Thursday, January 10, 2008

2007 Recap: Travis Yanan's Favorite Episodes (10-1)

10. Bones, "The Knight on the Grid" (originally aired November 20, 2007). This episode is one of the primary, “strictly as a television viewer” reasons I need this strike to end (although my savings account is certainly a bigger factor, ultimately). The show jumped back to the Gormogon mystery in full force in this episode, dispensing with the usual opening teaser sequence of Booth showing Brennan a corpse and them quipping over it. Nope, this episode was all about action, twists and turns, murders, secret societies, conspiracy theories… the list goes on. Also, Dr. Sweets becomes useful (and stands out as an obvious red herring choice) in the investigation, which revolves around the team figuring out a pattern to the Gormogon killings. Also Brennan and Booth’s car gets blown up with them inside it. And the team winds up not just solving murders, but also actively trying to prevent thing, in the form of a despicable Washington lobbyist who is part of the Knights of Columbus. And they find a completed Gormogon skeleton in a mausoleum with different teeth marks than the one they’re constructing, so there was another Gormogon who killed, like lots of people in the past. And Booth and Brennan find him (an aptly named Arthur Graves), a toothless, quiet, evil old coot in a nursing home. Who hisses at Brennan when she tries to talk to him. Creepy! Also creepy was his toothless smile as Booth and Brennan leave. Not to mention the cliffhanger ending that, I hope, gets picked back up in the three original episodes remaining when they come back in (ugh) May. This is, of course, involving the lobbyist coming home, thinking he’s safe, and they he opens his closet and being attacked by the current Gormogon. I need this show back, AMPTP. You hear me?

9. Desperate Housewives, "Something's Coming" (originally aired December 2, 2007). There’s a tornado coming. And Carlos’ accountant thinks it would be wise to drop off the only copy of his off-shore account information during this tornado? That’s stupendously stupid. Whatever. The main event is really all about Lynette’s family and about the intersection between Bree and the Katherine Mayfair mystery (why is it always Bree who is twisted up in these things most intimately? Oh, right, because she’s awesome). And damn that final sequence must’ve been crazy fun for the production designer. Regardless of what I think of the Mike as pill-popper plot… Susan acted like an adult. Like, a bonafide, fully-grown, mature woman. We’re all shocked, right? I’m conflicted about the death of Victor… while I hated his character, I was really excited for him to make good on his promise to make Gabby’s life hell (from the last episode). But someone had to die with a white picket fence through the chest, and it might as well have been him (also, what a great way to kill a character!) Plus, it means more of him on…

8. Mad Men, "Nixon vs. Kennedy" (originally aired October 11, 2007). Richard Nixon wins! I knew this show was a farce. Hah, anyway, the period set piece of the office party was just a bunch of fun, even though the real action took place in the form of flashbacks, informing us, finally, about Don Draper’s secret. I won’t say anything else for fear of ruining this episode for any of you.

7. Heroes, "Company Man" (originally aired February 26, 2007). If the second season was any indication, this will be the series’ best episode. The genius of the episode comes from two things. One, it was focused, to an incredible extent. With the exception of flashbacks, nearly all of the action takes place within the Bennet house or in PrimaTech in Odessa. The show’s attempt at scope is sometimes its greatest ally, more often it’s worst enemy. The second reason this episode was genius is the one-time adoption of Lost’s flashback formula, resulting in a touching, informative narrative magic rarely seen even on Lost since the first season. The special effects work is outstanding in this episode (the combination of Ted Sprague’s powers and Claire’s healing).

6. 30 Rock, "Cougars" (originally aired November 29, 2007). A-plot: Liz dates a young co-worker. B-plot: Jack and Tracy coach a little league baseball team. C-plot: one of Liz’s male co-workers has a crush on her new boyfriend and thinks he might be gay. What about this screams “too inside” the entertainment industry for a mass audience the enjoy it? Obviously, that’s the most basic description of the episode and the real magic comes from its quotability (“I’m 37, please don’t make me go to Brooklyn”), the visual gags (Liz meets her boyfriend’s mother, who is a close approximate to Liz’s twin… “Yup, that’s what we look like”), and the allusions (the entire baseball plot becomes one giant riff on the War in Iraq). You can watch it over, and over, and over again.

5. Grey's Anatomy, "Wishin' and Hopin'" (originally aired February 1, 2007). Here’s why this episode rates so highly on my list (notice how my Top 50 list includes four of the first five episodes of Grey’s that aired in 2007? Yeah, the season was really quite good until March): it is the one, and only, time that I think even the Meredith-haters liked her. The main plot of the episode is Ellis, Meredith’s mother, becoming lucid. And she berates Meredith, and Meredith is finally able to tell her exactly how/ having Ellis as a mother (not to mention her Alzheimer's) has weighed Meredith down. Ellen Pompeo nails it, and you can’t not be on board with Meredith in this one, shining moment. Also the rest of the episode kicked ass (the opening the Denny Duquette Memorial Clinic and the start of the Chief retiring plotline and the competition for his position… which, sadly, went absolutely nowhere and wasn’t satisfying).

4. 30 Rock, "Rosemary's Baby" (originally aired October 25, 2007). I’ve sung the praises of 30 Rock so much on this list that to do it again, and for a second time in the Top 10, seems trite. So I’ll just sing the praises of Alec Baldwin and his amazing Good Times impressionism. The two minutes in the therapist office where he plays the roles of Tracy’s father, mother, Tracy himself, a Latina maid, and laments not being able to whip out his Howard Cosell impression is sidesplitting. Oh, heck, I can’t resist. The subplot with Jenna burning Kenneth’s Page jacket was hilarious (Page Off! Page Off! Page Off!) And, of course, Carrie Fisher as an eerie look into the future for the one and only (or not) Liz Lemon. Liz’s “Followship” award. “Help me, Liz Lemon, you’re my only hope!” (couldn’t been cloying, somehow it wasn’t). “If I can’t be Monique fat, I have to be Teri Hatcher thin.” “You are my heroine. And by heroine, I mean ‘lady hero.’ I don't mean I want to inject you and listen to jazz.” “I breastfed until I was eleven, so I've forgotten more about a woman's chest than you'll ever know.” “”The mailbox was Haldeman!” “Don't ever make me talk to a woman that old again.” Aaaaah…

3. The Sopranos, "Made in America" (originally aired June 10, 2007). You don’t get to judge me for loving the ending of this series. I had “Don’t Stop Believing” in my head for, well… I’ve still got it in my head.

2. Brothers & Sisters, "36 Hours" (originally aired November 11, 2007). There’s only one thing that stopped this episode from being number one on the list (and it’s not the number one episode, itself). It was the Senator McCallister subplot that was so… separate. They needed to do something with Rob Lowe, I guess, but it proved once and for all that this show is all about one thing: the Walkers. And for the show to work, every scene needs to contain the Walkers. As for why this episode is the number two episode of the year for me… well, look at the rest of the episode. Justin is back on pain medication, a development initially forced on him by mother Nora and half-sister Rebecca despite his reservations about falling back into his old addiction. And, of course, he did fall back, fell hard, and hit rock bottom. The intervention scene, where Justin angrily lashes out with harsh truths (but truths nonetheless) about each member of his family (except Tommy, who isn’t there, and Kitty, in a scene that shows how great an actress Calista Flockhart actually is) should win Dave Annable an Emmy. If you’ve never had a family member succumb to addiction, I don’t know if this scene, if this episode was as powerful for you as it was for me. But, well, this is the honest truth about the disease. This is how it happens. It pulls your heart out and stomps on it. And the show captured every element of how an addict can tear a family apart (even after the intervention, the effects of Justin’s words reverberate). The scene where Justin tries to convince the family that he’s healed, despite the doctor-prescribed time not having elapsed is just as wrenching (and good on Nora for putting the fear of god back in him). Almost as heartbreaking as all of this was the episodes last moments, when Justin does have the drugs out of his system and, essentially, breaks up with his mother. I can’t say it enough, but goddamn if the combination of this show, this episode, and me doesn’t keep Kleenex in business.

1. Lost, "Through the Looking Glass" (originally aired May 23, 2007). Was there ever really a doubt what would top this list? This two-hour episode could potentially go down as one of television’s “best ever”. If you haven’t seen it and you’ve fallen off the Lost bandwagon… watch it. If you’ve never seen Lost… watch it. I’m not even going to write anything else about it.

1 comment:

whatsonpop said...

wow traveis. This is the first time I have been to your website and I just wanted to say thanks. You and I have very similar tastes in TV for the most part and I appreciate you having this venue for those of us who love tv