So, it turns out I may be slightly addicted to television...

Friday, March 13, 2009

And the kidney went to some doctor...

Well. I just don't know what to say. At every turn something took me by surprise or put a lump in my throat. By the end, I had to come to terms with the fact that, from now until the end, I am probably going to cry during every episode.

I'm talking of course about ER's last episode. An epic episode if ever there was one. Dr. Ross, nurse Hathaway, Dr. Benton - it was all almost more than I could stand. So many memories packed into one hour. So many "Old Times". Sure, having Susan Sarandon guest star was a nice touch, but it wasn't needed for a true ER fan.

I held my breath and clutched the edge of my chair so hard during this episode that you would have thought the boys from The Unit were back in Syria rescuing Betsy Blaine. Every moment kept us wondering - would the heart work? Would the kidney work? Was Dr. Carter going to be okay? Because this is the end you know, the rules of the game have changed, they can kill off anybody now.

But of course, everything was a success. I'm so pleased with how the writers have been weaving us back and forth from the old ER to the new, with old characters turning up in new places. Who else wanted to shout at Dr. Ross that Carter was getting the kidney? I thought for sure, right up until the very last second, that all would be revealed somehow. But such is the greatness of ER. I know over the last decade and a half that the show has sometimes faltered, but boy when she's at the top of her game, she's good.

After 15 years, I don't know how to say goodbye.

Monday, March 09, 2009

"We got a little held up at the market"

Whiplash delivered.

The Unit came back on Sunday and packed a punch worthy of the glory days of seasons 2 & 3. Titled "Hero", this episode was aptly named for its homage to Hector and for the rescue of Betsy Blaine in Syria (arguably the best 2-part episode I have EVER seen, I couldn't even breathe for Into Hell parts 1 & 2.)

The cold open introduces us to Whiplash, the Unit's newest recruit. We haven't seen a newbie go through the ropes since Bob joined in season 1. In classic Unit style, Whiplash (and the audience) are tested to see how good the "fit" is. And it looks promising. It also brought Hector's death full circle. The band of brothers is now back to 5, and in a fitting turn of events, Hector's killer is found in Manila and promptly taken care of by the boys. Presumably, Dirt Diver was able to give the description of the killer after he almost died in a sci-fi-esque vanishing monastery. Hey, I didn't say the show always delivered - sometimes we just have to suspend reality and go with it.

The secondary storyline (or was it the primary, since this time both stories seemed to get equal attention) brought back Molly and Jonas' daughter Betsy, healed from her battle wounds and back home with mom and dad. Though where exactly "home" was, wasn't disclosed. Presumably when Betsy was brought back to a whole new house someone explained that they were "under cover"; again I'm willing to suspend some belief here. Turns out rescuing American soldiers on Syrian soil, now matter how brave, is an act of war and Betsy must sell her story. Again I am reminded of what a brilliant actress Angel Wainwright is. I was moved to tears as she shared her capture while Jonas coached her for television. And there is no doubt there are brave young men and women serving all over the world right now who have been through similar hell. It was a poignant moment of reality and a reminder of the heroes who protect us.

But honestly, shoot 'em up drama aside, I love this show for the same reason I loved Stargate Atlantis and Veronica Mars - the throwaway witty lines that take the show from a drab drama to a great piece worth watching. These writers are golden. Bob's "we got a little held up in the market" made me laugh out loud - and yet he can pull that off without trivializing the drama or taking away from it. Very few shows have ever been able to do that. There they are in hot pursuit of Hector's killer, running through a marketplace where the locals decide to try and stop the Americans. Bob puts his gun in the air and shoots, creating space for he and Betty Blue to get through. And then he says, presumably to Mack, "we got a little held up at the market" while Dirt Diver is dealing with a band of terrorists and machine guns. It was awesome, and the action never stopped. It really is why I love this show! And why I love Scott Foley's character - Cool Breeze always seems to get the best lines.

But to me there is more meaning to those words. We got a little held up at the market is for Hector. It may have taken almost a season to avenge his killing (and a sci-fi vanishing monastery filled with eerie-powered monks) and we may have had the storyline swing dramatically without ever fully finishing off his death, but we're back and we remember you Hector. And we found your killer and we've avenged your death. We may have gotten held up at the market, but we didn't forget.