Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Possible Postcard from the Dead Reopens the 'Case'

Just a couple of weeks ago I was talking about "standing ovation episodes" because of Friday Night Lights' ability to turn one out every week, but I mentioned that other shows do the same from time to time. Tonight's episode of Cold Case is a perfect example. I wanted to stand and clap and scream "Bravo!" the moment the episode ended. There were so many things right about this episode from the still-relevant social issue of white flight to the shocking twist at the end. All along, I thought that everyone was too quick to conclude that Melanie was dead. I knew that her chances of still being alive were a long shot, but that didn't mean impossible. I decided that I was wrong somewhere between Cherise's disturbing flashback and Dale's confession. And then they found the report that told of a young gunshot victim who survived, but suffered from amnesia! I couldn't believe it! Melanie was alive! The entire episode had a magical feel to it, and it wasn't just the firefly stories. A little girl defied society to be friends with whom she wanted, and no neighborhood bully, graffiti, or parent was going to stop her. She stood up for Cherise and she constantly defended their friendship. And then she survived a brutal kidnapping, gunshot wound to the head, and 30 years without her family because she kept to her principles. It was such a nice surprise to see Lilly reuniting a victim's family with their loved one instead of their loved one's ghost.

I really liked Kat's interview with Terrell and the way it highlighted some of her own quick judgments. It reminded me of Lilly, and the way that she tends to jump to conclusions about people before having a chance to understand them. I also liked the way the show allowed us to see how Melanie's assumed murder affected her best friend. When Kat and Jeffries first interviewed Cherise, she acted like she didn't really know Melanie. That became very significant later when we learned that she had witnessed what she thought was her best friend's murder. She spent the last 30 years trying to forget what she saw that night. I can't begin to imagine how scared she must have been after seeing that rage in Dale. It's very plausible to me that it would have kept her from telling anyone what she saw. Even when she recalled that night to the detectives, she was visibly shaken and still deeply affected. Again, this is one of the show's biggest strengths when it's used correctly like it was tonight. Yes, another strong case and another strong episode. It seems that Cold Case's hot streak is still going strong.

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