Sunday, November 18, 2012

Week Nine

Lundy Watches...
The theme of the week is a sense of family, whether that familial bond is between blood kin, close friends, a mentoring relationship, or company loyalty. A loving affinity can come in many forms, but no matter its appearance, it is almost always a necessity to getting by.

Secret Diary of a Call GirlProfessional Development [3.5]

Having recently felt herself being cut off from best friend Ben (Iddo Goldberg,) Hannah/Belle (Billie Piper) finds solace here in her blossoming relationship with newcomer Bambi (Ashley Madekwe.) Mentoring Bambi as something of a big sisterly figure, Hannah lets down her guard and chooses to trust her with the secrets of the trade.

In return, Bambi offers her own advice in regards to Hannah's personal life outside of Belle's work, encouraging her to pursue a relationship with Alex (Callum Blue.) Where she had initially been incredibly hesitant to allow Alex into her life, Hannah ends up having a good time on her date with him, but is devastated to learn that, in the time she had been making her date with him, Bambi had been making appointments with Belle's clients, effectively ending their short-lived friendship. Had Hannah not allowed Bambi into her life in such an intimate way, had she not allowed herself to trust her and think of her as a friend, she wouldn't have felt as betrayed as she does, but it's her need for human companionship here that truly highlights the pain of her situation.

Despite having cut off all ties, Hannah/Belle comes to Bambi's rescue when her stolen client becomes dangerous, once more putting Hannah in the role of the protective mother. Having learned exactly how dangerous the lifestyle can be, Hannah/Belle chooses to forgive her young charge, and takes her once more under her wing to ensure that she's never hurt again.

DariaThe Big House [3]

So often Daria (Tracy Grandstaff) and Quinn (Wendy Hoopes) are left to their own devices, their parents having little to no idea of what's going on in their lives, but here Helen (Hoopes) and Jake (Julián Rebodello) take a stand in an effort to maintain their sense of authority. While Jake often lacks the self-awareness to realize how lax his parenting is, Helen is determined to present the false face of hands-on-parenting while keeping her main focus on her career.

Daria and her sister are usually in opposition to one another, but here they're forced to spend time together due to their mutual imprisonment. One would expect the two to soften toward each other, spend some time learning more about the other's interests, but instead the narrative chooses to keep them at odds, sabotaging each other in an effort to advance their own possibility of freedom, in effect displaying how very similar the two of them can be in their tactics. The Morgendorffers could have taken this as an opportunity to learn from their sister, though it might be a stretch to imagine Quinn's self-involvement and Daria's nonchalance working in the hands of the other.

In the end, Helen and Daria come to the understanding that the family unit may function more successfully if given a healthy amount of space. Trapping the group together seems only to drive them further apart, but the situation did allow for an open dialogue regarding the future of their house rules.

Buffy the Vampire SlayerNightmares [3.5]

Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) has struggled to administer his authority over his charge, but Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) has proven brash and strong-willed. In part, it could be assumed that Buffy is still reeling from the loss of her original Watcher, though, more likely, is that Giles and Buffy are merely unable to admit, both to one another and themselves, that they really do care about the other, as caring leads to a sense of loss should the other die, and Buffy is more than aware of how mortal her Watcher is, while Giles has been preparing for the death of his Slayer since taking his position.

It isn't until Giles is standing above Buffy's grave that he reconciles how he feels about her as a person versus her as his job, and is suddenly all-too-aware that he should have been acting more as a father figure to the teen than the detached guide he was trained to be. As Buffy crawls out of her grave, realizing that she had been turned into a vampire, she breaks down, cutting herself off from her emotions and deferring her decisions to Giles, hoping that he'll be able to guide her to the proper path. It is their moment together in the graveyard, when the two of them finally realize how much they need each other, not necessarily as allies in the fight against the darkness but as caring and loving people, that they accept their roles in each other's lives.

In the absence of Buffy's own father (Dean Butler,) Giles assumes a parental role, and it is this relationship with his Slayer that will allow them to work together as a team. The Slayer and Watcher need to respect and value each other, but through the fostering of a more personal relationship their work together will likely become more efficient as they now see each other as people rather than a means to an end.

Life on MarsEvery Son Kills His Father [3]

Sam (John Simm) has been reaching out for a paternal connection ever since his youth, and very briefly had the chance to reconnect with his father (Lee Ingleby) before learning that he was a criminal. Having such an antagonistic relationship with Gene (Philip Glenister,) Sam is notably relieved when he has the opportunity to observe Glen (Ray Emmet Brown,) the man who mentored him during Sam during his early days, at the start of his own career.

Unfortunately, Glen is not yet the man that Sam would remember, and there is very little about him that connects with who Sam feels he should be. In effect, Sam begins teaching Glen how to become a better man, how to take responsibility for his actions and work to improve the city without letting his situation in life get to him. Sam manages to make a difference in Glen's life by providing the same ideals that Glen will later impart to a young Sam Tyler, and despite Glen's confusion over the situation, the two of them manage to come to an understanding about how they should relate to one another.

Gene, on the other hand, is forced to work against Harry Woolf (Kevin McNally,) the man who had trained him, in an effort to expose a criminal within their own ranks. Gene is tough on his men because he believes in everything he stands for, because he knows what he does is, ultimately, the right thing to do, and he knows these things because they were taught to him by Woolf. In learning that Woolf is a bent cop, more so than any of the others, Gene loses a piece of himself, unsure if he's been doing right by the law all these years, and it becomes about more than Woolf's indiscretions, more than what's right and wrong, it becomes a question of who Gene is and what he is becoming. In questioning Woolf Gene is questioning his own actions, and in a world where he normally is sure only of himself, he becomes, for the first time, lost.

A sense of family becomes all the more important to Gene's division, as now they have proof that they can trust only each other, and while Gene and Sam may come to blows every now and again, at least they know where the other stands.

Better Off TedTrust and Consequences [4]

While the company itself may be corrupt, Ted (Jay Harrington) has always tried to maintain a balance between employee morale and professional distance, though, in the case of Linda (Andrea Anders,) Ted has found a struggle. Linda is of the attitude that her fellow office dwellers would be happier should they think of each other more as a family, and while she's happy to try to connect with people, things often go awry and leave her standing, once more, alone.

In the eyes of Veridian Dynamics, employee satisfaction ranks fairly low, while the income made from their products, and the chance to save money where they can, are valued highly. While the company has a large hand in the blame when something goes wrong with their products, it is never the company that takes reprimand, as they always choose an employee, generally Dr. Bhamba (Maz Jobrani,) who is made to take the bullet. In this instance it is Linda who is asked to take blame, and the situation calls into question, at least in her mind, whether or not the company is worth working for.

Linda maintains her refusal to allow her name to be dragged through the mud through most of the story, until realizing that even Ted, her only ally, is against her. Without Ted there is nothing that really keeps Linda in her position, there is nothing there for her to value and enjoy about her job, and she finally relents, allowing herself to take the fall. It was only Ted's presence that gave Linda hope that she could change the company, but having him turn on her killed whatever spirit she had left, and while she herself felt no loyalty toward Veridian Dynamics, she simply came to the conclusion that they were too big to fight on her own, proving to Ted that he is more valuable to her as a friend than as a superior.

FireflyAriel [4.5]

Simon (Sean Maher) has constantly demonstrated his devotion to sister River (Summer Glau) in his never-ending effort to protect her from the universe and save her from herself, and while River has had kind words to say, fond memories to relate, she has never had much of an opportunity to reciprocate through action. The one thing that River fears most is returning to the Academy, wherein she as tortured and experimented upon, and where, she believes, she will die, and here Simon's actions threaten to send her back there. Knowing the risks of his actions, River initially refuses to participate in his plan, but, in seeing how much he needs to save her, how strongly he feels about his ability to get them back to Serenity, River relents and fights against her baser instincts to allow him this victory.

Simon would do anything for River, that much has been evident since the two first appeared before the crew of the Serenity, but River proves that she, too, would do the same for Simon if she had to. The Tam siblings have a strong bond, and this story is evidence that nothing can shatter the connection between the two of them.

Mal (Nathan Fillion) also proves how much he thinks of his crew as his family, flying off the handle on learning that Jayne (Adam Baldwin) had attempted to trade the Tams for a large cash reward. While Mal has had his share of troubles with both River and Simon, he would never betray them in that way, as he has enough respect for them to be upfront about his plans, no matter how negative they may be. Everyone on Mal's ship is under his protection, not because he feels a duty to protect them as their captain, but because, as members of his crew, they are members of his family.

Winner of the Week • Firefly

It is difficult to keep a balance between action and humor without offsetting the tone of the story, but Firefly proves again and again that it's a simple matter under a capable pen. Everything within this script, from character interaction to the silent choices made by individuals is spot-on, adding layers of depth and back story to the characters without ever betraying who they've been presented to be up until now.

Firefly is an enjoyable watch from beginning to end, and while it's not inherently flawless, it is absolutely incredible how close to perfect this show manages to be from week to week. This is the type of series that begs to be watched multiple times, and, so far, there's no episode that's not worth a second viewing.


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