Thursday, July 14, 2011

The 2011 Summer Re-Watch: Everwood "Turf Wars" Review

"Turf Wars" aired during November sweeps, three weeks before the series' first hiatus. Andy and Ephram had been getting along. The arguments and verbal slaughters were few and far between. Andy carved out his niche as miracle brain surgeon AND homely family doctor. Harold stopped loathing the other doctor in town. Yes, things were quite nice in Everwood before the Hoffmans surprised Andy and the children with a visit. The Hoffmans, of course, are Julia's parents. The in-laws story is a staple of the family-drama (I ranted about it in a No Ordinary Family review earlier this year) but Berlanti, Mimoun and the other writers added a new twist to the trope through the death of Julia. It's just Andy and the in-laws now, and Julia's not around to defend him.

I brought up November sweeps because "Turf Wars" sets up a cliff-hanger about Ephram's living situation. The majority of the episode works to bring the characters to that scene in the living room, when Jacob informs Andy that he and Ephram discussed the possibility of living together in Manhattan. The Hoffmans and Andy have tension from the moment Andy watches them prepare breakfasts. Jacob, Julia's father, excelled as a father and a doctor--he's a renowned liver surgeon who performed 150 liver transplants a year and never missed a single event. Andy, meanwhile, has been defined by his distant parenting and the lack of involvement in his son's life. Jacob studies Andy, wonders if the new Doctor Brown is actually new or a facade that will crumble. Andy makes the effort to prove he's a changed man but his professional duties interfere with his attempts to convince his father-in-law of the change.

Ephram becomes increasingly miserable throughout the episode because of Amy, and he blames his father for that misery because he moved them to Everwood. The old issues between father and son re-emerge as Jacob watches and studies. Jacob told Andy that he and his wife's concern is ensuring that Andy doesn't undo the magnificent work their daughter did raising Ephram and Delia. Andy tries to explain his side, tries to explain how hard it's been without Julia but Jacob dismisses Andy. "It's too big," Jacob declares to Andy about him and Ephram's problems. Jacob pours salt into the wound by informing Andy that Ephram laughed a lot during their fishing trip. Andy sits, dumbfounded, with water filling his eyes. When Jacob leaves the room, Andy's eyes find a picture on the fireplace mantle of Julia holding baby Ephram, mother and son smiling.

The case-of-the-week, of course, juxtaposes Andy's situation. A young boy wants Andy to help his father. The father is overweight and suffering from back pain. Andy urges the man to have gastric surgery for the sake of him and his son. Andy breaks through to the man when he tells him how much his son needs him. Andy admits that he'd love a relationship with his son to mirror the one between this man and his son--this man owes it to his son to take care of himself.

For Andy, though, the hole he dug for fifteen years seems too deep. He's tried to be the father Julia wanted him to be for their children. He's succeeded with Delia but Ephram remembers the bad times and holds onto them. Worst of all, Andy seems resigned to his fate, as if he's given up.

Elsewhere, Delia and her grandmother spend time together. The grandmother's far less invasive than her husband. The grandmother has one concern: that Delia always remembers her mother. She fears that her memories of Julia will fade because of her age. She's shocked by how much Delia changed in 8 months. Delia relates with Edna more; however, Delia wants to learn from her grandmother; she wants to listen to her. And Grandma Hoffman can rest easy because Julia will never fade from Delia because so much of Julia's in her daughter.

"Turf Wars" is about memory--positive and negative memory. Andy can't overcome how the in-laws remember him whereas Grandma Hoffman's comforted by Delia's memory of her mother. The episode's also about turf wars, naturally (it's the bloody title). Manhattan vs. Everwood. Manhattan represents all that was good in Ephram's life and Everwood's the opposite. Of course, it won't always be that way for Ephram.

Some other thoughts:

--Amy and Ephram had one of their fights. Ephram overstepped his boundaries and spouted off advice to his crush about Colin. She told him to move on. The next day, he told her he stayed at the party "long enough to move on." Also, Amy was asked to stay away from the hospital because her expectations for Colin are a strain on the Harts, the nurses and doctors. Poor Amy. As always, Emily Vancamp's so good in her scenes.

--Dr. Abbott had two scenes. He and Bright were participating in the fly fishing competition. It's high comedy when Dr. Abbott freaks out because he thinks he caught a fish. Notably, Bright's not an ass for the first time in the series. He convinces Ephram to attend a party because he's the only one that makes Amy smile. Bright will eventually become a top three character in the series.

--Rina Mimoun wrote the episode; Steve Gomer directed it.

UP NEXT: A double dose of Everwood with "Is There a Doctor in the House?"and "A Thanksgiving Tale." In the former, a snow storm hits Everwood just as the major characters gather to celebrate Edna's birthday in the Brown household. Things become worse when Bright suffers from appendicitis. Nina urges Andy to speak his mind to Jacob about Ephram. In the latter episode, Ephram tries to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner just like his mom would for Delia, Andy seeks out a hermit for medical reasons and Harold tries to become popular and loved in the community after a doctor discovers a spot on his brain.

Link for episode #10: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002SLL1Y8
Link for episode #11: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002SLQPFI

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.