The one where all hopes for the show to get better officially melted away…
Before this review will most likely turn into a heated rant, let me point out again that none of this is meant to attack the writers personally. It’s only about their writing, especially this time. Sam Lembeck & Diana Mendez are young, inexperienced, and don’t really have a clue. In other words, they’re like me, and I feel a little bad about being so critical.
But then I remember that they’re getting paid a healthy amount of money for the crap they’re throwing out there, and suddenly I don’t feel so bad anymore…
So, suck it up, Sam & Diana. Here comes the big one:
On the plus side:
Maura speaking Spanish
Finally some scenes on location and not in the interview room
On the minus side:
Useless filler scenes
So many missed chances… so many missed chances
I’ve been trying in vain to summarize the problem with this episode (heck, with this whole season) in just a few words. Luckily, Jan Nash herself comes to the rescue:
And suddenly, everything makes sense.
All those tweets about breaking the episodes, about multi-episode story arcs, about tone meetings – the writers just made those to give the impression that they’re working really hard. And I can totally understand that. I mean, TNT is very budget-conscious, and if they ever find out that an inexpensive story generator will deliver the same result, they would probably dump those writers faster than I would dump Casey. In other words: really fast, really fast.
But for the sake of these poor writers’ job security, let’s pretend we don’t know what’s really going on, even though we totally do. Can you imagine how happy they must be every time they throw their story dice and come up with a super hilarious scene?
Well, let’s see what they came up with this time…
The episode opens with a— whoops, hold on, looks like my browser is still stuck on YouTube’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge channel… Or maybe not…? Huh, I guess that’s the actual episode. Of course, they forgot to tell people where to donate, but what can you expect from a writer whose main concern on Twitter is – once again – Sasha’s boobs?
(Yes, I know, many of you reading this can relate, but remember, this guy is getting paid to WRITE.)
Anyway, ice-bucket-guy didn’t donate, and so he had to die. Bad karma, I’m telling ya.
We continue with a scene whose purpose was already clear two months ago when Nash posted that BTS photo. So predictable, those writers… Unfortunately, their predictability also applies to their handling of serious issues. After we had to endure a whole episode of Jane being petulant, ungrateful, and simply annoying last week, the writers suddenly realize, “uh, whoops, maybe we should add a sentence to show that she is at least a little sad about her miscarriage?”
And so that’s what they did. One sad look. One sentence. Now, we can move on, right?
Now, it’s time to pause and think about this for a minute. This is the third episode after the baby’s death, and Casey still doesn’t know. You might say, oh it’s great that we won’t have to deal with him and his needy penis anymore. And I totally agree. BUT:
For more than three years I’ve tolerated that guy and his emotional abuse. For more than three years, I’ve watched and cringed every time that he and Tamaro wrecked Jane’s character. For more than three years, I’ve waited for Jane to come to her senses (or for Maura to finally find the courage to tell her the truth). And for ten episodes, I’ve waited for Nash to do a better job and to bring this horrible storyline to an end. And once again, the writers fail to deliver.
Let me remind you that the last thing we’ve heard about Casey was that Jane was still in love with him. In a tweet, Nash now claims that Jane “told him off-camera in episode 9” about the miscarriage.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!
We have to sit through endless dialog about schmoodle-poodles, Grover “Who cares” Verben, and fortune cookies, but they can’t be bothered to throw in at least ONE FRICKIN SENTENCE about what exactly Jane’s words to Casey were? They did it in 5x03 when nobody cared. Why not now when people actually do care?
This means there are only two options.
1) Jane actually came to her senses and told Casey to bugger off. As much as I would approve of this, I WANNA FUCKING SEE IT & HEAR IT, so I can jump off the couch, run through town like a lunatic, and do my own version of a victory cha-cha! I FRICKIN DESERVE IT AFTER THREE DAMN YEARS!
2) Jane still loves him and still didn’t end things with him for good. In this case, dear writers, let me introduce you to a good friend of mine:
I’m afraid that Option 2 is more likely because sooner or later, Chris Vance’ The Transporter will be cancelled. And we all know what that means…
Missed chance #1: End things with Casey.
The next thing our
inexpensive story generator expensive writers came up with is this spicy tea nonsense that was supposed to be one of the two major storylines in this episode (per the episode synopsis). By the way, did anybody accept my fanfic challenge? If you did, you can already congratulate yourself – because, really, it’s almost guaranteed that your story will be better than what we saw in this episode!
Anyway, Angela offers said tea to Jane & Maura; both decline because those writers are frickin cowards; nothing important happens; and we can move on.
Missed chance #2: Let Jane & Maura drink that tea and prove that the writers’ room can do more than just wimpy queerbaiting.
Opening credits roll; Jane & Maura walk to the crime scene; Maura casually reveals that she sleeps in the nude; tumblr breaks down; the writers publicly high-five each other on Twitter; my point about the wimpy queerbaiting is proven; and we can move on.
Seriously, you don’t expect me to comment on that comment, do you?
Missed chance #3: Stop it with the lame teasing.
Once everybody has gathered at the crime scene, Frankie’s whining and everybody’s sweaty foreheads remind us once again that it’s a fricking heat wave. Also, there’s some talking about poodles (again, *sigh*) but NO talking about Jo Friday, which makes me wonder if the heat has turned Jane’s poor little puppy into a hot dog by now…
Speaking of hot dogs, the only good thing about this scene is that Frankie has finally found his calling. And you know who could give him some advice about dog-walking? Tommy. But I’m afraid he has gone AWOL, too.
And dear writers, don’t think I didn’t see that look between Frankie and Maura!
Doesn’t Maura have a beard now? Seriously, I can’t tell anymore. The last thing we’ve seen of Jack were his balls. But given that Jack apparently was charming enough to make Maura forget about her job in 5x08 (even making her ignore all of her phones in the goddamn middle of the day!), she has been oddly quiet about him lately. And yet, she’s supposed to meet his daughter next week? Random story generator for the win, eh?!
Also, in one of the upcoming episodes, Frankie fails his shooting test, and we already have a BTS photo of Maura at the shooting range. Why would she be there if not for— uh, dear writers, let me introduce you to another friend of mine:
Missed chance #4: Mention Jo Friday or Tommy or Bass or ANYTHING of relevance!
There was some blah blah at the crime scene next, but I missed it because I was still thinking about hot dogs. Sorry.
If you’re beginning to get suspicious now because the next scene is in the autopsy room and also has Maura in it, you’d make a very good detective. Obviously, IT’S A TRAP! (Bonus points, if you understand the Star Wars reference!) So, enjoy it while it lasts.
Unfortunately, Jane doesn’t get a chance to enjoy it because Susie has apparently hired a small army of crotch-blocking minions who are all very interested
in Maura’s science in Maura’s air-conditioned workplace. And so we get two minutes of slow exposition about the cause of death that ends with Susie’s minions predictably running out of the room as soon as Maura takes a closer look at ice-bucket-guy’s organs. And because the writers couldn’t come up with more meaningful dialog, they’ve simply decided to let Maura say her last line twice to fill some screen time. So clever. So clever.
You know what would have been really clever? If the heat wave had been used as an actual plot element. What if more than just a few A/Cs had broken down? What if Jane & Co. would’ve been forced to use the computers in the cooled-down crime lab / morgue to do their job? That way, we could have involved Maura more often and we wouldn’t have had the same-old, same-old “Jane goes down to the morgue, Maura does some Google-mouthing, Jane leaves again.” Well, too bad, our
random story generator writers weren’t in the mood for that. So take one last look at Maura because you won’t be seeing her for a while.
Missed chance #5: Use the morgue / crime lab in an innovative way.
We spend the next 7 long minutes complaining about the heat, discussing suspects, making Jo Friday jealous by giving a random Spanish puppy more screen time, doing some fancy computer stuff to pretend that Nina Holiday’s character is needed, interviewing a woman of interest who is competing with Jane in a game of “whose forehead looks sweatiest?”, doing more fancy computer stuff, and finally letting Nina win the “sweatiest forehead” competition. Phew.
Now, that we got all of that out of the way, it’s finally time for another meaningful appearance of Maura.
HA! I fooled you there for a moment, didn’t I?!
Of course, I was just kidding. The only reason Maura is in the scene is because otherwise Angela wouldn’t have anybody to talk to about her stupid tea. (Remember? That tea thing that was supposed to be a major storyline in this episode?) And of course, Maura once again refuses to drink it because the writers are still wimpy.
Instead, the tea makes Angela’s hormones go all crazy when Korsak arrives. And hopefully, those fools out there who are wishing for a Korsak/Angela romance finally realize what a bad idea this would be. More clown music, more silly Angela. No, thank you.
Time to say goodbye to Maura once more. I wonder if we’ll see her again… Looks like she is rather confused about her role in this show, too…
Missed chance #6: Give Maura something meaningful to do. She’s the Chief Medical Examiner, for fuck’s sake!
Now it’s time for the male version of “sweatiest forehead.” Black guy is clearly winning while talking about writing memoirs and stuff. I’ve long lost track of what this case is actually about. Meh.
Two minutes later, the Crime Lab’s own Curly Sue and Jane whine a little more about the heat because all the sweat everywhere doesn’t make it obvious enough. Moving on… nothing to see here.
Uh, looks like the
random story generator writers had a rare moment of brilliance and decided to throw in another Maura scene. And this time, it’s actually about her job – and about the cocaine embedded in US money. Uh, let me quickly check my wallet… be right back…
Also, Maura clearly refuses to participate in the “sweatiest forehead” competition – the heat wave is obviously no threat to her perfection. For once, the writers got it right.
I’m just gonna skip over the next 3 1/2 minutes of talking heads and empty coffins because… eh, who cares? Who cares?
But look at that?! Is that Maura again? Oh my, maybe I should play the lottery today – the dice are obviously in a good mood. Uh, I meant, the writers are in a good mood… shhhh!
Jane, however, is not. And honestly, it’s getting fuckin annoying. I’m basically allergic to heat, and even I don’t complain that much about it. We get it, Jane! It’s hot and you don’t like it. Get over it and— oh…
Now, I get it. It’s a ruuuuse to be allowed to move back in with Maura. Ha, well played, Jane. Well, played.
I guess we finally get the usual scene at Maura’s house now. Some bickering… some jokes… maybe a surprise appearance by Bass eating a hot dog… so many options. Let’s see what the
random story generator writers are giving us.
Hold on a sec, we just need to squeeze in a
commercial break meaningful scene about Autotrader.com. Do I get part of the product placement money if I keep mentioning that site? Which site, you ask? Well, Autotrader.com, of course! And since it’s en vogue today to repeat everything, let me say it again: Autotrader.com. Autotrader.com. Autotrader.com.
I expect my check in the mail by next week. Thank you.
Where were we? Oh, right, the funny scene at Maura’s house we’ve all been looking forward to.
So, uh… wait… did I miss it during the
commercial break Autotrader.com (ka-ching!) scene?!
WHERE THE HELL IS IT???!!!
WHERE THE HELL IS IT???!!!
WHERE THE HELL IS IT???!!!
Missed chance #7, #8, #9. Missed chance #7, #8, #9. Missed chance #7, #8, #9.
(Oh wow, it totally is easier to fill pages / screen time by simply repeating everything. Smooth!)
In the next scene, our little Spanish puppy is getting it on with Frankie. But despite the fact that they are obviously a match made in heaven, I don’t think their blossoming romance will go anywhere. This simply isn’t the kind of show that dares to show non-traditional relationships. Sorry, little puppy. You should have auditioned at HBO or Netflix…
The next five minutes or so are filled with stuff about the crime that probably is important in some way or another, but I don’t care. Do you?
All I know is that the guy from the Dharma Initiative was in it, and I really, really, really, really, reeaaaallly wish we could use their time-travel knowledge to undo the last four seasons of this show and fix everything.
But instead, we’re now visiting some other Asian guy in a psych ward, which is kinda ironic because the longer I watch this show, the more likely I am to end up in the loony bin myself.
Oh, and Maura is also there, but if you expect her to get some smart lines that would make her presence meaningful, you’re obviously a nutjob, too. Some talking about mountains and fresh air will have to do. But at least the director of this episode is kind enough to remind me to do my regular workouts. Because that right there is the reason why I started working out more often:
Missed chance #10: Do better than Tamaro did in 3x10 when Maura was supposed to use her knowledge in behavioral neuro-science to psycho-analyze “Mister Bear.”
So, anyway… While I’m on the phone with the Dharma Initiative to discuss their payment terms, the sort-of-crazy Asian dude talks about getting kidnapped or something, and honestly, I have no idea how we got from a dead guy in a bathtub, to someone writing memoirs, to empty coffins and cocaine-enhanced money, to a crazy Asian kid trying to overcome some post-traumatic stress syndrome (seriously, kid, people on this show are not allowed to visibly suffer from PTSD! Don’t be such a whiner!) Once again, random story generator for the win.
The case ends with a chase through a fish market, and meanwhile on Twitter, writer Sam Lembeck is so proud of his tiny cameo that he wants me to take a screenshot of it.
Yeah, no. Not gonna happen.
See how that feels, Sam? Things not happening?!
That is exactly how everybody felt at the end of the episode when we once again returned to that stupid tea, and once again, Jane and Maura didn’t drink it (Maura’s tiny sip doesn’t count).
Instead, we get more of Angela’s craziness (I guess she’s earning her retirement savings as a hooker now), except that this time, Jane doesn’t care at all (in contrast to 5x10). Makes sense, I guess. If I had a mother like this, I’d also kinda hope that she gets lost in the dark at night and never finds her way
back home back to Maura’s home.
Missed chance #11: Save Angela’s character or get her killed for good.
Missed chance #12: Stop dangling the Rizzles carrot in front of the last few eternal optimists.
A dozen missed chances. A case that went from A to B to X to K to F to I-don’t-care. No character growth but more character deconstruction. No continuity. Nothing extraordinary (except for Sasha’s calves but that’s clearly not the writers’ accomplishment).
I hope that at least Sam Lembeck and Diana Mendez got some happy times out of their episode.
I did not.
I did not.
P.S.: I counted. Technically, Maura was “present” in about 19 of 41 minutes. But this includes the time when other people were talking, too. So, essentially, last night’s Rizzoli & Isles had about 20% of Isles in it. Awesome. :-(