Tuesday, March 03, 2009

'Grace' Returns; Ricci Rocks in Debut

By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

Are you crying? There's no crying. There's no crying in baseball!
- Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks), A League of their Own

Turns out there's no crying at a crime scene, either.

Unless you're Officer Abbey Charles.

And you've just had your goldfish die on you.

Which has completely thrown you and your 12-year-old son for a loop.

Even if it was just a goldfish.

How genius was it to have THIS be the way we were all introduced to Christina Ricci's character on last night's episode of Saving Grace?!?!


In fact, this goes down as one of the best introductions of a new character I've seen in a while (at least on the shows I like to watch). It was unexpected, yet cute and charming at the same time. We were all being set up to have Grace rip her a new one given her ... ahem, lack of punctuality on her first day. Yet, when she finally does arrive and breaks into tears, even Grace is thrown off her game.


As was the episode.

I think I'm prepared to say this counts as one of my all time favorite episodes. Everything gelled - some suspense, lots of humor, great personal interactions amongst the characters, nothing was over the top, good pacing.

It all just worked.

Ham has come back from the brink (thank the Earl heavens for that). We recall when we last left him, he had gone so far over the edge about his brother's death that I wasn't buying it anymore. It.was.Too.Much. I'm glad to see him back to his normal self WITHOUT having to romp around with Grace.

We had a nice reminder of Grace's connection to death row inmate Leon Cooley - AND the fact that Rhetta is going to hold her accountable to reexamine the case (Angel Earl's not-so-subtle hints of leaving the case file box everywhere for Grace to trip over notwithstanding).

Grace's sister offered some fantastic comic relief when she wanted to come stay with Grace whilst the team was on the hunt for a serial killer who specialized in killing yogi blondes with breast implants. We don't often get a lot of comic relief on this show, but last night seemed to fire on all cylinders for me in terms of how well everybody bounced off one another.

Speaking of bouncing, the Ham and Butch partnership is a little too much yin and yin (or yang and yang), eh?

But it was Christina Ricci who made this episode fun to watch. She's a perfect addition to the cast. As Holly Hunter told us, the role of Abbey Charles was written specifically for her by Creator Nancy Miller. As such, it definitely fit her like a glove. Christina is good in EVERYTHING she does, and I would love to see her become a regular cast member (or at least recurring). She balances out the testosterone, gives us the young cop v. old schooler angle, slows Grace down a bit to give us a more mentoring, elder detective woman look at the usually wild-child-hellraiser character that is Grace.

And hey, I'm all for badass women cop partnerships - there are too FEW on the tube these days.

All in all, this was a great way to have the series return from it's winter break.

New episodes air Mondays at 10 p.m. on TNT. You can watch full episodes of the show anytime over on the show’s official Web site. You can also visit EmbraceYourGrace.com to share your stories of how you embrace your inner-Grace.

1 comment:

John said...

This was a good introduction to the new season (or half season).

The Ham and Butch interaction was good. Cop shows often talk about partners, but rarely show how the partners develop a rhythm and have to develop a new way to interact with a new partner, even one they have known for years.

The Abby/Grace interaction was very good. I expected it to be all Grace giving grief to the new cop and it started out that way. But she started to appreciate Abby’s abilities and Abby herself. She liked it when Abby told that “guest” cop to get his own coffee. And Abby was interesting. She was not a surprise super cop, but she held her own with Grace and on the case. And that is tough to do.

Earlier in the series Grace was so out of control she was hard to relate to. I expect her to go off the deep end in the future occasionally, but I can now see the real person in there.

As you mentioned, Ham had a similar story arc last season when his brother died. The show has a tendency to go off the deep end with character actions when the show wants to show them pain. They need to learn how to show a character is having a tough time but keep them in the bounds of believability.

They have done that so far with Leon, but he is a peripheral character.

The show really is a welcome winter addition to my TV.