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Life: Trap Door

I love this show!

“Are you Ted Early? Charlie Crews says don’t worry.”  Yes.  That’s how you create the drama and the tension and then make us HAPPY while keeping it interesting.  Fantastic. 

 

Because, really, Charlie has to solve this case, so he can't give NotSpecialAgent Bodner what he wants.  Yet he’s deeply worried about Ted.  It makes perfect sense that Charlie developed a few fans while in prison.  That, plus his money, would keep Ted safe.  I love it.

 

This was a fantastic episode.  The case, the character stuff…ROMAN is back!  And, as far as Charlie goes, he got to be cute and funny and badass in equal measure.  That’s a good episode for me.

 

We might be wafting from the deep to the shallow in this recap, so my apologies.  Can we talk about the green hoodie?  I like it.  And the jeans that go with it.  And I like that Roman is back on the wall.

 

I liked Rachel’s scream from downstairs, when Charlie was in the conspiracy closet.  It was a real scream, not one of those fake TV “3…2…1…” screams.  Then she says, “Charlie?  Please don’t die.”  Aw!

 

Then, I swear, my notes for this scene go like this:

Intruder:  “You shot me?”

Charlie (to Rachel) “Stay there!”

His father!

 

I watch too much TV.

 

But it was his father!  And it was something in Charlie’s voice when he said “Stay there!” that made me immediately think that.  So I watch too much TV, or DL is brilliant, or both.

 

Charlie:  “But we know a Russian, don’t we Reese?”

Reese:  “What makes  you think that Russian’s gonna want to talk to us?”

Charlie:  “We’ll ask him nicely.”  And the look.  Guh.

 

My next note says Steve McQueen.  You don’t need me to explain that, do you?

 

Charlie and Reese are at Roman’s club.  (Again with the great music!)  They approach the security guy, who notes that Charlie is a cop without a gun.  “Anyway if I need a gun, I can just take yours!”

 

I love the buildup, walking down the long, funky hallway to the door that opens by itself.  “Last time we saw Roman he threw a woman out the window.”  They really milk the whole Roman thing, but they do it so stylishly that I can’t complain. 

 

Garret Dillahunt is delightful, isn’t he?  (For those who don’t know him, he plays Roman.  He was also two different characters on Deadwood, which is where I first saw him.  And I believe he’s all over Terminator this season, though I no longer watch it.)

 

I loved this.  Charlie shows Roman the photo of Pawel.

Roman:  “Lots of Russians in this city.  Why me?”
Charlie:  “Because you’re Roman.”

Roman tries to contain the tiniest little smile.  “Let me see photo.”

 

That is so fantastic.  How Charlie knows what to say to him, how he’s sort of playing with Roman.  How Roman recognizes that, but can’t contain his little thrill at the way Charlie refers to him.  And how he decides to play along.  Those two together are just magic.

 

I also liked Charlie and NotSpecialAgent Bodner. 

“I’d think that would worry anyone who worked for Roman.  His little habit of killing people who work for him.  You don’t’ work for Roman, do you?”

NSAB:  “You’re making a mistake here.”

Charlie:  “The Buddha said each mistake is a rebirth.  Dontcha wanna get reborn, Special Agent Bodner?  I know I want to get reborn.”

 

I especially liked this.

Charlie:  “Maybe you want to tell me the password.”

Roman:  “I heard you sent that girl Rachel away.  Maybe I find her.  And put my gun in her mouth.  Only it won’t be my gun.  And it won’t be her mouth.”

Charlie gives a slight laugh and returns to the Pawel thing.

 

I love that because 1) that seems like something that a guy like Roman would actually say to a cop like Charlie in this situation.  It’s massively threatening and disgusting, and it’s the kind of place a lot of network TV shows just aren’t willing to go.  So in a weird way, I found it refreshing. 

 

2) I love how each of these guys is such a master of himself that he’s always following his own agenda.  To invoke the great Leo McGarry, neither accepts the other’s premise.  Roman isn’t answering any of Charlie’s questions unless it suits him. Mostly, he says what he wants, which is to deflect or to threaten.  Charlie isn’t taking the bait, regardless of the depths to which Roman takes the conversation.  Charlie knows that Rachel’s in danger – he knew that the last time they visited Roman.  He knows there are few limits to what Roman would do to her if it served him.  So none of this is new information.  What’s new is this confrontation.  Roman is trying to get Charlie upset and scared.  Charlie was already upset and scared, but he’s dealt with it by protecting Rachel.  And having Roman throw that slimy image in his face is not the kind of thing that Charlie reacts to.  The whole point of post-zen Charlie is that he does not have buttons that anyone can push in that way.

 

I really like what’s going on with Dani.  I’m not sure I understand all of it, but I think it’s good.  When Tidwell is going on about his father, and how he would be devastated if he ever shot his father, and how Dani will really love his father when she gets to meet him….I’m not sure whether she’s reacting to the father stuff (because her own relationship with her father is so messed up) or the intimacy stuff (that Tidwell is saying he loves her and talking about introducing her to his family).

 

Regardless, (and because I love the Crews/Reese relationship, even if I’m never gonna get any heat) she’s freaked a little.  She’s backing away from Tidwell, via drinking and lying to him about why she was drinking.  And she comes to Crews, who already knows half of what she’s going to say.  Specifically, the second half of each sentence. *g*  “Ok, don’t finish my sentences like I’m one of our suspects!”  Ha!  Loved that!  They totally do that, and her line is so meta! 

 

Sorry, my point.  She seeks Charlie out three times in this episode – once at the beginning regarding the lieutenant’s exam (that was cute), once when she’s drunk and once at the end about the drinking and her father.  I really like that and I like that her character is going somewhere.

 

And then, of course…I totally stopped breathing at the end.  No one is skimming this before watching, right?  Because the rest is a big SPOILER….

 

I really did expect Olivia at the door.  But once I heard the shot…  I literally had to tell myself, like I did when I was a kid “He’s the star of the show.  He’s not going to die.”   But man, that was bad!

 

Given that he’s not going anywhere (right?  Can someone tell me again?) I did love the little almost-dead fugue with…darn it, I can’t remember his name.  The one who killed Bull.  Timms?  (I know it’s one syllable and it starts with a T.)  Once I stopped freaking out that Charlie was in his cell and realized that this show would never be so lame as to do some stupid dream/insanity thing, I liked what Timms said…something like "Seems like it shouldn’t hurt here, but it does."  If you’re going to give him one line, that’s a really interesting line to give him. 

 

But Charlie then woke up.  You saw that, right?  RIGHT??

 

And now…my show!  She is gone until February!  I might not make it.  I might have to watch Season One again.

.





Oh, and also?  Thanks to edgeriffic for this!  From TWoP.

Year in Review: TV Shows We Wish More People Watched





3. Life

There are a lot of police procedurals on TV nowadays, and it's hard to know which ones are worth watching and which ones aren't. Life belongs in the former category, if only for the hypnotic presence that is Damian Lewis. After watching him play Major Winters in Band of Brothers, we would follow him into anything, except possibly jail, which is why his performance as a police detective slowly returning to normalcy after 12 years of wrongful imprisonment is endlessly entertaining. Happy to be free, slowly getting used to new technology and excited about the abundance of fruit, Charlie Crews got a lot of money from the state, but he also got his old job back, bringing an inner calm -- and the mind of a convict -- to each case he investigates. Sarah Shahi is the vodka to his orange juice as his ex-addict partner, while Adam Arkin is his ex-con roommate/accountant and Donal Logue brings a New York state of mind to the Los Angeles squad room as his transplanted captain; all three make their scenes with Lewis zing. (Mad Men's Christina Hendricks is also a recurring character, if that does anything for you.) A running plot shows Crews trying to find out who had him framed -- he caught the real shooter last season and is slowly working his way up the ladder -- but the individual cases are the real meat, involving unusual people in very unusual situations, from police groupies to Lottery Winners Anonymous. ...Did we mention the show was funny? -- Zach Oat

 

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
quaggy_mire
Dec. 19th, 2008 12:25 am (UTC)
Is THAT what this show is about?! Well, why didn't someone tell me?! *adds Season 1 to Netflix queue* I'll let you know when I catch up!
marymary
Dec. 19th, 2008 01:12 am (UTC)
You're right. I haven't been talking about Life enough. ;-D

Yay, I'd love for you to join us! It's totally painless; highly enjoyable; might make you want to watch Band of Brothers. And there are no new episodes until Feb 9. Sad for us/great for you! Lots of time to catch up! tuesy is doing so as well.
quaggy_mire
Dec. 19th, 2008 02:10 am (UTC)
I haven't been talking about Life enough. ;-D

Heh! You think? Actually, this was a case of me having no clue what the show was about! I meant to Wikipedia it, but never got around to it. But now I know, it's a different story.

Lots of time to catch up!

Yeah, but I'm slow. Just ask Seri how long it's taken me to catch up with Dexter! And forget Doctor Who. I'm so behind, it's ridiculous! :-P Now, if it's one of those shows that is nice to have the backstory, but you can pick up anytime, I'll be in good shape. I'll start watching with you in February.
gatsbyfan
Dec. 19th, 2008 02:59 am (UTC)
You MUST watch it. Trust us. Its very good.
misreall
Dec. 19th, 2008 01:09 am (UTC)
2) I love how each of these guys is such a master of himself that he’s always following his own agenda. To invoke the great Leo McGarry, neither accepts the other’s premise. Roman isn’t answering any of Charlie’s questions unless it suits him. Mostly, he says what he wants, which is to deflect or to threaten. Charlie isn’t taking the bait, regardless of the depths to which Roman takes the conversation.

While we were watching this I commented to Misterreall that Roman is Charlie's mirror image. American-Russian. Born cop-born criminal. Both were made the men that they are by prison and violence.

What is more, Roman is the only character on the show who is as knowing and understanding as Charlie. They both love to shock people with how they know their secrets, but on top of that, they see things about others that normal people miss. They both look at the world sideways.

Roman IS Roman. And Charlie IS Charlie. Everyone else in LA is still trying to figure themselves out.

By the way, I really hope that Olivia shows up at the beginning of the next episode (in motherfucking February) and keeps Charlie alive while they wait for the EMTs.
marymary
Dec. 19th, 2008 01:18 am (UTC)
By the way, I really hope that Olivia shows up at the beginning of the next episode (in motherfucking February) and keeps Charlie alive while they wait for the EMTs.

Hee. If only Charlie had been impaled by a pencil instead of a bullet.

While we were watching this I commented to Misterreall that Roman is Charlie's mirror image.

Great minds! I completely agree. And I think you point out some great similarities I hadn't thought about.

The balance that they create is what I was squeeing about when we found out that Roman was coming back. It's fun to watch Charlie get over on random/stupid criminals. But this is more fun.
aunt_deen
Dec. 19th, 2008 02:12 am (UTC)
This was the best episode I've seen in quite awhile.

Mary, I totally agree about the jeans and hoodie. They need to return.

I cheered (weakly, knocking my Kleenex to the floor) when the badass cons fell in on either side of Ted.

The thing about him shooting his father was gold. What's the idiot doing breaking into the home of his estranged son who is a cop AND an ex-con? I can think of no surer way to get one's ass shot.

Garret Dillahunt is mesmerizing to watch. God, he plays sociopaths better than anyone I can think of. And I love the idea that he's Charlie's mirror image because he slides perfectly into that slot.

I liked the stuff with Dani. The drinking, the opening up to Charlie, all of it. Loved how Rachel recognized the name and Dani vaguely recognized her. I'm guessing we'll see Jack Reese make a comeback sometime very soon.

Sarah Shahi is the vodka to his orange juice

That is as good a description of the pairing as I've ever heard.

But damn it, we have to wait until FEBRUARY for the next episode?
misreall
Dec. 19th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC)
I also loved the dreamy look on Dani's face when she thought about shooting her dad. It may have been her best acting moment.
marymary
Dec. 19th, 2008 04:50 am (UTC)
I love your Winters. :-)
marymary
Dec. 19th, 2008 04:53 am (UTC)
What's the idiot doing breaking into the home of his estranged son who is a cop AND an ex-con?

Exactly. A little off, but I'm ok with it.

Loved how Rachel recognized the name and Dani vaguely recognized her.

I'm curious about why Dani would recognize Rachel. From her photos at the time of the murders? Or are they saying that Jack Reese actually had Rachel in his home?

So do we think Crews never told Reese about Rachel living with him because it would open up the whole thing about Dani's father? And she wasn't ready to hear it?

misterreal
Dec. 19th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
I think your Rachel/Dani point is right on. Reese still isn't sure who to trust. I mean think about it. He is framed and sent to prison and who of the people he knew stuck with him? His ex-partner didn't but gave decent reasons why so Charlie has forgiven him. But everyone else? So he is jaded into thinking that the moment anything goes bad, everyone will abandon ship. By not letting anyone know everything that is going on, he protects them and himself because they cannot betray him.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )