H50 3.21 – Imi loko ka ‘uhane (Seek Within One’s Soul) – Page 4

THIS IS THE THINKY BIT!!

So, why do I love this undeniably weird episode even though it was at times irritating and at other times just… not like an episode of Show?

Well, I didn’t at first. The first time I watched it I liked it just fine, I thought the premise was good but the execution could have been better. Then I started to think about it. I like thinking about things. The more I can think about something – and get new realisations every time – the more I like it. I love this episode because it has levels.

On its first level, it’s just what it appears to be – an amusing idea that shows us a little more of the characters by putting them in an unusual situation and making them react to it. In most cases, they reacted exactly as we would expect, and in the one case where that didn’t happen – Max – the response was revealing rather than out-of-character. For the most part their reactions were amusing because we know these people and we know how much they would hate this.

On the second level, this is a TV show within a TV show. I thought it was a really interesting way to approach the outcome of this storyline (the capture of Wo Fat). This is the second time that Wo Fat’s been captured and it certainly won’t be the last, so there does need to be some variety in how this is depicted. This led to something that I really didn’t expect from this episode: I didn’t entirely register what a big deal this COTW was. We’re already only invested in these characters to a certain point because we understand (on some level at least) that they don’t exist and it’s just a TV show. Now we’re seeing this huge plot development through the eyes of someone who is not invested in these people at all, because she knows nothing about them. So we get a little swept up in that (well, I did anyway) and start thinking it’s not such a big deal, just what’s on TV this week, next week it’ll be about camels again (or whatever). To Savannah, it’s just an interesting snapshot of these people’s lives like you’d get from a news story, and then move on to something else. She asks about the history with Wo Fat, but she – and the audience – will have forgotten about it in a few days because they don’t really care, it doesn’t matter to them. The tone of the ep was lighthearted, almost jokey, for almost the whole forty-five minutes until the credits rolled on the Savannah show and it made me see it in more the way she did than the way I usually do. I think this was partly because I was paying attention to how incredibly irritating she was at times (this is in level four, incidentally). At the end of the ep, we have the cheerful goodbye from Savannah, the audience clapping, the happy upbeat music – and then all of a sudden we’re in the hospital and there are armed guards everywhere and the music has turned instantly serious and we’re pitched back into a proper episode of Show because when we see McG there outside the context of the Savannah show, we remember that it’s more than that to us, that we know all about the background of this and what it means for McG to be there looking at his nemesis and it makes him seem MORE real than he did before. I got serious goosebumps from that last scene. SERIOUS goosebumps.

On the third level, it’s a TV show within a TV show that knows it’s a TV show. So we get lots of little self-referential moments (and I always love those) like Danny talking about Easter eggs and the send-up of the Subway commercial (I do love a show that can laugh at itself) and ‘welcome to my world’ and ‘they fight but they love each other really’ and so on. It was a little silly, but it was rather charming for all that.

On the fourth level – and it’s possible that I am reading far too much into this, because that has been known to happen – it struck me that this is not really fiction at all. It was when they were filming the victim’s girlfriend through the window that I had the sudden thought that the reason I was finding Savannah so irritating is that, for all her happy, friendly demeanour, she’s actually a bit of a cow. She asks incredibly personal questions. She doesn’t respect other people’s boundaries or rules. She doesn’t seem to understand that the reason these people don’t really want to talk to her is because they don’t want her around. She pays no attention to what they’re doing if it gets in the way of what she wants to know. In the car, McG and Danny are talking about the case – which is kind of a priority – when she interrupts to ask them why McG is always driving. She cuts Charlie off because he’s going into more detail than she cares about. She asks Cath about her relationship with McG even though, as Cath says, that’s not really relevant (which it isn’t really, if they were just former colleagues he would still be calling on her for help and her CO would still be OK with it. It doesn’t change anything about the appropriateness, or otherwise, of Cath giving him information). And when Cath asks her why it’s relevant, she replies “because America wants to know”. I thought that was the most important line of the entire episode, because it was really about how annoying it is to have someone following you around, asking questions, shoving a camera in your face, believing that they have the right to ask you anything just because they want to know, even personal things that you don’t want to share with someone you don’t know, let alone someone who is going to broadcast these things to the entire country. And yet, you feel obliged to co-operate because it’s somehow become a part of your job. I hesitate to use the word ‘paparazzi’, but – oh look, I just did. Oopsie. I wanted to high-five Cath when she said ‘that’s none of America’s business’ . You tell ’em, sister.

One of my favourite films of recent years (and probably of all time) is Inception and I thought this episode was rather similar to the concept of that film, which when I think about it… an episode of TV, in forty-five minutes, without making me say nothing but ‘what in the whaaaaa?’ for two days afterwards? I am seriously impressed. It wasn’t a perfect ep by any means, but it made me think and for that, I love it.

The End!

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18 comments

  1. YES! Its like you are inside my head right now! As much as my daughter says she ‘hates’ my favourite show, as soon as this one started she moved across the room to sit with me at the computer and was purely entertained and watched the entire episode! OMG right?! For her it was a funny light-hearted episode, she didn’t understand or get the underlying references or levels that I picked up. We both did however look at each other during the ‘MAP’ business and grin and say DORA! lol So thank you for that. I loved this episode and thought it was extremely clever and thought provoking. Its like one of those episodes that you have great character development. I love it when you are so involved with the characters that you can start thinking to yourself, ooh I know why they are making that look its because of this or that and you know how their minds works because of their history. I’m probably not explaining myself very well here but its like when you find out certain things about people that explain why they do the things they do or think the way the do. I love when I get those feelings about 50.

    1. ACA, it was SO clever! I have this mental image of Peter Lenkov and Bill Haynes spending an evening talking about all the references they were going to put into it while working their way through a bottle of tequila, and the suggestions getting more and more ridiculous until they end up at two in the morning saying ‘I know!! Cath uses the satellite to identify a couple of trees that look like part of the tattoo!!!’ and then they fall off the couch laughing and pass out on the floor and wake up in the morning horribly hungover, look at the list and just say ‘f/ck it, put it ALL in!’ and presto! Awesome references are awesome!

      Speaking of Dora, have you seen this spoof trailer for a live-action Dora movie? I think I’ve seen it about six times now and it hasn’t got old yet!

      GE.NI.US. #thatisall

  2. spurschick · · Reply

    Overall, I kinda liked this ep… except for the scene with Savannah interviewing Cath. Okay, Show, this whole “is he or isn’t he” has gotten very annoying. I’m sure there is a reason that Show continues to ask Cath if Steve is her boyfriend and we continually watch her uncomfortable dodge the question. What gives? We know from Steve’s SEAL bestie that he and Cath had been riding the hobby horse for a bit before he moved to Hawaii. And it appears that she’s at his house all the time. They spend a lot of time together. But he’s not her bfriend? Here are my theories:

    1 – She doesn’t want a bfriend at all, in which case she should answer the question like, ” Ya know… my life right now doesn’t really afford me the opportunity for a real relationship, but Steve’s a great friend.”

    2 – She likes Steve, but she’s not sure if she actually wants him to be her bfriend. Um… see above. She’s s/xing the guy and is at his house a lot. Plus, mom says that Cath loves him. Cath, if we’re looking at behind this door #2, all I can say is, “Sh/t or get off the McG! If you want a bfriend but you don’t want it to be him, move on!”

    (For the record, I don’t buy either of the above.)

    3 – She is all about the McG and wants him to be her bfriend, but isn’t sure what the status of their relationship is. Again, see above. Have the conversation already!!! And I’m talking to you, Show!!! I like Cath, but I’m officially bored with this “gee, I don’t know” relationship. Either make them a real couple or kill her off.

    On a happier note… I loved me some Charred Wo Fat!!! That was epic!!!!!

    1. Poor Charred Wo Fat. I wonder what will happen to him now? Show doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to continuity so I predict he will be back with flawless skin by his next appearance.

      Make McG and Cath a real couple! ACA. It’s getting old now. Move on, please, Show 🙂

    2. Riding the hobby horse!! <– love

      I'm leaning towards #3. She seems like she's waiting for him to update his Facebook status first, y'know? So yes, HAVE THE CONVERSATION ALREADY!!

  3. Great recap, Alicia. And so speedy, dang.

    I have only watched it once, so you definitely have more details, but as I was watching, I kept thinking about all the aspects of Show they were sending up. Or rather they were winking at the fandom and our common (and vocal) complaints. Like:

    (1) the subway commercial
    (2) the always showing victims’ loved ones’ grisly pictures of the deceased
    (3) Cath’s “CO” and the way she always gets time off to help. Savannah rather pointedly asked her if it was OK to use Navy resources, blah blah blah
    (4) ignoring Chin’s grief
    And perhaps not least, (5) the fact that many fans have been missing core four moments.

    Maybe they weren’t sending them up, but rather it felt like TPTB were acknowledging while also dismissing these things that have been bugging fans.

    Too late; perhaps this is unclear, so I will end as I began. Great recap, babe.

    1. Mwah! Thanks Sage 🙂

      I think it was winking. Definitely winking. I kind of like it because, even though Peter Lenkov said (at whatever thing it was he said it at) than fan feedback doesn’t influence the storylines, it’s nice to think that they do actually pay attention to the things that have been talking points for the audience as a whole.

  4. Great recap, Alicia! I love your thinky bits (actually I love all your bits – wait, that came out wrong.)

    I can totally see what you are saying about the levels but it just didn’t work for me. I loved Inception too and if the writers were aiming for this, I think they were way off the mark. I thought trivialising police work was a bit off. Perhaps it would have worked better for me if they hadn’t done the HHV stuff. All that oohing and aahing over the investigation really bugged me. Perhaps if Savannah had interviewed the team at HQ and talked to them about being in the taskforce and then they got on with the case, I may have been OK with it. I don’t know – it just seemed like a good idea that wasn’t executed as well as it could have been.

    1. I should NEVER have told you about the corset. 😉

      I appreciate what they did with this ep but I think for this show, playing it straight might have made for a more loved episode. Having a more serious news crew (which you said on another page somewhere) would have made for a very different ep, but one that was just as good. I really liked the way it was done, but it seems to be hugely a matter of personal taste, judging from the reactions from the fandom.

  5. I’ve decided, after careful thought, that I liked it better than I originally did. It was different. Yes, AT was annoying, but then – some talk show hosts ARE annoying, so she did a good job. (I’ve never seen her in anything else, so maybe she is just annoying…!)

    I do think the whole capture of Wo Fat needed its own episode. Can’t wait to see what he’s going to look like in the coming episodes.

    1. Mostly, Westy, I agree that AT was annoying, but I think that was on purpose. She was really good at being smarmy and opportunistic.

      I also agree that the capture of Wo Fat was a little anti-climactic, but the more I think about it, the more I am impressed with the, I don’t know, subtlety of it. And even though Mark Dacascos’ name was in the credits, so I knew he would be in the ep., I was surprised when he was the cop. So, well done Show.

      This episode surprised me, which was, well, surprising and fun.

      1. Subtle and surprising <— this, exactly why I loved it!

    2. I saw her in one of the seasons of 24 and she was a baddie in that. She was Ok in the role but the character wasn’t likeable. That’s all I’ve seen her in.

      I agree, the capture of WF deserved its own episode.

      1. I’ve only seen her as Charlie in Friends before, I really liked her in that as well. I thought she was great in this ep. When I first watched it I found Savannah annoying but not completely unlikeable. It took a while before I realised that actually, I hate her with the fire of a thousand suns. It could so easily have been a caricature, but I thought it really worked.

  6. cvc-eve · · Reply

    Savannah was a pain the the a/s but I think that is exactly what she was supposed to be representing. That entire group of useless so called journalists who are just looking to shove a camera in a face and don’t care about consequences or the actual people involved. I don’t know about four levels, that makes my head hurt, but I think the team being annoyed is probably how they would think we the audience also would see it. The bubble headed host on her show “not getting” the seriousness of her topic. I have no problem, with Cath nor with McG having a personal life, but I also wouldn’t mind not seeing Cath once in a while. Just the team doing their jobs without help. And last 10 seconds, best part!

    1. Yes, one of those journalists who aren’t interested in the story, only in getting the story and putting their name on it. The show was about her more than them. ‘We RISKED our LIVES!!!’ good Lord.

      The last ten seconds were amazing. Just… amazing.

  7. I’m late, but if I may, a few random remarks: thx for the recap, Alicia, and thx for making me think – again – but in a different direction this time. To explain, what surprised me most about your recap was how totally different our responses to this episode were and it made me think that diverse cultural backgrounds must matter more than I believed. I’m now referring for example to the Savannah Show – at the point that you mention, when Savannah claricaed dramatically “It’s a map!!”, I honestly thought it was a deliberate satire of this kind of shows. But I suspect it was after all not meant as a satire. I still find it hard to believe that shows like Savannah Show seriously exist – that’s why I was talking about the cultural differences that may be to blame for my perception. To me the Savannah Show concept is the mystery of this episode really.

    On a lighter note, what I love about your recap is that the writing is mostly serious but unexpected jokey bits come in – like the 3D-printer-cum-replicator, the “can’t ignore it, don’t want to talk to it” internal monologue or the First Law of Fictional Helicopter Crashes – LOL!! Also, I like how you describe the Woah Fat capture – the way the team was just standing there and staring at WF suffer made me very uncomfortable, too.

    Sorry for posting a full-length essay, thx again for your recap and I’m looking forward to a next one! BTW, enjoy your corsets 😉

    1. Hi Marnov! I love your essay! I think it WAS satire, or at least social commentary, but perhaps it was a little too subtle so it didn’t really come across. That’s a great point about cultural differences too, we don’t really have shows like this here so it seemed reeeeally over the top to me, but maybe completely normal to a lot of the audience?

      Thank you for your lovely comments :-).

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