Monday, August 22, 2016

Everwood "Across the Lines" Review

Sometimes, I write about Everwood as if the ‘lesson’ type episode is rare, but it’s not. Everwood always had a moral and a tidy theme for each episode. The difference between Everwood and 7th Heaven was the substance around the moral or the lesson. The Everwood characters made uncomfortable or bad choices or both, but they discussed different perspectives of an issue. People shouldn’t keep their mouths shut for politeness’ sake. 7th Heaven preached and made its audience feel as if they were trapped in Sunday mass.

“Across The Lines” is a dialectical episode where the comfy illusion of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ eludes the characters and where they learn that not talking’s far worse than saying what they think others want to hear.

Andy and Jake helped a drunk driver after a crash. Andy wanted to report the incident to the police, but Jake wanted to help the man by giving him another chance. These two don’t communicate. Jake doesn’t trust him, and Andy feels envious of him. The writers used their prior antipathy for a story that seemed likely to end with Jake upset with Andy for doing something at his, Jake’s, expense. The story goes to the expected plot point, but it evolves their friendship.

The incident motivated Jake to open an addiction support group in Everwood, which brought back the character of Everwood, the town, and its invisible citizens, as antagonists of progress and change. You know, the town that wanted to banish Andy after Colin’s death, the town that banished Linda because of her HIV, the town that forced Harold Sr. and Jr. to perform abortions in tight secrecy, and the town that had Brenda Baxworth as its personification. Nina fears the close-mindedness of the town, citing Linda as an example, whose practice and life in Everwood was ruined by a disease, to Jake during their conversation, but Jake finds an ally in Andy. Andy called the police on local town drunk, but Jake learned it didn’t mean Andy opposed him. No. Andy suggested the first addiction support meeting take place at his office.

Other discussions in the episode revolve around medical marijuana, passive-aggression, struggling grades but none of the characters come off well—except maybe Reid because he tried to be good.

Amy’s still trapped in her self-righteous arc as typical college freshman that has resulted in a lingering coolness between her and Hannah. The two friends sort of make up but don’t. The audience has to endure the conventional scene that happens during the college years when one character feels ostracized by another and his or her new friends. The writers wrote a dinner scene that tried to capture realistic dialogue for 18-19 year old freshman girls without causing hemorrhages in family rooms across America, so one of Amy’s friends refers to oral sex in lollipop terms while admiring the sultry and sexy dance of couscous, the purpose of which was to show what we already know: Amy’s in an awesome new world and place but Hannah only wants to talk about Ephram.

Amy’s rude and condescending during this arc of hers while Hannah’s forever passive and polite. The Ephram of it all between the girls has inconsistences too. Amy said she hadn’t spoken to him in weeks, but she met him in a library to help him through Kyle’s crisis last episode. Everwood’s always been loose with time, but come on. I know Amy’s personal Europe arc ends soon but I can’t remember when and I hope it is soon.

This episode features the B players in Everwood. Reid and Rose have prominent storylines. (Amy’s essentially been a B character this season.)  Rose’s storyline repeated the beats of the Abbott marriage arc. She didn’t communicate her fears about the adoption with Harold. Harold feels hurt. They make up. The writers threw in a cartoonish adulterous character named Bill Schmicker to spice up the arc. Also, worries about the adoption won’t matter because Harold lied about Rose’s cancer on her medical form.

Reid, off-camera for weeks at a time, got a storyline all his own that’s heading to a serious subject Everwood hadn’t covered: suicide.

Onward and jawnward with season four.


Barbie Kligman wrote “Across The Lines” and Peter Markle directed it.

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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.