Monday, July 09, 2007

John From Cincy: See gun, Kai

Spoilers for "John From Cincinnati" coming up just as soon as I participate in a wrestling exhibition...

First things first: If I never hear Rebecca DeMornay scream again, it'll be too soon. I can respect the notion that genuine grief and hysteria doesn't really resemble the way most actors play those emotions, even the good ones, but that performance was so far over the top, the only way it could land safely was if it had Harold's purple crayon to draw a hot air balloon. (Sorry; just got done with bedtime.) If I had fillings, I think the scene where Cissy woke up Kai would have loosened them.

That was the worst news of an episode filled with disappointments. After a couple of episodes in which the focus had spread beyond the Yosts and there was a genuine sense that the story was going somewhere, we get an hour in which Dr. Smith and the Three Wise Men are absent, Bill and Freddy's involvement is minimal, nothing much happens and did I mention Cissy and the screaming? Because I really feel scarred by it.

There were some interesting things happening on the margins, whether it was Vietnam Joe's visit to the local military bar, or Cass and John's sightseeing tour. (The latter, by the way, was shot in a very atypical style for the show, and it's not like you can consider that a choice to represent the POV of Cass' camera, since many of those shots on the different film stock (or video quality or whatever) were shots of Cass herself.) And the Tina/Linc pairing is interesting, even though the episode did a poor job of conveying the fact that they were strangers when they ran into each other in the lobby; I like that Tina's just lost and confused and not nearly the evil creature Cissy has made her out to be, though I imagine Linc will try to turn her into another tool in his still-unexplained plan at worldwide Yost domination.

Maybe the most interesting development of the episode was the realization that, for all the bashing she takes for being a surfer-turned-actress, Keala Kennelly has some chops on her. Sure, it helps to play several scenes against the even more primitive Greyson Fletcher (who resembles an actual 14-year-old in that most 14-year-olds would have wooden screen presence), but the bits where Kai dealt with seeing Butchie and Tina together were very nicely-played.

I believe there are only 10 episodes of this season, which means we're halfway through. I have no idea where this is going; I hope Milch does.

What did everybody else think?

14 comments:

Edward Copeland said...

I agree that this episode was a disappointment. The characters on the periphery are by far the most interesting part of the show and this Yost-heavy episode was mostly a bore. I still can't decide about John either, whether he annoys me more than he entertains me.

Teresa said...

I find myself not caring about the Yosts, or John, or Cass, or Linc ...

Donlee said...

Like I said about last week's episode, the show can be saved if the focus isn't on the Yosts. Imagine how much more interesting this show would be if we didn't have to see Shaun try to act. Wooden? I've seen cherry oak with more personality than that kid.

dez said...

Cissy's screaming scarred me, too. I don't get why she was such a shrieking harpy, either. Because Shaun's mom is a pr0n actress? WTF?

Agree that it was a disappointing episode. And if it's true that JFC is about God having an "urgent message" for humankind, well, He'd better step it up cuz He's sure taking His sweet time here. Give me a burning bush or an angelic apparition or something!

Dennis Wilson said...

Yes, JFC only got a 10-order -- which means, believe it or not, we're deep inside Act Two already.

ooda said...

I love the show, but this was probably my least favourite episode, namely because not much happened (plus I was hoping for more in the Mexico scenes). Personally I liked Cissy's screaming, but probably the standout, as far as general character development goes, was Kai.

The hotel crowd I didn't really miss, but what I missed the most was the lack (well, total lack) of John/Butchie interaction, which is always tends to be fun.

curious george said...

I am not so down on De Mornay. (She just needs some more scenes on trains like the old days.). Her rage was hysterical, but that's just how some people are. I didn't think it was a caricature; perhaps annoying, but some people are annoying.

k said...

yeah, I didn't love this one either and my response to my husband in the middle of it was

"i don't know why everyone seems so down on Kai she's doing a better job then rebecca demornay in this episode & could you please turn the volume down"

and in other freaky news, I made a reference not just to harold, but specifically to the hot air balloon during the episode (although in fairness not actually about the episode, but about our sons obsessive climbing and flipping off things habit), very odd to then read about it in your post!

Gish said...

I generally find Cissy shrill and annoying, but I am interested in her character still. Usually on these types of shows, the matriarch is the rock, a figure of wisdom that holds the clan together. I can't think of a single scene where Cissy displays any of these traits. I'm not sure she isn't in some way responsible for the bad attitudes of the men in her life. In the pilot, It is Mitch's suggestion that the family "get wet," about the closest the show has come to a bonding moment between them all. Can anyone point out a "nice" Cissy moment?

Southern Beale said...

What did everybody else think

I actually did my own blog post about John From Cincinatti yesterday. Let's just say I find it a big yawn.

James said...

I think that the reference to all the acid that Cissy has dropped in the past goes some way to explain DeMornay's playing of her but the scene where she was waking Kai up was borderline unwatchable.

That said, although nothing much happened in this episode, I still enjoyed it. Felt like a "there's a storm brewing" kind of episode, as hinted at by Freddie at the end. Incidentally, I'm loving Paul Ben-Victor as his sidekick. A long way from Spiros in The Wire, that's for damn sure.

Anonymous said...

I've invested the first 5 weeks to see if anyone can figure out who or what John is, but I wish that I was not a Deadwood devotee and able to judge this on it's own merit as opposed to thinking that Deadwood bit the dust for this.
Would sure love to have seen how good ol Mr. Swearengen would have handled Cissy's tantrum!!! I miss Swaygen and the gang!!!!
By the way Alan...any further rumors about Milch wrapping up looses ends via those 2 2hour movies you wrote about a while back?

topcat said...

I thought the episode was the weakest since the opening one. It was one of those episodes where you keep waiting for something to happen and nothing does. Used to happen in the Soprano's from time to time too.

Usually episodes like this are setting up something that is coming down the road, but if that's the case, I missed the message.

Another one of my beefs is there really isn't all that much "John" in the show, leaving us wondering even more what or who he is. But maybe that's the point.

I don't see a renewal for this show unless Milch pulls things together fast.

TC

Anonymous said...

I wasn't sure wether to stick with the show after the first 2 episodes, but I really enjoyed the 3rd and 4th. This episode was probably the worst out of the 5 and I actually had a hard time finishing it. There are several interesting components in the show, but Mitch, Cissy, and Linc just don't interest me. I think I'm also irritated by the fact that the show more than likely won't come back next year and there's a good chance we won't find out what John is or the meaning of the show.

I have really enjoyed Bill, Fred, and the Doctor's characters. The actor that plays John has also been very good. Another thing I wondered is why the show seems so short. It's always under 50 minuites while the Wire fills the whole hour.

I'll keep on watching. It just seems like the show was rushed or something and they didn't work out all the kinks.