Credit where credit's due time: that was a pretty good episode of "Bionic Woman" last night. Spoilers coming up just as soon as I enjoy a hidden cookie...
While the series as a whole still has numerous problems, there was a five minute or so sequence -- Jamie at the party and then busting into the lab with running commentary from Nathan the tech guy -- last night that had me thinking, "If the show could be like this all the time, I'd really enjoy it." It was fun, it moved, and both Jamie and Nathan seemed like real people instead of grouchy plot devices.
Now, I don't know how much of the credit for that goes to the undercover device that let Michelle Ryan use her native accent for once. We all assume that all these Brit actors are so talented that they can just slip on our accent and deliver an amazing performance without breaking a sweat. But maintaining an accent is work, and not ever actor can multi-task as well as Hugh Laurie or Damian Lewis. The scenes where Jamie was pretending to be a Brit were the first time Michelle Ryan had the spark she showed off in "Jekyll," and you could tell the producers recognized it as well, with the "method actor" contrivance that had her continuing to speak British even when it was just her and Nathan on the phone. Frankly, I was hoping that the Jordan Bridges character either wouldn't find out she was an American or else would make some flirty request at the end for her to break out the other accent from time to time, because for once I wasn't whining about how much better Katee Sackhoff is.
And as Nathan, Kevin Rankin (aka Herc from "Friday Night Lights") is more entertaining than the rest of the supporting cast combined. Dump Isaiah, Molly Price, maybe even Miguel Ferrer (though somebody has to be the Exposition Boss), keep Will Yun Lee around only for those obligatory scenes where the special forces guys show up to provide Jamie with backup, and the show would be significantly improved.
Not sure I buy Bridges as a super-spy just yet (though, admittedly, he only slipped into that role near the end of the episode and will get to spend a lot of time in a tux next episode), but he and Ryan had good chemistry. Maybe that, as much as the accent, helped draw her out of that dull shell she'd been stuck in for the first batch of episodes.
There hasn't been a lot of new product this fall that has me excited, but this is the first episode of a disappointing rookie to make me glad I didn't bail after the pilot. One-time aberration, or sign of a future rise in quality?