Monday, May 11, 2009

In Plain Sight, "Rubble With a Cause": Disaster relief

Quick spoilers for last night's "In Plain Sight" coming up just as soon as I leave you 19 voicemail messages...

I never got around to reviewing last week's episode with Cynthia Watros (any show that airs Sunday at 10, and that I don't get to see in advance, is going to fall behind in the blogging rotation), but in many ways I found it to be of a piece with "Rubble With a Cause." Both episodes did what I've asked the show to do by focusing more on the unique ways that being in WitSec can interfere with more traditional TV problems (family dysfunction last week, an "ER"-style mass casualty this week), but I don't think the execution was as strong as it could have been in either episode, and I found the Brandi/Joshua Malina scenes entirely skippable.

In the interest of time, I'll stick to discussing "Rubble," though feel free to discuss both if you want in the comments.

The idea of Mary having to protect a high-profile, high-risk witness trapped in the middle of a building collapse was an interesting one, and the production team knocked themselves out creating that setting for it. But once the David Zayas character showed up to confront the witness, things fell apart. We seemed to be missing a scene between when the explosion went off and when Mary and the bad guy had their guns on each other, and I have no idea what Zayas' plan was, exactly. Even if he hadn't been dumb enough to deliver a confession in the presence of a US Marshal (with or without her walkie-talkie turned on), how did he expect to get out of there? And all the talk of loyalty to partners above all else came out of left field. It's not that Mary isn't incredibly tight with Marshall, or that they'd risk their lives for each other (see him running into the building right before the explosion blocked the stairwells); it's that this wasn't the theme of the episode, or of Mary's interaction with her witness, until that moment.

I did like seeing Marshall and Stan working so hard in support of Mary, and I particularly liked Raph's reaction (or, rather, lack of one, as it's a cliche on these shows for the significant other to give the hero a hard time after a brutal day at work) to Mary being gone all day at the accident site. I just felt like the set-up didn't go anywhere that interesting.

Also, I fast-forwarded through the scene where Brandi interrupted the AA meeting. Do. Not. Care. Brandi's less irritating than Jinx is, but she really only works in a context directly tied to Mary; giving her a self-contained storyline is a waste of everybody's time.

What did everybody else think?

16 comments:

Kara said...

I definitely agree that the show works much better when it is focused on Mary's job rather than her family, and I too could have done without Brandi stalking the AA guy.

It did make kind of a weird turn when David Zayas showed up, because I'm not entirely sure what he planned on doing/accomplishing other than telling his former partner to his face how hurt and pissed off he was. But that guy must have been really bomb-happy because that seems to be a rather dramatic way to get your message across.

As for Mary's speech about partnership, it came with the weirdness of the whole final act, but over all I didn't mind it. We know that she'd do anything for Marshall, but I've always gotten the impression that she doesn't let him know that too often. Kind of a cheesy way to let him hear that from her, but about the only way he'd get anything like that from her.

Mary seems to be softening up around the edges a bit this season. I wonder where that will take her.

Matt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan Sepinwall said...

No spoilers, Matt. Even vague ones like that. Sorry, but I have to be a hardass on this point.

Toby O'B said...

Sooner or later this show should go back and revisit new aspects in past cases. Otherwise, as time goes on, Mary and Marshall will have caseloads too large for just the two of them in that office.

So I'm hoping that last week's case will be re-visited. I think Tripp's situation deserves to be updated - for us as well as for him.

Who played Fowler/Ford, trapped in the rubble? I can't find the info online.

Casting Mitch Pileggi made for a good red herring. After it was put in our heads that just about anybody could be a hitman who showed up in an official jacket, everything about Al suggested he wasn't exactly on the up and up.

amysusanne said...

I'm with you on that, Matt. I always like something just a little bit more if Josh Malina is involved and I thought that his interactions with Brandi in the last episode showed a lot of promise. Knowing he's a recurring regular this season gives me hope for a Brandi storyline that dosen't make me want to stick my hand in a blender.

amysusanne said...

I replied before you deleted Matt's post, Alan. If you deleted it for the guest info, please delete mine. I thought it had been announced. Sorry.

Alan Sepinwall said...

No, that's fine. Matt was getting more specific than talking about Malina being in more episodes, which isn't a big deal.

Matt said...

Actually, it was all spec based on Malina's tweets. I certainly didn't intend to violate spoilage--my bad.

Alan Sepinwall said...

No worries, Matt. But there sure as hell is a lot of spoilage out there in the Twitterverse.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Who played Fowler/Ford, trapped in the rubble? I can't find the info online.

Matt Davis

Toby O'B said...

Thank, Alan!

Karen said...

I'm glad you got a chance to comment on these episodes, Alan; after last week's I was waiting for you to comment on an episode that finally did what you'd wanted the show to do.

I have found both Jinx and Brandi endlessly irritating for a very long time, but I have actually enjoyed the scenes with Brandi and the AA meetings. I enjoyed the catharsis of her stint as Jinx and her recognition of the true nature of her family dynamic. And I will never not love something with Josh Malina--he's a deal maker for me.

Jinx's change-of-heart didn't play as true for me, but then I really freakin' loathe Jinx.

I thought last week's episode was stronger than this week's--the flaw in depicting Locke's plan was glaring. And I thought that Mary's partnership speech was just to elicit the Locke confession and keep Lewis from dying--that she truly believed that he should have backed his partner in something that went outside his moral comfort zone is pretty disturbing news, and not much of a reflection on US Marshall ethics.

But it's nice to have Jinx gone (at least for 28 days), to have Brandi becoming more interesting, to have Josh Malina around, and to see the storylines get more grounded.

Jack said...

two better episodes...but...still on shaky ground...

M.A.Peel said...

Brandi's AA scene was cringeworthy. Shouldn't Malina's character at least have suggested she go to Al-Anon?

amysusanne said...

I kept thinking that if he realized that she was mostly speaking the truth from her own experiences that he might be more open to her, but as it is he thinks she scammed him and he feels totally taken. I don't really blame him for it, though he should get over the hurt feelings. Although, it seems that he was at the end, so they're clearly going to connect. That's part of why he's so pissed at her: he connected with her and was proud of how brave she was and then she just wiped all of that out with her confession that it wasn't real. Except that it *was* real. Brandi totally needs a support group, she just doesn't belong in *that* support group.

I still say more Mary/Marshall/Stan and less Brandi/Jinx, but this is a Brandi storyline I can go with. As long as it's Mary 90%, Brandi/Jinx 10% (or just Brandi, please) then I'm okay with it.

Joolie said...

My favorite line last week was Tripp's: I have you. The difference one person can make in your life, especially one with Mary's resources, is amazing. Cynthia Watros drives me nuts (I never liked her on Guiding Light, and I haven't forgotten it), but the kids were worth it.

It's summer fare, but appealing in its small way.