Welcome to the fifth recap of Venice the Series: Season 3 with Kelinswriter (@jessiewolf), Jaina (@Jaina47) and myself (@Ryslerfic).
Hi, best episode of the season so far! How you doing? What a concise, tight, slice of soap you are.
Jaina: HBS gets an early start on stealing this episode.
Guya is frantic, almost breaking the fourth wall, all alone and yet saying “Thank God you’re here.” She’s talking to something that isn’t there. Unless you believe in spirits.
Jaina: Guya’s inability to say the word “hooker” to her sister and the way she chokes and stutters her way around it is freaking hilarious. Her “oh thank god you’re here” is very cute though. It’s almost like she’s already forgotten that her sister is dead…or not forgotten. Just so quickly gotten used to having her back. It’s perfect. And hilarious.
Kelinswriter: Guya really needs to cut back on caffeine.
The spirit has taken on the role of Katie, Guya’s dead sister. She has attached herself to Guya, a parasite, an itch, and Guya has responded. As of Episode 3 they have become a team. Detectives.
Guya, high-energy, informs Katie that she’s actually totally a corpse. She’s too excited to be freaked out by this information. So is Katie. But what corpse? Not even Brandon knows.
“The woman behind the funeral parlor. It was you. How in the hell could it be you?”
“I don’t know,” Katie says. “I remember being back at the house.”
Jaina: “You know, I have felt you the-erre.” HBS is so getting all the lines of the episode. Except for, forgive my spoiling, the Colonel’s about busting someone else’s crystal balls. Snerk.
Guya, not knowing about her brother-in-law’s creepy sexual proclivities, does not take Katie’s statement literally or practically. Of course Katie would be at the house! Because she’s Katie! Not because the Colonel was–I can’t tell if this thought is gross or interesting. That the Colonel has a prostitute that’s spiritually or physically or otherwise Katie.
Jaina: Heh. I would like to know where Guya got her spirit guide handbook. Because she says this stuff about spirits transferring so matter of factly, like everyone knows it. I love it.
Katie and Guya play Nancy Drew. And re-iterate that they’re not going to talk about the accident with anyone, especially not their miserable, guilty family. GUIZE.
Jaina: Guya… Self-interest, aka saving her own hide, or truly looking out for Van. Because unless there’s something else going on with that accident – that we don’t know about yet – then I kind of think that not telling Van qualifies as a good thing. Dude has enough problems in life already. Knowing that he might like technically, if you can blame a toddler for that sort of thing, be responsible for his beloved aunt’s death, just seems like insult to injury. Or something else purely unnecessary.
Instead, Guya makes a plan to interrogate the Colonel’s neighbors until she finds a corpse. Katie’s corpse. Brandon’s corpse. She’s on the case!
Jaina: When Katie/Amber says she has to take care of something back at the house, well, apparently I’ve been consuming too much mob media because when she says “take care of it” I assumed she meant “take care of, take care of” like with concrete shoes and a long walk off a short pier for Amber. But it’s probably something far more mundane. I do love me some speculation though.
Kelinswriter: “The dead h-w-w-woman behind the funeral parlor” may be this week’s funniest line reading. But the whole scene feels like something out of a classic 1930s Hollywood film (or a good night at the theatre) – the pacing, the rhythm, the deadpan handling of absurdity. And I will reiterate once again how much I love seeing Liz get a part she can really dig into. The “sisters” chemistry is palpable.
Katie’s like, “Aw, sis. :)”
Jaina: And the “oh, she’s so cute” look from Katie/Amber and Guya darts away. It makes me curious. I dunno. I think I’m still waiting for the other malevolent spirit-y shoe to drop.
Meanwhile Gina’s still getting drunk because Michele has fucked up her life and Jamie is the worst body hider ever and Ani would rather date Lara than her and now Richard is here and if this was another show she’d totally just jump his bones but in Venice she’s just snarky and bitter and drunk. At least for now.
Jaina: Gina should probably not make her past grabbing her ass look so awesome. Or is that just me? Richard would also like to grab her ass. Just fyi lol.
Kelinswriter: Gina ish drunk. Gina ish shoo verrrrwy, vewwy….drunk. Which considering the “week” she’s had, seems an entirely reasonable response. She literally does look like she’s trying to drown herself in that ginormous blue (kinda awesome) martini glass.
Richard loves her like this. This is his girl right here.
“That’s how you see me?” Gina asks.
“I see you as a woman who gets what she wants.”
Jaina: Her vulnerability when Richard said she would figure it out, she always does, was pretty damn endearing. She’s finding her reassurance in the most unlikely of places, but at the same time it really does mean a lot to her coming from him.
Gina’s not having it. She changes the subject. Why isn’t Richard married so this can be less awkward? Because he’s totally in love with Gina.
Jaina: In general, I really liked their banter and light flirting – her search for his ex-wife’s name was amusing. They really do sound like they were great friends back in the day, but I can definitely see why Richard read that conversation the wrong way. I mean, I don’t think that was Gina’s intention. She’s just a little drunk, and hurting and curious about her old friend’s life, but that particular question that she asked is one that comes with certain leading connotations. Boy/girl conversations are such a headache when girl is gay and boy is straight and doesn’t know girl is gay and used to bang now!gay girl.
Kelinswriter: Underneath the snarky drunk, Gina’s just so sad. She thought she had things figured out, or at the very least, that improving her Karma by taking care of the Colonel would give her a fresh start in all those other areas of her life. But the reboot has gone to hell so fast and she just doesn’t know what to do. I think it was really important that she asked Richard about why he didn’t remarry, because she’s trying to figure out just what exactly it takes to get yourself back on solid footing and she sees Richard as someone who can do that. I think he’s a hero to her – he has qualities that she wishes she had.
Jaina: “And I made a lot of women happy when I set you free.” Heee. I love that hint of Gina’s old arrogance and confidence showing back through. She’s down but not out. I dunno. I like new and improved Gina as much as the next person, but a hint of that is hot. Rock on, Gina. Heee. And Richard totally doesn’t get it. Still. Or first I should say.
Richard offers to walk her home, even though she drove to the bar.
Kelinswriter: Loved the responsible drinking PSA at the end. But I think it also says something about Richard in that he’s the sort of person who won’t let Gina be her usual self-destructive self. Kind of makes one wonder just how often Gina’s slid behind the wheel after one too many…
Meanwhile at Pizza Hut, Owen and Xena’s Daughter are drinking and flirting. This is easy for Owen. This is pleasant. He’s as drunk as his sister. Yet he’s still nervous, thinking maybe Adrienne is the one. Maybe this was the right thing to do. Maybe he can stop thinking about Sami or his father for two seconds.
But he can’t.
Adrienne philosophizes on acting and art. Owen pretends he has no idea what she’s talking about. It hurts too much if he believes. They’ve dated like, two days and Owen’s already dumped his Colonel bullshit on her. Just like he did on Sami. And she wants to solve all his problems by believing in him.
Jaina: I feel like Owen is always having the same conversation. The woman may change, but… he wants to be an actor. His dad, the Colonel, disapproves. There’s nothing wrong with acting. He should follow his dreams. Rinse and repeat. I don’t mean this as a complaint, but I think it’s a deliberate sign that Owen is stuck in a rut. He’s repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results – Einstein’s definition of insanity. Or maybe Owen isn’t expecting anything different to happen. Maybe it’s just this thing he does, and he’s used to this cycle, the way his life goes? Idk. I don’t claim to be an Owen expert.
Kelinswriter: Owen please stop turning everything around so that it’s about your dad. Love Adrienne calling him on it and pushing him to act like an adult.
Jaina: I gotta say I agree with Adrienne that I too always thought it would be cool to be one of those people who always knew what they wanted to do with their lives. Though it doesn’t seem to have helped out Owen that much. He still seems just as confused as everyone else to me. For a dude who never sees his dad, he sure talks/thinks about him an awful lot.
“We’re starting something.”
“You want me to recite Shakespeare?”
Jaina: I loved Owen’s surprise when she said work. Apparently some people do that there. :p …and I actually find Owen pretty damn hot in this scene. Who knew. I blame @aimlessny. Uh-huh. That’s it.
Adrienne walks away. Van’s there. He’s always been there.
Kelinswriter: OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT. Of COURSE this is all a setup by Van. I mean, come on, Owen can’t be THAT big.
Jaina: Love love love “Go on with your bad self” playing as Adrienne walks out and gives Van the nod. That scene was so awesome. I didn’t have to know she had like extra-ulterior motives for me to be interested in this clusterfuck in Owen’s life but I admit I loved it. And Van’s swagger as he sits his evil, conniving self on that car and fiddles with his sunglasses. He looks so badass. I love it.
Speaking of worse, the Colonel is working on arm strength. Poor bastard. Guya is like “lolz” because she doesn’t have boundaries. Nurse Stella is not even here, but Guya feels her everywhere. “What do you call her? General?”
Jaina: I…some super blasphemous part of my brain would like to see Guya/The Colonel some day. Maybe a drunken tumble and they both wake up looking horrified.
The Colonel is in a good mood, so instead of just throwing her out, he fucks with her. “There is no gossip. This isn’t reality television. We don’t do that.”
Guya suspects nothing. And feels Katie everywhere.
“You gotta stop with this shit,” The Colonel says.
Never. Not when she’s in every nook and cranny. The Colonel wants to know why she’d bother.
Jaina: The Colonel’s prune/bran snark was fucking awesome. It’s interesting to see how he interacts with Guya vs. Owen. He probably feels the same way about their chosen professions – ie he thinks they’re bogus crap. But the way that he treats them is markedly different. Even if he tells both of them about it. He still treats Guya as an adult and someone competent of making her own decisions. Even if he doesn’t like them. The difference being Owen’s never become an adult in his eyes. I don’t know where I was really going with that, but it was just an interesting comparison to me. I think out of everyone we’ve seen, the Colonel actually might respect her the most.
Kelinswriter: Guya comes roaring in and immediately starts giving the Colonel shit and pimping him for gossip. And can I just say that we need more of these two on screen together because the way they dance around each other is magic. What I’m finding really interesting about this is how much further along the Colonel is (or seems to be) in recovering from Katie’s death. He’s moved on in a way that Guya never has (maybe because of that big secret that somehow never made it into the accident report). I think it speaks to their worldviews, to some extent. The Colonel is very “you live, then you’re dead, and that’s life” as you would expect a soldier to be and Guya is the antithesis of that.
Jaina: The both grieved very different for Katie but in a way he can respect her differences – at least enough to take the time to soften and explain his feelings to her as much as he ever does to anyone. He just yells at Owen that he’s stupid and fix it basically. I kind of like that the Colonel calls Guya on her feelings though. In this case, if Guya really, truly is seeing Katie then she’s right, but…hanging on to the point that the person left behind can’t move on, that’s not really very good either. Maybe it’s not even good for Guya now. Katie/Amber sure as hell seemed pretty tormented when she first showed up.
Since Gina may be many things, but she’s not a vacuumer, Guya finds an earring on the carpet that’s possibly been there for months weeks. She’s like WTF.
Kelinswriter: Damn, that hooker was careless with her shit, wasn’t she? Colonel, repeat after me: “Oh that’s Gina’s she must have dropped it. I will give it back to her next time she stops by.” Then snatch it and hide it. The end.
Jaina: Oooh, Jamie cleanup detail fail. I can’t wait until Guya drags that back to Katie/Amber. Then the fun really begins. I hope we get a whisper/shout conversation when and if Guya finds out Gina hid a body for the Colonel.
That mystery will have to wait, because we’re cutting to the BEST SCENE EVER.
Gina and Richard are walking arm and arm. Carly and Bo. It doesn’t matter. The thing about OTPs, they are eternal. They do not die. Gina and Richard haven’t seen each other in nearly 20 years. It’s like yesterday.
Richard kisses the fuck out of her. Gina’s like yikes.
Jaina: I have to say, I’m quite impressed. That was the smoothest roll and duck to kiss Gina. Richard’s got skilz. Oh yeah.
“It’s not you, it’s me,” she says.
Richard’s like, “Ha you totally said that.”
Kelinswriter: Awkward kiss alert! I laughed through this entire thing. The dialogue and their reactions are just perfect, I can’t single any particular moment out. Well…okay. the “ooooookay” from Richard might have been the best part. Because no one who’s had a kiss gone wrong wants to hear “We need to talk.”
Jaina: Richard’s man!cooties just killed Gina’s mellow nostalgic buzz. Boo. On the other hand Richard’s “we need to talk” “Okay” was so hilariously pained. Win. No good shall ever come of this!
Gina has to talk about her feelings. This does not go very well.
“I’m ready,” Richard says. He’s always been ready. He’s always understood Gina better than she understands herself. He’s always loved her more than she loves herself.
“I had to be honest about who I was. Who I am.”
Kelinswriter: Gina is trying so hard to psych herself up to say this, and failing miserably. I’m starting to wonder how the hell she’s ever managed to come out to anyone. It’s actually pretty adorable. She wants to be mature and clear and not just blurt out “oh for God’s sakes I’m gay,” and it’s got this undercurrent of hilarity about it because she’s still pretty close to shitfaced. I love that Richard’s realization is about how he feels, not some drama about Gina not being who he thought she was. He’s just relieved that it wasn’t him and glad that missing piece of the puzzle has fallen into place. It says a lot about Richard and about their friendship that this is his reaction.
Richard, who knows her, really looks at her. Sitting alone on a beach. There’s no other man. There never has been. There’s just Gina. He looks at the negative space. He asks the question that so many ask their random, slightly different, strangely single, incredibly secretive best friends forever.
Richard bursts out laughing. “That explains an awful lot.”
Jaina: I just love this whole conversation. Gina’s emphatic, finger waving, I have to tell you something, is just the perfect amount of drunkenly earnest. Heee. And then there’s the intensity with which Gina stares at Richard. Like, don’t make me spell this out for you, dude. Read. My. Mind. I don’t know. I’m not sure the first thing I would have jumped to was “gay” if I’d been Richard in that conversation. Maybe really bad at relationships, but…idk.
“I wish I’d told you years ago,” Gina says. The lament of the blessed gays.
Then he asks question two, the same question my dad asked when I came out. “Sooooooooooooooooo.”
Gina confesses she’s single. But Richard’s her Friend now, and he loves the fuck out of her, so he presses. He makes the conversation serious, because he knows how to make it safe for Gina. He always has.
Jaina: There’s so much longing and hurt and sadness in the way Gina says “No, I’m not.” Such a simple thing but it speaks volumes, makes my heart ache for her. This is like the ultimate horror of Otalia, Olivia putting it all on the line, all out there in the graveyard and then Natalia saying nope, no thanks, gonna marry Frank. You suck. Yeah, that’s what Gina is living and it sucks.
Kelinswriter: The more I type, the more I feel like I’m failing in communicating how much I adore this scene and how it was handled, because it could have gone wrong in so many ways. And yet, the tone is so precise and filled with such respect for what a hard thing it is to tell someone you’ve known half your life that what they saw of you was only a fraction of the real picture.
Jaina: His cheeriness seems a little over the top to me. I mean, I get that he’s happy for her, but really that happy for her? I don’t mean it in a bad way. Maybe I’m just over thinking things? Idk. I’m glad he’s happy for her and it explains things though. Potentially anvilly things. And speaking of anvilly things, SHE DID WHAT SHE HAD TO DO. Also? HE KNOWS NOW. Only not. Not yet.
Kelinswriter: Gina starts getting evasive. THERE ARE MORE SECRETS PEOPLE. But it’s a soap, so of course there are more secrets.
Jaina: When he talks about her disappearing, I think that’s the first time we’ve seen a hint of something besides happy, charming carefree guy from Richard. He really was hurt. He really did love Gina. They’ve been indulging in nostalgia, for younger better days. And that’s what it’s been for Gina. Richard…I’m not so sure now. I like charming, happy, carefree Richard though. There’s not much of that in Venice and I hope Gina gets to keep a friend like that. Something tells me this conversation will lure Gina into a false sense of telling Richard things will be easy and he will still accept her with open arms.
Same beach, different time. We’ve been here before on the beach. It hurts so much, the misty gray where Ani is. Where Ani’s happy.
If you don’t see it the instant everything changes, the difference between true-love and almost-love, then this scene has failed you. Peter and Jessica and Crystal and whoever wrote this and directed it and filmed it and did hair and dressed them.
“I love you,” Gina says.
Ani makes fun of her.
Gina’s too happy to be chagrined. Ani’s happy enough to mess with her.
Jaina: Speaking of love and things people love, I love the little hitch in Gina’s breath when she says she loves Ani. Because it kind of slips out of her and then she gasps when she knows she said it. It’s out there and she’s holding her breath, because oh god. And Ani’s response is perfect. Finally. She’s calling Gina on her crap. Just a tiny bit. It’s more like the Ani we see in season 1, standing up for herself with Gina, but without the anger and bitter that’s there too.
“I do love you, Ani.”
Ani loves her back. They kiss. It’s a perfect moment.
Jaina: I wonder if this moment, when Gina finally feels comfortable saying it back is when Gina finally believes for real that Ani loves her. She feels comfortable enough to say it back finally, admit that her heart is in it. This scene is just so fucking perfect though. Ani shouting for all the world to hear. So joyous and happy and free. It’s beautiful. Then Gina saying it again so tenderly, saying it twice to make sure Ani knows. That’s beautiful too, sealed with a kiss. What we all wanted since Otalia. But more than that too. It stands in it’s own right. It’s own thing with it’s own characters and tangles and beautiful complicated mess. I want so much more of this, this show to just keep on going and going forever. Because that? Was pretty damn close to perfect.
Kelinswriter: What would soaps be without flashbacks? I for one don’t ever want to know. I love that this one starts with Ani startling Gina, which is a callback to Gina startling Ani on the beach in ep 2. Gina so giddy and joyful is kind of mind-blowing – this may be the first time we’ve ever seen her so unfettered. And what’s more, I think this is the first time we see Ani really buying in to the notion that Gina loves her. THIS is the couple we’ve been waiting to see – the reason why they’ve both endured so much for each other.
And then it’s over, and we’re back to…
In the present, Richard’s like, “flashbacks is not talking.” So Gina babbles.
Richard’s sad for her. He’s patient. He holds her on the beach. But it’s just not the same.
Kelinswriter: Gina self-flagellating, which seems to be a theme this year. That Catholic guilt had to catch up with her sooner or later, I guess. She’s still just aching and so busted up inside. The sting of the letter being thrown back in her face by Lara (and by implication, Ani) is still hovering just below the surface. I’m glad Richard is there to give her a hug because damn, does she need one.
Jaina: Snapping out of that moment in the end, back to the Beach of Sadness with Richard felt just as sad as for us watching as Gina. Okay, maybe not, but I felt right there with her, with the sad and the wistful and the nostalgia. Knowing she’s done it to herself – or thinking she has – makes it even worse for her. And she doesn’t think she’s getting any more chances. I think this is even sadder than Season 1. I hope Gina realizes Ani doesn’t hate her at some point because this sad, yet still kind of mature version of her is just super sad. Did I mention the sadness? Because, yeah.
The beach fades away.
Things I Knew About You by Steff Martin plays.
Kelinswriter: The lyrics are worth a close listen.