HBO has found a show that is somehow able to simultaneously intrigue and bore you to tears. Ok, maybe “bore to tears” is a bit harsh, but the show does somehow have a knack for keeping its audience engaged while, at the same time, giving close to no new developments. So far, the typical episode recipe has been: have the main characters brood, cue the odd white cult members who do nothing but creep you out, end with some mysterious mystery. Last night’s episode didn’t divert from this recipe in the slightest, but let’s try to focus on the specifics.
The bulk of the episode seemed to revolve around the fact that a doll representing Jesus in the Nativity was stolen right out of the manger. Of course, considering the odd disappearances of the Departure, people seem to make a fuss for the hurtful and offensive implication of the occurrence. It turns out that the culprit was Jill, who stole it for no other reason than to be a difficult bitch brat. Allow me to say right now that so far, I’m not liking this Jill character at all! I find her petulant, irritating, and an overall bore. While I understand that her attitude is supposed to be a direct consequence of the turmoil in her life, I’m finding it difficult to see her as anything but just an all-around irritation. And she isn’t even unlikable in a good way… you know how there are supposed to be characters who are the obvious target of our hatred, but they at least add to the general direction of the plot? So far, Jill doesn’t quite seem to be accomplishing that. In the end, the doll is returned to Kevin, and as he announces it to everyone at a Christmas party, we learn that no one had really cared that much after all. The only other mildly interesting thing which happened with the Garvey’s (besides maybe Kevin’s bizarre car failure) is the fact that Laurie showed up to the house with divorce papers, angering Kevin, and causing Jill to walk in on the scene only to see him yelling at her. Even when Jill asks him what the confrontation was about, he dodges the question saying that it was “complicated”, prompting her to sulkily tell him to get back to her when it got simple. I’m a real sucker for character development, but I find that these characters aren’t developing at any visible rate, and it’s becoming a bit tedious watching them go through the same things over and over. However, I still maintain that there’s serious potential, and I’m interested to see it realised.
The more interesting story arc of the episode occurred with Tom and Christine, who we learn is pregnant with Wayne’s baby. You have no idea how much I’m tempted to end this review right now with a giant “UGH!” but I’ll shoulder on. I suppose we now know why Wayne took such an interest in her a few episodes ago, as she is carrying his demon special offspring. The most intriguing aspect of the Tom/Christine storyline was the appearance of a half-naked madman, who attacks Christine, yelling that she was “in his dream”, standing over dead bodies in white, and that he knew what was “inside her”. Tom fights the man off and he and Christine flee to a hospital. Unfortunately, the damning combination of the large purple bruise on Christine’s abdomen and the raw wounds on Tom’s knuckles leads the obstetrician to believe that Tom was the one who attacked Christine, and he runs away when he realises she is calling the police on him. At this point, Tom is understandably frustrated, and although he desperately wants to go home, he remains with Christine. After finally leaving the hospital, Tom awakens on a bus to find Christine chatting with some soldier stranger. Seriously, why is it so difficult for this damn girl to understand that she needs to stop talking to people she doesn’t know?! Anyway, before long, the bus screeches to a halt, and when they all disembark, they find an overturned truck in the middle of road with dozens of bodies strewn across the highway, wrapped in white. Far from being freaked out, Christine excitedly points out to Tom that they’re dead people in white, just like in the dream, and we once again see hints of magical realism poking around in the plot of the series.
I still think that this show will eventually turn out to be amazing; it’s just taking quite some time in getting there. I don’t think that this was a particularly GIFable episode, so I didn’t bother making any this week. Instead, I’ll leave you with the quote that Liv Tyler made earlier this week about the pilot episode’s jogging scene, and the corresponding GIF.
“There was this scene where he was jogging, and there was quite a large bulge in his sweatpants and it was all over… I get distracted when I watch the pilot, definitely. I’m like, ‘Can’t help but look there.’ But I’ve never noticed the bulge other times.”