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Life: One


Last night, I had no words.  You guys, I just....  I felt like I'd been hit by a truck, only in some good way.  That was stunning and fantastic.

Don't come in here if you're going to argue that point with me, I'm not kidding.


Last night, my first draft of this recap looked like this:  AS’;LFDKSD’;LJ’GA;LSKDF’;SDALFK’;ASLG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!JJJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!;LKFJS;D<3<3<3<3POLFKSJOI!!!OMGOMGOMGJJJ>)(SDL;FK’SLK1!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I know you guys can read Squee, but still I thought would be therapeutic for me to do in English.  I calmed down and then I typed until 2 am.  Sleepy.  Happy.

 

Finales try to accomplish a lot, but they usually have to lean in one direction or another.  Some finales are about plot closure and providing us with answers to our questions. Some are more about character, giving us an epilogue so that we can see the trajectory of each character.  We like to imagine what will happen for them in the future, even if we’re not there to see it.  Some are (maddeningly) open-ended, giving us a dot, dot, dot as the characters go about the most mundane parts of their lives, “allowing” us to fill in the blanks ourselves.  :-P

 

This one was about revelation.  Not of plot and character, as much, but revelation of what the show is, and has been all along, in ways that we (I) didn’t quite see.  It was like watching all the elements of the show become clearer, bigger, more colorful.  Watching the story turn into a more resonant version of itself.  Like animation to reality, as some movies do, only in reverse.  Everything sort of bloomed for me.

 

 

I.  Guys, his name is Roman.

 

My show turned into an opera before my very eyes!  No, in the good way.  Or mythology or Shakespeare, whatever.  Roman and Charlie are both mortal enemies and brothers!  Rayborn is their father!  He has anointed Charlie as his successor and Roman is obsessed with dominance and revenge!  Hell yeah!!!

 

I’ve always adored Charlie and Roman together. In fact, I think we’ve talked about how well-matched they are, which is why the Roman episodes are always the best.  That Roman loves going up against Charlie because they’re equals, in a way.  Charlie is a worthy opponent.  Roman is the only POTW who ever really gives Charlie any trouble. 

 

And Roman has is own thang going just like Charlie does.  They’re both quirky and legendary and they’ve got powers and minions and fans and swoony girls.

 

But THIS is just too perfect!  They’re not just adversaries, they’re bound together by Rayborn!

 

Speaking of whom….Holy mother of god, Rayborn FTW!  “Found me, huh kiddo?  I always knew you were a good cop.”

 

Charlie:  “You always knew I was a good cop? What do you mean by always?  How long have you known me?”

Rayborn:  “You are a good cop.  Because you listen. ‘Always’ means before the killings, the arrest, the trial.  I saw you at the academy.  You had that look. …There. That look.”

Charlie:  “What were you doing at the academy?”

Rayborn: “I knew someday I’d be old.  We’d need a younger me to run this thing.  I looked at every cadet and I chose you.  I was gonna get that Tom Seybolt a little dirty so you’d have to help him out. Now, that family was not supposed to die.  You were not supposed to go to jail.  But they did.  And you did…”

 

“…But just look at you!”

 

This is going to sound completely ridiculous, but until Rayborn delivered that line, I didn’t realize that the show loved Charlie as much as I love Charlie.  I know, right?  But…the pride and awe in his voice!  That would have made the episode for me, right there.

 

Rayborn: “I chose you, kiddo.  And I was right.”

Charlie:  “Don’t call me kiddo.”

Rayborn: “It’s always been about you, Charlie. Even that animal Roman knows that.”

 

Then, the confrontations.  Part One is really by proxy. Dani is tied up as Roman sees a photo of his dead operative.

Reese:  “What is it, Roman?  Things not going according to plan?  He’s getting closer, isn’t he?  He’s out there.  But he’s getting closer.  And you’re hiding in this basement.  Connection by connection.  Until he’s right in front of you.”

Roman:  “That is where I want him!”

Reese:  “Sounds like you’re in love, Roman!”

 

Ha!  That was my favorite line of the whole episode, just because it was completely unexpected, very funny, and had three really awesome meanings!  And you know how I love things in threes!  First, it reinforces the filial theme they’ve got going between Charlie and Roman.  Second, that’s where Dani’s mind goes!  Roman wants Charlie here. He must be in love with Charlie.  What?  Who isn’t?  Third, it’s like some slashy Easter egg!  I just got a teeny glimpse of Roman and Charlie that way, and pffwahhh!  My brain!

 

Confrontation Part Two, in the abandoned club… Roman, seeing the bullet, again loses his cool a little bit. That’s twice in, like, his whole life.

 

Confrontation Part Three is at the end, Charlie and Roman in the car:

Charlie:  “He calls you an animal.”

 

I have to stop there.  First, even the tense of the verb is brilliant. Not “he called you an animal”, that one time when he said it to me, just an hour ago.  Which would have been accurate. But “he calls you an animal.”  Whenever he talks about you.  Because I know him.  I talk to him.  We’re close.  I know what he thinks of you.  He always calls you an animal.  He calls you an animal when he talks about you to me.  Which is a whole bunch, little brother.  He never loved you.  You’re not a person, you’re an animal to him.

 

I have another thought, but first I have to type the whole exchange…

 

Charlie:  “He calls you an animal.  Rayborn.  He calls you an animal. But it’s not so bad because I’ve seen him with his dog and he loves…he loves that animal so…it’s not so bad.”

Do you remember the angel episode? Where we first met Roman?  Roman keeps dogs.  And he punished the boyfriend of the dead woman by keeping him in a cage like all of his dogs. Right in the midst of all his dogs, in their own cages.  Likening someone to a dog is Roman’s humiliation of choice.  Brilliant again.

 

Moving on…

 

Roman: “I’ll need his account numbers, foreign and domestic.  Keys to safety deposit boxes.  Combinations to home and office safes.  You will give me these things.”

 

Exactly. This is classic Roman.  He does not respond to your words.  He has his own agenda.  If his agenda is met by responding to your words, he will respond to them. Otherwise…he is conducting the only conversation being had and you are welcome to join it. 

 

Unless you are ONE PERSON and that is Charlie…

 

Charlie: “Sure. But that’s not what you want. What you want is what Rayborn gave me. You want him to choose you.  You want what he gives his dog.”

 

PUNCH.  Roman punches Charlie. Charlie has just taken over the conversation.  That’s the moment Roman loses.

 

Charlie:  “One plus one equals one…”

Roman:  “What are the numbers.”

Charlie: “You wanna know how I got through 12 years of prison?”

Roman:  “Your Zen?”

Charlie delivers a fatal blow to Roman’s throat.

Charlie:  “Like that.”

 

Then Charlie releases Roman’s slaves, like the conquering hero that he is.  Turns their world on a dime.  Uh, probably:  “You fellas do speak English…” Hee.

 

 

II.  I am Spartacus.  Bond. James Bond.  I’m Batman.

 

Charlie has had an iconic quality about him from day one.  We’ve talked about that a lot.  How they shoot him, from very low or from above.  The lovely rotating shot on the cliff in What They Saw.  How he stands; that big damn hero pose DL tried on in Band of Brothers; it’s perfect here.  How he walks.  Those fantastic old-school shots of him driving in the car, sunglasses just right, the colors and resolution seeming poised to morph into animation at any second.  And they certainly give him enough hero stuff to do.  In addition to the victim of the week, he’s saved or defended Connie, Dani, Rachel, Ted, Bobby and now Dani again.   

 

I even felt a little Excalibur coming from his car this week, with all the cool shots and Charlie’s lament, “I just got it back!”  The two of them eating burgers in the back of Bodner’s minivan only served as hilarious contrast to Charlie’s cooler car.

 

Slowly, over the course of this season, the other characters have shifted into a posse.  So much that, last week, one of my hopes for this finale was to see a slo-mo rockstar walk, the flying V, with Charlie, Dani, Bobby, Ted, Seever and Tidwell.  (Somebody had to have a long coat, I didn’t care who.)  In the finale, they are aligned and work seamlessly together.

 

In the first scene in the station, Bobby calls to Charlie as he walks out of the office to avoid the senior officers who will shut him down.  Bobby, presumably, wants to know where Charlie’s going and how he can help.  Charlie walks to the elevator, veers to the left to avoid the cops…  The camera follows the cops off the elevator immediately back to Bobby.  He’s standing in Tidwell’s office, already stating the party line:  No one knows where Charlie is.  He’s on board.  Later, he warns Charlie to ditch the car, he drops Charlie’s phone into the trash, he takes the handoff of Tidwell’s phone to provide a dead end to the officers tracking that phone back to Charlie, all avec adorable sarcasm.  Tidwell, Amanda, Seever and Ted all work together perfectly to support Charlie as he pursues Roman and avoids the LAPD.

 

Because I’m now talking about character iconography, I’m chuckling at Ted’s lines from way back.  “Am I Robin?  I’m not Robin, am I?”  “Am I Alfred?”  Ted got it; I didn’t, really, until just now. J

 

And I said a couple weeks ago that Amanda reminded me of The Natural, a movie so heavy with symbolism and metaphor that some people found it overbearing.  I loved it; a friend of mine had had enough and walked out of the theater before the end.  (The end being the part where the home run ball hits the stadium lights and sparks illuminate the dark, make the bad guy squint in terror, and rain down upon the hero like the glory of God. *g*  It’s probably good that she left.)  Amanda’s dress, her manner, her lipstick are beautifully femme fatale.  And her toys are the perfect complement.

 

Finally, and I say this with love, the finale sort of marginalized Tidwell to the helpless girlfriend, wringing her hands, pleading with the hero to save her lover.  I love Tidwell and I don’t think this diminishes him one bit, it just emphasizes the sweet part of him over the badass part.  His line, at the beginning, demanding that Charlie “find her!!!” made me want to hug him.  And (selflishly) his role in the finale also gets him nicely out of the way for Charlie and Dani’s story to come to the forefront again.

 

All of this is even possible because the show is so stylish in the first place.  A gritter, more fly-on-the-wall show can’t do this kind of thing.  Life can.

 

 

III.  And in the end, it’s love.  John Oxenberger

 

I expected Roman.  I expected a gorgeous and satisfying trouncing of Roman by Charlie. I expected the glorious posse that helped him do it. I knew they’d get Dani back. I figured Bodner and Amanda would help and Rayborn would be alive and that we’d find out what his role was in the whole thing.  I knew all of that was waiting for me, and it was even better than I had hoped.

 

What I did NOT expect was to end up gasping for air at the heat between Charlie and Reese. And once again, I’m not talking about sex.  It’s them, so it’s actually better than sex. Apparently there’s a word for it.

 

I was SO not expecting it that I sort of didn’t trust my own instincts when I saw that scene in the car.  Charlie is back in his car, riding the long road to the rescue, and listening to the Zen tape.

 

“What we learned as children, that one plus one equals two, we know to be false.  One plus one equals one.  We even have a word for when you plus another equals one.  That word is…”

 

Charlie rips the tape out of the deck.

 

My gut told me what it thought, and this is my gut, deconstructed.  a)  He’s the hero, the warrior.  On his way to do battle with the evil and save the girl.  b)  He stops the tape.  Why?  He can’t be distracted.  He doesn’t want to hear what’s on that tape.  c) What distracts the warrior?  Sentiment.  Emotion.  It fuels him, but he can’t have it in his mind when he goes into battle.  d) Since he stopped it before the last word in the sentence, he must not want to hear that word.  e) The word is a word that means the same as “you plus another equals one.” 

 

Duh.

 

But really?  This is Crews and Reese we’re talking about.  What I had been saying all season was that Crews and Reese didn’t have the traditional will they/won’t they thing that most couples on TV have. They weren’t stealing glances at each other.  The show didn’t put them in tight quarters and make them smell each other. They weren’t in contrived situations where they were forced to sleep in the same room or take their clothes off for some reason. (wait…yeah, they did do that one.)  The show wasn’t trying to create the standard UST.  She was sleeping with Tidwell.  He was still hung up (ish) on Jennifer. They didn’t act jealous.  They didn’t seem like they were hot for each other… 

 

BUT, what I did say in this journal, week to week, was that what they have is so much better than that. It’s this incredibly synergy.  They have a perfect meeting of the minds when they work; a rhythm they get into.  They care a lot about each other.  They cherish their partnership.  So much so that he’s talking about it all the time and she’s almost childishly defensive about it – denying it or grudgingly admitting that she…doesn’t dislike him. 

 

And, since they’ve been apart, they can’t seem to deal.  She’s leaving notes for Tidwell about how to work with Charlie and he’s calling her on the phone every ten minutes.  He keeps trying to replace her with people or parts of people and he fails.  They can’t seem to function without at least talking to each other.  And, two episodes ago, they both concluded that what they know is not what they see, but what they believe.  What they believe is…they believe in each other.

 

Duh.

 

So I knew what the word was.  Maybe I just couldn’t quite trust that the show was really giving that to us.  But, you know, Life loves us.  Yes it does. 

 

Duh, deux:

Bodner:  “Sippy cup.”

Charlie:  “How long you been married?”

Bodner:  “Twenty years.  Still love her.”

Charlie:  “Where’d you meet?”

Bodner:   “In the bureau. We were partners.”

 

No Duh, it’s like music now…

Charlie and Roman face off in the Garden of Oranges for the exchange.

Roman:  “You for her.”

Charlie:  “Me for her.”

 

Isn’t that beautiful?  It’s very Life, with the repetition and the rhythm and the simplicity.

 

Then, as they pass each other during the exchange, Charlie and Dani’s hands reach for each other, not quite connecting.  Like Dani’s hand reached for Charlie’s face during the drug/shower scene in the pilot.

 

Reese: “What was his plan, getting in that SUV?
Bodner:  “His plan was getting you out of that SUV.”

 

And then Dani’s face, and then Charlie’s face, when they see each other again, as the Zen tape finishes. 

 

“We even have a word for when you plus another equals one.  That word is Love.”

 

 

We even have a word for what we will feel when NBC cancels the best show they have.  That word is not Love.

 



Comments

( 52 comments — Leave a comment )
gatsbyfan
Apr. 9th, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
Like an idiot I was raising my fist at my tv at 8:55pm cursing them for ending the show without really giving us an ending (since the NBC bastards will probably cancel this magnificent work of art). Because usually when a show goes to commercial at 8:55 it’s over and done and we’re left with annoying commercials and promos for Jay Leno. (Ugh.)

But noooo… they come back and they give us that ending. How, how could I have ever doubted them?
After seeing it I was just staring at the tv like, OMG! I was not expecting that!

His line, at the beginning, demanding that Charlie “find her!!!” made me want to hug him.
I felt so bad for him there. Because you know he feels helpless on multiple levels. He cannot react the way he probably would want to react because people aren’t supposed to know about his relationship with her. She’s just one of his cops. But she’s not. And what makes it worse… this guy that he can’t quite understand is the one that has the ability to bring her back.

And then Dani’s face, and then Charlie’s face, when they see each other again, as the Zen tape finishes.
That was just beautiful mostly because I really wasn’t expecting that they would go there. They have always hinted at it but that scene combined with the minivan just made me so very happy. And now I’m sitting in my office with a silly grin on my face.

I also loved the shot of Charlie looking above. He just looked magnificent.

I WANT ANOTHER SEASON OF MY SHOW!!!

Ok, I really should be working at the moment. But I need to share that I disagree with Alan Sepinwall who didn’t seem to like the turn with Charlie and Dani.

But I loved this part of his review:
And, in the final encounter between Charlie and Roman in the Escalade, it showed us once and for all that, no matter how much Charlie likes to pretend that his life is ruled by Zen thinking, what really carried him through 12 years in prison and several very dangerous years back in the real world weren't the koans, or the fruit(*), but the fact that he is one tough, relentless SOB.

Charlie is quite the badass when he needs to be.
marymary
Apr. 9th, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
Well then I'm not reading Sepinwall, even though he's a fan of the show. I'm really in no mood. I'm so happy with what they did, and so sick at the thought that it won't get renewed, that I just can't read any criticism right now.

I have been solidly on the side of the Partner-Ship. I haven't been wanting them to kiss or sleep together or be romantic. I've been really happy leaving their relationship where it is.

BUT I think the show proved me wrong, a little bit. What they did was great and organic and subtle, even. I think that their separation, Dani's kidnapping, Charlie saving her and sacrificing himself to do it...that's exactly what COULD shift their feelings for each other in a different direction.

And when I say "a little bit" and "subtle", what I mean is that they didn't even say "I love you" or kiss or run into each other's arms or even have any other character observe that they were in love. They haven't even SAID that they're in love. The show defined the feeling between them as "love". That's a very important distinction. They haven't even said that it's romantic love, though I think it's some version of that. I think they did a great job. They sold me.

And yeah, the pretty. There were some VERY pretty shots of Charlie in the finale. Like you, I loved the final shot. Also, him looking out the window after Roman punches him was very pretty. And a few other spots. He looked great in this episode.

(no subject) - grimorie - Apr. 10th, 2009 02:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - marymary - Apr. 10th, 2009 02:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grimorie - Apr. 10th, 2009 11:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - marymary - Apr. 10th, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - marymary - Apr. 9th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - anatolealice - Feb. 20th, 2010 10:57 am (UTC) - Expand
aunt_deen
Apr. 9th, 2009 11:27 pm (UTC)
Mary, that is a gorgeous, brilliant recap. Seriously. I think it's one of the best things you've written and that's saying something.

But whatever. ;) On to the show.

One of the marks of a brilliant show is that you can watch a fucking genius finale, turn right around and watch the pilot again, and there's no jarring contrast in style or character. I recently watched the first episode of House and it was really odd because House, as he was in the pilot, had almost none of the vicious snark and spite of the character as he is now. He was quiet, subdued. He was blunt and pitiless, but he didn't relish the mystery or the battles with Cuddy or anything else. He seemed depressed, and in a very conventional way. The later episodes are just so infinitely better than that pilot. You've mentioned something similar with West Wing, how the characters in the pilot seem to be too bouncy, hitting their marks and their lines with both feet instead of with the fluidity they found with a few eps under their belt.

But Life? Life is there, right there, at the very beginning. Charlie is Charlie, Reese is Reese, and every shade and quirk all laid out for us like they had three years already to tinker with it. Not that the characters and their relationships haven't grown and developed, because they have. But it's like they gave us fully-fledged people, who remain themselves even when they change.

So yes, I love your comment about how all the elements of the show became clearer and more colorful in this finale. It's Life the way it's always been, except more

FUCK, I will be a big pile of Kleenex and rage if they cancel this show!

And speaking of Kleenex, I am saving my other brilliant insights (I'm sure I have some) for later when I am not loopy from cold medicine. I knew I hated taking this stuff for a reason.

marymary
Apr. 10th, 2009 12:37 am (UTC)
Aw, thanks. I really did write it from about midnight to 2 am last night, right after I had finished watching for the second time. I tried to sleep, but the words kept coming out, so I had to type.

I agree with you! They really did come to us fully formed, which is rare! You're right -- pilots are funny after you've seen a couple seasons. You can see them working stuff out. Not Life.

I even like the way they "changed" some of the characters. Bobby is a great example. Back at the beginning, Bobby seemed a little menacing. We weren't sure that Bobby wasn't harboring resentment and that he wasn't Charlie's enemy. We even thought he might hurt Charlie at one point! (In the garage.)

But watching again...there's nothing inconsistent with the Bobby that we know now. The show just presented him to us differently. They used framing and music and Charlie's wariness to make us doubt Bobby. But watching now, we see that he was always the same guy.

Yes, kleenex and rage.

Thanks for wading through the fog to post. :-) Come back when you come down.
marymary
Apr. 10th, 2009 01:01 am (UTC)
All that recap, and I have so many notes left untouched!

- I loved Roman killing the documentary filmmaker. It was shocking and perfect.

- Charlie gets in the car, stops at a light, and a pretty girl with breasts rides up beside him and smiles. He doesn't smile back. I loved that! Normally, he'd give her that goofy, sexy, I-love-my-new-life smile. Not this time. Excellent.

- The garage. Charlie saves Bodner from highly certain death and this is what he gets.
Bodner: "You could have killed me."
Charlie: "But I didn't."
Bodner: "But you could have."
Charlie: "I saw his head by the window."
Bodner: "How did you know I wasn't standing right next to him?"
Charlie: "Because if he were here to kill you, he'd have made you stand over there."
Bodner: "What if he wasn't here to kill me?"
Charlie: "Then I'd have to kill you. Agent Bodner, if he wasn't here to kill you then you're still working for Roman and then I'd have to kill you."
HA! THIS SHOW! Gets points for being funny and right at the same time.

- Seever's eidetic memory is a great device! It's completely character-consistent, and means they don't have to strain credibility by having her go back to the station and find the Seybolt file. She can just answer the question right there in the car! Nice job. I also liked how they followed the rules on that answer. *g* "What was in his desk drawer?" First thing, no. Second thing, no. Third thing, no. Fourth thing, yes.

- I liked hearing Roman call Charlie Detective New Money one more time. :-)

- Even in the throes of the last five minutes, I wrote this: "I might agree to work for Roman if part of the job was frisking Charlie."
anatolealice
Feb. 20th, 2010 11:02 am (UTC)
I loved Roman killing the documentary filmmaker. It was shocking and perfect.

I gasped out loud I was just so startled. The documentary making was just a constant throughout the series and I never really thought about it because it played exposition fairy early on and then got less important and suddenly we're getting Roman's POV and it made the filmmaker real and then suddenly they're dead. And then Roman showing us around was so creepy. All worked amazingly well.
grimorie
Apr. 10th, 2009 02:00 am (UTC)
What I did NOT expect was to end up gasping for air at the heat between Charlie and Reese. And once again, I’m not talking about sex. It’s them, so it’s actually better than sex.

Yes. It actually is better and I've been on the non-ship ship train for a while floundering on the side of actively shipping but this episode with the hand graze and the looks and just... I love the moment of realization for both was not dramatic but what it always was with them: understated and unspoken.

since they’ve been apart, they can’t seem to deal. She’s leaving notes for Tidwell about how to work with Charlie and he’s calling her on the phone every ten minutes. He keeps trying to replace her with people or parts of people and he fails. They can’t seem to function without at least talking to each other. And, two episodes ago, they both concluded that what they know is not what they see, but what they believe. What they believe is…they believe in each other.

This. I have no other words than repeat what you've written. I love how organic everything was because you can see it building slowly into something more.
marymary
Apr. 10th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC)
I love the moment of realization for both was not dramatic but what it always was with them: understated and unspoken.

Yes!
quaggy_mire
Apr. 10th, 2009 03:50 am (UTC)
Oh man, you knew I was waiting for this, right? I don't even know where to start! I've been writing up my thoughts and it's already four paragraphs! AND I'm not done! I'll be back as soon as I am.
marymary
Apr. 10th, 2009 04:18 am (UTC)
I know! Bring all your paragraphs back here asap!
misreall
Apr. 10th, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
Ok, two things : One I FUCKING KNEW RAYBOURN WAS ALIVE! That level of awesomeness cannot die.

And two: for just a second in the SUV I thought that we were going to swing in some odd direction and Charlie was going to take over Roman's operations. All I could think is "This show, much like Charlie, has quite a pair on it." In fact I imagine in some alternate reality that show is on. It's called Death, and it is about a crusading Russian Robin Hood figure trying to stop a corrupt LAPD detective who uses equal amounts of sadism and zen to keep control of this fellow officers and criminal empire.

(Sorry, I am just in a mood today...)
marymary
Apr. 10th, 2009 04:10 pm (UTC)
Yes! I was so happy he was alive.

OMG, I would totally watch Death. *g* I love that.
misterreal
Apr. 10th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
Not to be a buzzkill but.....
I admit that I may the only one, but I will stop watching this show if the Crews/Reese thing goes romantic. I am completely sticking with the theory that it is more 'love' in a family sense.
marymary
Apr. 10th, 2009 04:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Not to be a buzzkill but.....
That is your prerogative, good sir. :-)

Though, sadly, NBC might make it a moot point. :-(
Re: Not to be a buzzkill but..... - jennlavigne - Apr. 11th, 2009 12:37 am (UTC) - Expand
marymary
Apr. 10th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
gatz, I'm bringing your quote from Sepinwall down here because it's making me think.

And, in the final encounter between Charlie and Roman in the Escalade, it showed us once and for all that, no matter how much Charlie likes to pretend that his life is ruled by Zen thinking, what really carried him through 12 years in prison and several very dangerous years back in the real world weren't the koans, or the fruit(*), but the fact that he is one tough, relentless SOB.

I strongly agree with him, in essence; I just disagree with the way he's saying it. That might be just me misunderstanding him.

- I absolutely LOVED the fact that Badass Charlie is the version of Charlie that won out in the end. Absolutely. Not only because it's just cooler and more fun and more satisfying, but because it's the show saying, "We are stylish, but we're not a fairy tale. We know that Charlie doesn't get to this point without fucking some people up. In these kinds of situations, fucking people up wins."

- I disagree that "Charlie likes to pretend that his life is ruled by Zen thinking." I don't see why they have to be mutually exclusive. (Though a Zen expert might disagree.) I'm saying that Charlie's version of Zen worked, and continues to work, for Charlie. It's not just non-violence, it's going with the flow. Letting the situation reveal itself to you and not pushing back. That's exactly what he's been doing ALL ALONG, up to and including the end, where he let Rayborn's words about Roman guide him to the final act. He is "Zen" and he also will fuck you up. Both.

- He is "tough", he is "relentless", but he's not an "SOB." I think Sepinwall meant that last in a complimentary way, but I think it's the wrong word. "SOB" means a jerk, a bad man, someone who's fundamentally rotten in some way but you admire him because he's so tough. Charlie's more avenging angel.
aunt_deen
Apr. 10th, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)
I'm sure I'm not the only one who's a little disappointed that Charlie didn't get to use that big gun, right?
misreall
Apr. 11th, 2009 03:14 pm (UTC)
Good god, yes.

Luckily, unlike us, he is not attached to that gun.
aunt_deen
Apr. 11th, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)
I am completely sticking with the theory that it is more 'love' in a family sense.

I read a blog post awhile ago which said something along the lines of, "I hope to God they don't try to make Charlie & Dani a couple. At least not until the third season."

If they end up sending things in that direction, I'm very okay with it. I'm also okay with sticking to the familial love because I agree it's there.

But there is definite heat between the two of them and I think there have been flashes of it from the very beginning. But neither one of them was anywhere near in a place to act on it, or even maybe to be aware of it. Dani was still coming down off the addiction thing and Charlie was just out of prison. Getting together then would not have been good.

Well, in one or two ways it would have been awesome, I'm sure.

But now I can see it happen and I can believe it. And because I trust the show, I can see them planning this from the beginning. Planning that Charlie and Dani would become close, closer than most partners, integral part of each others' lives, and then they'd start in on the couple thing.

I love the relationship as it is, but I'd love to see it go in that direction, too.
misreall
Apr. 11th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
You know I don't agree. But at least if they had spent, say, a whole season developing in that direction, it might make sense to me.

I have two basic problem with the two of them as a couple, 1. My basic problem that all male/female relationships are doomed to go down this road unless one or both of the characters have a prior relationship. And 2. Unlike everyone else, I have never felt any heat between them. Warmth yes, always from Charlie, and growing over time from Dani. I just don't see it, which is why it seems forced and painful to me.

Hey, total side note, how did Ted get out of the country? He is on parole, and that is more than just slightly illegal.
(no subject) - aunt_deen - Apr. 12th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC) - Expand
aunt_deen
Apr. 12th, 2009 12:33 am (UTC)
Random thought: Now that Roman is no more, I hope they bring back Rachel next season.

If there is a next season.

*spins around three times and spits*
marymary
Apr. 12th, 2009 12:42 am (UTC)
Toby hopes you know what you're doing. *g*
marymary
Apr. 12th, 2009 03:46 am (UTC)
NOT FOR NOTHIN, NBC/Universal, but when I just now pre-ordered the Life Season 2 DVDs (hint, hint everbuddy) Amazon, as it does, suggested some other stuff I might like. The other stuff I might like were Burn Notice, Psych and Monk. All USA Network shows. Hmmm.
grimorie
Apr. 13th, 2009 01:12 pm (UTC)
All USA Network shows. Hmmm.

This clearly means Life needs to be ON USA Network!
(no subject) - anatolealice - Feb. 20th, 2010 11:05 am (UTC) - Expand
misreall
Apr. 12th, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
Random thought: Now that Roman is no more, I hope they bring back Rachel next season.
Random thought: Now that Roman is no more, I hope they bring back Rachel next season.
Random thought: Now that Roman is no more, I hope they bring back Rachel next season.


Wasn't she with Jack Reece? Who Roman claims to have killed? This is actually the one question I most want resolved. Like even if there is no next season (but there will be) I want there to be an extra on the dvd saying what happened to who. I don't really care about Reece that much, but about Rachael I am concerned.
marymary
Apr. 14th, 2009 01:32 am (UTC)
Hey, folks. Here the "save Life" info from the NBC boards. They recommend the standard: Be polite, tell them how much you love Life and why, thank them for the second season and give them some demographic info.

Please contact these important decision makers via snail mail, and include a package of Lifesavers:

Mr. Jeff Zucker
President and Chief Executive Officer
NBC Universal Television Group
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112


Mr. Ben Silverman
Co-Chairman
NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios
c/o NBC-TV
3000 W. Alameda Avenue
Burbank, CA 91523


Marc Graboff
Co-Chairman
NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios
c/o NBC-TV
3000 W. Alameda Avenue
Burbank, CA 91523


(Ms.) Angela Bromstad
President, Primetime Entertainment
NBC and Universal Media Studios
100 Universal City Plaza
Building 1320E 4th Floor
Universal City, CA 91608


Jeff Gaspin
President and Chief Operating Officer
Universal Television Group
?????Address?????

New!
Armstrong, Melissa
Senior Press Manager - NBC Entertainment Publicity
Email: melissa.armstrong@nbcuni.com
Division: NBC Entertainment

As for email, most of the NBC people's email are like this:

firstname.lastname@nbcuni.com


For more info:
http://boards.nbc.com/nbc/index.php?s=2ee1973bfb317051fad7ff1bc210806f&showtopic=819622
grimorie
Apr. 16th, 2009 10:24 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you for this info I'll also try to spread the word.
marymary
Apr. 14th, 2009 02:05 am (UTC)
One more:

Since many of us feel Life would fit in well with USA Network's original programming, we may want to write to them as well. Jeff Wachtel has recently been promoted to President of Original Series at USA. This address is the correct contact to the best of my knowledge:

Mr. Jeff Wachtel
USA Network
30 Rockefeller Plaza
21st Floor
New York, NY 10112

We can also let USA Network know we would like them to pick up the series if NBC doesn't via e-mail at their website:

http://www.usanetwork.com/feedback/
grimorie
Apr. 16th, 2009 10:25 am (UTC)
I'll also do this of course because I truly believe Life belongs on USA!
marymary
Apr. 16th, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC)
Trackers, go here:

http://community.livejournal.com/pers_pineapple/37587.html

For the Life newsletter, full (even more than usual), of the most wonderful stuff.

Speaking of which, this is such a great quote, from Rand Ravich, via Watch With Krisin, online:

Has the show forgotten about Sarah Shahi's Dani Reese?

No, she's still preggers, but says Rand, "The energy of the show is Crews and Reese tumbling over and around each other. And that's something I would want to go back to as soon as I can." Us too! Those two are among the best partners of any stripe on any show anywhere.


I love that!

Thanks to grimorie for compiling the newsletter each week!

And if you haven't, email or snailmail NBC/Uni and USA!
marymary
Apr. 16th, 2009 11:27 pm (UTC)
Guys, here's a link directly to NBC's comment page, where you can enter your info into an email form. Don't forget to say how much you love the show and add some demographic info.

http://www.nbc.com/Footer/Contact_Us/?__status=1

And please send snail mail to the addresses above! It'll take an hour, tops. You'll sleep better at night knowing you've done all you can.
edgeriffic
Apr. 17th, 2009 05:16 am (UTC)
Greetings to the Sisterhood of the Flattering Pants.

We fell woefully behind in our watching of Life in the past few weeks and have only just now finished watching the season finale. I could not wait to come here and see what Mary and you all had to say.

It's late, and I'm confused on some plot points about which I will be asking for your wisdom later, and I have some thoughts on the whole philia/agape/eros thing. But for now I just wanted to react to a few small points already made:

1. Mary on Charlie and the biker gal: Charlie gets in the car, stops at a light, and a pretty girl with breasts rides up beside him and smiles. He doesn't smile back. I loved that! Normally, he'd give her that goofy, sexy, I-love-my-new-life smile. Not this time. Excellent.

I noticed this too and it was brilliant---he's just way too focused on saving Reese to even give a second thought to her. But DL conveyed this in such an organic, non-cliched way. Small but brilliant moment, like so many in this show.

2. Mary on Bobby: But watching now, we see that he was always the same guy.

A little thing that I absolutely loved, and it echoes the bike thing above in an interesting way, was Bobby in the car with the Russian prostitute, and his total lack of any sexual interest in her. There have been a series of Bobby moments and brief snippets of dialogue that have established his character as an absolutely and completely rock solid husband and Dad, and this was another one. It was totally true to character--it's like it never even occurred to him to play the part of an interested guy in the service of his mission.

3. Misreall on Raybourn's fake death: One I FUCKING KNEW RAYBOURN WAS ALIVE! That level of awesomeness cannot die.

Me too! No body, no death--first rule of cop teevee shoes and movies and books. Blood, even lots of it, can be faked. Seemed like a big plot hole to me from the beginning, glad to have it filled up.

4. Misreall again: for just a second in the SUV I thought that we were going to swing in some odd direction and Charlie was going to take over Roman's operations.

Me too again! I had this flash of, "Oh, he's pretending to 'be' Raybourn to trick Roman--- oh my god he really IS going to become Raybourn..." Kind of cool to have both the thought of that AND what actually happened be in your brain at almost exactly the same time, and have both make sense.

This show is brilliant. It needs to continue.

marymary
Apr. 17th, 2009 11:23 pm (UTC)
edgy!!! So glad you made it!

I love your observation about Bobby. I agree about the husband/dad thing. I also see that as evidence of his devotion to Charlie. He's absolutely on task, part of the team. Even if he were interested, what he truly gets off on is being a soldier for Charlie.

the season finale.

Right on.
quaggy_mire
Apr. 30th, 2009 02:13 pm (UTC)
Okay, I here… FINALLY!! Well, like a fine wine, Quaggy’s thoughts need time to age. :-P The thing about waiting this long is that some of the stuff I was going to say was already covered. But that’s fine, this thing is long enough as it is! LJ is making me break it up into two parts!

You covered the Roman thing so well, I don't have much to add. So, I’ll move on to the team synergy. I really loved the full team dynamic, everyone playing their part in a wonderfully organized ballet. This is the first time I actually, honestly, liked Seever. If there’s a season 3 (*turns around three times, curses and spits*), I hope she sticks around. Bobby was fantastic in every single scene. What’s very interesting about this is that both Seever, who is his current partner, and Bobby, who was his old partner and in some ways never stopped, were given scene that highlighted that both understand Charlie and Dani’s partnership is on a different, deeper level.

In general, everyone was very good at staying one step ahead of the police. Makes you glad that they are good guys, because if they all went bad (or even just Ocean’s 11 bad), they would be a formidable team. And Bobby was having a bit too much fun when they pulled the minivan over.

I’m not surprised that Rayborn is alive… and here’s my theory. Remember how proud he was that Charlie found him? It’s like he was expecting it. I think he was. It’s now pretty obvious that Amanda is Rayborn’s girl, the contract is just a freaking excuse. (And during the ending montage when Amanda and Rayborn both get on the elevator together, I started wondering if the relationship might be romantic.) So, what if Amanda’s whole accusing Charlie of murder was just supposed to provide him with the motivation to find Rayborn, because if Rayborn is alive, Charlie couldn’t kill him. Like it was a test set up by Rayborn to prove Charlie’s worth. Except Rayborn doesn’t understand Charlie the type of man that Charlie was. He found another way to take care of the problem that Amanda posed. It was only when he was pulling out everything he had because Dani was in danger, did he care enough about Rayborn’s fate to start investigating. If Roman hadn’t made Rayborn an issue, he might still be acting as a janitor in a homeless shelter.

There's another one plus one equals one going on... Charlie the cop vs. Charlie the con. It's been there since day one. Who's going to win? The cop or the con. The answer is... they both do. Charlie the cop plus Charlie the con equals Charlie. But for the entire episode... hell, the entire series, we've been functioning with the assumption that it's an either/or. It normally is very clear when Charlie is in cop mode and when he’s in con mode. But he kept switching back and forth, because the situation needed him to switch back and forth. The lines kept getting blurrier until, like the sun after his head got shoved into the glass, everything came together. The Con exists to protect the Cop. One cannot survive without the other because they are both Charlie.
marymary
May. 3rd, 2009 10:30 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you're here! No worries about the delay --- I'm always happy to talk Life.

What’s very interesting about this is that both Seever, who is his current partner, and Bobby, who was his old partner and in some ways never stopped, were given scene that highlighted that both understand Charlie and Dani’s partnership is on a different, deeper level.

This has me intrigued. Tell me more about this.

And your theory about Rayborn is really interesting. So you think that Amanda was taking photos of Charlie's wall, for example, to report back to Rayborn, not to implicate Charlie or to find Rayborn. I haven't thought of it that way!

The Con exists to protect the Cop. One cannot survive without the other because they are both Charlie.

Yeah, I really like this! I like it a lot better than Sepinwall's take, which was the "either/or" thing (and a bit mis-characterized to boot). One of the brilliant aspects of DL's performance is how the hell he gets all the aspects of Charlie to hang together believably. I love how you described this.

AND it answers those (better than any way I thought of) who were critical/dissapointed that he didn't use the "bigger gun." The con is the guy who doesn't have a gun to use -- he used the skills that he developed inside to serve justice on the outside.



Edited at 2009-05-03 10:49 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - quaggy_mire - May. 4th, 2009 02:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - marymary - May. 4th, 2009 05:55 am (UTC) - Expand
quaggy_mire
Apr. 30th, 2009 02:14 pm (UTC)
As for the more obvious interpretation… Well, I think the expression on Dani’s face said it all. She was doing her best not to freak out and totally loose it. I think the only thing that kept her together as she starred evil in the face was knowing that Charlie was coming for her. Not in a grand, heroic “storm the castle and rescue the maiden” way. Poor Tidwell found out the hard way that those sort of shenanigans didn’t work against someone like Roman. (Witness the way he went off almost half-cocked, while Charlie never once lost it.) Charlie was coming for her knowing exactly who he was up against and Dani’s job was to keep Roman as off-balance as she could. She might have been the one tied to a chair, but Roman, the king of psychological and emotional warfare, was getting played like a violin.

Now that Charlie was the one taken, she had to gather herself together so that she could do something about it… and then there he was waiting for her at the edge of the orchard. Waiting for her. It's not a big romantic declaration. Nothing has changed. Dani will go back to Tidwell (at least for a little while) and Charlie (will hopefully) fully end things with Jennifer, if he hasn't already. In fact, I would bet that these feeling are nothing new to either... heck, Charlie was probably aware that he loved Dani way back in Powerless. Not necessarily in a big romantic way. It more than romantic love. It's about devotion to your other half. There’s no change in their relationship… it’s an acceptance of how things are and the full ramifications. Maybe somewhere down the road romance will enter the equation, but right now they are both fully aware that they are two halves of the same whole and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Here's something else... way back in Merit Badge, Charlie asks Dani if anyone ever loved her like that. At the end of the second season, Charlie shows the HE loves her like that.
marymary
May. 3rd, 2009 10:36 pm (UTC)
I love everything you said, including this:

There’s no change in their relationship… it’s an acceptance of how things are and the full ramifications. Maybe somewhere down the road romance will enter the equation, but right now they are both fully aware that they are two halves of the same whole and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Yes, I love the way you described that! ITA, if the show comes back, it won't be some big topsy-turvy, "everything's different now" thing. Maybe a little for Dani, since she's always actively resisted any suggestion that she cares about Charlie. (She was the one, of the two of them, who seemed to experience a bit of an epiphany.) But she'd settle down. I agree that nothing would fundamentally change right away, if ever, and I'd really enjoy seeing their emotions from the rescue work on them over the course of a season.
(no subject) - quaggy_mire - May. 4th, 2009 02:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - marymary - May. 4th, 2009 06:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
May. 2nd, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC)
So I've finally decided to comment.
Hello! First, I wanted to tell you that you inspired me to begin watching the O Glorious and Highly Exalted LIFE. How, you ask?

Well. After watching Band of Brothers (again) (and again), I was browsing through the internet and stumbled across one of your journal entries here.

I was like, Hey! Damien Lewis! (Oh. And I agree with EVERY WORD in your DL rant.) (Ha! Didn't know you were being secretly read, didja?) (DON'T JUDGE ME.)

And so I discovered LIFE.

My first episode EVER was I Heart Mom but I fell in love even BEFORE that first view because of your wonderfully witty and insightful commentary (that's right. Feel special).

So there.

I was feeling ashamed, because I've been reading for a good two months and laughing along with the Pants and the EVERYTHING (and I've also been expanding my LIFE icon folder, but that's beside the point.) and I haven't commented (mainly because I have some sort of internet-understanding defficiency and didn't know you could actually comment without having an LJ account).

So yeah. I guess I just wanted to say thanks (AND I AM NOT A STALKER.) (Another reason I almost didn't comment at all) and ALSO--I've converted my sister to LIFE love as well. *smug grin*

[Ha! This makes my fourth TV show conversion (all on my sister, sadly). She still doesn't like Southland, though (that newish show with Michael Cudlitz, or Bull). Whatever. I HAVE TIME.]

Ahem.

So.. when LIFE has another season, I'll be commenting and putting in my two cents (although it'll probably only be a smiley-face or some such nonsense because LIFE renders me speechless for a good two weeks).

(Which could be another reason I didn't comment earlier.)

:)

--Hedgehog.
marymary
May. 3rd, 2009 10:48 pm (UTC)
Re: So I've finally decided to comment.
I wanted to tell you that you inspired me to begin watching the O Glorious and Highly Exalted LIFE

Go me! I'm so proud of myself! *g*

(Ha! Didn't know you were being secretly read, didja?)

I DID know! Incredibly, you are not the first! 8-)

(DON'T JUDGE ME.)

No judging! I'm thrilled that you like what I wrote!

didn't know you could actually comment without having an LJ account

Yeah, it's brilliant, right? Honestly, I'm a little bit ignorant too, cause I don't know whether my reply will get back to you via email, the way they do to LJ users. So I hope I'm even talking to anyone right now. :-)

and ALSO--I've converted my sister to LIFE love as well.

Good for you!! I hope, for everybody's sake, that we get another season. We'll find out tomorrow. I'm not hopeful... But even if not, you must go back and watch Season 1 and the start of Season 2 on DVD. It's even better the second time, seriously.

You crack me up --- I'm big on converting people too. Sisters, friends, random people on LJ (apparently!). It's my hobby. :-)

it'll probably only be a smiley-face or some such nonsense because LIFE renders me speechless for a good two weeks

Ha. I know! I find I have to watch each episode twice before anything coherent comes out of me. But comment however you want! I'm happy you're here. :-)
anatolealice
Feb. 20th, 2010 10:52 am (UTC)
I just finished One tonight. I've been watching season 2 since last week and I was desperate to read your LJ but didn't want to spoil myself because I KNEW you had awesome analysis here and oh was I right!

I've loved the partnership between Crews and Reese because it's so different from the usual partner UST (not that I'm not loving that on another show but I loved that this was different). They made such an effort in season 1 to make their partnership work given all the negativity about Crews and it did and then season 2 they were so much more relaxed. Tidwell was an awesome addition to their dynamic and he's so sweet to Dani but dynamic between crews & reese is just so perfect, they have their little routine and it just works so well, they get each other. How he refers to her as his partner so often and her grumpiness *loves*. That said, I did not see that ending coming. I knew he'd get her back and imagined maybe a more emotional final meeting as they swapped places but oh, the finger tips not touching! I was just flailing.

Gah, I am just rambling (and still flailing) I need to re-watch the whole lot now. Except 5 quarts maybe. Eek, that one made me queasy.

Mary, I am so glad you made me watch Life! It's a good thing I don't have your cell phone number, you'd have received all manner of hysterical texts this week :-)
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