Welcome to the third in my series of angst-free, complaint-free Venice reviews. This post contains spoilers. Before I could properly screencap this I had to put the 76 CC and Friends pictures I had on my desktop into a folder. 76. That’s a lot of Twitter/Tumbler/Youtube going “Oh, I like that, oh, I like that.” People I know, people I don’t know, making a pile. Geez, me.
I would like to thank Team Venice for offering this in HD.
I would also like to thank kelinswriter who decided to come on for full co-writer liveblogger credits this week. Because of the REPEATED WATCHING and SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT. This episode was amazing (spoiler!)
jaina47: “This felt like a giant rich piece of dessert that left me all full and satisfied. It was dreamy.”
We start where we left off, Ani and Gina on the beach. I don’t want to repeat myself every week, but THANK YOU when it comes to immediacy/presence.
And thank you for reshooting the scene. That is a very soap thing to do and, I think it really worked here. It not only reorients us, it gives us new material to glom. A very deliberate cliffhanger, a very worthwhile payoff.
Anyway, Ani has come to visit Gina’s wasteland, and Ani is very worried on account of the Colonel stroking out. Ani found out from Jamie, not Gina. So Gina and Ani have no contact between the big never-speaking-again fight in Season 1 and now. That was just a few days/weeks ago, timeline-wise. Weird to think about.
jaina47: “I feel like I should take a drink when Gina says Jamie is a good man.”
Ani is very deliberately not touching her, and thus has no idea what to say. Ani’s go-to seems to be snugglebunnies.
kelinswriter: “Gina is stripped there.”
kelinswriter: “Those defenses are down.”
kelinswriter: “And Ani sees the person she fell in love with.”
kelinswriter: “I guess what’s more accurate is Ani sees her friend.”
I love Gina talking with her eyes closed after her “I miss you” slip. Her eyes are one of her best acting assets and she can still do that.
The scene fades out of the awkward/sweet and to the Colonel, old and immobile in his chair, still capable of speaking. “Jesus H. Christ, she tried to wash me.” Guya is determined to heal him. She fills him up with crystals. I visited crystal-cure and learned that red jasper is very lucky for actors. Heh.
That poor man.
Gina’s still on the beach, alone now. Brooding–Hey, flashback! I knew this would be the best thing ever before it even came into focus and then it was the BEST THING EVER. We’re on the same beach, in the same place, early in Gina and Ani’s relationship. “Oh, we’re going for special already?” Ani’s surprised. The self-assured, cursing woman now dating Lara is non-existent. Gina wants to take Ani away across the Pacific. She’s dreaming. Ani decides to dream with her.
kelinswriter: “O.K. the look on Gina’s face when she says ‘You wanted to show me the ocean?'”
kelinswriter: “It’s so amused. And contemplating snark and then deciding to let it go cuz she thinks it’s cute.”
rysler: “Heee. She’s so cutely frustrated.”
kelinswriter: “But also I think she’s off balance.”
kelinswriter: “She’s not used to being this person. this romantic person.”
rysler: “Yeah. And if she’s going to try, then damnit, Ani should cooperate and not make fun of her.
I love that they kept this out of the trailer and the preview pictures. This was a complete surprise. A true gift.
The sweetly sarcastic “You wanted to show me the ocean?” is the best line of the episode for me. Love the twist on trope and all the echoes that come from it. Ani teases Gina until Gina turns her around and looks her in the eye. Then it’s Ani who’s disbelieving.
Fade-out to the present, to Gina’s catch of breath and sad!face, echoing Episode 1. Just…stellar. Beautiful. We’re remembering with her.
Michelle’s back at the office, which is to say she’s in the backyard, drinking beer and talking to Alan! on the phone. He wants to change some things. Michelle declares him an asshat to Jamie (CSI GUY), who arrives to have some beer with her.
Jamie has Captain Swing by Larry Duplechan with him and insists that we see the cover. I’m surprised I haven’t heard of it before. I’ve heard of Alyson Books, certainly. (I’m either a bad librarian, a bad feminist, or a bad lesbian. Take your pick.) kelinswriter finds the plot summary, uh, telling.
Michelle and Jamie bond over their pathetic love lives. Jamie says he’s too Catholic to date online (which is apparently a cesspool of perverted sex for everyone but me 🙁 ) and Michelle’s says with disbelief, “You have no Catholic sensibilities. The pope you are not.”
Then we get some Venice theme song on the transition, because all is right in the world.
Back to the Colonel’s house! Where just last night, a woman died and a man had a stroke!
Nurse Dot is storming out of his front door. “He’s out of control.” She’s quitting Colonel-caretaking. Gina is unhappy to hear this news. Nurse Dot lets forth an amazing tirade while Gina makes funny shocked/disgusted/doomed faces. Finally Gina offers her trump card for getting Nurse Dot to take care of the Colonel. “You need a house designed?”
Nurse Dot exclaims, “It’s not even worth that.”
kelinswriter points out that designing Nurse Dot’s house would be a nightmarish gig. She calls it “The ultimate sacrifice.” And still. Still!
My take is that this is the way Gina truly values herself. Her work. Her success. And this is one sign that her work may not have enough value to live on. Certainly not to bargain with. Not Nurse Dot’s time. Not Ani’s heart.
Gina goes inside, where the Colonel is. And she is hardcore. She is pissed off. She is Scary Gina here. Not that it has any effect on the Colonel. So she cajoles. She even begs. (kelinswriter: “40something whiny teenager.”) He doesn’t say a word. Not to his hateful daughter.
kelinswriter: “The reflection of Crystal in the TV is so effective.”
Meanwhile, Guya is meditating out on the deck. Candles, Buddha, mat. She reminds me of the Wii Fit Lotus game where you’re supposed to sit on the platform and not move despite the game’s attempts to tweak you. Guya has mastered this game.
(That is one sexy man. He went to Julliard!)
Van sneaks up on Guya and says “Boo.” She screams hilariously. They reunite, mother and son. Van tells her he’s staying with a friend. WITH WHO? There’s a TON of exposition about how Guya used to be a terrible mother and gave up a lot of time with Van in order to take care of Owen and Gina when they were children. So Owen and Gina are like, little brats in his eyes. Van gets along really well with the Colonel. Lame, Van. I bet he’s successful, too. Not a failed actor or anything.
(If you managed to stop rewinding the last BTS over and over and watched the Wes Ramsey interview, he says that he met and worked with Hillary B Smith on the same day. They should have worked together ages ago. It’s gorgeous.)
Cut to Ani on the beach. She has invited Lara out for a little repast. Lara’s complaints are the same. Fucking editor, blah blah blah. Ani listens patiently, eating grapes. Lara notices that Ani is hot, and declares she’s “done bitching about [her] stupid book.”
Ani tells Lara the pressures of her job. “No matter how many photo shoots I do, I’m constantly stressed out that no one’s ever going to hire me, ever again.”
Btw? This is Jessica Leccia’s best scene ever (until next week). Best. Scene. Ever. That vivaciousness, that sexy, spontaneous sense of humor, has finally come out to play. She seemed so utterly comfortable and I hope she was having as much fun as it looked like she was having in this scene. A total blast for me. I feel like I’ve been waiting to see that for a long time.
Thank you to everyone involved in making it happen! To whoever staged it to whoever picked out that black tank top of OH MY GOD, to that amazing mane of hair, to the fucking grapes, to Nadia for supporting her through the scene, to whoever scraped off all the layers and let Jessica be Jessica. Beth Feeney, Hilda Levierge, Patrick Killian, Kim Barlow. I want to lick you all over. In a puppy way. Not in a Jamie’s Worst Nightmare way.
Okay, now Ani. Ani IS happy. I wondered if Ani would find Lara lacking after that conversation with Gina, but she doesn’t seem to. She’s comfortable enough to talk about her insecurities–both body and work–free enough to share vulnerabilities with her partner. This is a sign of joy.
Every time I re-watch this I want to go back to Jessica. Between “fucking cheeseburger” and “Cast of Glee::trill::” I’m just, hee. I cannot overanalyze this. It’s too perfect for all my little words.
Maybe Ani is this giddy-pants because she got to hold hands with Gina. Lara doesn’t seem surprised by any changes in behavior, but Lara plays things close to the chest.
rysler: “That Ani’s all explody and fluffytimes and going to start working out all after having a conversation with Gina.
kelinswriter: “Well the implication is it’s the next day
kelinswriter: “But yes.
kelinswriter: “She’s happy. she got things with Gina in a better place. she got her friend back. it’s lightened her.
Nadia Bjorlin. I feel like I haven’t talked about her much. I didn’t really know her on the outside. Just through Venice. And she is amazing. She’s funny and obviously talented and committed and gorgeous. See, I try to squee about her and I don’t know what to say. She plays a very deliberate, concentrated role and I thank her for her attention to it.
And I adore the way she says, “You’re so stupid.” Heh. She’s so said that before.
(I’m just going to leave this here.)
Cut to Gina, putting a blanket over a sleeping Colonel, and looking at his medals, and wondering.
kelinswriter: “Like she’s scared to touch them. like she probably got yelled at for touching them when she was a kid and she’s still hesitant.”
When the episode ended I kind of blinked like, that’s it? I was so into the groove and the rhythms I thought it was just going to keep going. The “Oh, shit, exposition!” scenes were nicely blended with the “Ahhhh” scenes. Each week I get happier. Each week I plan for an episode where there’s plot or a break in momentum or upheaval. Each week I expect ordinary and get…this. This was beautiful.
So, this week we talked way more about the material than the actors. That is a GOOD SIGN. And is it the mark of greatness, when we’re not just dissecting every moment of a kiss, but our own lives, too? There is a lot to say about this episode. About the Colonel as a father, about Van as a brother, about Jamie’s shirt and how the ocean is just ordinary. I have 76 pictures and I’m just scratching the surface.