Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tonight's TV Talk: 'The Good Wife', 'Shameless', and 'Pan Am'...

TV Talk for Sunday, February 19th 2012

The Good Wife (CBS, 9pm) - S3, Ep15: "Live from Damascus" - There's a lot that could be said about this episode-- from its dabblings in internet privacy laws to misrepresentations, of people in the public eye, to personal changes and turmoil within firms, to the crazy amount of (crazy good) guest stars, but what I am choosing to zero in on is one simple line during the only short exchange between Will (Josh Charles) and Alicia (Julianna Margulies). When he told her that he was stepping back for a few months to avoid being disbarred, she told him she couldn't imagine walking away from practicing law. He pointed out, of course, that she did it once-- years earlier-- and for a much longer amount of time. But her statement spoke volumes about how far she has come since then, or even since the start of this show. This is her life now. And even with the bad stuff that comes along with it-- losing cases or watching the young up-and-comers prepare to take her over-- she wouldn't change it for anything. Of course, this also means she doesn't want to risk losing it. Unlike Will, who was faced with losing it directly and decided to go "balls to the wall," so to speak, in court. Sometimes when you have nothing left to lose you do your best work. Sometimes the judge will still side with the other guy, but at least your client can sleep at night knowing you really fought for them. There was so much goodness, no pun intended, about this episode that I suddenly found myself wishing every week was a Sweeps week. I'd become somewhat disenchanted with the season, but if this is any indicator of things to come, it's going to be all upswing from here (even if Will is not nearly as handy with a bat as Kalinda). Eli (Alan Cumming) caught between two sassy women alone is intriguing enough to keep me interested. He finally met his match, and I can't wait to watch the power shift. Also, finally throwing Alicia and Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) back together? All together now: IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME!

Shameless (SHO, 9pm) - S2, Ep7: "A Bottle of Jean Nate" - Well, it was a big night for Fiona (Emmy Rossum): two "I love you"s and only one of them was from the person she wanted to hear it from-- just a few months too late. The other one-- well, it was a little Winona Ryder from Friends and a little predatory, and a little just plain sad. Personally I assumed Jasmine (Amy Smart) would O.D. before she'd ever admit to having lesbian thoughts about Fiona, so I guess this was progress? I mean, she really didn't admit to anything since she backtracked so quickly and tried to blame it on the ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-alcohol. There's something kind of off about Jasmine. I've always thought it, but I've had trouble putting my finger on exactly what it was, so I didn't really say it much. I'm inclined to blame the drugs, but hiding her true tendencies would explain it, too. She has always been so aggressive towards Fiona-- trying to wedge herself in Fiona's life more and more. I'm glad Fiona put her foot down when it came to "crashing" at her house, though. There are enough people there as it is, and really, Fiona should watch herself around Jasmine. A friend who thinks it's a good idea to get you high and get your married ex-boyfriend's new wife so drunk she passes out so you two can have sex is not a friend Fiona (or anyone!) should keep around. I do wish Grammy (Louise Fletcher) could stick around longer, though. I take great amusement in how pained Frank (William H. Macy) is by all of the responsibilities she gives him. Yet, I also take comfort in the fact that he is willing to do the things anyway, even if bitching and begrudging her while he does them. It's a different side to Frank, and though I don't expect it to stick around, it's nice to see the evolution nonetheless. Personally, I didn't believe she had simply faked her medical furlough to get out of prison (come on, a well woman as selfish as Grammy wouldn't have showered so many presents on her grandkids!), so I was just waiting for the reveal. I didn't think it was going to be cancer, and I sincerely hope we don't have to endure a battle with the disease. This may sound terrible-- like a very Frank thing to say (no pun intended)-- but I hope there is a bit of assisted suicide rearing its head once again. I know Frank won't be able to pull the trigger, so to speak, this time because it's his mother, but there is one woman who has proven able to go head-to-head with Grammy... I'm glad Ian (Cameron Monaghan) and Lip (Jeremy Allen White) finally got their petty argument out of their system. Ian got to express something that had clearly been weighing on him a long time, and Lip, perhaps inadvertently, stepped aside to let Ian have his chance to shine. By dropping out of high school, Lip finally moved aside so his shadow wasn't blocking Ian. I'd like to see him open his own business and excel in a way Ian doesn't want to so they can both have successful, though separate, futures. But with the Gallagher name weighing him down, and the stress and responsibility of chipping into one house while providing for another, I doubt he will be able to succeed as far as, on paper, he should be able to. The fact that while the brothers were duking it out, young Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) was off learning to make meth was disheartening, though. Ian, especially, being the younger brother with all of these "second best" emotions should be sensitive to the fact that someone needs to look out for Carl. The age difference is great, but they all pretty much ignore him, which only fuels the anger behind his violent tendencies and leads him down a wayward path. He may not get good grades, but he seems to be a smart kid in other ways. Either older brother should be able to exploit that to have their own little partner-in-crime, used to take his side when they're fighting. But instead Ian and Lip just pair off buddy-buddy, leaving Carl out in the cold. Or worse, out with Little Hank (Nicky Korba). And a side note about Jody (Zach McGowan) tonight: the dude is still a sex addict, so even though he's married, shouldn't he and Karen (Laura Slade Wiggins) be abstaining? I don't really know the ins and the outs of that kind of addiction, but I would imagine that once you fall off the wagon, with your wife or not, you'll be looking for sex multiple times a day and potentially still with multiple partners. I know Karen is hormonal and impatient and an immature kid, but really, she should have just waited it out. He was bound to cheat on her sooner rather than later, and then she'd get her divorce and all her money and not look like the bad guy in the situation. Although, I don't think I would have been able to put up with that Seal song on repeat, either. When Seal and Heidi Klum's divorce was announced, I read one pretty on the nose headline about the rose wilting. But I think that phrase worked for this episode tonight, as well.

Pan Am (ABC, 10pm) - S1, Ep14: "1964" - Unfortunately this was the season, probably series finale. I say "unfortunately" because after a couple of episodes of getting off-track to instead focus on more political action, the show finally got back to why I fell in love with it in the first place: the inter-character relationship drama. I may be the only one who cared, but I wanted to see Ted (Michael Mosley) and Laura (Margot Robbie) get together (though I still think it was a little too fairytale-like to throw around the L word this soon), and I really wanted to see Maggie (Christina Ricci) prove she has grown-- intellectually, as well as in her role not just as a stewardess but as a free spirit in a changing time. Hell, after the oddly scheduled "Romance Languages," it was even nice to see Dean (Mike Vogel) be humbled. He had gotten cocky-- albeit seemingly out of nowhere, but still-- and to have to face his Haitian actions at a time when he thought he may be untouchable was a strong point to make, as well. Everyone was so excited about the new year beginning because of all of the possibilities that would come with it. With that kind of hopeful outcome, though, it was hard to watch this episode with the likelihood that it was its last. While there were character elements that got resolved, there were other hurdles just announced. A true series finale will always leave the world open because obviously characters live on, but introducing an eleventh hour conflict, like Amanda (Ashley Greene)'s pregnancy, which I was sure was bullshit, just to get him to marry her, just felt unfair to the few fans who were following along this whole time and will most likely not be getting resolution. The real airline never recovered, but personally, I wish the show had found a way to.

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