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My Thoughts on Season Six of KL, Episode By Episode

Discussion in 'Knots Landing' started by Knots Blogger, Mar 2, 2017.

  1. Knots Blogger

    Knots Blogger Soap Chat Member

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    CONTINUED

    Remember in the last ep when I couldn’t quite figure out Abby’s motivations in exposing Bob Caulfield’s ‘60s institutionalization? My confusion continues this week, because she seems rather pleased when she’s talking with Greg about it, so I’m guessing that she did this as some sort of favor to him. The problem is that Greg does not see it as a favor and is rather disgusted with this treatment of his opponent, which I think is pretty cool. We’ve got ten years and a whole ton of eps with Greg to explore the wild complexities of his character, but he’s already fascinating by this juncture, and one of those things that keeps him so fascinating is those shades of grey. Is he good or bad? Well, I’d say he’s kinda neither, because he’s been shown to have some questionable moral choices such as working with the Wolfbridge group and then telling lies about his involvement with them, but then he also has real ethical moments like right here. When he finds out about the Caulfield news, he says how it has nothing to do with the race and isn’t even applicable, that it’s a non-issue, and he also knows that Abs found a duplicitous way to obtain the info (she had one of her lackeys steal it), which he is not pleased with. I like the fact that Greg wants to win the race but he wants to do it the right way, not by digging up some old story from twenty years ago to try and sabotage the reputation of his opponent.

    [​IMG]

    Things start to get more threatening between Greg and Abs after he’s less than elated by what she has done. We are having some fabulously schizo moments with these two lately, and I’m saying that with love. Let’s think, just three episodes ago he was shooting St. Claire to death to save Abs (um, sorta). Then two eps ago they formed a bit of an uneasy alliance together when she agreed to give a nice little press conference to show Greg as a hero. One episode ago, that press conference went off without a hitch and you’d think everything would be square, but then she went and pulled this Caulfield business, which is pissing Greg off in this ep. During the gathering at Lotus Point (which is kinda the nucleus of this whole ep, giving our characters lots of space to move around and interact with eachother), she says how she could always go to the press and tell them the truth about what happened on the boat. Greg tries to be dismissive and is like, “You already gave your press conference,” but then Abs starts to spin a new version of the story out of thin air, presenting what she could tell the press, saying, “Oh, I was so scared because Greg was threatening me with a gun and he shot St. Claire right in front of me and he was gonna shoot me, too!” Greg seems vaguely unnerved by this threat, but I’m not entirely sure I buy it. I mean, I buy that Abs would maybe go through with this and try to soil Greg’s reputation, but I’m not sure I buy that the public would accept it. I feel like if Abs decided to give another press conference and was like, “Never mind, guys, I changed my mind and Gregory Sumner is actually an evil asshole who threatened me with a gun,” people would maybe have a hard time believing her. Even so, we’ve seen the incredible way Abs can handle lies when she has to, the way she can make them sound so true, so maybe she actually could make this one work, who knows?

    [​IMG]


    What else happens at the big Lotus Point gathering? Well, like I said, it mostly provides a good opportunity for lots of interacting and yearning. The yearning is really amped up here, by the way, because we have Mack yearning to be with Karen, we have Val yearning to be with Ben (who comes to the Lotus Point opening with The Desperate Horny Chick that I’m ignoring for the time being, mostly because I can’t remember her name) while also, as always, simultaneously yearning to be with Gary, we have Cathy yearning to be with Joshua, and you get my drift. Maybe one of the most striking parts of this segment is when Abs first meets Joshua and introduces herself. She’s actually rather friendly with him and he even goes up to Cathy later and says, “I met Abby; she seems nice,” which, if this was a sitcom, would be the point where you pipe in the laugh track because it’s really so undeniably funny.

    Let me interrupt for a minute to talk about fashion. I’m really not much of a gay guy because I generally ignore the fashions and what all the characters are wearing in my write-ups, even though I’ll notice them and comment on them when watching the show. I think it’s worth noting that this is the season that Travilla comes into the fold to design the clothing and fashions, and I also think it’s worth noting that this goes complete concurrently with him being brought to work on Dallas. Looks like from 1984 to 1986 he was working on both Dallas and KL at the same time. Now, his fashions ruined Dallas during that two year period and were utterly ridiculous to look at (let’s not even talk about whatever nonsense Barbara Carrera would show up wearing during that dreadful dream season), but I don’t recall him ruining KL in the same way, adding some validity to my theory that everyone is just inherently better when they’re working on KL. The fashions here don’t distract me the way they distracted me on Dallas; we may see more glamorous fashions at this juncture in the series, but it never really feels out of place to me, and especially since in this instance we’re at a fancy Lotus Point opening that’s also functioning as a political function, it makes sense. I only bring this up because Abs is rocking a fabulously unique look for the Lotus Point opening. Again, my gay status really should be revoked since I fail so hard when it comes to trying to describe the looks of clothing, but basically she’s wearing this fantastic silvery-white kinda dress and she’s got this big diamond necklace on with this big-ass diamond in the very center of it, drawing your attention to it. I don’t know what most fans like to see Abs in, but I personally really dug this and, paired with her incredible new season six short haircut, I think she may look at her best this week, but of course that’s just my opinion.

    Alright, so the Lotus Point opening happens, Greg is good enough to invite Bob Caulfield to show up and he makes sure they get photographed together and all that, which is very decent of him, and then we are about ready to conclude the ep with a fabulous cliffhanger. I always know a cliffhanger is excellent if I can still remember it vividly, and this was one of them. I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what episode this came from, but I have always remembered how this episode ends. Earlier in the episode, when The Desperate Horny Chick I keep ignoring was drooling over Ben in his office and trying to molest him while he looked bored and annoyed with her, she made some mention of how, “I see you up in your office, late at night, typing out love letters to Val.” Nice seed planting on the part of writers, helping us to know that Ben is typing Val letters on his sexy fancy 1984 computer.

    [​IMG]

    Oh yeah, f*ck, how did I forget to bring that up. Our last episode featured Ben at his computer, and I jotted in my notes, “First sighting of a computer on KL?” Well, is it? I can’t go back through the last 100 episodes or so and try to spot a computer, but I certainly feel like such fancy schmancy gadgetry would have had no place back in the simpler days of Knots Landing Motors, and I don’t recall seeing one in Abby’s sexy palace office during season five (is that palace office gone, now, by the way? I feel like we didn’t see it at all in these first five eps of the season and I’d be greatly distressed if we never got to see it again), so I’m actually fairly certain that Ben’s computer here is our very first KL computer. God, how I love watching the times evolve and change around our characters. After all, in 1979, when the series first started and the world irrevocably shifted on its axis due to this grand and cosmic event, who the hell would own a computer? Maybe some really super duper rich guy, and the computer would probably take up a whole building and not really be able to do anything except maybe function as a calculator. Then let’s leap to 1993, when KL goes off the air and the suicide rate spikes by millions, and reflect that, by that point, most businesses, even small ones, would probably have computers as standard practice. So it’s fascinating to slowly watch that change take over, and I of course made sure to check with My Beloved Grammy and I asked her if she was working on any computers in 1984 (for some quick context, 1984-1985 is when My Beloved Grammy finally divorced her loser asshole first husband and came to start her new life as a sexy and sophisticated independent 1980’s career woman). She gave it some thought and then said she didn’t remember working on computers very much until around 1988, but she says she had an office job in 1984 in which the office had one computer and it was like a big deal who got to work on it and play with it.

    Anyway, the computer is a very important function of the plot in Ipso Facto, because in addition to bringing us one step closer to the modern age that we currently live in, it also helps to give Abs some useful information. Now, I actually don’t think Abs is being deliberately sneaky in this instance; I don’t think she’s trying to snoop into Ben’s private affairs, but rather she walks into his office for some reason or other and I think the secretary is like, “Oh, use one of Ben’s floppy disks for your news segment or whatever,” so Abs grabs one and puts it in the computer and then suddenly a little love letter written from Ben to Val starts to appear before her. Actually, it appears in a rather odd way, as if someone is typing the words right before our very eyes. Is this how these things actually worked? I confess that by the time I made it into this world (1990), I think floppy disks were going out of style, and I only vaguely remember ever using them back in elementary school to, I think, play some sort of computer game (was it Oregon Trail?).

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, if anyone was alive and cognizant back in 1984 (do you like how I’m making it sound more like 1884 and like everyone who was alive back then is almost surely dead by this point?), please go ahead and write in or leave a comment about this whole typing thing. I’m fairly certain that if you put in a floppy disk and it was storing something someone had written, it would probably just immediately present you with the big block of text, but the way it’s done here is certainly much more effective for the drama, because we are watching the words being typed before our very eyes, and it’s mostly generic stuff about Ben’s love for Val but how they can’t be together (I should probably mention that we are also hearing his voice piped in over the soundtrack as the words type themselves out), and then at the very end, he says, “The thing I don’t think I can ever get over is the fact that Gary is the father of your babies.” Boom, so now the cat is out of the bag, at least in terms of the fact that Abs knows the truth. I even love the way this is shot, because the camera is focusing in on the words on the screen and the reflection of Abs in the screen is out of focus, but then after that whole babies reveal, the camera switches focus so now Abby’s face and eyes are shown clearly in the computer screen, all very stylish, don’t you think?

    So that does it for Ipso Facto. Obviously it was brilliant, but of course I say that so often at this juncture that I’m beginning to sound like a broken record. I almost wish we could get a mediocre or subpar episode just so I could stop saying, “Omigod this was so amazing!” over and over again, except I don’t really wish for that because I love the way it feels to just watch this endless string of incredible television eps all in a row; what sheer bliss it is. Before I wrap it up for this ep, let me try to get a few intelligent thoughts in there about what I liked. Well, I was delighted to see Elikann doing the directing and I thought he brought his usual flair (Abs reflected in the computer screen, Mack and Jane sitting in the car during a rainstorm, etc. etc.) but I also thought the cast was functioning tightly as a unit, what with the Lotus Point celebration bringing them all together. Meanwhile, we are really continuing to grow some new stories while nicely finishing up with the old stuff. The writers are always so smart with this, because they could have easily just turned this into The Wolfbridge Show and had it turn into this thing where Mark St. Claire is this evil villain who’s constantly showing up to do evil things, but instead they blow him away and then move on to new stuff, yet it never feels like rushing, never feels like they’re trying to make us forget about anything; it just all feels so very organic.

    I love KL just about as much as anything in the my life or in the entire world and so I simply can’t wait to get together with My Beloved Grammy for another disk of five incredible eps in a row. In fact, as soon as I’m done writing this, I’m gonna call her to arrange our next date. Okay, so anyway, Ipso Facto was brilliant and so far all of season six has been brilliant and the beauty part is that we still have 25 more eps to watch and it’s only gonna get better and better, so let us move onward to Truth and Consequences.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Knots Blogger

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    Episode Title: Truth and Consequences

    Season 06, Episode 06

    Episode 106 of 344

    Written by Joyce Keener

    Directed by Robert Becker

    Original Airdate: Thursday, November 15th, 1984

    The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Val asks Mack to be her birthing coach and Gary tells her he wishes she would have asked him. Val and Gary try to get Karen and Mack back together, but Abby's worried that Val will tell Gary about the babies. Abby asks Scott Easton if the babies can be Gary's heirs and complains about them, but says there's nothing she can do about it. Easton replies, "You never know..." Abby hires Joshua to work at the cable station. Gary tries to use reverse psychology on Karen and tells her to divorce Mack, but to his surprise, Karen agrees and goes to see a divorce lawyer. Cathy has a romantic dinner with Joshua. Ben gives Mack a tape about Gary Loader, who was in prison with Tom Jezik. Greg wins his election to become Senator. Afterwards, Jane tells him that she wants a divorce.


    [​IMG]



    KL is so f***ing good that every time My Beloved Grammy and I gather to watch another disk, it’s like this ascension into Heaven in which the show is so unbelievably incredibly divine that it almost makes the prior eps look not as good. Yes, it is indeed true that we got together again and did another disk, this one encompassing this ep right up here and up for discussion now, Truth and Consequences, well through Message in a Bottle, five glorious eps that seemed to get better and better as we went along, and I think I may have to conclude that this was our best disk up to this point. Let’s dive right in and start talking about it.

    Truth and Consequences starts out in a way we haven’t seen since way back at the start of season four, with that “Lorimar Presents” logo and then the cheesy narrator saying, “In Knots Landing,” followed by a little recap of the big events from the start of the season. I kinda liked starting with this since it was the first ep of our visit and it was nice to get a little reminder of what went down last time along with listening to that cheesy narrator’s voice (does anyone know the actual name of the guy who would do these narrations?). I do wanna note that I’m not entirely sure if this is the way the ep originally aired in 1984 or if it’s some sort of syndication package re-edit, but I have the feeling it’s true to original broadcast. I think this is just a way of keeping people up to date or helping possible new viewers who might be tuning in.

    [​IMG]


    After that recap, we of course get the glorious scrolling squares and then we begin the episode by actually replaying the last minute of our prior ep, Ipso Facto, starting with Abs wandering into Ben’s office and grabbing that disk and all that stuff. We get to see her reading Ben’s letter to Val with the big revelation of the true father of the twins. From there, we move on to new footage, namely Abs talking to Gary, who expresses some confusion about the way Ben has abandoned Val during her pregnancy even though he is the father (the “father,” is how I should probably write that out). There’s a rather funny little moment where he’s like, “If those were my babies, I could never walk out on her,” and then he just sorta casually strolls off and leaves Abs alone with her eyes all big, clearly horrified at these two events that have just occurred almost simultaneously.

    [​IMG]


    Speaking of Ben, we catch up with him having a picnic with The Desperate Horny Chick from the last ep or two. Okay, I’m just gonna go ahead and admit something here so maybe my dear readers can understand why I keep referring to her as “The Desperate Horny Chick” and have not yet provided a character name or an actress name, the reason being that I don’t know either. I was convinced this character’s name was Kelly, and I was fairly certain I heard that name twice in this ep in reference to her. However, there’s nobody on the IMDb page credited for a character named Kelly, but there is a lady named Lisa Brady who is credited for playing “Cherie” and I feel like this might be the person, and this person has 12 total KL eps that stretch up to The Longest Day in 1985, so it seems most likely, but I’m not entirely sure, and I’m also noticing lately that the IMDb cast pages are often inaccurate or list people who weren’t in eps or leave out people who were.

    You know what, who cares? This character sucks, and both myself and My Beloved Grammy agreed on this. Basically, she’s this forgettable looking chick with black hair who follows Ben around constantly even though he’s clearly just not that into her. She first popped up about two eps back coming into his office and spreading her legs open in front of him while he looked bored and annoyed and thought about how much he missed Val. This week, they’ve somehow ended up at this picnic together, which is also located in a very odd spot, namely on the middle of a rocky looking cliff overlooking the ocean with the violent and noisy waves coming in. Not sure if I could enjoy a picnic in such a scenario, probably afraid that I might slip and fall to my violent death at any moment. Anyway, as we are going to see with most of the scenes with Ben and The Desperate Horny Chick, she mostly tries to snuggle up to him and get real close and act cute while he is just kinda disinterested, but I suppose it is his own fault for slightly leading her on. After all, who arranged this picnic? If he’s not into her, why would he agree to have a picnic with her? Anyway, I’m clearly very annoyed by this character, but I don’t think this is really a flaw of the writing or even the actress, whoever she may be; I think it’s just her inherent desperation that rubs me the wrong way.

    Meanwhile, the big election is finally just two days away, the election Greg Sumner has been pretty much working towards since we first met him at the start of season five. Appropriately, Greg decides that 48 hours before the election is the perfect time to disappear off the face of the earth and leave everyone real worried about him, including visiting wife Anne Frank (Jane). I like how Greg has something of a lost weekend (even if it’s only one night) that we are not all that privy to. He just kinda vanishes and through most of the ep people are trying to figure out where he is, though he does briefly crash a lovely little dinner get-together between new romantics Joshua and Cathy. Oh yeah, let me expand on that a little bit. Laura goes out of town this week to some sort of real estate thing (she drops some line that implies she’s considering getting back into real estate, which pleased me as it showed the writers doing a good job of remembering their characters’ past histories), leaving Cathy in charge of the house and, presumably, the two sons we hardly ever see anymore, including Jason 3 who, thanks to all that morphing throughout the last five years, kinda appears to never be getting any older. Cathy asks Laura if it’d be okay for her to have Joshua over for dinner and Laura says sure. We get a little hint of this dinner and can see that certain aspects of it are making Joshua uncomfortable, such as the music. He makes some quiet comment about “the dance music” and it reminds us that, being raised with lots of good old fashioned religious shame, he’s probably never even danced before in his life. Before any dancing occurs, though, there’s a knock at the door and what appears to be slightly inebriated Greg shows up, wanting to know where Laura is. Greg looks like he’s drunk here, but I’d say not too drunk, not Gary-in-season-four-WE’RE-RUINING-LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVES-drunk, but nicely on his way to drunk. When he finds out Laura’s out of town, he says something weird and funny like, “Bye bye,” and then just walks off.

    [​IMG]


    What has Greg been up to? Why’s he behaving this way? I like the mystery, that all we see is him coming to Laura’s house, not how he spends the rest of the night before and after. My personal opinion is that all the recent stresses in his life have just got him all mixed up, so he disappears to some bar like all red blooded American men used to do to solve their problems, and then probably after getting somewhat sloshed at a bar, he decided to take a nice drive (since it’s still 1984 and I don’t think anyone really gives a crap about drinking and driving quite yet) and go see Laura. Perhaps he’s just looking for a good old fashioned shag, but I don’t believe so; I think he probably wants to talk to her about whatever’s on his mind, whatever he feels he can’t really speak about with his mostly-estranged wife. Speaking of which, Jane is stressing over the missing Greg and pays Mack a visit at The Plant House (remember Mack is still staying there with Ben at this point) to talk it over. There’s still some lingering romantic tension from last week when they kissed in the car, but nothing more really comes of it, and I’m fine with it that way. I always say how much I like that the KL writers don’t do things purely for the sake of the drama; they don’t just throw affairs into the mix to spice things up the way they did over on Dallas, but instead keep it making sense for the characters. In this case, yeah, Jane and Mack kissed, but so what? It’s not a really big deal and we get to move on from it fairly quickly.

    I’m also fine with it because I desperately want to see Mack and Karen back together and definitely did not remember them staying apart for so long. Gary and Val have the same feelings and so this week we get to see them sort of team up in a way that’s very cute and endearing in an effort to get Mack and Karen back together again. Their plan? By encouraging Karen to proceed with a divorce with Mack, she will of course realize that this isn’t what she really wants, that she loves Mack, and they’ll get back together. Val mentions how she’s gonna have the hard task of “having to talk bad about Mack,” and I’m with her that that would be hard. What would one even say? Aside from the Wolfbridge stuff that was so contentious between him and Karen at the end of last season, he’s just so damn decent and good and noble and I love him so much. If I was tasked with making him sound bad for Karen, I probably wouldn’t have much to say except, “I think he wears a rug.” The plan instantly backfires, by the way, because a rushing-towards-death Karen immediately agrees that she should divorce Mack as soon as Gary suggests it to her, prompting Gary to now get the big wide eyes and the “oh, shit” look on his face that Abs was sporting just a little bit earlier in this ep.

    This little game that Gary and Val are playing only adds fuel to the fire that is Abby’s panic, because now suddenly everywhere she looks, there are Gary and Val hanging out together and looking awful chummy. Early in the ep, Val drives Joshua up to Lotus Point to see about him getting a job as a ranch hand on Westfork. As soon as Abs hears this, she’s like, “Oh no, ranch handing isn’t for you; you should become a get-the-coffee-boy at Pacific World Whatever.” This is mostly setting up the story point that Joshua will be working at the news station for awhile, but it’s also important that Gary and Val are hanging out together. Now that Abs knows Val is harboring Gary’s growing babies in her stomach, you can’t blame her for getting paranoid when she sees how chummy and happy the two look together, but I appreciate the fact that it’s a misunderstanding, that Gary and Val aren’t actually having an affair or talking about getting back together or anything like that; they’re just trying to get their friends back together again.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Knots Blogger

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    CONTINUED

    The central thread running through this ep is that looming election, which moves ever closer with each passing minute. Greg returns to his hotel room in the morning to find Jane sipping coffee and stressing over him. She asks him where he disappeared to and he’s kinda dismissive and is like, “I needed to disappear for awhile so I did; what’s the big deal?” Later he gets a little more intimate in talking with her when he says something like, “I killed a man and that’s a hard thing to process.” The whole killing-a-man-thing is very politically risky for Greg, and at one point in the ep some assistant of his says, “You’re lucky the election’s in two days; if it was two weeks, you wouldn’t have a chance.” I guess he has a point. With two weeks, people would have time to poke holes in Greg’s boat story or just chew a bit more on the fact that they are electing a man who potentially shot another man in cold blood (I am biting my tongue really hard to not make any jokes about what's going on in our current horrible world with a current horrible man).
    By the closing minutes of the ep, it’s pretty clear that Greg’s got this, that he’s the winner and he’s going to go to Washington to be on the senate and all that good shit. He stands up and gives a big political speech in which he says how all three networks have him as the winner (reminding me that we are still two years away from Fox even existing; we are still comfortably in the era of CBS/ABC/NBC and that’s pretty much it). The band plays For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow, probably because it’s a public domain song, Greg wraps up his speech by saying how he wants everyone in the world of all colors to join together as one unity of humanity or something, and then from there he returns to his hotel room only for Jane to squeeze out a big fat wet fart right into his face. Actually, maybe that’s not fair. See, as soon as he gets back to his hotel, he’s all exited and like, “Washington, D.C., can you believe it?” and says something like, “I’ve been waiting twenty years for this.” Jane looks less than thrilled and pretty much declares right away that she’s ready for a divorce. She says how she promised herself she would support Greg all the way through this political race until he made it to Washington, and now that he has accomplished that, she “doesn’t want to watch him fall apart.” Greg handles the news a little immaturely because when she says how she’ll leave tomorrow, he says, “Why wait?” and grabs the phone and tells them to send for Mrs. Sumner’s bags and that she’ll be leaving in ten minutes.

    As I have repeatedly said, the magic of KL is in the way all the characters are so fully realized and complex, even the guest characters who really aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things. In the grand scheme of things, Jane is an incredibly minor character, and the writers could have easily had this character be a void that just exists to be Sumner’s wife or whatever, but she still feels like a real person and she is still played sensitively and well by Anne Frank. Also, as I always always always say, I understand both people. Greg is having probably one of the best days of his life, finally reaching that senate seat he’s been working two decades for, and then Jane just shits on it a few minutes later and kills his good mood, so that’s kinda crummy. However, Jane is also right that Greg’s behavior as of late has been rather odd, and of course it’s quite obvious the two have been estranged for some time and really don’t have much of a relationship at all. Jane is smart enough to know that, in the world of politics, the political candidate generally needs to present himself as Mr. Happy Family Man with a smiling wife and children, so she was good and decent enough to at least wait until Greg won the election before divorcing him. Anyway, this is pretty much the last we’ll be seeing of Jane, although we do get a surprise appearance in 1990 with Out of Control (I’m just taking a guess here based on my memory, but I’m pretty sure that’s the episode where Greg gets drunk and, like, starts to have visions of all the different people from throughout his life talking to him). For now, Jane is going away and even though I’m not gonna reflect back on all 344 eps of KL and be like, “Oh yes, Jane was such a dynamic character,” I did like her and I liked the way she was portrayed.

    [​IMG]


    Let’s jump to the very last scene of the ep, which is actually very ominous and creepy. I think I forgot to mention it last time, but on our last disk Abs hired this new attorney dude or something (I’m not entirely clear on his job title) named Scott Easton, a creepy looking white guy with a big ‘80s Rapist Beard. He and Abs have gotten a bit cozy pretty fast, and earlier in this ep she opens up to him with the truth about Val’s babies, asking what kind of things might happen moneywise if Gary were to discover that the babies were his, if the babies could wind up getting a good chunk of Gary’s fortune or whatever. At the end of this ep, Abs and Easton are standing around the political rally as everyone’s popping open the champagne, and, regarding the topic of the soon-to-arrive babies, she says something about how, “There’s nothing I can do about it,” only for Easton to make a cryptic comment, “You never know,” and then walk away, leaving Abs looking confused and upset for her freeze frame ending (I’m noticing more freeze-frame endings lately, something that I feel has become rather infrequent post season two).

    Boy, what a creepy ending, and My Beloved Grammy immediately got rather upset and was convinced this Easton fellow was gonna kill the babies or something like that. If I haven’t mentioned it, My Beloved Grammy has spent Val’s entire pregnancy convinced that the babies are going to die, and that’s not an unfair assumption to make. I’ve talked before about how the nighttime soaps liked to get the characters pregnant, stir up some drama, and then eliminate the pregnancy from the equation before the birth so they didn’t have to deal with child labor laws and babies running around and all that stuff. I think we had something ridiculous like seven dead fetuses on Dallas (I remember I counted them during our last viewing of the series, but now I’ve forgotten the exact number I landed on), so I can see why she’s going that way. I almost wanted to reassure her that things weren’t going to get that dark, because I think she thought maybe Easton was gonna come at Val with a baseball bat or a wire hanger or something, and I wanted to make sure and tell her it wouldn’t get quite that upsetting, but I held my tongue to let the drama unfold naturally.

    [​IMG]


    So that was Truth and Consequences. Clearly it was good, but I am going to say it was the least engaging ep on the disk we watched. This isn’t really a criticism of the ep so much as a demonstration of how amazing this disk/season is and how the eps seem to ascend upwards in quality as you move along. I will be slightly critical by saying that I’m not sure Robert Becker, helming his fourth directorial effort for KL, is quite up there with the big guys like Nicholas Sgarro, Bill “Green Beret” Duke, and of course Larry Elikann, but he still has plenty of eps left to improve. This is a micro criticism by the way, basically just me observing that I don’t see as many cinematic flourishes and arty touches in Becker’s eps as I do in other people’s eps, but it’s hardly some damning condemnation of this ep, which was overall quite excellent.

    In addition to beginning in a different way with that cheesy narrator recap, this ep also ends in a way we haven’t seen in a long time, with a “Next on KL” thirty second preview that shows us a little hint of what’s in store for our next ep. I could take or leave this because as soon as you jump into the next ep, you immediately see the same preview again, but whatever, the preview is for our next episode, Love to Take You Home, so I suggest we move right along and discuss that.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Knots Blogger

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    Episode Title: Love to Take You Home

    Season 06, Episode 07

    Episode 107 of 344

    Written by Peter Dunne

    Directed by Larry Elikann

    Original Airdate: Thursday, November 22nd, 1984

    The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Mack is served with divorce papers. Karen says she wants to explain, but she will need time. Mack finds out that Gary Loader has been killed. Val and Gary feel responsible for the MacKenzies' divorce. Abby and Scott Easton watch them talking from her office. Joshua's father, Jonathan, comes to Knots Landing determined to bring Joshua home with him. Joshua tells Cathy how confused he is and they make love. Afterwards, Joshua feels dirty and disgusted, and is horrified that Cathy doesn't feel ashamed, too. Joshua goes to see Reverend Kathryn, who has a religious show on the station, for advice. Joshua decides to stay and talks with his father. Scott Easton has lunch with Mitch Ackerman. Val goes to see her obstetrician, but she has been called away to a conference, and there is a new doctor - Mitch Ackerman. After Val's appointment, Ackerman calls Easton and tells him that he gave Val the pills, and that it will be two or three days at the most.


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    Oh God yes. In our last ep, which I still thought was very very good, I said how I don’t think Robert Becker is quite up there with “the big guys” when it comes to our KL directors, and so it’s with great pleasure that I note television auteur Larry Elikann is back in the director’s chair this week to give us a little masterpiece of television with Love to Take You Home, and he’s obviously aided immeasurably by the fact that this ep is written by the genius Peter Dunne, my new favorite person in the entire world (even though he never responded to my E-mail asking for an interview, sniff, cry). Right away this ep is more visually dynamic and stimulating than our last one, as we open up on a preacher guy giving a little sermon to TV cameras for some religious show that Pacific Cable Whatever plays. I like how this is shot by beginning in a tight closeup of the guy talking and then sorta pulling out to reveal that we are seeing him through the camera monitor. Then Joshua comes walking by to deliver coffee (I think we’re still in the era where people pretty much just drank regular old coffee, and the main thing was asking whether they wanted cream and sugar or not; the era of the super snooty and entitled Starbucks customers who drink lattes and stuff feels like it’s about, erm, maybe ten years into the future). When he sees this guy sermonizing, he pauses to look on with interest; obviously this is something that feels nice and comfortable to him, like if I was walking down a hallway and then saw they were filming a nighttime soap or a gay porno, I would probably feel right at home and pause to watch them continue.

    I’m noticing how, even in the super soap era of the series that we are now cozily nestled into, with long ongoing story arcs and all that stuff, individual eps will still manage to have their own flavor, their own themes running through. The theme of this one is religion and religious oppression, so I appreciate how it begins right here in our very first scene. This is not to say that this preacher is into oppression, by the way. I actually think this preacher guy is pretty cool, kinda having a more modern and open minded aura about him than some religious people can have. I also wanna note with surprise that this character (Reverend Kathrun, who will wind up being in six eps altogether) is played by Sandy Kenyon, who I was surprised to see was the voice of Jon Arbuckle in the first ever Garfield special, the absolutely soul-crushing Here Comes Garfield.

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    You know what, let’s take a moment to go on a wild tangent about Here Comes Garfield and it’s dominance in my life and the fact that even thinking about it can make me cry. This is a thirty minute short that is mostly fun and shenanigans with Garfield and Odie until the main plot kicks in, which is that Odie gets sent to the pound and then Garfield finds out he’s about to get put down. From there, we have an agonizing scene in which this super sad song called So Long, Old Friend plays while Garfield flashes back to all the fun times he’s had with Odie. I first saw this emotional rape when I was about eleven years old and was spending the night at a friend’s house. We went wandering to the grocery store and found this VHS tape (back when those were still common; you kids today probably don't know what those are) of the special and we bought it for a buck or whatever and went home to watch it. Little eleven year old Brett wasn’t quite as comfortable with his emotions and feelings back then as he is now (probably also cuz I was still wrestling with my sexuality and all that stuff), and when we hit that scene with the song and the montage, I started to cry uncontrollably, but I was embarrassed and didn’t want my friend to see me, so I spent mostof the time hiding my face and letting the tears fall silently down my face. I was convinced that if my friend saw me cry, he would make fun of me for crying at a thirty minute children’s cartoon, but when the special concluded, I finally turned to face my friend only to see that he was also crying uncontrollably and had tears just streaming down his face. At that point, I was a little less embarrassed, though I still retired to the bathroom to sit in the bathtub for a few minutes and sob quietly to myself until I felt a bit better. For years I never watched the special again, simply remembering how much it made me cry and how awful it made me feel, until I rediscovered it in college and decided to face my demons and watch it again and, of course, I cried like a little baby when I watched it again in college, and I probably haven’t watched it since then because it simply makes me feel so awful. Now, make no mistake, the special ends with Garfield and Odie escaping the pound and living happily ever after, but it’s one of those instances where nothing can take away the pain of what we have seen or the emotions of that beautiful song that plays.



    Anyway, that was an unrelated tangent, but I felt like sharing, and,like I said, it very slightly relates because it appears this guy provided the voice of Jon in that special, although I don’t think he did the voice for the Garfield and Friends TV show that I used to watch which was, generally, much less emotionally rapey to sit through. As for the character, I like him, although I might be getting ahead of myself and thinking of stuff he does in upcoming eps and not this one. I’m not a big religious guy and I’m generally afraid of priests (mostly cuz of the whole I-don’t-want-to-get-raped thing), but this guy seems like one of those cool priests who actually believes in love and understanding and all that crap.

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    This is a stark contrast to Joshua’s father, who we finally meet this week. Before I move on to the character and what he does and all that, let’s talk about the actor, Transmorphers, and the fact that I think IMDb is wrong. Okay, first off, Jonathan J. Rush is played by Albert Salmi (pictured above), a character actor who follows me around and always seems to be popping up in the things I watch. I was just watching a James at 15 ep and there he was as James’ sleazy uncle. Now, what’s funny about this guy is that he looks distinctly different to me based on whether he has a goatee or not. Sometimes he’s got a goatee, and I’m like, “Oh, it’s that guy,” and sometimes he doesn’t and I usually don’t even recognize him without it (like for instance he’s in Caddyshack and I never realized it until I just looked it up). As for Transmorphing, well, he played the super sleazy and rapey Gil Thurman (probably one of my favorite made-up names ever) over on Dallas during the 1982-1983 season. This is the guy that J.R. sent to, like have a meeting at Sue Ellen’s little condo and then purposefully showed up real late so that Gil could get, erm, a little bit Trumpy with Sue Ellen. God, he was a sleazeball on that show, but once you take away the goatee and have him morph into Jonathan, he no longer feels sleazy but, instead, frightening. The reason I think IMDb is wrong is because they have him credited for three eps of KL; there’s this one, Tomorrow Never Knows, and To Sing His Praise. Well, I’m not sure about To Sing His Praise because we haven’t gotten to that episode yet, but I’m almost 100% certain he’s not in Tomororow Never Knows, because we did watch that one and I have no memory of seeing him. Was he cut out but still credited? Is this a case where my copies are missing scenes? In any case, I’ve been noticing lots of flaws and problems within IMDb’s cast crediting for eps of KL, so this is probably just another example.

    TO BE CONTINUED
     
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  5. Knots Blogger

    Knots Blogger Soap Chat Member

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    CONTINUED

    F*** me, there’s so much style dripping from this episode. One of the first scenes we see is Lilimae standing behind the gate of her house (I guess technically Val’s house, but you all get my meaning) and peering out through the bars, looking super sad and scared. It’s framed in such a way that her face is center stage and the bars are around her, making it look like she’s in prison. It’s a beautiful shot but also moves the story, telling us that Lilimae is scared about seeing this man from her past again. When Gil Thurman (sorry, I meant Jonathan J. Rush) arrives at the house, Elikann shoots him from below to make him look tall, imposing, authoritative, and frightening. The man immediately kills any fun that has the potential to grow in a room, because Joshua and Cathy enter the house in a happy, laughing mood, but as soon as Joshua sees his father, it’s very silent and spooky and Lilimae is just sitting in a chair looking all pale, like she’s going to be sick. So I loved how Jonathan was shot from below, and then I loved the very next scene even more, in which this incredibly awkward pseudo-family dinner is shot from above, actually making it look like some sort of religious painting. The sense of tension in the air is palpable, and you know that Jonathan is just not going to approve of anything, starting with this girl his son is running around with. When he finds out that Cathy is a singer, he asks, “Do you sing religious hymns?” and Cathy kinda smiles and is like, “No, I don’t think Isadora would like that too much.” Yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and say people who are smoking and drinking in a bar probably don’t want to hear a bunch of crappy religious songs, but hey, that’s just a guess. After that, Jonathan moves on to Val, asking her about the babies and where the father is. Right away we establish that we have a night club singer at the table along with a pregnant-out-of-wedlock woman; it’s a table full of sin!
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    Jonathan is not just here for a friendly visit; he wants to take Joshua back to wherever they come from (they say it ten thousand times, I’m sure, and I’m just too dumb to pay attention or I’m too busy focusing more on the way some microscopic beam of light in the background exemplifies all the genius of television filmmaking). He tells Joshua how it’s time to come back home and return to the church and continue his life of not having sex and not dancing and not singing and basically not having any kind of fun at all. As appealing as that sounds, Joshua gets angry and declares he’s staying here with Lilimae and Val and then he runs off, Cathy hot on his heels. Cathy finds Joshua up in some cliff area overlooking the water, all upset. The music starts to swell as Joshua gives this big speech about how his whole life has been filled with shame and nothing was ever good enough for his father, and then the two start to make out and then roll around on top of each other and, well, we cut to a commercial, but I think we can all infer what happened, especially since when we return to the scene Joshua is gazing off into the distance and refusing to look at Cathy while she cries and asks why he thinks their making love is shameful (breaking CNN news: I am officially over my problem with the term “making love” and now I actually kinda like saying it, especially if a boy is special to me). She says how Joshua is making her feel dirty, and he says, “What we just did is a violation of everything,” and Cathy says, “It’s the foundation of everything.” Well, I’m definitely with her. We are all sexual beings and sex is the very foundation of all life and existence and without it, we wouldn’t even be here; sorry to offend the delicate ears (or I should say “eyes”) of any potential religious fanatic readers I may have (I’m pretty sure I don’t have any). While I could understand the temptation to be annoyed with Joshua and be like, “Get the f*** over your issues, dude,” I feel bad for him. Decades of nicely ingrained shame every single day is a hard thing to shake off. Obviously Joshua was a virgin until five minutes ago, so he’s probably quite certain he’s on the highway to Hell now and there’s no going back, which could probably ruin anybody’s day.

    [​IMG]

    Meanwhile, back at the house, Lilimae is much more forward and direct with Jonathan as soon as they have a private moment, which I think is interesting. She looked like she was going to poop her pants at the dinner table scene and hardly spoke a word, but now that they are sitting alone, she gets rather authoritative and picks up his Bible and says, “I ought to beat you over the head with your good book.” Then she gives a nice speech about how the foundation of religion is supposed to be love and she says how he doesn’t have any time for love even though, “You read about it and you preach about it; why can’t you feel it?” What makes this scene extra interesting is that Jonathan just sits quietly and listens to her; this tells me that their relationship is much more complex than it appeared upon first glance. I think it shows that he still has feelings of love for Lilimae; even though he condemns her as a sinner and says how she abandoned them, I think he still kinda likes being around her and listening to her talk. He probably likes the fact that she is so direct with him, really.

    God, KL is so good. I’ve said this before and I’m gonna say it again, so deal with it, but this Jonathan character could have been nothing; he could have easily just been this one-episode guy that is shipped in to create a conflict and then is shipped out unceremoniously, but even he winds up being fascinating to watch, and seeing how Lilimae interacts with him is fascinating to watch, and you know what, I’m calling it right now: If ever there was a season to give Julie Harris her Emmy, it’s this one. She says so much with her eyes, even when she’s not speaking and you can just see how her eyes are kinda filling up with tears, so very expressive, and I feel like we’ve reached some new level of maturity and high art by this juncture in the series that is exemplified by just how f***ing good her incredible acting is. The way this portion of the ep ends could also have been a write-off, but it works brilliantly for me. See, Jonathan agrees to let Joshua stay here, and then we get a fabulous final scene between him and Lilimae outside the front door as he’s about to leave, donning a cool fedora and actually looking rather boss. He turns to her and says, “I forgot what a spitfire you were,” and it’s this moment of rather naked emotion that I found very enjoyable to watch. Finally, when he turns to walk away, you can see that Lilimae is getting a little misty and she sorta whispers, “Goodbye, Jonathan,” to which My Beloved Grammy declared that she thinks Lilimae still loves Jonathan, and you know what? I think I agree. It’s not a love like, “Let’s get immediately back together so I can be part of your church choir again and you can make us all feel really bad all the time,” but a more complex thing, that there was something that attracted these two to each other in the first place and that it’s still there in some small way over twenty years later.

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    Okay, I’ve gone on way too long about just this one particular facet of the ep, so let’s move on to our other beautiful and wonderful and fascinating characters, starting with Gary and Val. I forgot to mention it last ep, but Val has asked Mack to be her Lamaze coach and he has agreed cuz he’s so awesome and cool and fabulous and a good friend. Also, and this is an easy thing to forget since it happened so long ago, but he’s one of the only people that knows the truth about Val’s babies. If you’ll flashback to somewhere in season five (can’t remember the exact one, please forgive me), you’ll recall that Val visited Mack at his office and pretty much immediately told him the truth, and Mack has kept that secret very well all the way up to this point. So, for the purposes of keeping score, let’s go down the list of who knows the truth. We’ve got Val, of course, as well as Ben, Mack, and, most recently Abs and, by extension, the wicked and creepy Scott Easton.

    Anyway, when Val arrives at Lamaze, she’s surprised to see Gary there, but it turns out he’s not really there to see her (although he expressed his desire to be her coach last week), but rather to talk to Mack and tell him the truth about what’s going on. What an amusing little scene, and what utter cuteness it is to watch Gary and Val frantically try to explain to a confused Mack what’s going on, how they were trying to hatch a plan to get him and Karen back together, but it’s now backfired since Karen has officially filed for divorce from him. Ah, such a sordid state of affairs. The beautiful thing is that Mack has this knowing and rather amused look on his face, and when they’re done explaining things to him, he’s like, “Oh, so you guys think me and Karen should be together, huh?” To that, Gary and Val both get these really funny expressions on their face and kinda look at each other, suddenly realizing the elephant in the room, which is of course that anyone on the cul-de-sac or near the cul-de-sac or living in the state of California or inhabiting the planet Earth can see that Gary and Val are soul mates who love each other deeply and are meant to be together.

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    This whole thing is playing brilliantly for me, by the way, how Gary and Val are really and truly just spending so much time together because they’re hatching a plan, not because they are gonna get back together. However, we can understand Abby’s growing paranoia as everywhere she looks, she sees Gary and Val talking and looking rather happy together. There is a tremendous visual scene in which Abs is pacing her office with Scott Easton standing behind her, the shadows from the venetian blinds splashed across the dark backdrop of the wall to make the scene look creepy and secretive. She goes over to the window and peers out and is able to see Gary and Val talking over in Gary’s office, and the shadows illuminate her face and accentuate her baby blue eyes. Stunning, simply stunning, this is how you shoot an episode of television.

    TO BE CONTINUED
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2017
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  6. Knots Blogger

    Knots Blogger Soap Chat Member

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    CONTINUED

    The ever creepy 80s Rapist Beard looms in shadow behind Abs as she looks through the window, spending most of the episode reassuring her that “her bonus” should be arriving shortly. In case it’s not clear, I’m talking about Scott Easton, who is making his penultimate appearance on the series in this episode. Now might be a good time to sorta re-explain what’s going on with this guy and how it all relates to Val’s babies. In truth, there are some aspects of this that I’m still having a bit of trouble completely figuring out, so forgive me any lapses, but basically Abs needs to make sure Lotus Point has a water supply and there was some reason or other that they were at risk to not be allowed any of the water, but she hired Easton to figure it out for her and so that’s what he’s doing. So his main job is supposed to be figuring out the whole water thing, but “the bonus” that he keeps mentioning presumably has something to do with Val’s babies. I’m not trying to create the impression that I don’t know where this storyline is leading; of course I know because I’ve seen this before and it’s probably the best storyline in the whole series history, but I am trying to explain it the way it’s occurring onscreen, the way this would play to a first time viewer in 1984, who would probably be as confused as Abs is every time Easton cryptically says, “Your bonus should be arriving any time, Mrs. Ewing.”
    What are Laura and Sumner up to this week, by the way? We get a little less of them than usual, and I think it might even be as little as one scene, a rather lovely moment of intimacy between them at a hotel in….somewhere. Clearly I don’t know my geography well and I don’t really pay attention to the dialogue when people say they’re going somewhere, but it’s really not all that important. It’s enough to just say they are out of town, staying in a hotel. Laura’s telling some story about her youth and a friend of hers that married a super sexy lifeguard and then the lifeguard died and left her with a bunch of money or something. I love how this story has absolutely nothing to do with the plot; it makes it feel more like real people hanging out and talking. Also, the way they are interacting definitely tells me that they are starting to feel love for each other, and we also get the sense that even if Greg was mad at Jane for asking for a divorce last ep, his heart is starting to belong to Laura. My Beloved Grammy also noticed that and said how at first she thought Sumner just wanted another notch on his bedpost with Laura, but now she thinks he’s really falling for her. The only thing I don’t love about this scene is that Greg is rubbing Laura’s feet. Ick. I know it feels good to get a foot massage and all that, but I’m not into feet and I’m not one of those foot fetish people (not naming any names here, Quentin Tarantino). I don’t judge since I don’t believe in judging peoples’ fetishes and kinks, but it just ain’t for me and I could have lived without seeing him rub Laura’s foot.

    [​IMG]


    I feel like I glossed over Karen last ep, so let’s focus on her a bit. Near the start of the ep, we have a heated argument between her and Eric, who is mad at her for seeking a divorce from Mack and doesn’t understand why she is doing this. I like the way this scene plays, with them talking out on the driveway while he frantically tries to start a car that won’t work properly. He gets all pissed and is like, “I hate this car!” and has to get out and open the hood and ask Sexy Michael to try revving the engine. Then he angrily sorta grabs Sexy Michael out of the car and shoves him aside, which I did not approve of. Look, I know you’re all angry, Eric, but it’s simply not okay to be rude or violent with one of God’s most beautiful and sublime creatures like your brother, Sexy Michael, a brother who is soooooooo unbelievably sexy that I think, in this instance, it would actually be okay to commit incest, and I think if he was my brother, I would simply have to do it; I would have no other choice. Sexy Michael even gets the last line of the scene, cuz after Eric speeds off, Karen asks him if he’s equally mad, and he says, “No, but I am mad,” and then he gets real serious and asks, “How can you not love Mack?” Yes, I understand his question, which is almost a rhetorical one, kinda like asking, “How could you not f*** the s*** out of Sexy Michael as soon as you saw him?”

    [​IMG]

    There are many benefits to watching the show for a second time with some idea of how future events are going to proceed, and I noticed one instance here in this ep. See, we are at a lovely looking restaurant with Val, but when the scene actually starts, we don’t begin on Val, but on a table occupied by the wicked Easton and the even more wicked Dr. Ackerman. Now, we haven’t actually been introduced to Dr. Ackerman yet, so upon first viewing, when watching this, all you see is Easton sitting with some old white guy, but watching it this time, I was like, “There’s Ackerman!” Like I said, we start on the two, then the camera pans over to Val’s table, and then Easton comes over to be creepy with Val and say, “Would you think me immodest if I said congratulations?” He leers at her pregnant belly for awhile and then he leaves the restaurant, but not before turning around and giving Ackerman a look while Ackerman evilly sips a glass of white wine.

    I do wanna talk about the actor playing Ackerman real fast, mostly because he’s a Transmorpher. His name is Laurence Haddon (pictured below) and I got a big surprise when I peeked at his IMDb because I thought he was only in one episode of Dallas from around 1986 or 1987. Turns out he’s in seventeen, going as far back as 1980 with Nightmare and spanning all the way to 1986 with The Fire Next Time. Apparently he’s even in the most famous episode of all time, Who Done It? He played Franklin Horner on the show, and I honestly remember nothing about the character except that he was, like, an oil guy who worked with J.R. or something (there was a lot of oil on that show; it all blurs). I’m not gonna bother listing his credits because they are myriad; he looks to be one of those people who’s in every TV show ever made. What surprises me is that he’s only in six eps of KL; in my mind it was way more. Anyway, he’s here now and I’m excited/nervous to see him.

    [​IMG]

    Last scene of the ep involves Ackerman, cuz we see Val having a meeting with a doctor, but we can’t see the doctor’s face right away. There’s an exchange of dialogue that nicely covers the bases from prior eps by establishing that her lady doctor is out of town for the month for some reason. The still-faceless doctor gives Val some pills and tells her to take them however many times a day. Then Val leaves and the camera pans up to reveal the face of Ackerman, who evilly picks up a phone and evilly dials the numbers and then evilly says, “Shouldn’t be long now; two, three days at the most,” and that’s how we end the episode. What a spooky ending, and if I was watching this on original airing, I would be legit frightened at what’s about to happen, much like I could tell My Beloved Grammy was legit frightened. Like I said before, she was utterly convinced that Easton and Ackerman were just going to flat out kill the babies, and she believed these pills were going to force Val into a miscarriage or kill the babies while they’re inside of her or something like that. If I was watching this week to week in the ‘80s, I would probably think the same thing, and I would be scared. Stuff like this gives me a boner, though (obvious not a literal boner, you understand), and I think it might be from watching Rosemary’s Baby a lot as a kid. I’m a big fan of the idea of evil doctors or people we are meant to trust as authority figures who are actually duplicitous and lying to us and causing us harm. It’s such a frightening idea, and it always works well to severely creep me out, and it’s working well here.

    In fact, I’ll just conclude and say everything about this ep is working well. In my notes where I do the little “Overall Review” part before we move on to the next ep, I simply wrote, “Oh God Elikann,” and I think that says it all. Elikann may be elevating into my top director, actually, because his eps are always so damn good and so stylish and distinctive; I’m starting to want to watch all his television work to see if he was actually some sort of television auteur that nobody except me is talking about. The lighting and shadows and compositions throughout this ep were just great, but beyond all that arty farty stuff that I care about, the story is inherently gripping. No f***ing wonder this is the season that leapt to #9 in the ratings (the only year in KL history to hit the top ten, which hurts me deeply); if you were watching this in 1984-1985, could you possibly stop watching it? I would be cancelling all my potential Thursday night plans for the entire year just to make sure I’d be home to watch this, and I can’t believe there could be anything better on television that year (this happens to be the year that Miami Vice started, actually, but I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: That show sucks). So f*** yeah, this was clearly a work of genius and I suggest we proceed to the next work of genius, which is entitled Tomorrow Never Knows.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator 15 Years on Soap Chat 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

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    The woman who is nursing a crush on Ben at the Pacific World Cable newsroom was named P. K. Kelly. Soaps have this annoying habit of having male characters refer to female characters by their last name, which is why Ben might have only referred to her as "Kelly".

    As for the "In Knots Landing..." intro with the Lorimar logo, that was a tack-on when the series went into syndication. The first seven seasons were sold into strip syndication, and the syndicator likely added these recaps to the opening because a lot of local stations had the tendency to lose track of episode order. It also allowed casual viewers to have an idea of what is going on if they didn't watch every day.

    At some point, CBS started tacking on "previews" of what was going to happen in that night's (first-run) episode (no voice-over, just clips), and also started doing tag scenes (short scenes prior to the opening credits, similar to what daytime soaps had done for decades). The weirdest was during the "Sandcastle Season", when a recap of the previous episode would be spliced into the middle of the opening credits.
     
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  8. Knots Blogger

    Knots Blogger Soap Chat Member

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    Episode Title: Tomorrow Never Knows

    Season 06, Episode 08

    Episode 108 of 344

    Written by Joel J. Feigenbaum

    Directed by Nick Havigna

    Original Airdate: Thursday, November 29th, 1984

    The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Karen and Mack talk, but she doesn't tell him she's dying. Scott Easton calls Abby and says he has negotiated Lotus Point's water rights with Paul Galveston, and to expect a bonus within the next few days as a "thank you." Ben is away on a story. Val has pains all day, and Dr. Ackerman tells her to take more pills. Home alone, she goes into labor. Michael and Eric take her to the hospital. They call Gary, who immediately leaves, angering Abby. Ackerman tells Val he's going to put her under anesthesia. She protests but he says there are complications. Everything goes fuzzy for Val. She gives birth, sees the babies, and hears them cry. She hears the nurse say that the babies are healthy. Val wakes up, and Ackerman tells her that the babies were stillborn. Val insists that she saw and heard them, but Ackerman says her mind was playing tricks on her because she was under sedation. Gary calls Abby to tell her that the babies are dead. Abby is genuinely concerned. Then Abby receives a call from a man who tells her he will need the blood type of the babies' father, and he'll be in touch with her later.


    [​IMG]


    I hope my dear readers don’t mind when I continually blow my wad right away by starting my little essays with, “My God, what a work of profound genius this ep is!” I only say that because I’m about to do it right now, so deal with it. What a work of profound genius this ep is, continuing the glory run of monumental television artistry that is season six of KL. With Tomorrow Never Knows, we pick up pretty much where we left off with the continuing saga of Val’s pregnancy and the wicked Scott Easton and Dr. Ackerman, and we wind up getting an episode that is actually extremely frightening and winds up being the most “horror movie” episode of the entire series, I would say, unless there’s one or two down the line that I’m completely forgetting. Seriously, this episode is scary, much scarier than the last distinctly horror ep I can remember, The Constant Companion from way back in season one.

    God, where to even start with this one? I think I’ll actually start with Karen and Mack, since I’m afraid if I start with Val’s babies I’ll get too excited and neglect to mention everyone else in the cast, and that would be unfair since everyone is firing on all cylinders right now. Karen and Mack finally start to make some progress during this ep, and it’s all thanks to a little confrontation Mack witnesses between Val and Ben at Pacific World Whatever. See, Val comes in and is talking to Ben about how she doesn’t want anyone to know Gary is the father of the babies, and Ben makes the point of how everyone thinks he’s a weirdo for abandoning Val while she’s pregnant with his babies, and so on and so forth, until Mack finally loses his temper and is all like, “I’m sick of listening to you guys and Bob Loblaw,” and then he storms out of the room and slams the door. I like the fact that even though he’s mad, he’s still funny and, I would argue, cute. He’s not scary-mad, but more frustrated and finally letting it out for the first time, and I’m starting to really appreciate the comedy and warmth that The Dobsonator brings to this role.

    [​IMG]


    That humor continues the next time we see Mack, when he’s angrily speeding his jeep along and talking out loud to himself. This could come off as far fetched to some, perhaps, but I drive around all the time and talk to myself, often in a way similar to Mack here. Your car tends to feel like something of a private, safe place (even though it’s clearly not), so I understand, and I also like how Mack’s angry speech to himself does the job of providing both some humor while also kinda giving us an update on what’s been going down the last year or so. He actually goes pretty far back and even mentions Diana and Chip, which already feels like it was a million years ago, and he also has one of my all-time favorite lines from the whole series, “I should have taken French, then I would have known: Cul-de-sac , dead end.” I’ve always loved this line even though I’m not entirely sure why, but whenever I see a cul-de-sac in my real daily life, I usually say this out loud (because every time I see a cul-de-sac I think of KL). The only bad thing about this scene is a rather obvious dub-job that I’m assuming was some sort of network mandate or perhaps a censor rule. It comes when Mack says, “Why do I have to be Val’s Lamaze coach? Why couldn’t she get one of the other guys who mixed her up?” His lips very clearly say “knocked her up” and his voice suddenly changes sound and is clearly some bad A.D.R. Were you not allowed to say “knocked up” on television in 1984-1985? I know I’ve heard the term used on regular network shows later on in television history, but perhaps it was still forbidden at this time (sorta like how “shit” slowly started to become kinda-sorta acceptable to put into network shows aftera while; I vividly remember Dr. Greene yelling “Shit!” on E.R. while he was dying and I was violently sobbing). Anyway, aside from that bad dub, this is a terrific scene, and I think it’s important to note the humor because of how scary and upsetting the ep is going to get; everyone knows that when you’re doing horror, you need to have some comedy in there to keep things kinda balanced out.

    Mack and Karen have agreed to go up the coast together and have some alone time. I can’t entirely remember how this ends up happening, but I think it’s because of Karen’s little argument with Eric last week. In fact, that brings up a subject worth discussing, which is what Karen thinks will happen to her kids and to Mack after she dies. Mack has spent the last two years being a really awesome father figure for the boys (Diana never liked him, but nobody ever liked Diana, so it all evens out) and really skillfully filling the hole in the series that was left by Sid (and winding up being a far more interesting and dynamic character, to boot), so wouldn’t you think that, if Karen died, he would be responsible and, most importantly, willing to continue acting as a father figure to the boys? I do know that the boys are pretty much all grown up (Steve Shaw would be 19 here, and I think his character of Eric is 19, while Pat Petersen is 18, but I think Michael is supposed to be 16), so maybe she just figures that she’ll die and leave them with an inheritance and the business of Knots Landing Motors and all will be cool, but I dunno. I have a hard time believing that the boys wouldn’t want to keep Mack around as a part of their lives after their mother died.

    I’m actually starting to think I might be being a little too gentle with Karen because of how much I love the character. When I’m really sitting to think about it, maybe she is being really unfair and unreasonable, and maybe I’m not entirely sure I understand her reasons. She’s essentially just waiting a year until she dies and then she’s just gonna, you know, be dead. The fact that she has only told Gary about her illness is also interesting; why hasn’t she spoken frankly with the boys? Or why didn’t she talk to them about it when she was in the hospital and was first presented with the option of the risky surgery? It’s one of those things that, sitting to write about it and really analyze it, I find myself able to poke some holes in it, but somehow it plays very well onscreen and I don’t really find myself asking these questions while I’m staring in awe at the television screen and drooling.

    I thought Karen and Mack were driving up the coast so that she could finally tell him the truth, but it doesn’t work out that way. They do have a lovely weekend together and they do make love for the first time in some time, which is definitely good, but she continues to avoid the truth, instead preferring to tell him that she believes his work is very important to him and she doesn’t want to be preventing him from doing what he believes he needs to do. Ugh, this is maybe maybe maybe the only story at this point that is stretching on a little too long, and My Beloved Grammy does tend to keep shouting at the screen, “Just tell him, Karen!” I guess it’s been about eight episodes of secret keeping, so maybe it is time for Karen to open up and finally tell the truth to Mack, although it doesn’t happen within this ep.

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    One last thing on the driving-up-the-coast story this week, probably the very most important thing we need to discuss: When Karen and Mack are getting ready to leave, Sexy Michael wishes them goodbye and he is wearing a pink shirt and an orgasmically fantastic pair of super short shorts that highly emphasize his monumental bubble butt, a bubble butt that I could easily write volumes of poetry about. While I haven’t masturbated in front of My Beloved Grammy since the ep where Michael wore that cut-off ‘80s shirt that showed off his belly button while he was playing basketball, I came pretty damn close here. Jesus Christ, is he not just the most perfect slice of twinkish all-American white boy ever committed to celluloid? How could the actors even be on the same set as him without desperately trying to violate him? This is maybe the first episode where I really noticed his butt, too, which is probably the most perfect butt that God has ever sculpted, and I found myself achingly wishing that this was some sort of cutting edge HBO series in which we could have Michael disrobe and bare all for the television viewers (it would probably wind up being the most watched episode in television history and it would certainly result in everyone in America subscribing to HBO, if not indeed everyone in the entire world).

    [​IMG]


    This ep is actually doing a clever thing by making sure to keep all the characters besides Val occupied with some sort of business so that nobody can be around for Val when she really needs them. It’s like when I’m reading Cujo for the seven thousandth time and I note the skill with which Stephen King makes sure to establish that all the characters are going somewhere and are busy and occupied, setting the stage for Donna and Tad Trenton to be trapped in the boiling hot car with the rabid Saint Bernard outside. I mention this because we already have Mack and Karen going up the coast, along with Greg and Laura presumably doing something or other in Washington (I honestly can’t remember them doing much of anything in this ep, even though I’m fairly certain that they both put in an appearance), Cathy and Joshua and Lilimae occupied by watching Cathy sing at Isadora’s, and finally Ben busy with a news story that requires him to be out and about for some time.

    [​IMG]

    TO BE CONTINUED
     
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    CONTINUED

    The Desperate Horny Chick that I’m now fairly certain is named Cherie continues to annoy both My Beloved Grammy and myself this week, because it seems like she’s intentionally trying to sabotage a possible reunion between Val and Ben. See, early in the ep a f***ing clown delivers some flowers to Val, effectively scaring the crap out of me (I really wanted to know who played this clown but had trouble figuring it out via IMDb’s episode page, so I gave up). Anyway, the clown is scary, but the flowers are lovely and they come attached to a note from Ben saying maybe he and Val could, you know, give it a shot. Excited and happy, Val calls the news station only for The Desperate Horny Chick to answer the phone, get a real stoical look on her face when she hears Val ask her to “Thank Ben for the flowers,” and then she assures Val she will deliver the message but I think it’s pretty obvious that she’s not going to do any such thing. Oh bleh, just go away, Desperate Horny Chick.

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    Things start to feel really scary whenever we see Val having her pains and looking upset. Remember that, for a first time viewer with no idea of where this is leading, we could easily think that these babies are about to die, that these pains mean she is going to miscarry or deliver stillborn or something like that, which just makes the whole episode feel deeply unsettling. Also, anytime Dr. Ackerman is onscreen, my skin crawls. We have an early scene where Val is walking along the boardwalk and is struck by pains that are so bad that a nice blonde mother/son pair (who look so identical that I’m convinced they were, in fact, related) stop to make sure she’s alright. She tells them she’s okay and asks where the nearest pay phone is (remember those?) and calls Ackerman, who evilly answers the phone and looks creepy while assuring her that the pills he gave her are very mild and she should probably take some more whenever she’s feeling pain. Oh ick, all this stuff is so creepy and horrifying, that a man who took the Hippocratic oath and promised to do no harm to his patients is deliberating lying to this pregnant woman in some attempt to either f*** with her pregnancy or do something else evil. This remains the scariest thing I can imagine and probably the most reprehensible thing a person can do (this might explain why the movie Beethoven is so upsetting to me). Also, just like clockwork, as soon as he hangs up with Val, he immediately picks up the phone to call Easton and say something cryptic like, “She’s starting to suspect,” or something equally evil.

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    Before I get too sucked into talking about Val and her pregnancy, let’s shine the spotlight on Cathy and her fabulous cover song of the week. This time it’s really a case of two things I love combining forces in a new and fantastically exciting way, because when Lilimae and Joshua enter Isadora’s, Cathy is in the middle of a cover of Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time. Ah, yes, what bliss, for Cyndi Lauper’s stunning debut album She’s So Unusual became the first album I got really obsessed with when I was a wee lad back in high school. I remember I would go running and just listen to that album on a loop and absolutely nothing else, which seems rather narrow upon reflection considering there are only nine songs on there, but oh God I loved it, and Time After Time remains one of her most excellent and iconic songs. I’ve generally declared that Lisa’s covers of songs are always better than the originals, but in this case I must admit that I prefer Cyndi. Lisa’s version is cool, too, and has a rather different sound to it, like the background instruments are either slightly different or being played in a different way or something like that, and of course I loved listening to it and wish it was available on an album somewhere (shamefully, I don’t think any of Lisa’s songs post season four are available in any sort of physical media), but I’m still giving the edge to Cyndi just for being such an amazing and memorable song. But this is kinda like having to choose between blowing Sexy Michael or f***ing Sexy Michael; in the end, both options are going to be quite excellent and unbelievably satisfying.



    Oh yeah, and on the subject of Cathy’s songs, we do have one little detail that I found rather amusing, and that is the fact that Cathy is now doing the same songs that Ciji did. See, when Val starts having pains in the middle of the night and calls Isadora’s to try and reach somebody, the waitress who answers can’t hear a word she’s saying because Cathy is singing Hole In My Heart so loudly. Any KL fan will remember that this was one of Ciji’s first songs ever (I think it was her second one right after that cover of Open Arms), and I find it very funny that Cathy appears to have just sorta, you know, turned into Ciji. We have now reached a juncture in the series where nobody really cares that this doppelganger is running around, to the point that they don’t even notice she’s singing the same songs that poor dead Ciji used to sing two years back.

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    The ep cranks into horror film mode with a ferocious intensity as Val wanders around her house all alone, crying out in pain, trying to reach anyone on the phone who can help her before finally managing to reach Eric and Sexy Michael, who are having a little party over at their house with a public domain record blasting (wouldn’t it be much cooler if they were playing the record that Ciji recorded back in season four?). I want to note that this episode, and indeed this whole period of eps that we are currently in, are actually literally darker than the show has tended to be in the past. There’s so many dark scenes with no lights on and shadows cast on the walls to look extra creepy, and I have to think that this literal darkness is here to emphasize the metaphorical darkness of what is going on in the storyline at this point. In any case, it really helps to keep the episode feeling horrific.

    [​IMG]


    Eric and Sexy Michael come to Val’s rescue (one of the reasons Sexy Michael is such a dreamy boy is because he’s not only so unbelievably and stunningly beautiful to look at, but he’s also super sweet and nice and caring and always willing to help, although obviously none of those qualities are as important as his amazing bubble butt) and manage to get her to the hospital, which leads us into the scariest scene of the entire ep. See, Dr. Ackerman has Val all prepped and ready to deliver, legs up in the stirrups and all that, a couple of nurses to either side of him (including a black nurse; pay attention to her because, if I remember correctly, she’s gonna come back to be an important part of the plot later), when he announces that Val is bleeding violently or something or other and he’s going to need to give her a sedation, which he does. As soon as he’s got her sedated, things get trippy. The camera starts to go into this weirdo wide angle lens and everything is distorted and the sounds of voices sound scary and tinny and far away and I don’t even know how to describe the f***ing music, which is just horrifying and which I could never possibly listen to as a standalone piece of music, especially if I was all by myself in the dark. After a little while of this trippy and terrifying insanity, Ackerman says the babies are coming, we hear the sound of babies crying (this is important) and then Val passes out. When she comes to, she’s all alone with Ackerman, who's looking sleazy and awful. She asks to see the babies, at which point he announces that they were stillborn, dead on arrival, and that there was nothing he could do to save them. At this point, My Beloved Grammy said, “But they were crying!” and then two seconds later Val said the same thing, “I heard them crying.” Ackerman tells her that she was under a heavy sedation and it would be very easy to get confused and think she heard crying at that point, but Val insists that she also saw the babies while she heard them crying, which Ackerman dismisses in similar fashion.

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    I thought it was very interesting that, immediately following this scene, we cut to a scene of Abs alone in bed (Gary takes off after he receives the call that Val is in labor), being paid a visit from Olivia who has suffered some sort of horrible nightmare. Abs lets Olivia sleep in the bed with her and we get a nice little scene of her being a good mother to her daughter, which I found important. The cut from Val being told her babies are dead to Abs comforting Olivia feels very deliberate to me, and I think it’s important to note that, for all of her faults, Abs has never been a subpar mother. She loves her kids (Olivia more than Brian, probably, but that might just have something to do with the fact that Brian is a non-character) and she is good with them. I’m gonna further explore this notion of Abs as a woman who does have a strong maternal instinct when we move into our next episode.

    TO BE CONTINUED
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
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  10. Knots Blogger

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    CONTINUED

    Tomorrow Never Knows ends with Abs receiving a mysterious and creepy phone call in bed. Olivia is asleep by this point, so she doesn’t hear Abs having this little conversation with a creepy, authoritative male voice on the other end that asks her for “the blood type of the father” and says, “It’s essential for our paperwork.” We can see that Abs is legit confused as she asks, “What are you talking about?” The voice remains vague by saying, “The babies in question, Mrs. Ewing,” and then asking that she “obtain the necessary information” as soon as possible. Then the line goes dead and we end on Abs face and, again, if I was watching this in 1984, I would just be sitting there thinking, “How am I going to wait seven days for another episode?” Fortunately My Beloved Grammy and I didn’t have to wait seven days and were able to proceed right away to the next ep, but imagine watching this upon original airdate and just having to wait to see what happens. How could one even function in their daily life? I would spend all of my time thinking about this, unable to exert any mental energy towards anything else going on in my life. Indeed, what in 1984 could have possibly been more important than this?!

    So it goes without saying that this episode was brilliant and an absolutely incredible experience from start to finish. I’m gonna go ahead and predict that there’s no way there will ever be a more frightening episode than this one, which was just horrifying in so many regards, but most especially in that delivery scene with the creepy music and the wide angle lens. Kudos to director Nick Havinga, who has impressed me so much with this effort that I’m going to really keep my eyes open for his future eps (this is only his second after, interestingly, my least favorite episode of season four, The Block Party, but he’ll be back for another fifteen eps starting with Message in a Bottle). Overall, this ep was nearly perfect for me from start to finish; I can think of almost nothing that would have made it better. It was scary and intense and beautifully filmed and acted and it was just f***ing great.

    I predict that this gushing and adoration will only continue as we continue onward to another Larry Elikann helmed and absolutely unforgettable episode, We Gather Together.
     
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    Episode Title: We Gather Together

    Season 06, Episode 09

    Episode 109 of 344

    Written by Richard Gollance

    Directed by Larry Elikann

    Original Airdate: Thursday, December 6th, 1984

    The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Val insists her babies are alive, but no one believes her. Gary tells Lilimae he had secretly hoped that the babies were his. Joshua asks Reverend Kathryn if the babies were born dead out of retribution for Val conceiving out of wedlock. Abby receives another mysterious phone call requesting Gary's blood type. The caller tells her the babies will be placed in the next two days as she requested. Easton is flying in on Galveston's private jet, so Abby goes to meet him, but he's not on it. Abby makes about a million calls, but can't find him. Mack moves back in with Karen, and they decide to throw Thanksgiving dinner for everyone. While preparing the dinner, Karen's hands go numb. Karen asks Gary to get Val. Mack apologizes to everyone for hurting them. When Val and Gary walk in to the MacKenzie's, Val apologizes for her and Gary being late as usual.


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    Before I go into gushing fan boy mode and start masturbating while talking about how utterly ingenious this episode of KL is, I want to clarify one thing right off the bat, and that is the very title of the episode. I do not know why, but both IMDb (until very recently) and TV.com have this ep listed as We Come Together. Indeed, that’s what I kinda assumed the title would be just from glancing at IMDb stuff and starting to prep these essays and all that, but the actual onscreen title of the ep is We Gather Together, which really makes a lot more sense and also just sounds better rolling off the tongue. Why the discrepancy? I’m not entirely sure. The title wasn’t changed in post production or in syndication or anything like that, was it? Anyone know? In any case, I wanted to make that clear because I’m going to continue referring to this one as We Gather Together from now until the end of time, but if you actually go into the internet world and try to find it by that title via TV.com or something, you’ll come up empty.

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    Okay, so We Gather Together is another one of those eps that picks up just seconds after where the last one left off, Back to the Future Part II style, so much so that you could glue the two eps together and create a two hour amazing experience of utterly orgasmic joy. We begin in the hospital, Val in her hospital bed, the news starting to spread about what happened to her in our last ep. I think during one of my last 108 writeups, I said something about how I like eps of series that are all about people just finding stuff out, and that’s sorta what’s happening here; we spend a good early chunk of the ep watching people arrive at the hospital and get the news about what’s happened and just reacting to it. Probably the most memorable reaction comes from Lilimae, in another just-f***ing-give-Julie-Harris-her-Emmy moment where the doctor tells her Val’s babies are dead and she flips and starts saying, “Oh my God, oh my God,” over and over again. Some might say over-the-top, but I say a realistic depiction of devastation.

    I’m not gonna go down the roster of every single character who finds out about Val’s stillborn babies, but suffice it to say that it’s all very very good and very very well acted. I do wanna note that when Ben and Gary both find out it, Ben tells Gary, “Don’t stay away from her; she needs you now and I think you need her.” He’s absolutely right, and kudos to Ben for being the bigger man and not getting a stick up his ass about Val being around her ex-husband. This is a time when she needs the comfort of Gary and Ben recognizes it. F*** yes, Ben, I’m so sorry I was dismissive of you upon my last viewing, but I think I was just so busy focusing on the other amazing aspects of the series that I just kinda neglected you, but damn, you rock! In addition, Mack and Karen receive the news and rush to the hospital to see Val. Let’s talk about that scene specifically, because it’s time for some long overdue kudos to J.V.A. along with a personal apology for some mean comments I made towards her way way back in season one’s Will the Circle Be Unbroken? I actually have pulled up my essay on that episode right in front of me so I can sample through what I said and use it as a demonstration of either how wrong I was or how great J.V.A.’s acting has become since that episode. Let’s see, somewhere near the middle of the essay I wrote this:

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    “Okay, things really start to heat up in this episode when Val is reunited with Lilimae. Let’s just say that Joan Van Ark, well, let’s just say that she sure does pour her heart into this performance. The little thirty-second preview before the episode shows Val’s face contorting like Jim Carrey on coke, turning all grotesque and red as she screams, “MAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMAAAAAAA!”, really drawing that word out longer than I thought anyone ever could. God bless Joan Van Ark, and please, dear readers, please do understand that everything I say about her I say with love. But anyway, Joan is hardly the best actress on the series, and she’s really going over-the-top here, but it’s all part of the fun.”



    Oh God, what a horrible thing that was for me to say, but then later on I make this comment:



    “Aside from the bad dessert, pretty much everything is going okay until Lilimae starts to sing and talk about her past and all her experiences, making a big awkward speech about how Val never really understood or appreciated what she did for her, and of course this is the big moment where Val has finally had enough. We all saw that thirty-second preview before the show and we’ve all been waiting for it, and Joan Van Ark doesn’t disappoint. The face turns red, the mouth opens up super wide, and she starts to scream and scream about how Lilimae ruined her life by not helping her when she needed help with baby Lucy. ‘I lost her because of you and I hate you I HATE YOUUUUUUUU!’ she screams, followed by that incredible and hilarious, ‘MAAAAAAAAAMMMMMAAAAAA!’ Oh joy, what a scene this is. We the audience feel the uncomfortable-ness just dripping from the walls as everyone is forced to watch this domestic disaster, this unleashing of fury from a woman who has held in resentment at her mother for, well, at least twenty years, but probably more. J.V.A. is glorious in her over-the-top facial contortions and Julie Harris balances her out perfectly by being, you know, a legitimately great actress, and together the two create magic.”



    I don’t know if I’m gonna take back what I said about her in that episode, since I’m fairly certain that if I leapt back in time and gave that episode another rewatch right now (which I won’t do, since I’m a start-to-finish kind of guy and don’t believe in hopping around in TV shows), I would probably feel the same way, but that was only episode five and we are now up to episode 109, and during that gap of time, oh how gloriously J.V.A has blossomed, turning into a truly phenomenal actress and putting her entire heart into this incredible performance.

    I’ve been really liking Val and J.V.A a lot more since around, say, season three and onwards, but with season six I feel she has elevated to a whole new level and is probably doing her best acting on the entire series, and I think it really begins to show in this ep as she starts to realize that nobody believes her about the babies being alive. Specifically, it’s the scene with her and Mack and Karen in the hospital room. They are here to be her good friends, but when Val says the babies are alive, that she saw them and that she heard them cry, Karen gently says how they’ve already spoken to Dr. Ackerman and they can understand her confusion because of all the sedatives. During the scene, we mostly stay focused on Val’s face as she listens to Karen speak, and it’s heartbreaking. Val doesn’t even say anything, as far as I can remember, she just sits there, and we don’t have any big facial reactions or anything like that; she says it all with her eyes; we can see that realization come into her face as she sees that nobody is going to believe her, and it’s all silent and done with just her face and was a moment I really noticed and put in my notes and it made me want to write a personal letter to J.V.A (which maybe I will do, because perhaps it could lead to me scoring an interview with her) to say, “I’m sorry for what I wrote about you in episode five; you are BRILLIANT!”

    [​IMG]


    Everything involving Val in this episode is just sublime and provides the core and heart of the ep, but let’s move our focus over to some other characters for a moment. First off, let’s talk about Abs, who is frantically running around and trying to track down Scott Easton and figure out what the hell is going on and what the deal is with the babies. I’m not entirely sure if, at this exact point, Abs knows for sure that the babies are alive or not; I think she is just very confused by everything and not understanding what that phone call last ep was about (and she gets another phone call this ep that’s pretty much the same shtick as before, with the whole “the father’s blood type is essential for our paperwork” bit) or how all of this relates to Easton. Perhaps she still believes, like everyone else, that Val’s babies are dead and there’s nothing shady going on, but anyhow, she’s got to find Easton. I confess that some of this Easton stuff is a bit confusing to me. I’m still not entirely sure on how the whole water-supply-from-Galveston thing relates to the Easton thing which relates to the baby thing. I am clear on the fact that Easton got Dr. Ackerman to be evil and make Val’s babies disappear, but I don’t quite get how that connects to Galveston and I don’t quite know exactly why it’s heavily implied that he was killed. See, he gets on this plane and takes off or something, and then Abs goes to see the plane arriving back, but Easton is gone and she is instead greeted by another white guy with an '80s Rapist Beard.

    [​IMG]


    I do wanna complain about this real fast and say, “Seriously, guys?” The casting agents just had to hire another white guy with an ‘80s Rapist Beard? Am I the only white person in the world who often can’t tell different white people apart from each other and has a hard time keeping track when there are too many white people in one movie or show? I think I might be unique in that regard, but I do know that My Beloved Grammy also said she didn’t understand why this new character had to be another white guy with an ‘80s Rapist Beard who looks exactly the same as Easton. See, this new ‘80s Rapist Beard white guy gets off the plane and tells Abs that Easton wasn’t on the plane or something or other. Like I said, all this stuff is rather confusing me but, as I so often say, I don’t blame the show for my confusion, but only my own stupid brain.

    The fact that Abs is legitimately concerned about Val’s babies and this whole situation is very important, in my opinion. I’ve always said that what keeps Abs so interesting and such a great character is that she is always fully fledged and complex, never just a snarling villainous who lives her life to destroy others. Yeah, she deliberately chased after Gary when he was married to Val and took him away from her, and that was wicked, but now we are seeing genuine concern on her part for Val and her babies. I also think it’s worth noting (and I’m sure that all KL fans know this tidbit) that when the season was originally mapped out, the plan was to have Abs be deliberately and directly responsible for the loss of Val’s babies, that she specifically would seek to have it done. Donna wisely said this would be way too far for Abs to go and that the audience would never forgive her for doing it; we would no longer kinda like Abs even when she was wicked, because she would have done something far too evil and far too unforgivable. She also pointed out that Abs is a mother, she has the maternal instinct, for all her flaws she is a good mother, and she wouldn’t take another woman’s children away from her; it’s just too much. The writers and producers and creators and all that were wise to listen to her, but this is actually just one example out of many in which the actors get to have quite a bit of input into their characters and their stories, and I think that’s one of the things that keeps the series so strong.

    [​IMG]


    Oh yeah, and one other fabulous moment of naked emotion from Abs this week, the kind of moment I really cherish. Near the middle of the ep, as everyone is getting dressed up and prepared to go to Thanksgiving at the Fairgate MacKenzie house, Abs comes up to a fully dressed Gary at Westfork and tells him she’s not going to go. She says how she can’t sit at a dinner table across from Val and says, “I stole her husband from her,” and Gary kinda scoffs at that and says, “You didn’t steal me.” Fascinating character stuff for both of these guys, by the way, both in the way Gary delivers that line and in the obvious shame Abs seems to be displaying for her behavior throughout seasons two and three. Again, it’s moments like this that really elevate Abs as a character and keep her from being one-dimensional. Another trashier show would be perfectly happy to just have a wicked evil adulterous character who is purely and 100% awful all the time to everyone around her, but KL keeps it classier, remembering that we are all people and we all have different emotions and facets to our personalities.

    TO BE CONTINUED
     
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    CONTINUED




    [​IMG]


    We also have a smidge of Ben and The Desperate Horny Chick this week, and I continue to be bored and annoyed with her. This time she really is stretching it too far, because Ben is actually, like, sitting atop a cliff and gazing at the ocean and being sad and she has to go out of her way to climb this cliff and find him and harass him by rubbing his arm and snuggling her head up against him while, as always, he continues to look disinterested and think about Val. What is with this chick? How long does she stay around? Why is she here? Is she only here to function as a cock block and keep Ben and Val apart from each other for awhile? Usually the writers do a better job of making even the minor characters super duper interesting, but this chick just ain’t doing it for me and I want her to go away.

    For me, the ep really kicks into high gear when it’s time for Thanksgiving. Real fast, I do wanna note that this ep aired December 6th, which would have been something like one week after Thanksgiving, which is a bit odd. What’s that about? I wonder if this relates at all to a bizarre two-week gap I noticed earlier in the season, in which the premiere of the season (Buying Time) aired on October 4th and then there was a two week gap and the second ep of the season (Calculated Risks) aired October 18th. Why start a season and have the big premiere and then immediately skip a week? I’m not sure, but perhaps that’s why we’re getting a Thanksgiving ep in early December. Oh yeah, and one other thing while I’m on the subject of dates: I do want to note that it has been officially over a year of Val being pregnant, since she and Gary had their one special night of nonstop passion way back in …And Never Brought to Mind on November 3rd, 1983, and then Val delivered (after only eight months, we were told in dialogue) on November 29th, 1984. Of course, I remind you that in television land, there are no summers, and we had a gap of over six months between seasons five and six, which helps explain a lot. Perhaps my obsession with observing airdates and generally assuming that airdates coincide with the timeframe of the show is completely futile, since this is a universe in which there aren’t summers at all and pregnancies can last nearly thirteen months but be “only eight months” in the storyline of the show.

    Let’s get to the Thanksgiving feast, in which nearly everyone in the scrolling squares shows up to celebrate the holiday (I believe the only person missing is Sumner, who we sit sitting lonely in a hotel room somewhere in Washington or wherever). I’m looking at my notes and I see that I wrote, “Michael wearing pink cutoff shirt with sexy arms showing/Must masturbate.” Hmmm, it’s a shame that I can’t remember the exact context of when I wrote that note, but I’m willing to bet that the sexy pink outfit is not what Sexy Michael chooses to wear to Thanksgiving; this must have been a note I wrote to myself in an earlier scene. Anyhow, everyone hanging out together at the cul se sac at the same time really made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and it also made me flash back to our earlier, simpler days on the cul de sac when we’d get a whole lot of the characters just sorta hanging out and having barbecues and nighttime cocktails together and all that good stuff. I love how, even if that stuff isn’t happening as frequently nowadays just because there’s so damn much going on in the story by this juncture, the show still hasn’t betrayed that original notion and it will still remain true to it with eps like this that remind us of the community spirit of the series. So far as I can remember, this type of thing is never completely gone from the series, even as far as the final season.


    [​IMG]


    There’s a lot I loved about this latter portion of the ep, but I’ll start with Karen’s hand, which finally goes numb for the very first time at a most inconvenient time, right when she’s in the middle of preparing lots of food in the kitchen. My Beloved Grammy particularly appreciated this scene and said something about how she loves the timing of the stories on the show, how just when one thing has finished happening, something else kicks in, and she said how just when you’ve kinda forgotten about the whole “your hands will start to go numb” thing from the premiere of the season, boom, it pops back in a big way at just the precise moment; very skilled writing and storytelling. Fortunately for Karen, nobody notices her little numb hand, but the music swells and we kinda go in on her face and can tell how freaked she is, knowing that those stages of death have finally started to kick in.


    [​IMG]


    Next up, we have a fabulous and touching speech from Mack to everyone gathered at the table. Mack stands up and raises his glass and says how happy he is to have everyone at the house for Thanksgiving, and then he says how he wants to apologize for any pain he’s caused within the last year. God, don’t you just want to climb into the TV and give him a big hug and tell him what a good person he is? It was during this scene that My Beloved Grammy, whom you’ll recall declared Sid Fairgate her favorite character on the series as early as season one (I even remember the ep where she said he was her favorite; it was Civil Wives) declared that not only is Mack a good replacement for Sid, but that he’s better and that she’s no longer missing Sid. This was lovely to hear since for most of the third season My Beloved Grammy seemed to be in as much grief over the loss of Sid as Karen was, and would say nearly every ep how much she missed him and how the show “wasn’t the same” and stuff like that, but now thanks to the glorious charisma of The Dobsonator, she has been able to move on from that character.

    Oh yeah, and Karen also gives a toast that I think might show her hand a little bit too obviously. Nothing too directly comes from it at this point, and not even in the next episode, so far as I can remember, but I still think we’re planting some seeds here to show that Mack is starting to suspect something. See, Karen raises her wine glass and gives a little toast that sounds somewhat morbid when she concludes with, “We never know how much time we actually have left,” or something like that, and then we get a shot of Mack’s face looking a little concerned, and I get the feeling that he may be putting the pieces together in his brain, though we’ll have to wait to see how this all plays out.


    [​IMG]


    Time to talk about the best scene in the ep as well as one of the most moving and emotional scenes we’ve had on the series up to this point, and probably ever. See, earlier in the ep, we had to see the awful sight of Gary and Lilimae cleaning out the baby nursery, getting rid of the crib and all that stuff (a good scene in which Lilimae told Gary, “You’re the continuous thread who runs through Val’s life”). Now, with everyone together at the dinner table at Karen and Mack’s place, the only absent face is Val, who we catch up with in a phenomenal scene in which she slowly enters the empty nursery. This is one of the most stylish shots we’ve seen on the series yet, a shot so good that you could freeze it and frame it and display it as a painting. See, she opens the door to the nursery and everything is fairly draped in darkness and shadow and I especially noted the way that three, like, bars of shadow were splashed across the wall outside of the room, looking kinda like a prison or something. No music or anything in this scene, just Val slowly walking into the room and running her hand across the wall and looking at the big emptiness where, just a day or two earlier, there was a crib and other baby things and now there’s nothing. She kinda goes into the middle of the room and then leans back against the wall and sits down on the floor and we get this really magnificent sorta bird’s eye view of Val sitting on the ground. The camera is able to go up real high, almost like in the scene from Body Heat where William Hurt and Kathleen Turner decide to kill her husband (I remember director Lawrence Kasden saying that the camera goes up way past where the ceiling should be and that when someone asked him who’s perspective this was supposed to be, he answered, “It’s God’s perspective”) and we just have Val framed in center, sad and quiet and alone.


    [​IMG]


    If that scene doesn’t touch your heart, the next one will, because Gary is growing concerned about Val’s absence at dinner and decides to go across the street and see what’s up. At this point, I’d really like to go into a lot of details about what Gary and Val talk about and how the scene is shot and the style and all of that, but honestly my notes totally stop here because I was so moved by this scene that I just sat and watched it and actually cried a little bit, and so did My Beloved Grammy, in fact. Watching Gary comfort Val and her hugging him and crying and trying to talk about all of her feelings; it’s just an unbelievably emotional scene and, absolutely shockingly, I honestly didn’t remember this scene that much, or perhaps it didn’t move me as much upon a first viewing, I don’t know. This scene hit me like a f***ing gut punch and while I didn’t go into full on hysterical sobbing mode like, say, when I was a kid and watched Here Comes Garfield, it made me cry the way that The Elephant Man made me cry the first time I saw it, with silent tears just rolling down my face.


    [​IMG]

    TO BE CONTINUED
     
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  13. Knots Blogger

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    CONTINUED

    This is one of the best scenes we’ve ever seen on the entire series. Both Shack and J.V.A are absolutely perfect in the scene and your heart goes out to Val like crazy. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve reached a point in the series where these actors have been playing these characters for so long that they probably have some inherent and deeper understanding of the characters, like they are almost melding together into the same people. A scene like this wouldn’t be nearly as touching if it happened in, say, season two; it’s the fact that we’ve had 108 prior eps and of course those early Dallas eps where we first met Gary and Val. Now we’ve been with these characters for long enough and we know their past history so well that this kind of scene is able to hit home in a really emotional way. Also, a scene this good pretty much officially has caused me to renounce the Emmys, which I used to actually kinda sorta give a shit about. The fact that, after throwing two nominations at Michele and Julie way back in season three, the Emmys are now completely ignoring this series and this monumental acting is enough, for me, to completely invalidate the whole stupid awards show. You can’t look at a scene this good and say that Shack and J.V.A don’t deserve to be awarded for their absolutely incredible acting.

    The comfort of Gary provides Val with the motivation to get up off the floor and go over to Thanksgiving, providing us with our extremely cryptic and ominous little episode ending. See, the turkey’s being carved, the wine is flowing, people are eating and chatting and starting to unwind and have a nice time, including Abs, who did decide to show up for the celebration. A moment later, Gary and Val enter the house and Val is actually smiling and looking happy; everyone is clearly pleased to see her up and about and on her feet, but then she makes a rather strange comment with, “I’m sorry that Gary and I were late as usual.” She delivers the line, we get our “Executive Producers” credit, and that’s the end of We Gather Together. What to make of this? Well, I’d say it’s pretty clear that all this emotional turmoil is causing Val to come unhinged, something that could come off as extremely campy and silly if done on a much lesser series with much lesser writing, but is playing as exceptionally emotional and deeply sad because of this writing, directing, and, most importantly, this acting.

    Oh boy, what a f***ing episode. This episode is so moving that even sitting to write about the Gary/Val scene actually did cause me to well up; no tears rolling down the face, but I got some wet eyes, let me tell you. I can’t think of any flaw with this ep, nothing I would change, nothing even tiny that could have made it a bit better; it’s a perfect ep of television and exemplifies KL at its very best, great entertainment that has a real heart and soul and is presented to us with style and technique by the amazing Larry Elikann. In fact, I’m gonna get bold and go ahead and declare that, as of this moment, this is the very best episode of KL we’ve seen. It was almost something of a surprise to watch it and be so moved by it, because I think a lot of my memories of season six focus more towards the latter half of the season, and this one was actually just kinda a vague blur in my memory, but watching it again, it’s a 48 minute masterpiece of television. At this exact moment in time, if someone told me to pick one ep of KL to demonstrate everything that makes KL great, I would choose this one. Will it remain the top ep all the way to the end of the series? We’ll have to see, because we have some great stuff coming up in both the near future and the faraway future, but right now, with 109 eps under our belt, this is the best episode we have ever seen. The fact that it made me cry is really not that impressive, since I’ll cry at tons of bizarre things in movies or TV (I actually cry at the end of freakin’ Kindergarten Cop when Arnold is wheeled out on the stretcher and that super cute kid from Picket Fences is crying and says, “Mr. Kimble, are you all right?”), but the fact that when the ep was over I turned to My Beloved Grammy and saw that it had made her cry as well tells me that this ep is really something special.

    While I don’t think it’s possible for an ep to top this one for some time, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t immediately proceed to our next one, which I’m sure will still be stunning, and that would be Message in a Bottle.
     
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    Episode Title: Message in a Bottle

    Season 06, Episode 10

    Episode 110 of 344

    Written by Joel J. Feigenbaum

    Directed by Nick Havinga

    Original Airdate: Thursday, December 13th, 1984

    The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Abby continues to search for Easton. Abby goes to see Dr. Ackerman to ask where the babies are. Ackerman tells her she is sick. She tells him that Easton is dead. Cathy and Joshua make love again. Gary has lunch with Paul Galveston. He and Galveston hit it off and Galveston gives Gary his prize horse. Tom Jessick tells Mack that Gary Loader was a policeman who was framed because he knew too much about the "Tidal Basin" murders. One of the victims was Lila Maxwell, a secretary at Galveston Industries. Mack notices Karen isn't using her right hand, so she tells him it is sprained. Karen decides to get a second opinion, and the doctor tells her she needs the operation or she will die. Ben is concerned about Val's mental health. Joshua finds Val having a conversation with someone about her babies, only no one else is there. Val has a nightmare and wakes up screaming. Val overhears Ben and Lilimae deciding to get help for her, so the next morning she packs and calls a cab.


    [​IMG]



    Our last episode, We Gather Together, was the greatest episode of KL we have ever seen up to this point in the series, but that doesn’t mean we are not going to continue to get absolutely incredible television moving forward, and the trend immediately continues with the episode up for discussion today, Message in a Bottle.

    I’ve gone on in the past about how, when we hit season four and the show became a serialized soap, I was worried that the eps would start to blend together and lose their individuality in my brain, that when I sat down to write about them, I would have a hard time remembering details because of the way it’s all one big continuous story, yet I have found that to not be a problem and have found that eps still manage to have consistently distinct flavors all their own, a great example of how artistic the show really is and why television directors would probably want to work on this series. Television during this era (“this era” meaning basically from the invention of the medium until the year 2000 or so) was hardly ever about trying to make art, but was more about commerce and deadlines. If a shitty sitcom would get a lot of viewers (and it would), then a shitty sitcom is what the networks would broadcast, not caring about actual quality but only about how the ratings would trend and how much the advertisers would pay them. I sound super snooty and pretentious (mostly because I am), but I’m not saying that art couldn’t slip through the cracks every now and then (and there actually are three sitcoms that I would call great art, and they are All in the Family, Roseanne, and Seinfeld), but mostly that it wasn’t what a network would be too concerned with. Also, the very act of directing an ep of television isn’t generally about being an auteur or making some grand masterpiece, but just doing it fast and getting it done on time and on budget. That’s why I’m so especially impressed by how artistic and stylish KL manages to be for so long, because I’m sure CBS didn’t give a crap about the actual quality of the series (look no further than the season of Dallas that was going on concurrently during the 1984-1985 season), but only about how much profit the show could bring for the network.

    [​IMG]


    Message in a Bottle marks the third episode from director Nick Havinga, who previously helmed the not-very-good The Block Party and then the absolutely stunning Tomorrow Never Knows. After the triumph of that second effort, I’m really keeping my eyes on him and paying attention whenever his name pops up in the director’s credit, and he does not disappoint this week, getting right to work with a fantastically distinctive and unique episode of the series that keeps all the story points moving while also managing to be its own individual snowflake, as well.
    We open in a dream sequence, although we don’t know it’s a dream quite yet. Don’t worry, this dream doesn’t last 31 episodes like certain shows that shall remain nameless, but rather more like 31 seconds, although it’s a great 31 seconds. We start on Val joyfully flying a red kite along the beach, looking happy and almost manic. Then Gary shows up in front of her and tells her she has to let go of the kite (symbolism? Is the kite a representation of her twins?) before the two start to passionately kiss. The kissing is where I think it becomes pretty clear that this is a dream, but I suppose some people could still be going with this and think it’s happening for real. However, just a second later things turn stranger when Abs abruptly shows up and, rather than being mad that Gary and Val are kissing, just calmly says, “I believe you have something of mine,” and then she and Gary walk off together and leave Val all alone on the beach.

    [​IMG]


    From here, we cut to Val waking up from her dream and thrashing around and freaking out a bit, resulting in Joshua rushing into her bedroom to, um, comfort her? I guess that’s what he’s trying to do, except someone should have probably talked to him about the top five things you should never say to people who are going through a period of intense grief, because number one would have to be “It was meant to be,” and that’s what he says to her. This made both My Beloved Grammy and I scoff in disgust at precisely the same time and then My Beloved Grammy listed some of the other things you should never say, including, “They’re in a better place” and “I know what you’re going through.” She’s a smart lady who has dealt with her fair share of loss throughout her life and she knows what she’s talking about and she’s absolutely right. Please, people, I beg of you, never say any of those things to a person who is dealing with fresh grief, because even if you think you’re being helpful, you’re actually just being awful, and I don’t blame Val for wanting Joshua to get out of her room and out of her sight right away.

    [​IMG]


    Next up is maybe my favorite scene of the ep, even though at first glance it might not seem like that big a deal. We cut to Ben and Val walking along on the beach before stopping so Val can sit down and gaze at her favorite thing in the world, the ocean. I do wanna take this moment to ask if Ben and Val are officially back together at this point. Any opinions? We saw him send her flowers right before she went into labor in Tomorrow Never Knows, although thanks to the interference of The Desperate Horny Chick, I don’t think he ever found out that Val received the flowers or that she appreciated them. After that, Val went into labor and all the baby stuff happened, and now here we are with the two walking along together. I’m gonna go ahead and say they’re not officially back together (mostly because of how we saw The Desperate Horny Chick stroking Ben’s arm in our prior ep), but that perhaps they’re trying to get back to that state of being. Right now, Ben is just being her good friend and someone for her to talk to. And talk she does, delivering a fantastic speech that makes me want to go scream at the Emmy voters in 1984-1985 for not even nominating J.V.A for an award. Val is sorta gazing off into the distance, not looking at Ben’s face, talking quietly but very openly about the loss of her babies and how she knows they didn’t die, that they were taken away from her, and she says, “Nothing could have stopped them from taking my babies,” and then, with absolutely perfect timing on the part of the writers, who I don’t think have mentioned any of the Dallas characters since way back in the first few eps of season five, Val starts to talk about having baby Lucy and how J.R. sent his good old boys after her to steal the baby from her. “I was just poor white trash from Tennessee,” she says. “I wasn’t fit to raise a Ewing, much less be one.”

    [​IMG]


    F***ing A, this speech almost made me well up again, but I managed to control it this time. While it’s been well established throughout the series (starting even as far back as the Dallas episode Reunion: Part One when we met Val for the very first time) that baby Lucy was taken away from her, it hasn’t been brought up in some time and, in a way, could have kinda receded into the back of a viewer’s mind, but bringing it up again right here at this exact moment is like a gut punch because it reminds us that this is the second time Val has had to go through something like this. Not only did she have her very first baby taken away from her when she was fifteen or sixteen or whatever, but now it is happening to her again nearly 25 years later. I’m pleased that we’re no longer in the era of Dallas characters crossing over kinda constantly like they did back in the early seasons, but I’m also pleased to see that the writers know the exact precise time to bring up characters from that series and the past history of young teenaged Valene and baby Lucy.

    On that same subject, this week we also get a perfectly timed reminder of how Gary and Val met for the very first time, something that was also established back on Dallas in Reunion: Part One (making me feel pleased that I made sure to watch all those eps with My Beloved Grammy immediately before we started the KL Pilot). I’d be kinda curious to go back to Reunion: Part One and see if Val’s recounting to Lucy of her first meeting with Gary matches up with what she tells Karen here, because I think it does, but Karen gets a more detailed version of events. When Val was talking with Lucy, she said how she was a waitress and how Gary came walking into the restaurant and “he was about the prettiest thing I’d ever seen,” but I don’t believe she told this whole story that she tells here. See, she tells Karen how it was this really busy, awful, hectic day at the diner and she was all stressed out and overworked and then, out of nowhere, “This blonde God” came walking into the place and, without even speaking a word, immediately stepped behind the counter and started helping her out with everything. I know I’m crying kinda constantly at this point in the series, but what can I say, I am a fabulous gay man who is well in touch with his emotions, and all this Gary and Val stuff jumps right into my heart, because when Val says, “I think I fell in love with him right then and there,” a little solitary tear rolled down my face; I’m not gonna lie.

    [​IMG]

    TO BE CONTINUED
     
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    CONTINUED

    Later on in the ep, Val is paid a lovely visit by Olivia, the young girl she loves and has clearly loved since she first met her back in Hitchhike: Part One. She’s happy to see Olivia and they hug and it’s nice for a moment, but Val wastes no time in getting straight to the point and telling Olivia what she believes, which is that her babies are alive somewhere in the world and were taken away from her. An interesting thing about how this scene plays out is that we don’t actually see Val telling Olivia this. Instead, she says something like, “Can I tell you the truth, darling?” and Olivia says yes and then we cut to Olivia talking with Abs and informing her of what Val said to her. She says how maybe the doctors made a mistake and Abs says, “Doctors don’t make mistakes like that,” but Olivia is rather persistent and makes some good points, such as the fact they were able to have a funeral for Gary even though he wasn’t dead. This is a good line because it’s another example of the show never forgetting its past history. After the Wolfbridge stuff was kinda tidied up and finished at the start of the season, it would be so easy to just move on to new stories and never bring up stuff like Gary’s fake death again, but we get to bring it up here and it’s also in a way that makes sense for the scene, for the dialogue, and for the continuing storyline of the series. F*** me, the writing is so good on this show; I can hardly even believe it.

    Abs has been running around pretty regularly trying to figure out what the hell is really going on, but she really accelerates her efforts this week, and I imagine it is due to her conversation with Olivia. First off, she manages to corner Dr. Ackerman in the parking lot of the hospital and have a little confrontation. A small detail I appreciated in this scene is the fact that Abs is dressed very unglamorously in an unflattering outfit and a rather unfortunate hat. This sends the message to me that Abs sorta just got out of bed this morning and started to go about with her pursuit of the truth; she’s not so concerned with her appearance at this point and is okay with just throwing on a bad hat (“That’s some bad hat, Abby”) and going out. Make no mistake, I’m not saying Donna doesn’t look absolutely stunning in this scene, because she always looks absolutely stunning and still looks absolutely stunning at age 70-something and is absolutely the most beautiful woman I have ever seen on television and is definitely the only woman I would ever want to have sex with (and Donna, the offer is still on the table, so let’s not waste time). I’m just saying that this isn’t her looking her best because she is in a bad wardrobe, but even a small detail like that strikes me as rather significant.

    What about the contents of the scene? Well, the absolutely vile Ackerman manages to maintain his cool pretty well and keep a straight poker face during the confrontation, even though Abs is very direct and does not f*** around and pretty much says, “I know that those babies are alive and I know that you took them,” something like that, to which Ackerman, attempting to climb into his car and get away from this woman, tries to be dismissive and just says, “You’re a very sick woman, Mrs. Ewing.” He also goes on about how doing such a thing would be “completely immoral and unethical as well as illegal.” Even so, I think Abs is scaring him pretty badly, and I’m curious to continue watching this character to see how these things develop.

    [​IMG]

    After confronting Ackerman, Abs is still ready for more, so she goes to some sort of big corporate building (I think it’s some subsidiary of Galveston Industries or something like that, although this stuff is kinda confusing me at the moment) to try and find Scott Easton, who continues to be absent from proceedings. When the snooty reception desk lady tries to give Abs the cold shoulder, Abs barges past her and down a secret hallway that is only supposed to be populated by employees. The reception desk lady calls security and they show up to take Abs away, but not before she manages to get into an office occupied by that other white guy with an ‘80s Rapist Beard that I believe we saw in our prior episode. The dialogue is helpful because I’m sure other people were confused upon original airing by this Easton doppelganger, but since Abs keeps going on about “Where is Scott Easton?”, we are able to realize that this ‘80s Rapist Beard white guy is not the same man. However, this guy is rather creepy in the same way that Easton was, because they’re talking about how Easton got on that plane and then never got back off of it, and he says something cryptic and evil like, “People get on planes, and some people make it to their destinations, and some people don’t.” I’m gonna interpret this to mean that Easton was, shall we say, evacuated from the plane while they were in the air, perhaps over the ocean, kinda like James Bond at the start of Moonraker. Unlike James Bond, however, Easton probably didn’t manage to have a fight with another person while in the air and steal their parachute and escape to safety; he probably just, you know, died.

    [​IMG]


    All this stuff is going to somehow relate back to Paul Galveston, who I’m pleased to say we get to meet this week (I want to make note that IMDb is again completely wrong because they have Howard Duff listed as making his first appearance in our previous ep, We Gather Together, and I can guarantee you that he wasn’t in that ep). Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to introduce the fantastic character actor Howard Duff into the mix, and keep your eyes open because he’s going to be around for awhile and he’s going to fuel a lot of good stories and drama as we move through the season. Real fast, before I move on to how much I like this character and this actor, I do wanna point out that he’s a Transmorpher who appeared in two extremely forgettable Dallas eps during the eleventh season, playing Senator Henry Harrison O’Dell, a guy who was trying to bribe Bobby into buying him a……castle…..or something. Who the hell was even watching Dallas at that point (oh wait, I’m gonna have to eat my words, because shockingly and disgustingly, Dallas was still outranking KL as late as the 1987-1988 season, even though by that point it was just a completely boring turd sandwich) and who the hell could possibly care about that story? And why the hell would Dallas score a great character actor like Howard Duff and then give him such a stupid non-story with nothing to work with?

    Instead of being negative and focusing on how shitty Dallas was by that point, let’s be positive and focus on how good KL is right now and how wonderful it is to have Duff here playing this character. Now, if my memories of the series are correct, Galveston is actually something of a villainous character, but I’m not sure we know that yet, although I think little hints are being dropped. What I like is that the character just seems cool; you don’t want to think of him as a villain because he’s played by a charismatic actor and he comes across as a very old-style man’s man, kinda reminding me of my Grampy, rest in peace; he even sorta looks like him. He also has that cool, deep, commanding voice and when we’re introduced to him, it’s on a sexy ranch not dissimilar to Westfork (oh, and by the way, I’m pretty sure this is the first ep in which we officially hear the name “Westfork” said out loud) and he’s hanging out with Gary and the two just seem to be really hitting it off.

    [​IMG]


    All that said, we get little hints that Galveston may not be such a great guy when he drops a comment about how he’s glad Gary didn’t take Abs along to meet him, saying something about how he has “old fashioned” ideas about women working (translation: He’s a sexist as well as probably a racist and a homophobe and a Trump voter). Next up, he gives Gary a really beautiful white horse as a gift, and when Gary tries to protest by saying how this horse must have cost a shit-ton of money, Galveston gives a little speech about how much he likes Gary, how Gary reminds him of himself in his youth, and how Gary is a powerful man and “Powerful men receive gifts.” Hmmm, I like how this is playing out immediately, cuz you start to think, “Is this guy a good guy or is he a bad guy?” We’ll have to keep waiting to see how this all unfolds.

    [​IMG]


    Actually, now would probably be the perfect time to bring up a story that’s been growing for awhile but that I’ve been completely ignoring, mostly because I don’t understand it at all and I’m afraid that if I try to explain it, I’ll just sound stupid and get all story points screwed up. The storyline I’m referring to involves Mack and his friend Tom Jessick, who is still hanging around and being part of the series (I appreciate this sort of continuity with even minor characters). This is an elaboration on that whole Gary Loader story that I’m still not following, um, at all. I guess this has something to do with four murders that occurred in the past, all young girls, and how Loader was the dude at the trial who claimed that the latter three murders were copycats of the first one, or something like that. We also find out that one of these dead girls worked for Galveston Industries, which I’m sure will be important. Actually, I’m sure all of this will be important, which is why I’m a little frustrated that I’m having trouble following it, but I feel less dumb because My Beloved Grammy also says she can’t quite figure what this story is about. I’m a little afraid this is gonna spiral into a really exciting and epic storyline but I won’t actually know what’s going on, sorta like the first time I watched season five and drank a lot of vodka throughout all the eps and wasn’t actually following the Wolfbridge storyline all that well. Anyway, later in the ep, Jessick goes to some sort of creepy warehouse for some reason and then a bunch of thugs come out of nowhere and beat the crap out of him, which is pretty sucky for him. It’s a cool little scene but, again, I’m not entirely sure what it means or what’s going on.

    Next up on the agenda, we have Cathy and Joshua, who seem to have reached a better place in their relationship since the evacuation from California of super open minded and tolerant Jonathan J. Rush. You’ll recall that a few eps back (Truth and Consequences), Joshua and Cathy had an off-screen shag and then he immediately went into Guilty Religious Mode and declared that what they did was a sin in the eyes of God and all that nonsense. Seems like Joshua’s unclenching his sphincter a little bit at this point, because this week they share another shag and he doesn’t freak out. This shag looks a lot more pleasant to me, by the way, because the last one took place at night near the ocean and I’ll bet it was pretty f***ing cold, whereas this time the shag takes place in Cathy’s cozy little dressing room at Isadora’s. Post shag, the two lie in each other’s arms and talk about the quiet around them and Cathy says how Isadora probably locked up and they “could be stuck here all night.” It’s a good thing I don’t live in this series, because I would immediately jump behind the bar and start treating myself to free liquor, but Joshua and Cathy are better behaved (and I highly doubt we’ll ever see Joshua drink any liquor).

    [​IMG]

    TO BE CONTINUED
     
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  16. Knots Blogger

    Knots Blogger Soap Chat Member

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    CONTINUED

    One last note on Cathy: We get another fabulous cover song this week, and this time it’s Words, in a scene that is shot beautifully with Cathy (sporting one of her most unfortunate hairstyles; I think she just really went to town with a hairspray bottle, but her hair is so expanded outwards that it looks like she got electrocuted or something) framed in the center in a rather cool almost 1950’s looking dress while people dance dreamily on either side of her. This looked like something shot by David Lynch for Twin Peaks, yet another example of the show really going above and beyond what is generally expected for a network television show in the 1980’s. I did some research and found a quote from some KL cast member about how they would shoot longer than any of the other soaps and be up into the wee hours of the night trying to get it just right, and I can believe it. This scene could be put into a movie and shown in a cinema on a real big screen and it would become only more entrancing. Also, when Joshua and Cathy are about to have their shag, the orchestral background score kicks in with an instrumental of Words, providing some cool linkage from one scene to the next.

    Karen continues to be busy dying this week, and after being frightened by her numb hand while preparing Thanksgiving dinner, we catch up with her seeking a second opinion from a white doctor. I miss her black doctor (Garner) and so did My Beloved Grammy, who spoke up to say, “Where’s Karen’s black doctor? I liked him.” I don’t think he’s gone from the show; I think Karen is just trying to get a different opinion from another doctor, although this one basically says the same stuff Garner said, how he doesn’t understand why she has given up, why she has chosen to die, all that good stuff. We are also reminded that she could still have this surgery if she chose to, although by now her chances of survival are evil lower than they were nine episodes ago in Buying Time.

    Remember how I thought Mack might be getting slightly suspicious of Karen last ep when she gave that toast about, “We never know how much time we may have”? Well, I think his suspicion grows this week cuz as they are preparing for bed, Karen’s combing her hair at the mirror and she’s using her left hand, to which Mack asks, “When did you become a southpaw?” Karen makes up a quick lie about how she was working outside and some papers blew away from her and she tried to get them real fast and sprained her hand. Mack says how maybe he should take a look at it or put some ice on it, but she says it’s no big deal and tries to sorta hide her hand from him, continuing this secret that I’d really like for her to drop soon (and I think she will). It’s been ten eps and I think she needs to tell Mack the truth already, don’t you?

    This ep bookends nicely by having another bizarre and symbolic dream sequence for Val right near the end. In this one, she’s lying in a bed and holding her babies, happy as a clam, when those swinging hospital doors sorta just open up and Dr. Ackerman comes walking in, a cloud of fog trailing behind him, and tells her he’s got to take the babies away. It doesn’t stop there, though, because Lilimae, Ben, Joshua, and Gary are also there, donned in hospital gear, telling her this is what has to happen and forcibly removing the baby from her arms. The fact that Val dreams of her friends and family members betraying her in this way relates to the fact that she’s been hearing whisperings about having her taken someplace (“People always call a madhouse ‘someplace,’ don’t they?”). Earlier in the ep, Joshua walked into the living room in the middle of the night to find Val speaking to the air as if someone was directly in front of her, even though nobody was. I can see how they’re concerned about her, since she does appear to be coming apart, but I also see her perspective, which is that nobody believes her and nobody is truly listening to her. Our cliffhanger for the ep is Val awakening in the middle of the night, grabbing her suitcase, packing it up real quick, and then sneaking out the front door undetected, bound for territories unknown to us at this point, but I can guarantee you that it will lead to excitement and brilliance.

    [​IMG]


    Alright, let’s go ahead and wrap up my thoughts for this ep and for this whole disk that spanned Truth and Consequences through Message in a Bottle. I’m gonna go into gushing fanboy mode, so be prepared, but how f***ing good was this episode? Okay, I’ll say it wasn’t quite as amazing as We Gather Together, but I also declared We Gather Together as the best episode of the series up to this point, and I think it’ll be some time before that title is taken away from it (if that title is taken away from it). Message in a Bottle continues the run of quality and is beautiful to look at, directed splendidly by Nick Havinga, has great writing that consistently reminds us of past histories while also moving us onward to new stories, and is acted impeccably by absolutely everyone in the cast. The really amazing thing is that I feel like we’re super deep into season six, but we still have twenty more eps to go and I feel comfortable in saying that this season is going to stay incredible for all twenty of those eps. I have been almost nervous to get to season six and see if it wouldn’t quite live up to the glory I had in my memories, but not only has it been living up to that glory, it’s actually even better than the last time I watched it. It’s just remarkable how well written and directed and put together this whole thing is.

    Next up we will start a fresh disk of eps that are sure to be packed with drama and genius, starting with the episode entitled Distant Locations.
     
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  17. Knots Blogger

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    Episode Title: Distant Locations
    Season 06, Episode 11


    Episode 111 of 344

    Written by Richard Gollance

    Directed by Larry Elikann

    Original Airdate: Thursday, December 20th, 1984

    The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Karen finds out that Val went to the bus station, but when she was seen there, four busses left. Abby and Gary have lunch with Galveston, and Galveston notices that Abby's not happy with Gary's preoccupation with Val. Galveston asks Gary to go into business with him putting up communication satellites. Abby hires a detective who finds Val, and Abby tells him to follow her, but to keep the information only between them. Joshua gives a plea for Val to come home on Reverend Kathryn's show. Val goes to Enoch, Nevada, and checks into a motel. She berates herself in the mirror. Then she dresses up like a tramp, and goes to a bar where she flirts with several men. The next day Val gets on another bus, and tells the girl she sits with that her name is Verna Ellers, she has no family and is going home to Tennessee. Abby's detective follows her. Val gets off the bus in the small town of Shula, Tennessee, and gets a job as a waitress in a diner.


    [​IMG]


    REALLY QUICK RANDOM NOTE BEFORE THE ESSAY: IN THIS ESSAY, I MENTION HOW IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY AND I SPENT IT WITH MY BELOVED GRAMMY AND ALL THAT GOOD STUFF. I JUST WANT TO POINT OUT/REMIND MY READERS OF THE FACT THAT I MAKE SURE TO HAVE A GENEROUS BACK CATALOGUE OF EP ESSAYS WRITTEN SO I NEVER RUN OUT. FOR THE MOST PART, THESE ESSAYS ARE EXACTLY AS I ORIGINALLY WROTE THEM, BUT OCCASIONALLY I'LL THROW IN LITTLE THINGS RELATING TO OUR CURRENT WORLD (LIKE A TRUMP REFERENCE IN THIS ONE THAT I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD HAVE TO PUT IN HERE, UGH); IN REAL TIME, MY BELOVED GRAMMY AND I ARE CURRENTLY WATCHING SEASON EIGHT AT THE SAME TIME I'M PUTTING UP MY SEASON SIX ESSAYS. SO, IN CASE ANYONE WAS CURIOUS, MY BIRTHDAY IS MAY 13TH, 1990, AND FEEL FREE TO SEND GIFTS IN A MONTH WHEN WE REACH THAT DATE, BUT FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS EP, IT WASN'T ACTUALLY MY BIRTHDAY A FEW DAYS AGO.

    Oh God yes, we’re back into the world of KL and I couldn’t be happier. This entire disk of eps, spanning Distant Locations through Inside Information, was such a joy to behold and was not only one of our best disks of eps ever, but also just such a perfect f***ing way to spend a night. To provide a little context, I’ll tell you that it was my birthday (26 years old), and after getting off of work, I was so excited to do my absolute favorite thing in the world, which is go to My Beloved Grammy’s house and watch KL. Since it was my special day, she made me my favorite meal, her goulash, along with a delightfully crunchy Caesar salad and we sipped a fine red wine together while enjoying these stunning eps. So not only are the eps great, but it was just the perfect way to spend my birthday and was everything I wanted it to be and more, putting me in a delightful mood that continues well into the moment in which I am typing these words.

    [​IMG]

    In our last batch of eps, Val delivered her babies prematurely due to Dr. Ackerman’s evil plans and then they “died” even though both she and us heard those babies crying and we know something is up. After that, she began to suffer from scary stylish dreams and then we concluded our last ep with her sneaking out of the house to parts unknown in the middle of the night. Distant Locations picks up just mere hours later, with style to spare right away, courtesy of, get ready for this cuz I’m finally OFFICIALLY gonna declare it, my favorite KL director, Larry Elikann. Yes, folks, I’ve finally realized that he’s the man, the very best and most creative director to ever helm eps. I love anyone who’s ever helmed a KL ep because, you know, they helmed a KL ep and that guarantees them a special place in Heaven, but whenever Larry Elikann’s name pops up in the credits, I’ll always turn to My Beloved Grammy and say, “Ooooh, this is gonna be a good one.” My Beloved Grammy has also learned to keep her eyes peeled for certain names in the credits, such as whenever we see that Peter Dunne wrote an ep, she’ll always say how this one should be extra good. I’m so proud of her, and we never discussed things like this when watching Dallas.

    I love the way this ep starts right away, because we have a bunch of our characters (Ben, Karen, Lilimae, and so on) speaking directly into the camera to some unseen character as they explain what Val’s been going through in the last few weeks and why they’re concerned that she’s disappeared. It’s cool enough to start the ep with the characters kinda sorta speaking directly to us viewers, but it only gets more stylish when we cut to see Val, who appears to get bopping around Nevada, and yet the dialogue of the characters on the cul de sac continues to be played over the footage of Val. It’s the first two minutes of the ep and I’m already impressed; surely Larry Elikann is the Alfred Hitchcock of the small screen.

    Where is Val? My Beloved Grammy and I had a smidge of difficulty figuring out the precise location, but it turns out to be Enoch, Nevada. I asked My Beloved Grammy if this was a real place and she didn’t know, and neither did I because I don’t know geography and couldn’t tell you where a certain place is on a globe if you paid me (I’m a lot like George W. Bush in that way), so for most of this ep I actually thought this might be taking place in a fictional Nevada town, but nope, it’s a real place, cuz I looked it up and found out. Anyway, she immediately checks into a cozy motel run by a nice old married couple who seem very sweet. One thing that’s interesting is that she uses her real name, Valene Ewing, and I would think that if Val is trying to keep on the D.L., she would use a fake name. After all, by this point in the saga, Val is a famous author with two published books, one very successful and one not so much. In fact, the nice couple even asks her if she is indeed that Valene Ewing and Val looks kinda uncomfortable and says she’s not the same person.

    [​IMG]


    There’s a lot going on in this episode with absolutely everybody in the cast roster, but let’s make no bones about it, this is Val’s episode (indeed, one could easily argue that this whole season belongs to Val). Almost as soon as she arrives in town, things get a little, well, spooky. I’m pretty sure that, when all is said and done and all 344 eps have been watched and written about and I get a phone call from The President of The United States of America (not the fake one we currently have, whom I would refuse to speak to) asking if I’ll accept a Nobel Peace Prize for excellence and accomplishment because of writing about the whole show, I’m probably gonna say season six is the darkest and scariest season of the series, because we already had the horrifying ep where Val delivered the babies (that one was Tomorrow Never Knows) and now we have another dark and scary one with Distant Locations. This one isn’t nearly as horrifying as Tomorrow Never Knows (mostly because of how horrific the whole evil-doctors thing is for Brett personally), but it’s got some spook factor, for sure.

    It takes a minute for things to get scary, cuz first Val goes out shopping or whatever, and she happens to run into a woman with two adorable little, gulp, twin babies. God, what a sad scene this is, and as soon as we see those two twin babies, we know what Val is thinking about. She goes over to the lady and tells her how cute her kids are and asks if she can hold them for a second, and at first things are cool, like Val just appears to be a friendly stranger and the woman seems to be viewing her as such, but then Val holds the one baby and starts to get kinda creepy, saying how she is never gonna let the baby go and stuff like that. Yeah, sometimes friendly strangers say that about babies, but they usually use that annoying voice that people use when they’re talking to babies, and Val’s not using that voice, she’s just kinda drooling over the baby and clearly wishing it belonged to her. After a minute, the mother clearly becomes uncomfortable and takes the baby back from Val, saying how they’ve got to run. From there we cut to the first scary scene of the ep, which is Val returning to her darkened hotel room and screaming at herself in the mirror about how ugly she is. Not only is this scary, but also sad. I feel bad for Val as she looks at herself in the mirror and scolds herself for not having a perfect body, for not having good boobs, all that stuff. One can only imagine the mental anguish that is going through Val’s head, now that she’s not only lost her husband to a hotter woman but also her first baby and now her newest babies. I don’t find it ridiculous to see Val going crazy the way she is going, because I can not even begin to imagine what feelings must be going through her at this point in her life, where everything seems to be falling apart so rapidly.

    [​IMG]


    A little later, the motel owner guy knocks on the door and tries to get Val to come out. Here’s another arty scene that uses darkness and shadows really well, as Val is sitting on the floor and is sorta framed between two, like, chair legs, and the camera is sorta filming her as if looking up at her. It’s another case of Elikann striking with his usual tremendous style (and I got sick and threw up when I looked at Elikann’s IMDb and saw that he’s only got three more KL eps left in him; how am I going to function when he evacuates the series?!). The motel owner finally persuades Val to come to the door, but she leaves the chain bolted and won’t let him come in, saying how she looks a mess and doesn’t want anybody to see her, which prompts the guy to say how pretty she is and how any man in town would go crazy for her. I have to wonder if this nice man’s words are what prompt Val to do what she does next, which is trash herself up to look, shall we say, a little bit skanky, and then hit the bars looking for a man.

    [​IMG]


    This is what all television should be, by the way, and if you don’t like what you’re seeing when you watch this, you should just never watch television again, because you clearly have no taste. When we next catch up with Val, she’s putting on some makeup in the mirror and admiring her face and saying, “You are beautiful and there isn’t a man alive who wouldn’t want you,” the same words I say to myself in the mirror every morning. After that, she stops at a nearby bar full of drunken assholes and quickly becomes the life of party, entertaining a whole group of men all at the same time, all the while keeping her eyes firmly set on some married guy who is sitting at a table with his wife. As soon as the wife steps away for a moment, Val swoops in and starts to work her magic on this man, asking him if he’s looking for company or whatever. The man gets kinda nervous and is like, “My wife just went to the ladies’ room and she’ll be real mad if she sees you here,” but he also tells Val that he’d be willing to meet up with her for a shag later, after he drops the wife off at home. Things would probably work out okay if Val nodded and then walked away, but instead she hangs around too long and the wife does indeed return and start to kick her ass.

    [​IMG]


    This altercation is interesting for a number of reasons. First of all, when the wife confronts Val, Val has a response that is something like, “I can have your husband anytime I want him,” making me think of a certain other hot blonde who may have said a certain similar thing a few seasons back. Is Val trying to transform into Abs? Is she just trying to be flashy and trashy and powerful and seductive in the same way that Abs is? Is she feeling like being a nice, good, sweet person hasn’t exactly worked out for her too well and now it’s time to be bad? I guess the answer to all of these questions could be, ‘yes,’ but I appreciate that it’s sorta left up to us to figure out what’s really going on with Val.

    [​IMG]


    The second thing worth noting is how not funny and not campy this scene is even though it very easily could have become both. Again, I remind the readers that I never have watched Dynasty (don’t worry, cuz it’s definitely on the list for when I one day finish this KL rewatch), so I can’t really say anything about that series with any real authority, but I will say that I’ve heard that show is exceptionally campy and that bitchy catfights were a highlight of that series to anyone who watched. Additionally, Dallas was positively brimming with camp for pretty much its entire run, and sometimes that was a good thing and sometimes that was a bad thing, but it was always inherently a part of the core. I think it’s interesting to note that I don’t find this little catfight between Val and this random wife to be campy, but just kinda sad. You feel bad for Val, who is clearly going through some sort of awful trauma and not knowing how to deal with it, and now as she tries out a new personality or lifestyle or whatever, she immediately gets her hair yanked and nearly gets her face beaten in by this really pissed off wife.

    [​IMG]


    From here we go to the best scene of the ep and one of the most memorable of the entire series run, a scene that burns itself into your memories and can never possibly be forgotten. I am of course talking about the long unbroken scene in which we watch Val return to the hotel and go even more insane, now morphing from some version of Abs into, well, Verna. I suppose all KL fans should immediately know what I’m talking about when I say this, because what’s happening here is going to fuel several eps in a row of sheer brilliance as Val decides that she is, in fact, Verna Ellers, the lead character of her flop second book, Nashville Junction. This is not coming out of the blue, by the way, because a little earlier this season, Joshua read Val’s book and then asked Lilimae if she was actually Verna, which Lilimae denied. Now we get this stunning scene of Val scrubbing all the make up off of her face in front of the mirror and finishing her scene with yet another little pep talk to herself, about how she’s going to return home and find a nice job and Bob Loblaw, and then she says something like “You gotta make yourself look pretty, Verna.”

    TO BE CONTINUED
     
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  18. Knots Blogger

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    CONTINUED

    Real fast I’ll give some deets about why this scene is so great, even though I feel like I won’t be able to justify it; the only way to truly understand is to watch it yourself, preferably twice, one viewing right after the other, to really soak in the amazingness. I think the most impressive thing is the fact that this is an unbroken scene; I didn’t time the whole scene but it feels long and there’s no point where the camera cuts to something new; it just stays on Val the whole time as she goes through this bizarre personality change in front of the mirror. The music in the background is creepy and there aren’t really any lights turned on in the room, which adds some definite spook factor, and obviously J.V.A is stellar in the scene and makes me wish I could get Doc Brown to fly me back to 1984 so I could just give her that much deserved Emmy already.

    [​IMG]


    We actually end on Val’s arrival in a new town, this time Tennessee, and we see that she meant it quite literally when she looked in the mirror and told “Verna” that it was time to return home; she’s going way back to her roots, although I don’t believe she picks the exact same town that Val lived in, but rather some other obscure and probably made up Tennessee location (honestly can’t remember the name of this town at this point, sorry). Anyway, it looks like a cozy place and the cinema is showing a Peter Sellers movie (Being There), so it makes sense when Val climbs off the bus and enters the diner with the “Help Wanted” sign in the window and immediately secures a job working there. We also end on confirmation that she has morphed into a new personality, because when the diner owner asks for name, she smiles and answers “Verna Ellers.” I will say that I suppose we the viewers don’t know for sure yet that Val has actually morphed; a first time viewer watching this in real time might believe that Val has just chosen a fake name to get away from all her troubles, but as we proceed a few eps further, we are going to see that Val does, indeed, believe herself to be this Verna person.

    [​IMG]


    So obviously Val is getting the best material and the most to work with this week, and J.V.A of course delivers in spades, but let’s check in on our other friends, as well. First off, Karen is continuing to keep Mack in the dark about her illness, and we get another scene of her suffering from the numb hand this week. I appreciate the way KL will be rolling along with something happening and our minds occupied with that one thing, and then it will organically introduce or remind us of something that’s developing in the plots. For instance, in this scene we start with Karen on the phone to someone or other, working on locating Val (and she also gives Val’s address as “22229 Seaview Circle,” and I wrote that down in my notes along with, “Is that accurate?”), and we are with Karen in that our thoughts are focused on Val and we want to find out what’s going on with her, as well, but then as Karen is on the phone, her hand goes numb and she can’t really hold the phone and write stuff down too well, so we watch her try to awkwardly do this maneuver and in the scene we are immediately reminded of her illness. What writing! What skill! The scene manages to propel two storylines along at the same time just by having Karen on the phone while also dealing with her hand. Later in bed we see Karen lie to Mack again, once again causing My Beloved Grammy and I to scream at the scream, “Just tell him, Karen!” See, we already saw her make up a lie to him about how she smacked her hand on the desk at work or something, but this time she says she burned it on the coffee maker. When Mack says she oughta take the bandage off and give it some air, she says how it’s no big deal and to not focus on it, but we can see that Mack is starting to get suspicious.

    [​IMG]


    We also get some growing trust in the relationship between Gary and Galveston this week, and I’m gonna explore that, but first I wanna note that we also get a shout out to some Dallas characters. This again shows the writers doing a good job of covering their bases in explaining why Valene continues to have no on-screen relationship with Lucy over in Texas. In fact, it was only about two seconds after My Beloved Grammy said, “It sure is odd how they never talk about Lucy on this show,” that we did, indeed, get a mention of Lucy. Lilimae says how perhaps Val went off to Texas to be with Lucy, and Gary says, “Valene would never go back to Dallas,” and he reiterates how J.R. stole baby Lucy away from her oh so many years ago and all that, a nice little callback that pairs nicely with the scene a few eps ago in which Val told Ben that story while sitting at the beach. Also, during an early scene in which Gary and Galveston walk through Galveston’s ranch, Galveston tells Gary, “In the end, you’ll be the Ewing they remember, not J.R. and not Bobby.” Again, we’re in kind of a gray area of Dallas/KL right now in which the two shows still exist in the same universe (and they will continue to exist in the same universe until the very start of the 1986-1987 season) but we aren’t getting any crossovers from Dallas characters anymore and the references to those characters have become more sporadic. I’m fine with it, though, and I think when they do choose to bring up characters from Dallas in dialogue, it’s always appropriate to the scene.



    What about Gary and Galveston, anyway? Well here’s another in a long line of stories that I clearly wasn’t paying enough attention to upon first viewing, because I think I didn’t even realize that Galveston was a villain upon first watch. I know, right? I’m starting to reflect heavily on how bizarre it is that I was able to get sucked into this world so heavily back in college during my first watch despite not really following the big plot arcs too terribly well. At this point, I think I thought Galveston was a good character, and that might just be because of the charisma Howard Duff brings to the part, which is plentiful. Looking at this guy, you just want to believe anything he says because he has that fabulous old style “man’s man” quality about him. Aside from a few scenes between Gary and Galveston, we don’t really get much with them this week, but it’s important to see that Galveston is around and that he is starting to become someone Gary really likes and respects, so keep that in mind for future eps.

    Distant Locations also gets a pretty important plot point kicked into gear when Joshua agrees to go on the air for Pacific World Whatever and give a little sermon that’s really a clever way to get Val to return home. See, he gives a nice speech about how sometimes God does bad things to good people, and he uses the example of some family he used to know that were very faithful but had a bunch of shitty things happen to them. As with most sermons, you hear a long story about life being really shitty and then the conclusion is, “So you see, God is here for us!” After that, though, Joshua looks the camera straight on and says Valene’s name directly and then tells her that she is loved and she should return home to the people who live here. How many people are watching this show, by the way? This is a California cable station, and I don’t know how far it reaches in terms of where it is broadcast; I can’t imagine some daily church show on a random cable network is exactly getting “Who Shot J.R.?” level ratings, nor am I sure if Val could even have the chance to see this sermon from her far off adventures in Nevada and then Tennessee, but it’s still a noble effort on the part of everyone involved to try and reach out to her. It’s also important to note Joshua giving his firm on-television sermon and starting to get a taste for that job and, perhaps, wishing to pursue that career path; we shall have to wait and see.

    That oughta do it for Distant Locations. Obviously it was brilliant and I really don’t know that I have much else left to say about it besides that. Elikann brings his usual flourishes that elevate this above a standard 48 minute episode of television, plus J.V.A’s acting is really top quality at this point, but that’s something I’m just gonna keep saying all season, so get ready. I think the craziness of this ep and all of Val’s adventures in Nevada also help to keep this ep real memorable; this is one that never faded out of my brain the way certain eps have over time. No, I always remembered this ep vividly as the one where Val hits the road and goes crazy in a little Nevada town, and that scene with her taking off her makeup in front of the mirror is just classic and one of KL’s all time most memorable scenes.

    However, as much as I enjoyed Val’s little stop off in Nevada, I’m much more excited to see her get to work being Verna in Tennessee, so let’s proceed forward to our next ep, Uncharted Territory.
     
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  19. Knots Blogger

    Knots Blogger Soap Chat Member

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    Episode Title: Uncharted Territory

    Season 06, Episode 12

    Episode 112 of 344

    Written by Joyce Keener

    Directed by Nicholas Sgarro

    Original Airdate: Thursday, December 27th, 1984

    The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Galveston asks Gary to go in with him on a planned community in Empire Valley. Galveston tells some men that he's using Gary because he's stupid and won't know what's going on, but he will be helpful in getting the community built. Gary asks Greg to go in on Empire Valley, but Greg wants no part of it. While driving with Michael, Karen's hands go out again and they almost crash. Mack insists she see a doctor. Karen finally tells Mack what is going on and he says he won't let her die. Joshua gets a lot of fan mail after being on TV, so Abby asks him to make another plea to Val. Kelly asks Ben to give her a chance, but he says he can't. In Shula, Val rents a room and hears a report on the radio about her disappearance, but doesn't respond to it in any way. She meets Parker Winslow, the local dry cleaner, who asks her out to a pancake breakfast.


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    In our last episode, Distant Locations, I said how Val/Verna has moved on from Nevada into Tennessee but that I can’t remember the exact location. Well, isn’t it nice that Uncharted Territory starts almost immediately with a helpful subtitle telling us, “Shula, Tennessee,” and once again I didn’t know if this was a real place or not and I looked it up and I’m pretty sure it’s not. Of course, all I did was go to Google and type in “Shula, Tennessee” and see what popped up and nothing much did, so I’m gonna go ahead and assume that it’s a made-up place.

    [​IMG]


    God, even the way that we get that subtitle and figure out Val’s location is done with style. See, the episode starts with Karen and Lilimae together and then Laura arrives at the front door with a piece of luggage that belongs to Val. She declares that it was sent to her house by accident and then the ladies read the letter attached, which happens to come from the nice old couple that ran that Nevada motel, saying something like, “You forgot your clothes at the motel so here you go.” The ladies start to get excited about how now they know Val is in Nevada, but then someone (I think Karen) points out how Val must have left the motel at least four days ago and could now be anywhere, and then we cut to the little subtitle about “Shula” and pick up with Val/Verna working in the coffee shop. See, another series would just sorta, you know, start the scene, but KL gives us that nice sexy transition by having Karen say, “Where could she be?” and then immediately cutting to where she is.

    Val/Verna is already getting along nicely in this little town, and why not? I remind you that the very first time we saw Val ever, indeed the very first shot of her in television history, was way back in that Dallas episode Reunion: Part One in which we saw her working at The Hot Biscuit, and she’s always been established as a pretty great waitress. We also saw her waiting tables back in season three with Acts of Love, when she took Olivia out driving and the two of them got stranded with no money and Val had to work for that Dukes of Hazzard guy. In addition to getting cozy as a waitress, we also see Val/Verna start renting a rather cozy little apartment that I found very endearing. I’m being serious here, by the way, because it is a fairly simple little place with not a lot of room, but I find it charming and could probably comfortably live there. You’ll note that I’m able to appreciate all sorts of living spaces on this series, because while I would ideally wish to live at either The Beach House or Westfork if I was allowed to live inside this universe, I could also be at home in a nice cozy apartment like this one right here; I just find it very cute.

    We the viewers get official confirmation that Val has become Verna in this ep, by the way, thanks to an early scene in which she is ironing and listening to the radio. They interrupt the music for a quick news bulletin and the announcer says something like, “Everyone is continuing to look for missing California author Valene Ewing,” but then we see Val/Verna doing her ironing and not even looking up at the sound of her own name on the radio, completely unfazed by what’s playing in the background. Yes, it is now very clear that Val/Verna is not just hiding out in a little Tennessee town and using a fake name to try and keep a low profile, but rather she has gone rather nutty and truly believes herself to be this person, this Verna from her book.

    Val/Verna meets a character who’s gonna prove to be pretty important in this ep, and that would be Parker Winslow, who works running the local dry cleaner. Once again, IMDb is proving to be completely useless when it comes to KL because they don’t even have anyone credited for playing this character, not in this episode or the next one, either, so I can’t tell you the actor’s name, because I do not know it. I do know that when Parker first walked onscreen, I thought I recognized the actor for some reason, but thanks to IMDb being inaccurate in every way when it comes to their episode pages for KL, I’m afraid I can’t tell you quite yet who plays him. Anyway, is Parker a nice guy or is he sleazy? I guess that’s going to be up to us to figure out, because as he’s first introduced, he seems nice enough. Val/Verna just comes in to get some laundry taken care of and that’s where she meets him and they have a little interaction but nothing too major and that’s it for this week. Don’t worry, this character will wind up having a lot more to do in the coming weeks as we continue to follow Val/Verna throughout her adventures in Shula.

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    We also get a surprise reappearance that I wasn’t expecting this week, and that would be from one Clayton Landey as James Westmont, Abby’s faithful little lackey from pretty much all of seasons four and five. This was an interesting surprise, as I thought we had seen the last of Westmont when we finished up season five, but here he is now, although IMDb (which I just finished saying is wildly inaccurate, so please take this information with a grain of salt) does say that this will mark his final appearance. We get a good little scene between him and Abs in which Abs finally is able to spill her big secret to somebody, and I appreciate that it’s this guy. Lazy writers could have just devised to have Abs spill the secret to anybody they felt like, but the KL writers are not lazy writers, they are a higher class of writers than any other writers in the entire universe, so they do this in the classy way by bringing back a character who, logically, we can believe that Abs would actually confide in. Even so, Westmont doesn’t want to hear any of this, and as soon as Abs tells him about dead ‘80s Rapist Beards taking skydives without parachutes and having Val’s babies stolen, he’s like, “Wo, hey, I’m not listening to any of this,” and just walks away, nicely ensuring that he keep his own ass covered in case any future problems should arise.

    [​IMG]


    We get more Gary/Galveston this week and I continue to relish the charisma that Howard Duff is bringing to this character. Also, we get some confirmation that Galveston is probably actually a bad dude, because we see him having a little private meeting with some other bad dudes and making vague exchanges about how Gary Ewing is the man he wants to do this project or something or other. Again, this is the stuff that went flying right over my head upon first viewing, maybe because I wasn’t actually putting that much effort into paying attention and my energies were just focused on other aspects of the show. But anyway, this is the ep where Galveston essentially asks Gary to be the man to run Empire Valley for him, bringing up another name that should be familiar to all long time KL fans. We are definitely in an era of the series in which we get lots of big, cool company names and it can be difficult to keep track. We’ve already had Wolfbridge and Gary Ewing Enterprises and Apolune and Lotus Point and the Tidal Basin murders, and now we’ve got Empire Valley to throw into the mix. What is Empire Valley, you ask? Well, I guess it’s basically Paul Galveston’s version of Lotus Point, a big fat piece of land that he owns personally and that he wants to develop in some way, expand upon, and he wants Gary to be the man to help him with it. The problem is that there are lots of red flags that perhaps Galveston shouldn’t be trusted, such as that weird vague meeting he has with those other guys in which he declares that Gary is the man for this job, where the insinuation we get is that he’s tricking Gary in some way. I’ll be honest, even with My Beloved Grammy along to help me with this, my brain still has a bit of trouble figuring out what’s going on. As I often say, I don’t blame the show for my confusion, but rather my own brain and the bizarre way that it works and often has trouble following plot developments.

    In any case, what’s worth noting here is the human drama that is created due to this, because when Gary announces to Karen and Abs that he is planning to sorta back away from Lotus Point for awhile and focus all his attention over on Empire Valley, they are both damn mad. I like this scene because it provides a rare chance to see Karen and Abs on the same side, both arguing with Gary about why he should keep his energies focused on Lotus Point. However, Gary reminds them that Lotus Point is basically his to do with whatever he pleases and that, for the time being, he’d like to work on Empire Valley with Galveston. Both Karen and Abs are suffering from a funny feeling about Galveston and don’t precisely trust him, although Gary says how Galveston is very similar to his father and he knows how these guys work. There’s the temptation to say that Gary is being naïve here (and indeed My Beloved Grammy is utterly convinced that he’s going to lose his entire fortune because of this and then return to the bottle and basically ruin his life), but I understand him. Yes, Galveston definitely has a certain charm about him, and yes, I definitely see a lot of Jock Ewing in him, so I could understand why hanging around a man like this on a sexy ranch would be right up Gary’s alley and why he would probably feel some inherent trust for the guy.

    [​IMG]


    I feel like Ben is getting the short end of the stick when it comes to stories at this exact juncture in the series, and that’s sorta disheartening after coming to a new appreciation of his character throughout season five, but we do get a quick upsetting scene this week between him and The Desperate Horny Chick. Okay, so I finally learned that The Desperate Horny Chick's name is P.K. Kelly and she’s actually played by someone I should have recognized immediately but failed to, an actress named Wendel Meldrum (pictured below). Terrible name, I agree, but this lady is actually kinda iconic because she played The Low Talker in the classic Seinfeld episode, The Puffy Shirt and even reprised that character for the not-so-classic Seinfeld episode, The Finale. In addition, she played Ms. White, the teacher Kevin Arnold had a mondo crush on, in seven episodes of The Wonder Years. Again I reiterate that IMDb is hopelessly screwed up when it comes to KL eps because they only have her credited for three eps when I know for a fact that she’s in a ton more than that, so really I think IMDb should hire me to work as the guy correcting and face-checking all 344 eps of KL wouldn’t you agree?

    [​IMG]


    Anyway, even though I now know her name and the actress who plays her, I’d rather continue to refer to her as The Desperate Horny Chick, because let’s be honest, that’s really all she is, and this week she sinks to new and frightening lows by sneaking into Ben’s Plant House to rouse/harass him in the middle of the night. Seriously, Ben is asleep as we begin this scene, and then this crazy Desperate Horny Chick comes walking in to wake him and beg him to give her a chance at a relationship. Ugh, and it only gets worse when, instead of telling her that she’s crazy and should probably go home, Ben kisses her. This does not reflect badly on Ben, however, as he is a man very confused at this point in his life. This reflects badly on The Desperate Horny Chick, who is just using the fact that Ben is vulnerable to get closer to him. I want this character shipped away as soon as possible, and My Beloved Grammy agrees with me. Whenever she’s onscreen, you can just smell her pathetic desperation dripping off of her and it’s not even fun to watch. The sixth season is obviously utterly brilliant and a sheer work of artistic genius from start to finish, but this lame character is the closest this season comes to having a flaw.

    TO BE CONTINUED
     
  20. Knots Blogger

    Knots Blogger Soap Chat Member

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    CONTINUED

    Let’s see, who else is on the agenda for stories this week. Well, we have the continuing investigation into the Tidal Basin murders, which I think I’m getting a better grasp on as we work our way through the season. Basically, Mack and Jessick are continuing their investigation into all these women who were killed and it somehow links back to Galveston Industries because one of them was a secretary for the company or something. The real important thing worth noting about this story this week is Mack’s completely unnecessary and hilarious little workout that he does on the floor of his office. This scene has burned into my brain since the first time I watched it as one of the most bizarrely brilliant in the entire series run, but perhaps I am the only person in the world to feel this way. See, as we start the scene, Jessick is sitting behind the desk of Mack’s office and they are chatting about these murders, and then the camera sorta pulls back to reveal Mack sitting on the floor, working out on one of those ‘80s rowing machines that you’d usually see at the gym. What is this machine doing in the office? Why is Mack working out on it while fully dressed in a suit and tie? Was this in the script or was it some sort of cool, sexy Dobsonator improvisation? I love The Dobsonator and all you readers should know that and you should know that I love the character of Mack and everything he represents, but he does occasionally become a little bit campy and this is definitely a good example of that, and I do have to wonder if The Dobsonator showed up to the set asking to work on this rowboat machine as some way of looking sexy or something; anyone have any ideas? I suppose it makes some sense that Mack would want to stay in shape and he works a fairly sedate job sitting at a desk all day, which is boring, so I guess I’d want a sexy ‘80s rowboat machine too, but still, it’s a fairly strange (meaning amazing) choice for something to do during this scene.

    [​IMG]


    Meanwhile, the jig is finally starting to be up for Karen and her whole dying saga. See, she’s taking a nice joyride with Michael (and yes, obviously I would be delighted to take a joyride on Michael) when she goes numb, not just in the hand but in the entire arm this time, and nearly crashes the car and kills some kid on a bicycle. Basically, it’s bad, but thankfully nobody is hurt and most thankfully Michael’s face is not injured in any way. After this exciting incident, we cut to commercial, but when we get back we see the fallout of this little near-car crash. Karen is getting dinner prepared and trying to act like what happened was no big deal, that she just got distracted driving the car or whatever, but Michael is adamant that, had he not grabbed the wheel away from Karen, they would both have crashed. We see that Mack is at the end of his patience by this point and he sends the boys off to go do something in the kitchen and then announces to Karen, “We’re going to the doctor’s tomorrow.” I like to see Mack get cool and authoritative in this way, reminding us that he is a very patient man and he has put up with a lot and I do mean a lot in the two years or so he’s been married to Karen, but he knows when it’s time to put his foot down about something, and this is it.

    Karen manages to avoid the meeting with the doctor by busying herself with something or other at Lotus Point, which means Mack has a little one-on-one time with Dr. Garner, that fabulous black doctor that I love so much played by Jason Bernard, rest in peace. What a great scene this is, reminding me of that magical ability that KL has to make every character, even the most minor ones, extremely interesting to watch onscreen. See, Mack tries to get Dr. Garner to tell him the truth about what’s going on with Karen, but Garner refuses, and I appreciate that. I could see any other show (7th Heaven, perhaps, since doctor/patient confidentiality didn’t appear to exist in that show’s universe) just having Garner sorta sigh and say, “Aw, f*** it, your wife is dying,” but instead Garner reminds Mack that he has a doctor/patient confidentiality with Karen and can’t just go around telling Mack what the deal is and he advises Mack to talk to Karen himself.

    [​IMG]


    When Karen returns home, she finds Mack on the couch, holding some magazine and glaring. She tries to shrug off her failure to show up at the doctor’s office by saying something like, “Oh, I hope you got my message about why I couldn’t make it,” but Mack has finally had enough, and I think we the audience also have. This is not a criticism since I think KL almost always has brilliant pacing with its stories and knows when its time to finish something up; this is more an observation about the fact that we are now twelve eps deep into the season and Karen has been keeping this secret for pretty much all twelve eps. I’d say it’s definitely time for Mack to find out the truth, and so the writers let it happen. Mack gives a nice speech about how he and Karen don’t have a marriage because, “You’re lying to me and you caused an accident that could have killed a kid.” This is finally enough for Karen to tell Mack the truth, the fact that she is dying thanks to that little bullet in her spine.

    I love it when a KL ep is rolling along and I’m staring at the screen and drooling and wouldn’t notice if a dump truck came crashing into the living room and I’m just so damn invested in what’s going on and then suddenly the ep is over and I’m like, “Omigod, it’s over!” That to me symbolizes that the show has done its job by sucking me into its world and making me completely unaware of the time passing around me, and this ep does that. See, our last scene is a super powerful one between Karen and Mack taking place in their bedroom in which Karen says how she didn’t tell Mack because she didn’t want him to worry, didn’t want him to feel obligated to come be with her as she died, didn’t want to distract from his work, all that stuff. Then the topic of the surgery comes up and Karen says how she didn’t have the surgery when she first found out and Mack says, “When the choices are slim or none, you go with slim, always.” Just written out as a line of dialogue that way, it’s hard to convey the amazing way that The Dobsonator delivers the line, but it’s slow yet firm and with every ounce of heart and feeling really thrown into it, fully conveying the emotions of the scene in a fabulous way, and then he declares, “I won’t let you die,” and we get our “Executive Producers” credit played over that beautiful image of Karen and Mack looking into each other’s eyes and we just have to wait for our next episode to see how all of this is going to turn out.

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    Holding each and every episode under a microscope the way I’ve been doing for 112 episodes now, I would say that this episode isn’t quite as good as our prior one, Distant Locations, but that’s because that one was really especially memorable and had many scenes that are just etched into my mind forever. Maybe this one was a smidge more regular than that ep, but it was obviously still great and still had amazing acting and story plotting from all involved. Why split hairs when you’re getting something this unbelievably stellar each and every week? Aside from The Desperate Horny Chick who I want to see take a walk off of that big cliff from the start of the opening credits, this episode is nicely moving the saga alone with lots of good drama, most especially for Val but also for Karen and Mack and all that stuff. Overall, very solid.

    But wait, there's more! I almost forgot to mention that this is our very last episode of 1984, a most important year not just because of George Orwell but also because it was just a great year. As usual by this point, I just don't really feel the energy to write too much about what happened this year because, well, my fingers hurt and I want to take a break from writing and watch some TV. For movies, some of the most important things to happen this year, in my opinion, would be the release of James Cameron's absolutely brilliant The Terminator, which is probably my second favorite movie of all time (after my #1 favorite movie, which also happens to be from J.C., Titanic). Also, David Lynch (one of my other favorite directors) released Dune. Maligned upon its original release, I feel this movie is now finally appreciated the way it should be. It's a bizarre and crazy work of mad art with plenty of unforgettable visuals and it's one of my faves from Lynch's canon. Also, Brian De Palma released Body Double, a movie I seem to bring up constantly on this blog, mostly because I love it and also because tons of people from KL pop up in it. Finally, the top ten shows of the 1983-1984 season were (going from #10 to #1), Cagney & Lacey, Hotel, Kate and Allie, Falcon Crest, Magnum P.I., Simon & Simon, The A-Team, Dynasty, 60 Minutes, and Dallas.

    [​IMG]


    Next up, we finally see Karen start to accept that she needs to do something about her serious medical condition with our first episode of 1985, Weighing of Evils.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017

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