Wednesday, July 02, 2008

In Plain Sight, "Who Shot Jay Arnstein?": Marshall the critic

Brief, belated spoilers for the latest episode of "In Plain Sight" just as soon as I take a cleanse...

One of the weird things about having been sent several episodes from various points of the season to review before the season began is that I'm now judging episodes based on other episodes that have yet to air. The episode scheduled for July 13, with Wendell Pierce from "The Wire," makes a big deal about how people in WitSec are usually steered away from jobs that are both high-profile and similar enough to what they did in their old lives that it might lead the bad guys to them. So I spent the bulk of "Who Shot Jay Arnstein?" thinking about that episode and wondering why Mary and Marshall would have allowed Jay to set up as an art dealer again, let alone the type who might get to host a well-publicized (albeit local) show that could set off the radar of the right people.

That points to a larger issue with "In Plain Sight," which is that the show is much, much stronger on character -- specifically on Mary and Marshall, and on their interplay with recurring characters like Dershowitz and guest stars like Dave Foley and the woman who played Jay's mistress -- than it is on plot. In virtually every episode, I've questioned several events and why they happened the way they happened, but I like Mary McCormack and Frederick Weller enough (Weller in particular, who's threatening to steal the show out from under McCormack) that I'm willing to avert my eyes at the plot holes.

For now, anyway. Once I'm out at press tour and busy with a million things, I'm not sure I'll be trying to find ways to carve out special "In Plain Sight" time.

What did everybody else think?

10 comments:

Mac said...

What, no Sherry Stringfield spent the time between her ER stints in witness protection joke?

alison said...

i completely agree with you on fred weller. looks like all those appearances on law and order made for excellent training.

i think in plain sight could really benefit from some character rebalancing. instead of mary mccormack as the main tortured somewhat obnoxious character, i'd like to see mccormack and weller treated as equals. more like a law and order cop team or an x-filesesque dynamic. we could also get WAY less of mom and sis.

also right on board w/ the plot holes. i have to use a suspension of disbelief beyond what i employ for most scifi shows.

So it goes said...

Due to the fact that anonymity is key in WitSec the art show just seemed incredibly illogical. Looking back at the episode it seems Jay's event was just used as a plot device for foreshadowing without regard to the WitSec inconsistency. I knew that the argument with the smoker would be relevant later as soon as it was discussed.

Sara Ann said...

You guys, I think I'm starting to develop a little crush on Marshall. He started out as just Mary's sarcastic-but-door-mat sidekick, but he's turning into a much deeper--and more consistent--character than our lead. Yay for underplaying your moments! More Weller, please!

Undercover Asian Man said...

The inconsistency on this show is glaringly obvious. I'm convinced that the episodes were written without benefit of a head writer whose job it is to make sure the stories don't contradict themselves.

In this episode, Mary and Dershowitz argue about shooting out the lock. Mary says something like "that only works in the movies." LAST episode, when Mary was trying to get a wounded Marshall to a safe place, she comes upon an abandoned store. How does she gain entrance? By SHOOTING OUT THE LOCK. Again, this was just last episode!!

How do I remember? Because when I watched last week's episode and that sequence, I said to myself "there goes that old shoot-the-lock trick again". You can imagine my surprise when Mary calls out that very thing! She should have remembered how easy it was last week, though....

Alan hit it on the head, the characters are good, the plots are very shaky and seem to only exist to let the characters fire off their one-liners and wry observations.

Anthony Foglia said...

@undercover asian man...

You mention the lock shooting, but not that fact the discussion was nothing but padding in this episode. "No don't shoot out the lock! I need to waste time trying to open it first! We need to pad the episode!"

Also, with all the worry about Marshall at the end of last week's episode, I was surprised he was so healthy this week. Alan, what's Marshall's shoulder like next week?

amysusanne said...

It's really surprising to me just how fond I've become of both Marshall *and* Weller. I had honestly never noticed him before. I know he's been in plenty of things I've seen, but he was just never on my radar. This show's made me a fan.

Sunday's was definitely the weakest episode (and the WTF? moments were in abundance) but the inconsitencies and the "weird" are only something you think about when it's over. While it's actually on, it's so compelling and the characters are so great that you just get sucked into it all. At least I do. When it's over I'm all "yeah, what was the deal with this guy running a gallery?" but while I'm actually watching it all play out, I'm completely focused on what's going on and not actually questioning anything. Whether that's good or bad is open for debate, I guess, but either way I'm pretty much in love with this show.

Denis said...

I'm just trying to figure out when Sherry Stringfield turned into Ellen Barkin.

Terri said...

They made such a huge deal about the memory chip. It was from the camera and had pictures from the gallery opening and Sherrys affair on it. It was a 2gb SD card. They focused on the chip ~ 3 times. At the end, when Mary goes to give the chip to the husband, it is suddenly a memory stick converter sleeve!

Mary Ann said...

More on the show's inconsistency: in a previous episode, Mary yelled at a newly engaged witness for breaking one of the program's rules by getting her picture in the paper. When the witness protested that it was just a local paper, Mary replied that it didn't matter. While I don't remember anything in this episode about specifically referring to press coverage of the art show, it seems like that is something that Mary and Marshall should have been concerned about.