Wednesday, September 16, 2009

He Is Just Away - Episode Breakdown


I cannot say, and I will not say

That he is dead. He is just away.

With a cheery smile, and a wave of the hand,

He has wandered into an unknown land.

- James Whitcomb Riley (Excerpt)

Phillip and Rick

As I watched the first two scenes of this episode I got all choked up, not just because Alan is dead and Phillip is suffering, but because I realized that I've been watching these two men together since they were practically still boys. We grew up together and, after Friday, I'll never see Freddie and Phillip, again. Guiding Light has treated us to some really wonderful friendships over the years, and this is one of the most enduring. Who else would Phillip call on finding his dead father, but his oldest and best friend? I love these guys together. I love it that the drama of the final episodes provided these characters with a chance to be on screen in a meaningful way. Grant Aleksander's performance was, once again, perfect. He looks as if his heart is broken, and it breaks my heart to see him.

Reva and Jonathan

I've hardly cared about these two until today, and the only reason I care today is because Reva is handling her son's homecoming the way Natalia should have handled Rafe's return from prison. Reva and Jonathan together scream REALISM. Reva's not having any of the weird behavior Jonathan has picked up while he's been on the run. She lays down the law: now that you've re-entered the real world, real world rules apply, so get over yourself. Why, why, why couldn't Natalia have handled Rafe in this way months ago? No wonder he's a douchebag.

I also like that Alan's death lights a fire under Reva and pushes her into facing the fact that loss is, sadly, a part of life, but that life goes on. Nice nod to the fact that Alan and Reva were married once. They were even happy for a little while.

I'm going to ask this, again: why do the wardrobe people hate Kim Zimmer? We've seen her at the Emmy Awards and the Paley event, where she looked great. It's almost as if the wardrobe people looked for the least flattering dress they could possibly find for Kim. Kim isn't 20. And she's not a size 3. Neither are most of us. She's a real woman - something we hardly get to see anymore. "Real" does not have to mean "dowdy." Reva Shayne is not dowdy.

Alexandra Spaulding

If yesterday's episode belonged to Grant Aleksander, today was Marj Dusay's turn to shine. It's about damned time. Alex's controlled, understated reaction to losing her beloved brother was spot-on. Dusay didn't miss a beat. It's unfortunate the actors playing the servants haven't been series regulars, because Dusay was great in that scene, while the actors playing the servants looked like two day players who were really excited to actually have lines.

I loved the way Alex took control and laid out the plans for Alan's funeral. Alex is, after all, the head of the family. For many years, while Alan was away, Alex really was head of the family. She has experience in this area. She does not drop the ball. Alex keeps her shit together, keeps tough, and breaks down when she can do it alone. We saw this years ago when she had her heart crushed by Roger. We saw it again today. The final scene with Alex and Alan's corpse felt like eavesdropping or looking through a peephole at a private moment. Beautiful work from Dusay. What a shame she's been on the shelf for so long.


Damn you for making me like you a little bit. What a lousy way to find out your grandfather has died. When James hugged Phillip, I let out a sigh of relief.


Rafe is a jerk. He spends a private moment of bonding with Frank, thanks him profusely for all he's done for him, but can't muster up much more than an "I have to go" for his own mother? What about all your mother has done for you, Rafe? All she's given you? Like...basically...everything. And don't get me started on his asking Olivia to take care of Natalia for him. My rant to Rafe: You never even apologized, you little shit! The last time we saw you talking to Olivia, you were gloating and telling her that she was going to end up alone. You don't get to do that shit, never even apologize, and then ask Olivia to take care of your mom, as if nothing has happened. And, no - giving Emma a quarter does not make up for your bad behavior. Being nice to a kid who has just lost her grandfather is the absolute least that's expected from adults in the real world. You don't get a medal for that.

Another thing - I'm sick of hearing that Rafe is a hero. The script writers clearly need a thesaurus. They used this word for Mallet, too. Rafe is not a hero. He's a homophobic bastard who is so afraid of facing the fact that his mother loves another woman, that he's opted to join the army. It's called running away from home. Hiding behind a uniform and a war doesn't make it any less cowardly.

Olivia and Natalia

Sweet. That's pretty much it. They should have made out as Rafe's bus pulled out. I like the idea of him being deployed to Iraq with the image of his mother being groped by Olivia cemented into his brain.

Buh bye, Rafe!

Odds and Sods

Olivia's nail polish is nasty. Sorry, but Herman Munster is not the look Olivia should strive for.

This just occurred to me - why the hell wasn't Ed Bauer at Vanessa's wedding? He's one of her oldest, dearest friends. Dumb oversight.

Did anyone else laugh when Alex told Rick that no one blamed him for Alan's death? Translation: You've killed another patient, Rick!

The fact that Peyton has been invisible for years came back to haunt GL today: the child playing Peyton is just some cute, generic kid who clearly has no rapport with Beth Chamberlain. What could have been a touching scene if the child had at least felt comfortable making eye contact with Chamberlain, ended up being nothing more than a tedious waste of time. We don't know Peyton, so we don't really care about Peyton.

I think it was Nelson Branco who recently wrote that it's wise for writers who don't know how to write for Grant Aleksander to allow his action to take place out of earshot. I liked it that we saw, but didn't hear, as Phillip broke the news of Alan's death to Lizzie. I don't know if the person writing that day's script felt unable to write dialogue for that scene, or why they chose to film it in this way, but it worked.


MJinTenn said...

I love your way with words, Snapper, particularly this gem:

[Olivia and Natalia] should have made out as Rafe's bus pulled out. I like the idea of him being deployed to Iraq with the image of his mother being groped by Olivia cemented into his brain.

My imagination is working on cementing that into my brain as well.

Thank you for the daily countdown, I'm a huge fan. So sad there are only two more to go.

B Fuhr said...

Yes, yesterday was owned and delivered by Marj. Where I cried the day before today was a constant weeping for the entire just when I thought I had got it together they'd come back to Marj.

I think what has sucked me in so deeply to this show so quickly is the way the characters talk. It's about how they relate to each other and that is brought to a head so well by the actors.

Friendships, Siblings, Parent/Child, Romantic... they all are pulled off well.

I do have moments of "really?" in the show usually centered around Rafe and how I still believe they cut out Daisy telling him he was being a douchey mcgoo. At least I can only hope that was a filmed scene because bipolar Rafe isn't something I can buy (even though I really do like EJ).

The scene with Peyton made me go... huh I wonder if they'll mention or show the other kids who just exist in some ether. Probably not. It's just wishful thinking for me to see Blake playing Rockband with her kids. Oh the hilarity.

OH! And... if that stupid Mallet Dinah scene from last week is the last I see of Dinah. I'm going to be so upset. I think it probably is, but I reserve my upset until Saturday.


ocean1blue said...

I am starting to want to say FU Rafe as much as I want to say FUCBS and that is not good! Natalia's hug of Olivia was very much a 'I need the love of my life to hold me until I feel better' hug and it was sweet that the door shut on Rafe's face as he was seeing that. Good riddance Rafe!

sweetiedarlinmia said...

Marj Dusay is just all kinds of kickass and I'm glad the writers finally remembered that. One of the few things they've gotten right recently.

Thank you so very much for your words on "the homophobic hero" Rafe. Frank had the nerve to call him a "man". NO, he's not a man, he's still a little boy. He has yet to take responsibility for any of his actions. He has yet to admit wrong in anything he has said or done. He has yet to even utter a word of Thanks to his mom, who raised him from the age of 16 without ANYBODY's help. He acted like Gus was the second coming after his death, never acknowledging that he acted like a little shit to Gus too. He's a spoiled, ungrateful little brat. A Man, actually an ADULT, would admit his mistakes, take the consequences, not run because he can't make his mom do what he wants. Want to earn the respect that a real Adult deserves and by the way, comes with that uniform? Simple statements: "I'm Sorry", "Thank you for everything, MOM" & "I'm going to work to be a better person." You're right about Reva's approach. I have many issues with her, but it woulda been all kinds of win for Natalia to learn a little bit from her on this particular parental issue. Oh, and it's so interesting that they tried to explain away the one of the blaring inaccurateness of Rage joining the Army with diabetes (which would never happen)but don't touch on the felon bit.

Re: Ed Bauer, it's just a symptom of how they have relegated the entire Bauer family to nothing more than a "oh by the way",which pisses me off. They've done the same thing to the Reardons.

Snapper said...

Sweetiedarlinmia - I'm not sure if it's a typo, or if you're not familiar with Natalia and Rafe's story, but natalia raised Rafe alone since *birth.* Gus was only int heir lives for a blip in time, after Natalia found him and, really, he spent a huge chunk of that time ignoring Rafe and devoting himself to a dying Olivia. I can't say I would have made a different decision.

sweetiedarlinmia said...

Sorry, I meant she raised him since she was 16. It was a typo.