, and this week the narratives are designed either to strengthen the casts' desire to stay together, or accept that they may already have outlived their relationships.

Secret Diary of a Call GirlPassion, Reignited [3.5]

Hannah/Belle (Billie Piper) has the unenviable task of finding a fourth for a foray into group sex, wherein she and her suitor must pretend to have already been a couple for a number of years in order to put the other couple at ease. After a number of failed interviews with men who simply wouldn't get the job done, Hannah chooses Ben (Iddo Goldberg) for the job despite her reservations about it.

Ben's motivation for wanting to help is never made fully clear, as he dismisses the notion that this would be considered cheating on his fiancée, and he claims to no longer feel attracted to former girlfriend Hannah. In truth, he clearly still has lingering feelings for his best friend, but he gets so caught up in the experience that he nearly forgets that he's there to help fulfill the clients' needs rather than his own desires.

The driving story in this episode is the relationship between husband and wife Kate (Heather Bleasdale) and Liam (Jonny Phillips) who seek Belle out in an effort to reignite the passion in their relationship. At first the couple imagines that having sex with different partners might reinvigorate their love life, but as the night draws on they realize that the most attractive thing about one another is the lengths they'll go to to please each other and their need to be together. They leave Hannah's apartment bonded closer together than ever before, and Hannah notes that that's exactly the kind of love she would like to experience some day.

DariaThe Lab Brat [3]

Tasked with working with Kevin (Marc Thompson) on a school project, Daria (Tracy Grandstaff) finds that she has become something of a roadblock in the relationship between Kevin and his girlfriend Brittany (Janie Mertz.) Despite Daria's complete lack of interest in Kevin, Brittany is convinced that our bespectacled protagonist is after her man and spends the bulk of the story trying to win her boyfriend back.

The real threat to Brittany's relationship comes in the form of Daria's younger sister Quinn (Wendy Hoopes) who maintains a belief that Kevin spending time at their house will lead to the two of them dating, despite his current relationship. When Daria reminds Quinn that Kevin already has a girlfriend, Quinn begins ignoring her sister, wishing that, for once, Daria could just allow her some form of happiness. At no point do any of the women ask Kevin what it is that he really wants, and while he shows zero interest in either Daria or Quinn, he also shows very little desire to spend time with Brittany.

Buffy the Vampire SlayerAngel [4]

Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) has bounced back and forth between being severely irritated and extremely attracted to Angel (David Boreanaz) since the two were introduced, and that theme certainly continues in this story. She has made it no secret that she finds him desirable, and while his mysterious act grates on her nerves, she does value the information he brings to the table.

In finally acting on her impulses, the dangers of their situation still pumping adrenaline through her system, they finally kiss, and Buffy learns the truth about her beau: he is undead. As the vampire slayer she is the one girl in all the world sworn to protect the masses against the hoard, and he is a creature of the night, the one man that has completely stolen her heart and the one most likely to kill her when given an opportunity.

Buffy spends the rest of the narrative debating on whether she should follow her heart or her sacred duty, while Angel broods about whether or not he should try to escape her wrath. In the end, Angel is willing to let her kill in in order to spare her life, and the two finally realize that they may be meant to be together.

Life on MarsInternal Investigation [4.5]

The department is torn apart as Sam (John Simm) takes it upon himself to investigate a cell death that places him at odds with the rest of the team. While Gene (Philip Glenister) maintains his belief that his people did everything they could to help the victim, Sam is suspicious, especially when he notices a clandestine meeting between Chris (Marshall Lancaster) and Annie (Liz White.)

Annie takes his investigation especially hard, as she has gone to bat for Sam on numerous occasions, and here he pries into her life, unable to trust her word that she and the others had followed procedure. What makes Annie's plight so compelling is that she is clearly wracked with guilt over what happened, angry that Sam would accuse her of having something to do with the situation, and upset that she allowed herself to get caught up in things.

As Sam's investigation continues, Annie's final argument is that of friendship versus justice, claiming that the truth would destroy her career, upend her life, and she would be left with nothing. She asks that he let this one occasion slide out of a sense of friendship for her, wondering if he would continue his inquiry if he didn't believe himself to be in a coma or if she, indeed, means as little to him as she thinks she does. Her request of her friend is a terrible one, creating a sort of ultimatum wherein he doesn't feel welcome to do his job without risking the relationship they have developed together, but a request that feels completely reasonable when the truth finally comes to light.

Better Off TedGet Happy [4.5]

According to Linda (Andrea Anders) an individualized workspace would mean an opportunity for co-workers to learn a little bit more about who sits in the next cubicle over. Veridian Dynamics takes Linda's suggestion and alters it, assuming that individualized cubicles would create a chaotic environment that could lead to some kind of revolution, and opt to choose from four different themes randomly assigned to each of its employees.

Designated as a "cat person," Linda is initially very angry, convinced that the company thinks she's a lonely woman whose only company in life is the swarm of cats she surrounds herself with at home. Linda soon comes to believe that, as a cat person, the company is telling her that she possesses the qualities of a cat, and she and the other cat people form a group, taking their lunches together and giving each other cat-related gifts with which to decorate their cubicles. The other groups begin doing the same, and soon employee morale takes a great boost as everyone has bonded over their similarly-themed work spaces.

Only when Linda tries to switch groups does she meet with resistance, being completely frozen out by the "space people" and becoming a target of malice from the other cat people. In the end, the company decides to return their cubicles to their original grey palette, and the small sense of community the employees had felt is completely lost, and, naturally, blamed on Linda.

FireflyOur Mrs. Reynolds [4]

Mal (Nathan Fillion) lands himself a wife in Saffron (Christina Hendricks) and spends the bulk of the narrative trying to find a way out of his vows without hurting her feelings. Despite his reservations about getting close to her, he feels compelled to convince her of her self-worth, to try to make his rejection of her as delicate as possible, before finally succumbing to her advances and falling prey to her ultimate trap: she wants to kill him.

Saffron's ploy has an effect on most of Serenity's crew, creating an intense jealousy in Inara (Morena Baccarin) and slowly driving a wedge between Wash (Alan Tudyk) and Zoë (Gina Torres.) For Inara the jealousy stems from her notion that she and Mal might have been growing closer, might have been coming to terms with each other's lives and the fact that they are undeniably attracted to one another. While Inara and Mal have always flirted, there always remained an animosity between them in regards to her work and how he felt about it, but here there was none of that, it was just attraction at it's best. Having Saffron step into the picture, Inara learned how she really felt about the Captain, and she also felt betrayed at the fact that he had so easily picked up a bride without warning her in the slightest.

Wash and Zoë face a number of issues as they bicker about how best to deal with Mrs. Reynolds. Wash tries to defend Saffron's actions from the perspective of where she comes from, and Zoë feels that he's doing so out of a wish to live the same situation as Mal, having a young and nubile servant girl attending to his every whim. Only when Saffron's act is dropped does Zoë realize how steadfast her man is, rebuffing Saffron's every advance and taking a blow to the head when he won't betray his vows to his wife.

Even Jayne (Adam Baldwin) shows an unhealthy desire for Saffron as he makes numerous attempts to trade her in exchange for his gun Vera. In the end, Saffron is left abandoned on an icy planet, and the crew of the Serenity has a better understanding of who each other are.

Winner of the Week • Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The Romeo and Juliet subplot of this love story is very interesting to me, done in such a natural way in regards to the series as a whole that in no way does it feel like a cheat or an imaginary road block to keep these characters apart. One would have imagined, given the age difference between the actors, that Buffy and Angel would have been kept apart by Buffy's mother Joyce (Kristine Sutherland) while the audience blamed her for not believing in young love, but instead Joss Whedon provides us with a tangible list of reasons why they can never be together.

Buffy's calling means that she is to protect the people of the world against supernatural evil, and Angel is a vampire, the original creature that necessitated having a slayer in the first place. Yes, he is older than she is (far older than anyone originally realized) and yes, she knows so little about him that this may be only a school-girl's crush, but there's so much more to their story than that.

As a vampire, Angel will never age, and, in theory, will have to watch Buffy grow older and die while he is left behind, but as the slayer Buffy's lifespan is already greatly shortened and she's not expected to see beyond thirty years old. For Buffy not to take action immediately is for her to waste an opportunity at happiness, and with a list of extra-curriculars that are so inherently dangerous, she's likely to hurt any man she brings along with her, which is why having Angel already involved in the fray is so attractive. Angel can take care of himself when removed from Buffy and isn't in need of her protection, which means that Buffy doesn't have to keep an eye on him during her battles as she had had to do with Owen (Christopher Wiehl.)

In learning that Angel has a soul we also see that having a soul makes him an outcast amongst the vampires, and Angel keeps to himself much like how Buffy closes herself off from certain people to keep them from getting hurt. Buffy and Angel have so much in common due to their differences that, ultimately, they may be absolutely perfect for one another.


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