Friday, August 13, 2010

The Countdown Gets Emotional


Single digits, Y'all!!!  That's right, this week on the summer-long countdown of the Best Episodes of the Season we finally hit the single digits with three episodes that were heavy on the emotion.  But before we get to them, we have to go over the rules for the countdown. We ended up with 28 incredible episodes that demonstrate the diversity and quality of the current television state. The shows and their episodes are from both NETWORK and CABLE television. All episodes aired between June 2009 and June 2010. Each episode that made the final list moved us in some way; either by making us laugh out loud, cry our eyes out or just left us with that "wow" feeling that stays with you for a few days. So basically, it's completely subjective! Since this is a summer-long countdown to the number 1 episode, PTR will reveal a few each week all summer. So, be sure to tune in every Friday to find out which episodes are on the countdown! Today, we're going to take a look at numbers 9-7.



9: "Wassup" - Parenthood
This is a show that gets better each week, but this outing from the first half of the season broke through as an early favorite. It isn’t easy to pinpoint the exact reason because there were so many things about this one that made it shine.  All of them were indicative of the awesomeness of the show itself. Everything was done to perfection from Julia trying to navigate the difficult waters of parenthood (something that doesn’t come natural to her) and feeling apprehensive about having her flighty sister’s teenaged daughter babysit to Crosby continuing to recover from the shocking news that he has a son and then building a relationship with the young child. But the highlight of the episode was Haddie’s true-to-life story line. Anyone who has been a teenage girl or has raised one knows how spot-on this story was. A secret “Facebook official” boyfriend, sneaking out, storming off, and accusing her parents of violating her privacy pretty much covered the typical teen life. Of course, it’s all a part of growing up and pushing boundaries and spreading wings and all of that, but I also think it has something to do with her parents’ (justifiable) focus on Max. In the end, Haddie’s “Facebook official” boyfriend became “family official” as she brought him to the weekly cook out. Major kudos to Sarah Ramos and Monica Potter for that tender and true scene in Haddie’s bedroom that just seemed to capture the essence of the ever-fragile mother/teenage daughter relationship. But then again, this is a show blessed with a brilliant cast and writers! Written by Tyler Bensinger and directed by Michael Engler.

8: "Maternal Instincts" - The Closer
Emotions always run high when kids are involved in tragic crimes.  But as PTR Senior Staff Writer LillyKat wrote last summer, this stand-out episode tugged at our heart strings just a bit more than usual.  Maybe that had something to do with Brenda Leigh Johnson.  "It's not often we get to see the softer side of [Brenda].  The weaker side.  The maybe-I-made-a-mistake-side.  But we did this [episode].  Not only did we see her get emotionally attached to her victim - outright tears of sadness when he passed away after severe gunshot wounds to the abdomen. But, we also saw that the checking of her emotional sensibility at the door as she once again chose to close her case over all else stung her more than usual.  Crime solved: good.  Emotional cost: high.  After she plunked Charlie at the hospital, assigning her to keep an eye on said victim given BJ was called to the scene WHILST transporting Charlie somewhere over the rainbow, Charlie befriends the victim in a pretty darn clever way to cover her being ... well, dumped in the hospital. But BJ's deliberate attempt to keep Charlie at bay when she knew he was on his last breaths, thus, interrogating him on his last breaths as to who might've been the shooter got BJ in a whole lot of hot water at the end of the ep.  Especially having to deliver the news to Charlie that her newfound friend had died.  And having prevented her from saying goodbye.  Not the first time BJ had gotten into trouble by her relentless pursuit of closing her case.  Not the last time.  And that's a good thing.  It makes for good episode viewing given we rarely see Brenda be wrong. She always manages to hold the upper hand - even when her methods are questionable. And yet with this ep, I'm not sure [her] choice was wrong even if it was somewhat painful to those closest to her.  In a way, it was almost an ironic form of payback.  And yet, I can't fault her for staying until the very end with the boy - not simply coming in, getting what she needed and bailing. She filled in in a mother-like way, nor managing to nail the brother for the shooting.  Painful justice.  But justice nonetheless."  Written by Leo Geter and directed by David McWhirter.  (HUGE thanks to LillyKat for allowing me to borrow from her fabulous write-up)  

7: "Ab Aeterno" - Lost
Since the day we first met Richard Alpert, his intriguing story has become as much of a mystery as the show itself. Why doesn’t he AGE?? What’s his connection to Jacob? We were thirsting for answers and this moving, fascinating and all-around stellar hour provided them. Ironically, the answers took a backseat because it was Richard’s heart-wrenching story that owned this episode. Honestly, they could have left us high and dry in the answers department and I still would have loved this one. First, Richard’s dying wife gives him her crucifix necklace, then he accidently kills the horrible doctor who refused to treat his wife, then he makes it back to her but it’s too late! After time in prison, he boards a slave ship to the New World (boy, was that the truth!): The infamous Black Rock. And when that ship wrecks on the THE island, things really get weird. For some reason, the Smoke Monster decides to spare Richard and then uses his dead wife to earn his trust. Finally, he tries to get Richard to kill Jacob (sound familiar?). Luckily, Richard doesn’t follow through and instead, winds up forming a special relationship with the mysterious island keeper. He learns from Jacob that the island is the only thing keeping the evil contained. And as a token of Jacob’s commitment to Richard, he grants him eternal life. Wow! All of this and so much more transpired over the course of just one glorious hour-long episode, but it could have easily been an epic film. Beautiful, poignant and gripping. Written by Melinda Hsu and Greggory Nations and directed by Tucker Gates.

So, there's a look #9-7 on the countdown. What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Leave a comment with your thoughts. You can also view previous entries by clicking the "Best Episodes" label below.  And be sure to tune in next Friday when PTR reaches the Top 5 episodes on the countdown!

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ab Aeterno was my favorite Lost episode from the finale season. Great acting by Nestor Carbonell, he did an outstanding job.

I loved how the MIB and Jacob did somehow twist Richard around, due to their neverending feud.


LII2

John said...

I agree the Closer episode was good. The performances were good, but its main strength was its showing BJ's wrongness.

I think she is often wrong, not in who the killer is, but in her treatment of everyone around her.

Her single-minded need to solve the case would be more admirable if I believed she was primarily concerned with justice. But, like House, I think it is more solving the puzzle than anything else that drives her.

And you have to wonder if solving cases always requires her treating friends, colleagues, and relatives of the victims like crap, or if that is just her level of personal skills.

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