Hi and welcome to the second recap of Venice the Series: Season 3 with Kelinswriter (@jessiewolf), Jaina (@Jaina47) and myself (@Ryslerfic).
I stayed home sick today and ended up mainlining five episodes of One Life to Live, which totally put me in the zone for Venice. All the metatextual references, the soap tropes, the structure… the best lines in today’s episode were full of double-meaning and foreshadowing.
Jaina: OH SHIT, OH GOD. BLACK EYE GINA ALERT.
Rysler: I also get a vibe they’re setting Gina up as a true tour du force this year, rather than just sort of.. present like last year. Giving her a true soap leader status, like a Lucci or a Lord. They are coiling her the fuck up.
Kelinswriter: Gina’s going to stop being passive in her own life. If you think about it, she really was. She let her relationship with Ani fall apart, she let the Colonel make her feel small. The question I would ask is why. (think I know the answer, but…)
Rysler: Because she has [REDACTED]?
Kelinswriter: We aren’t talking about [REDACTED] yet.
Jaina: Oh, you mean the thing with the thing and the thingie?
Jaina: Did I mention I like the new opening sequence? With the time lapse and all that? Cause I do.
It’s still morning!
Okay, it’s the next morning. Gina, our superhero, has arranged care and feeding of the Colonel, she’s gotten wasted with Jane and Owen, which always puts her in a good mood. She is ready to take on Alan. She is ready to take on Richard.
It’s always sunny in Venice Beach.
The Colonel, too, is full of vigor, and he’s not gonna let some She-Ra mess him up. They arm-wrestle. (Jaina: I admit the Colonel does have a point about the unfairness of the whole thing. Dude. OMG. The scream. I…was not expecting that, Venice. *snickers*) Remember how the Colonel couldn’t hold marbles a few months ago? He’s healing. He’s baaaaack.
Gina goes to see Richard. “You’re all dirty. And stinky.” She asks him to look in on the Colonel. And she’s fucking giddy. I would be amused if the whole season was like, Gina trying to get back to her first day of work, except hijinks.
Jaina: Never having been to Cali…do they really just let people live in their Vans in beach parking? That seems a little…I mean, is that a real thing? I’m just curious.
[for all you Bo/Carly fans out there. Yum.]
Kelinswriter: Okay, Gina and Richard. I will simply say that getting to see these two banter together again makes me very, very happy. And hyper Gina against laid back, kind of crushing Richard is so sweet. They are so completely not processing where each other is at headspace wise.
Still morning. Lara shows up for her AA meeting. She angsts. I am really happy with all these quiet, one-character moments we’re getting this year.
Jaina:“Here comes the wagon again?” I heart you Venice, for that alone. A little heavy handed maybe, but funny as hell. I guess comedy is this season’s new thing? Because they definitely seem to be bringing it more consistently than in the past.
Jaina: Also, I kind of loved Lara’s sad, do I have to go into the gross building with the gross people face. I mean, clearly this is an indicator of more Lara!problems. She doesn’t think she has a big enough problem that she needs to be there with those plebes, but…I still find the look amusing while I find the rest of it seriously ominous. Let the lying and fun and games begin. Though on second thought, she gets credit for being awake at 9:30 AM. …I guess?
Jaina: And yet, Ani’s black-eye and looking at a similar pamphlet puts it into a crystal clear (uh, really pardon that pun. It was totally unintentional. My bad.) perspective. I feel like this still has a lot worse to get before it gets any better. And if the beginning hurt that much, just how much worse is it gonna get? And when does Gina get to start slamming doors in people’s faces already?
Ani, alone, drinking her morning coffee and being all sad. She is not having a giddy morning.
Kelinswriter: Both the Lara and the Ani silent scenes are really important I think. Because they’re both on the edge of a precipice. Lara’s being, “Do I get healthy or stay the way I am?” and Ani’s really being in some ways the same. Ani’s wondering if she should buy in, and if she does, what is she actually buying into?
Owen THINKS he’s having a giddy morning. He, like his twin, experienced the healing joys of Family Wasted Time. His soul is purged. He can even go visit his father. This is the good place Owen is in. He brings an offering. And he tells his father his news. Everyone else loved and supported him through it, so why not?
The Colonel is a shitheel immediately. “Nice of you to finally stop by.”
Jaina: Awww, Owen’s apathetic offering. Slacker!Owen grows on me more all the time. Maybe because I’m not actively trying to ship him with anyone. I…um…okay, I gotta say I feel a little bad for Owen here, all kicked when he was down, but I gotta say that I actually find the Colonel praising Gina so excessively to be kind of hilarious. And awesome. She is now the perfect daughter? Really? Though did Owen really not expect the Colonel to go for it/him when he laid out the job situation for him like that? I mean, I feel for Owen here. He was going through a lot. It was unfair, yada yada. And the actor thing was total crap obviously, but…other than that? The Colonel kinda had a point about Owen not stepping up. While Owen did too. Oh family drama.
Rysler: The Colonel respecting Gina now because she proved she was tough, and still hating Owen because he’s weak makes me really sick to my stomach.
Kelinswriter: That’s the Colonel. Gina won with the Colonel because she challenged him. “I never thought you were a quitter until now” was what got him doing his rehab. Nurse Stella goads him into the arm wrestling competition which deep down he knows he can’t win because she challenged him. I think he knows that he’s stuck with the nurse, but he’s going to make himself at least pretend it was some sort of wager so he can say that he lost fair and square and is living with the terms.
Rysler: Right? He tried to pussy out and she grabbed him by the balls.
Kelinswriter: As to Owen – the Colonel is a man who is trained to smell weakness. He attacks it like a tiger would attack the smell of blood. Owen feeds in to that. Gina let herself do that for a long time, and now she refuses to, and so that’s forced a detente of sorts.
Kelinswriter: But I do agree very strongly with the Colonel when he called Owen on the fact that Owen let Gina do all the work while he pretended to be off making a movie. Because as I said last year that is an entirely bitchass thing to do.
Rysler: Eh, it was lose/lose. Owen couldn’t convince Gina to let him die, and Gina couldn’t convince Owen to help.
Kelinswriter: The problem is he wouldn’t have died. Assholes always live til 90.
Kelinswriter: The Colonel saying that Gina “manned up” is so telling. Especially saying it to Owen. He’s telling Owen what he expects from his kids, and Owen has failed miserably. as usual. The “Owen being Owen” line…the Colonel really is trying to help Owen with all this tough love. It comes across as meanspirited, but in the world of Asshole, it’s really not.
Since this is a for-real soap, Richard barges in as Owen barges out. Possibly overhearing. What do the characters know? The Colonel is happy to have a Real Man in the house.
Kelinswriter: Richard really is the son he wanted.
Rysler: Gina has “tracked [Ani] down” at a beach shoot. Stalker.
Kelinswriter: Oh yeah. Ani’s been sending every call to voicemail.
Jaina: You know Gina tracking Ani down, do you think she made a brief stop by Springfield to borrow Frank’s NatTracker 3000?
Gina is still giddy, because her relationship with Ani is so awesome these days, right? Even though Ani cried in her arms and told Gina she was scared. Of what? Gina doesn’t remember. She gets to go back to work today!
Jaina: She’s totally keeping that side of her face hidden. Oh, terrified Ani.
Ani does a check-in, “Is everything okay?” and then establishing that Gina’s a stray italian greyhound, tries to get the fuck rid of her. Go away, Gina!
Jaina: I love how Gina is so free and like reveling at being in Ani’s presence and Ani is just like oh god go get the hell out of here. Now. Leave. Go. Oh god.
Jaina: Oh god. That’s just…the saddest thing ever. The scene is so a mixture of hijinks, ominous and terrified. They hit that tone perfectly. I was thinking it might be a near miss, that Gina would be so caught up in her freedom that she misses Ani, but she sees her now right? Isn’t that the thing? And she goes so tenderly for the glasses. And I love the way she touches Ani’s chin.
Ani tries out a dozen lies and blames herself. She bought glasses that were way too big. She got eye strain. She’s stupid. She’s a klutz.
Jaina: You know, having had a black eye before, I know how painful it would have been for Ani to smile like that with the side of her face fucked up. She’s like literally in pain to keep that facade up that everything’s fine.
Ani smiles big and self-effacing at Gina when Gina sees her eye. Yeah, like that’s going to work. Gina goes from puppy to rabid Rottweiler in like, three seconds.
Check the headshake after “No, you’re not.” Ani is as powerless to stop the coming tirade as Owen was. Aren’t bullies great?
Kelinswriter: That “okay” after “I will fucking kill her” made me laugh out loud. This is exactly why Ani didn’t want Gina to know. She knew Gina would go ballistic and it would become about managing Gina. Which is still Gina not really putting Ani first in some ways, because she’s not reading what Ani needs. It’s about her need to act. Fucking territorial alphas.
Jaina: “Let it go. Have you met me?” Ha! And fucking awesome.
Jaina: I’m curious about Ani’s mumbling. The way she turns after Gina walks away it makes me wonder if she was having second thoughts, doubts about sending Gina away. “Don’t leave me.” I’m only gonna need to watch that scene about four thousand more times.
Lara goes over to Ani’s Awesomesauce Apartment, carrying a dozen red roses. She knocks over the mail, because she is a fuckup.
Jaina: …and there goes mail theft. Geez.
Kelinswriter: What I find most intriguing is that for the second time this episode, we see Lara mulling her options without being shown what her ultimate decision was.
Kelinswriter: I have those shoes, or at least knockoffs. In fact, I am wearing said knockoff shoes as we speak.
Meanwhile, Sami is pissed/sad about Owen.
Gina walks into her office. She’s made it to work. Yay! Only she’s been talking to herself, arguing, working herself into a tizzy over Ani.
Kelinswriter: “She keeps falling for people who don’t love her the way she deserves to be loved and it’s just getting worse.” Line of the episode. Gina may not have fully processed it, but I think Gina has pegged there that for some reason, Ani is punishing herself. As if Ani is saying “I made a bad choice in a partner I just have to live with it.” All of Gina’s guilt is coming into play there because she fed into that.
Kelinswriter: I think we’re also seeing that for the first time, there is something fundamentally broken about Ani. And Gina may be the only person who gets that. It may in fact be why Ani gets Gina so well. (s1 ep6 bench scene. “I get you. Blessing. Curse.”)
Michele: “Um, hello?” And yet, Michele’s all, look, Ani drama. “Sometimes helping really isn’t helping,” she says, all guilty.
Jaina: “Sometimes helping isn’t really helping?” This has Jill Lorie Hurst written all over it. It definitely reminds me of Otalia in that. There’s a conversation going on here but they’re both talking about different things. But um, Michele, I know you wanna get that off your chest but how in the world does that seem like a good time to tell Gina. Duuuuude.
Crystal’s hair is growing on me. I’m totally there.
Gina walks out of work. Michele is just “…”
Ani packs up her ginormous SUV and angsts in front of the ocean, while eating a Three Musketeers bar.
Jaina: I probably shouldn’t be amused at Ani the massive SUV driver and yet…I am. The basking in the sun was…scary and sad and looked so briefly peaceful, just soaking in the warmth. She just…needed a moment.
Richard and the Colonel drink coffee and talk Gina and politics. Richard reveals he has a super crush on Gina. The Colonel tries to tell Richard he’s barking up the wrong tree but he can’t quite manage the words. Which makes this scene hilarious. The funniest of the episode.
“My work takes up a lot of space.” Does he mean in his heart?
Kelinswriter: The Colonel’s affection for Richard is palpable. Which amuses me considering Richard is a total hippie. But I think what he appreciates is Richard’s focus and dedication.
Gina shows up at Ani’s house, and from the dry “Oh. Hey,” I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS SCENE. We have waited so long for the true Clash of the Alphas, not to mention the black eye payoff and I, for one, am a fan.
Kelinswriter: Okay I’ll be honest, the buildup to this has been so intense that the first go round I felt a slight sense of letdown. And that’s just because of manufactured expectations, nothing to do with the scene itself which is brilliant and really rather subtle in what it’s setting up.
Lara says, “You’re going to break the door!” Hee. Even that is so passive-aggressive. It’s basically saying “You are out of control, dude. There’s such a thing as decorum.” Gina manages to call her on it, but the follow-up is “Oh, of course Ani went right to you.” I love Lara.
Kelinswriter: Nadia’s eyes are freaking me out in this scene. They’re like vampire eyes.
We talked a lot last year about Nadia Bjorlin’s acting chops, and it’s well-known that Crystal elevates whoever she’s with. I think that’s a lot of the pleasure I get from this scene. Watching these two women go at it. Winning.
“What happens when you have another drink, Lara?”
“Pft, just leave.”
I have to stop quoting every damn line. Ani’s CD wall is spectacular.
Lara starts to get really fucking personal in her attack.
Jaina: Oh wow. The stripped, vulnerable broken look on Gina’s face…heartbreaking. I didn’t expect this to hit the fan so soon. I need to watch this scene a few million more times.
Kelinswriter: The jab that gets through Gina’s armor is her words of love to Ani thrown back in her face. I think part of her fears that Ani really did show it to Lara. That she was being laughed at, essentially.
Rysler: Well, that is always the core fear of a letter like that.
Kelinswriter: “Ani…Ani read it and she showed it to you?”
Kelinswriter: That is about as wounded as Gina gets. She’s just shattering into a million pieces there.
Rysler: I love how they took something so beautiful and made it so ugly. That’s… yeah. Brilliant.
Gina cries. She’s stalwart, and she knows how to take it, because she’s been taking it from her father all her life, and because Lara’s totally right.
Jaina: Dude, do not Lara get you off your mission point. Bruises = bad.
Kelinswriter: Honestly? Who would have thought that Gina would be the one walking away from that confrontation in defeat? That sets up so much in the way of opportunities to explore through this season. I thought the letter and the confrontation were both going to take a lot longer to get to, but all they’re doing is setting the stage for more explosive conflicts later.
Gina cries, and then she leaves, and Lara should be relieved.
But she’s not.
Jaina: And yet, Lara played that perfectly. Gina was practically falling apart as she walked out of there. That was…actually a little bit scary.
Kelinswriter: It makes her a fantastic villain. And I think part of why the reaction is so strong is that she’s a naturalistic organic villain. Everyone’s had that person who you thought was cool who turned out to be an entirely self-centered manipulative monster
Rysler: She’s a villain who doesn’t think she’s a villain. The best kind.
Kelinswriter: She thinks all her actions are justified. “You made me.”