Tuesday, March 10, 2009

'Grace's' Balanced Approach

By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

Remind me to send Christina Ricci a thank you note.

Or flowers.

Or an IOU for lunch on me.

Or something to show my appreciation for her turn on Saving Grace.

The woman has single-handedly made the show's return so enjoyable for me to watch. As in, I'm already depressed we've seen two of her three eps, and thus, there is only one more to go.

(Maybe if we ask creator Nancy Miller and Holly Hunter REALLY nicely, they'll find a way to make her a regular?!?!?!)

I seriously cannot get enough of the new dynamic between young officer Abbey Charles and the hardened veteran hellraiser that is Detective Grace Hanadarko. The inclusion of Ricci's character in the cast is giving us the side of Grace we don't always get to see - her good side.

Her focused side.

Her caretaker side.

Her wise side.

Her seasoned cop side.

And yet, we still see her flaws without having to have them jammed down our throat so outrageously that we just could care less whether she's saved or not.

Her wild side has been placed in check.

As such, I am finding I enjoy the show a whole lot more when Grace isn't setting all of Oklahoma on fire in a blaze of her rebellious glory. She still remains interesting, strong, free-spirited and a one-of-a-kind character, but she isn't so out of control that it becomes farcical or beyond believability.

Holly Hunter told us at the beginning of the season the show really seemed to find its groove this season - with cast, with crew, with storylines. I'd have to say, I agree. It seems to have matured - in a good way.

Angel Earl seems to be more of a "friend" or partner to Grace instead of her punching bag. Yes, she still tries to ignore his advice, but it seems less adversarial.

Connecting everything back to Leon Cooley has been quite clever this season. It doesn't seem as heavy-handed as it was the first go around.

There's humor (how funny was last night's meeting between at the bar between Grace's brother and Rhetta whereby he comes to realize Angel Earl's existence AND Grace's chosenwoman role??)

And quite honestly, putting the Ham/Grace dynamic on ice is a GOOD thing. It was just becoming too much of a codependent mess. Like, smothering. They were always so into EACH OTHER that nothing else seemed to matter. At some point, I just didn't want to watch any more of their romps, their wildness, their whatever. It became repetitive and boring. Thus, pulling those two characters away from each other has been refreshing.

I only hope it can continue, but seeing as Ricci's departure is imminent (she only signed on for a three-ep arc), and with Ham already saying he wants to get back with Grace - on the partnership level, that is - I'm not feeling all that optimistic.

Nonetheless, I hope they leave the door open for Ricci to return, and I hope they keep the toned-down relationship with Ham and Grace consistent for a while.

And can I just give props to Nancy Miller for writing this part for Christina Ricci. When an actor and role meld so well, it's an awesome thing to watch.

And when a guest actor can come into an already established show, instantly blend in with the existing chemistry whilst bringing her own unique energy into the mix, it's an even more awesome thing to watch.

Like I said, remind me to thank Christina Ricci one of these days.

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...

First, I totally agree with your review.

Two comments, Ham and Grace seem to be a toxic mix - each seems to drive the other to more outrageous behavior. I don't want to slip back to last season's more over the top behavior, so maybe don't have them become a couple again.

Second, as part of one of the show's promos Grace has a voiceover about I want to be or do ... (ask the big questions, etc.). I hate this ad. It is pretentious and doesn't really seem to relate to the Grace we have seen on screen.