Sunday, July 13, 2008

In Plain Sight, "Iris Doesn't Live Here": The Bunk don't swim

Quick spoilers for the latest episode of "In Plain Sight" coming up just as soon as I try to burn my clothes...

"Iris Doesn't Live Here" isn't flawless -- the writers may as well have pointed a neon sign at the kid sister reading, "This is all her fault!," and I still zone out whenever we cut to Mary's sister hanging with her boyfriend -- but it was one of the stronger episodes to date, because it focused largely on the small details of Mary and Marshall's job and what happens to people when they go into WitSec. Also, it helped to have a great actor like Wendell Pierce in the role of our frustrated and frustrating head of the new WitSec family.

That said, if "In Plain Sight" is going to come back for another season, the writers need to decide on a consistency of both tone and rules. An episode like this -- fairly down-to-earth, where much of the plot hinges on a character discovering just how limited his professional options are once he goes into WitSec -- feels like it takes place in a different universe than something like what we've seen the last few weeks.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

I got home a short while ago and was walking through the kitchen where my mom's TV was on USA and sure enough, I happened to catch 5 seconds where Bunk was on!

Ever since I started watching The Wire a few weeks ago, I've seen the actors in other things. I'm afraid to go to IMDB to see what else in case some of them don't make it to the end.

I've seen Cedric Daniels in a commercial for Joss Whedon's new show Fringe, Prez in a Burger King commercial and now Bunk on USA.

Also, is Daniel's wife The Fresh Prince's mom?

R.A. Porter said...

I think this episode was a total failure.

The only person I cared about and empathized with was the father. Obviously, that's not the way I *should* have been feeling, but it was such a poorly constructed story that I could come away with no other feeling.

Seriously, I'd have cheered for him if he'd abandoned his wife and daughters in NM. That's not right.

Anonymous said...

r.a. porter:

I thought Dr. McBride was supposed to be sympathetic. But so were other characters. Pierce had scenes with Weller, McCormack, and the actress who played his wife (her name escapes me at the moment). None of those worked for you, even a little?

I thought this was one of the few episodes (Missi Pyle's was one other) that seemed WitSec specific, and it touched upon sacrifices witnesses have to make in a serious fashion. It didn't all work for me, either, but this was the type of character-based story (unique to the set-up of this show) that I'd like to see more of.

In many ways In Plain Sight has problems similar to those of Saving Grace. If the Saving Grace folks figure out how to fix their problems, maybe they can send their memo along.


R.A. Porter said...

@anon, I guess I wasn't clear enough. Sorry. I meant the *only* character for whom I felt any sympathy or connection was the father. I thought he should have left his daughters. And since I'm pretty sure I was supposed to take the position that he was petty and small, I considered that a failure on the part of the writers.

They, in fact, had Marshall *call* him petty and the doctor himself *say* he was a coward. I didn't see it, because the script didn't show it. It looked like a breakdown of show vs. tell to me.

I'm sure many people empathized with the daughters some, but I didn't at all.

Mac said...

All I know is that the guy who shot Wallace is lucky that the cops caught up with him before Veronica did.

R.A. Porter said...

@Mac, if anyone would know how good Veronica is, it'd be you.

Anonymous said...

R. A. Porter:

Maybe I'm thinking of the wrong scene, but didn't Marshall call him petty outside the bar? That was meant to deliberately bait McBride in order to get him to stop acting petulant (which McBride explicitly acknowledged). In other words, Marshall was calling him petty in general only in order to get McBride to recognize he was being petty at that particular moment. (Maybe I read it this way because I am, ahem, familiar with the tactic.)

I don't disagree that too much was short-handed -- the interpretation of McBride's difficulty in giving up the life he'd built as "cowardice" is plausible but was underdeveloped, as was the notion that he was "arrogant" (part of the program description from my DVR) -- but I still think the doctor was meant to be sympathetic. In that sense the scene in bed with his wife played better for me; it contained admonition of his behavior but combined with a deeper understanding of the origin of his behavior. (See parenthetical comment from the previous paragraph.)


Anonymous said...

@mac, I had much the same thought about Veronica.

I enjoyed the ep. I couldn't help but think about what if I were caught up in that situation. I can't imagine being cut off immediately from my parents and sister, much less my friends, and having to learn a new career.

As others have said, though, the continuity stuff is just bizarre. I'd argue that art dealer is more high-profile than doctor (especially if he'd been able to become a general practitioner rather than OBGYN, though I don't have a clue if that'd be a realistic switch to make.)

Anonymous said...

I liked this ep (especially The Bunk!) and wish they could find a better way to balance between the more serious eps like this and the sillier things we've seen.

I would like to know what they tell the rest of the family (such as Bunk's 75-y.o. dad). Do they ever get time to say goodbye?

Best part of the ep, though: Mary's mom was absent. Now if they could just ditch the sister.

Anonymous said...

I realized watching that episode that if they only give us one a week, either sister or mother, and put them in a storyline directly related to Mary, I'll be able to tolerate them. It's when they get sent out on their own that I start to zone out. I'd prefer neither exist at all, but since they do this is the direction I hope they continue with them.

@r.a. porter, I have to disagree. The writers have their problems, but I didn't have any issues with feeling sympathy towards all characters. I understood Dad's anger and frustration, but I thought he was out of line most of the time. I'm thinking the real problem with the way it was written was that they didn't give us any background on why he would immediately assume Iris was to blame or any previous examples of various screwups on her part. Instead I just saw a guy who was all about himself and his status and didn't put much thought into the feelings of his wife or children. Given the little speech in bed I'm guessing that that was who he was and WitSec was a really great way to give him the wake up call he needed to stop being such a self centered douchebag.

Overall, I liked this episode. And while I'm willing to fanwank last week's episode with the whole "it was Mary's first case/the ball player was just a little kid when they went into protection" argument, I'm just going to have to pretend that the art dealer ep never happened.

Karen said...

Heh. When I watched this, and they got to the part where the father learns that he can't even be an OB/GYN anymore, I winked my eye and said, "It's gonna be a hot time in the ol' 'What's Alan Watching?' tonight."

@amysusanne, I completely agree; we could maybe fudge the basketball, but the art dealer episode Requires An Explanation.

That being said, I did like this episode. I could understand the father's rage and frustration, I could even understand his admitting his anger at his daughter, but saying he was fine with cutting her loose forever? That pretty much cut him off from being wholly sympathetic to me. My favorite character was the mother. Her speech to him in bed was beautiful AND beautifully delivered.

The Brandi scenes didn't bug me too much--I thought it was an interesting choice to have her not reconsider and walk away after seeing Mary and Raphael on the couch, which seems a TV cliche -- but dear lord am I happy we didn't have the mother. Nothing against Lesley Ann Warren personally (you'll always be Cinderella to me!), but that character sucks.

Anonymous said...

Brandi's scenes did bug me. She thinks her boyfriend is cheating on her, so she goes after her sister's boyfriend. I don't even know why I was surprised.

I liked this episode well enough. Definitely better than last week's. When a plot hole is so big that I notice it, the writers need to go back to the table.

They, in fact, had Marshall *call* him petty and the doctor himself *say* he was a coward. I didn't see it, because the script didn't show it. It looked like a breakdown of show vs. tell to me.

I didn't see him being a coward, but I thought he was being petty. Yes, I get that he was way past upset that he'd lost everything he had worked for. But I'm with Karen about his attitude. His willingness to abandon his daughter made him entirely unsympathetic to me.

Marshal gets better every week.

Dani In NC said...

As I was watching this episode, I told my husband that this would have been better as the first episode. The scenes about Mary's personal life would have to be reworked, of course, but the storyline about what it is like to go into WitSec makes more sense coming at the beginning of the series.

I'm only sticking with this show because it is summer and there aren't a lot of choices. During the fall, I wouldn't have even stuck around long enough to get to this episode.