Save Fraternity Row!
Meanwhile in Venice.
Welcome to the sixth recap of Venice the Series: Season 3 with Kelinswriter (@jessiewolf), Jaina (@Jaina47) and myself (@Ryslerfic).
Welcome to the best episode since last week. Man.
Every episode so far has had some sort of payoff. Plot-wise, I mean. Not fan-service wise. Amber knows Guya knows Gina knows about Candy Amber’s death! Owen knows Sami knows about Adrienne!
Soapy drama goodness. Even if the theme of this episode is Ani’s Saddest Day. At least for me. You know an episode’s good when you and your fellow recappers don’t even know what to shout about first.
We open on my–I mean, the Colonel’s kitchen, where Gina drops that Richard knows she ghey.
Jaina: That the Colonel’s house has become Gina’s shelter…more or less. Just wow. That’s such a departure from Season 1. It’s what she knows; she knows how to deal with that. Losing Ani, losing her security with her job, the usual foundation of her confidence, now that’s hard.
Kelinswriter: How adorable is this? Gina coming over to hang out with the Colonel in her power suit before she goes off to work. They’re so companionable in their own combative way. It’s almost like they’re war buddies.
The Colonel is amused by Richard’s existence. He’s like, “Sooo Richard’s cooool–”
Gina don’t hear that noise.
Kelinswriter: I love how Gina stabs that “maybe” in the heart before it even gets fully out of the Colonel’s mouth. It’s like electroshock therapy – sooner or later it’s going to take.
Outside is Stella. Stella fucking breaks my heart. She’s living in quiet, mourning agony because her partner’s dead and she’s got a son to raise. Gina’s ready to buy her a house to not see that stricken expression. I want to watch again.
“Except in math.” Dot Jones can make me tear up at “Except in math.”
Kelinswriter: I really like this easy friendship that’s burgeoning between these two. Gina needs a friend who hasn’t hidden a body or undermined her at work or gotten herself beaten up by her alcoholic girlfriend or seen visions of her dead mother. It’s such a beautiful moment when Stella’s voice softens and she explains that she’s recently lost her partner and is a single mom (while outing herself at the same instant). No bluster, no drama – just the quiet simplicity of revealing the enormous burden this tough as nails nurse has been carrying on her shoulders. Gina’s instant response is perfect – she gets it, right away she gets it. And then there’s this marvelous moment where you can see her process what it would be like to lose someone you love so dearly, with a second layer of what it was like for her as a kid to be raised by a grieving parent. What a gorgeous little suckerpunch of angst.
Jaina: Aww, that’s…Stella’s backstory is really sad. I wanna give her a hug now. I liked the way that she and Gina have gone from verbal sparring to actual relating. Sometimes people in life just sneak up on you like that. Like the Colonel maybe? It could be a theme. Oh, and I like Crystal Chappell in white suits.
Rysler: If she and Liz ever have a scene together, my computer might catch on fire.
Meanwhile, Sad Ani is eating breakfast.
Jaina: Ani trying to talk herself into her breakfast is just about the saddest thing. Not in the same way as Stella’s backstory or my ragey reaction to any scene with Ani and Lara, but it’s just depressing. And easy to relate to. Sad. Did I mention sad? It almost looks like the Colonel’s sad, sad breakfast.
Ani would like to have a muffin, but no, she has a banana.
Kelinswriter: Banana nasty mushy fruit nasty ew ew ew. I wouldn’t eat it either, Ani!
Is there anything better than Jessica Leccia alone on screen? If so, it’s Jessica Leccia being bitchily self-deprecating. Her hair is exceptional, but she is disgusted. She calls her brother Jake, who is drinking rum even though he’s not in Venice. He teases her incessantly and she takes it all too personally. I don’t have siblings, but this is how I imagine them.
Kelinswriter: Okay, if Ani is eating breakfast, then even if Jake’s in another timezone, he’s drinking at, say, eleven. Maybe noon. This explains an awful lot about what Ani is willing to tolerate and why. Also, Jake is a flaming dick. Hanging up on people like that is really effective, Ani. You should try it.
Jaina: I thought Lara’s family was the one full of alcoholics? Because Jake sure looks fully loaded and if Ani’s yummy, yummy meal is any indication it’s breakfast. The immediate cake snark towards Ani also makes me sad. I don’t think he’s being malicious necessarily, but some shit just stops being funny after a while when people keep getting shit about it and I do believe Ani has reached her limit. I wonder if later in the season we’ll finally get to see Ani just lose it and blow her top. But something tells me that’s not the kind of person she is. She’ll just keep directing her anger inwards and letting her eat at her and eat at her until it’s just consuming her inside and no one even knows. Poor fucking Ani.
He asks why the hell she’s still with “that moody writer.”
She just is.
Kelinswriter: How much of a loser is Jake that he’s sharing his sister’s photos with his acupuncturist? Unless…is that some sort of straight asshole code for something sexual?
Rysler: Whatever it is, it’s an expression of lifestyle.
Kelinswriter: It’s so sweet how Ani lights up at the compliment. She so wants this call to not be ugly. I get the feeling most of them are and that they leave her feeling way worse than when she started. It’s like when she picks up the phone, she’s ripping off a band aid just to get it over with, only by the time she finishes the call she’s bleeding again.
Jaina: Maybe I’m reading too much into this but…Jake can’t tell Ani he thought her work was good? He had to relate to her his acupuncturist’s opinion. I mean, I could see if he said, hey sis, I thought these were awesome and my acupuncturist did too. But it’s like he can’t say anything nice he has to be all indirect about it. Dude, no wonder Ani’s got issues.
Ani gives up and eats a muffin. Jake rambles bleakly about how no one will love him. Er, Ani.
Jaina: Jake seems pretty sad and bitter himself. They’re both bundles full of cheer. So there’s that. But Ani? Having someone hold on to you with super glue fingers because they’re terrified that you’re gonna leave ’cause they hit you? That’s not quite the same as commitment. That’s desperation.
Kelinswriter: I am happy that I’ve taken such an instant dislike to this guy, because we needed another misanthrope in the mix now that the Colonel has been largely defanged. I do love that Jake is wise to Ani’s alpha obsession, though. Clearly, he has some history with her pattern.
We’ve bandied about a lot of theories about how Ani’s brothers have influenced her, and this seems on track.
Kelinswriter: Ani has “omg please don’t come visit I moved away for a REASON” face. I might be familiar.
Meanwhile, Lara has ordered the usual at Doom Tavern.
Kelinswriter: Who needs AA when you can sneak off to a bar in the middle of the day and knock one back when no one you know will see you? Yeah, that’s gonna work, Lara. Really it is.
Alternate Universe Willow is there and is all, why this bitch acting so weird. The awkward sizing-up is hilarious. They figure out they know each other.
Kelinswriter: Are they implying Sami was at High Bar during the infamous Gina Tracy Ani Lara scene of awkward? Cuz…not so much. It MUST have been at the beach volleyball picnic of awkward. (Anyone else sensing a theme here?)
Jaina: Heh. So there’s only two bars in Venice. Got it. …shouldn’t these two be a little more familiar with each other? That seemed like a pretty epic party they mutually attended. Though they might not have run into each other much. (Mind you if that’s a meta little nod, I love it.)
Lara, of course, does not want to be anywhere near a Brogno-relation of any sort. Sami feels that.
Jaina: I loved Lara’s little discreet, oh shit, busted in a bar, moving now, little maneuver.
Kelinswriter: Lara is intent on fleeing until she realizes she may have found a new drinking buddy. Then she’s all for it! And when she starts to really talk, we realize that Lara’s getting hit pretty hard by that drink. (Listen close; she’s slurring. That ain’t water, people.) Makes me wonder if it’s actually the first of the day.
Jaina: I’m so happy I can enjoy Nadia again for a minute because I’m not wanting to like ‘move Lara as far as humanly possible away from Ani’ in any given scene. I love the way she shifts from “Oh god is she gonna tell?” to slowly getting warmed up and relaxing. You can just see her face shift. It’s awesome. Fun!Lara is fun. She makes me feel so conflicty any time she’s on screen. I did love Lara’s, “Sorry…I guess?” Poor Owen’s getting snarked on by everyone. I mean, it’s a natural thing to say, when you’re not sure how you’re supposed to react to that kind of thing and covering all the bases, but it amused me. I’m easy.
They drink and toast together.
Jaina: Aw, is this the Secret Society of Brogno revenge? I could get behind that – in an interesting plot development kind of way. Hell hath no fury and all that.
The world’s happiest couple discusses the Dead Hooker in the Funeral Home at the Rooftop. Guya confirms that the earring she found at the Colonel’s belonged to the corpse. Brandon Blue Shirt is on to her now. He’s just not sure what he’s on to.
Jaina: …does Brandon just own a billion blue shirts?
Kelinswriter: I enjoy Brandon’s constant smitten exasperation with Guya. I mean, that would have to be your default position when dating someone like Guya, as it’s a little like dating Lucy Ricardo. Also…I have this sneaking suspicion Brandon’s handcuffs get put to inappropriate uses on a fairly frequent basis.
Then they totally have sex right there.
Kelinswriter: Guya subtly choking on her martini is the best spit take I’ve seen in a while. She’s trying so hard to play it so cool. And OMG COULD THEY BE CUTER TOGETHER GUIZE?!
Jaina: I’m not sure what it says though that Brandon and Guya probably have the most functional relationship on this show beside Jamie and Drew. Dude. Guya just flits and flirts her way through this scene and it’s…woman should work for the CIA. She knows how to interrogate. I guess she saw the earrings in the picture that he had on the case file? I’m not sure how she’d connect that. I mean, I didn’t think she quite had, but that’s a very interesting connection. And as usual I love Guya and Brandon’s banter. They always seem comfortable together. Even when Guya’s chatting with his dead Ho.
Michele and Gina attempt to be at work. This moment is rich with adorable tension, awkwardness, and the playfulness of two actors who really enjoy working in the same frame. I could watch Michele stutter and Gina make obnoxious comments all day long.
Jaina: I feel for Michele here. Right, wrong, indifferent, she’s trying so hard to feel back in Gina’s good graces, earn some forgiveness and Gina is giving her absolutely nothing. That’s…hard.
Kelinswriter: AWKWARD. Michele, don’t say “Just doing my job.” It’s like jabbing a stick in the eye of the sleeping undermedicated tiger.
Alas, the phone rings. It’s Alan inviting Gina to a party.
Kelinswriter: Michele can’t help but soak up Alan’s praise – she’s really starting to believe in herself, and every scrap of it is like another tiny stab into Gina’s heart. It’s death by a thousand cuts with these two.
(Jaina: Giant booze shelves have been replaced by candles of sadness. I think I miss the booze.)
Gina insists Michele come too. If Michele wants to be a fucking designer, then Gina’s damn well going to make her one.
Jaina: Aw, damn it. Gina and Michele are making me all sad too ’cause Gina’s taking it personally. I mean, how can she not? But at the same time, I don’t think Michele planned on losing this friendship and it’s awkward and it hurts and if she’s gonna step over Gina on her way up, Gina’s gonna make sure she feels her heels digging in every step of the way.
Alan is naked. And getting a massage from KATHERINE.
Jaina: Oh, HAI, Katheryn. Elizabeth. O_O I did not expect to see you there. Nice massage technique?
Kelinswriter: Oh hai Katherine. Them’s some mighty fancy duds for a professional masseuse. Oh… wait. Well at least we got to see her.
Guya, who has the best boyfriend, has the best ghostsister, too.
Kelinswriter: Hey, um, Guya? I vaguely remember reading that centering your chi works better without a couple of martinis in you.
She and Amber also discuss the Dead Hooker in the Funeral Home at the Rooftop.
Jaina: Apparently Guya came by her interrogation skilz honestly, because Katie is doing a damn good job herself. Guya’s “I’m just gonna get a drink and shut up now” is pretty hilarious. And apparently absolutely useless.
Guya thus confesses that Amber is a hooker.
Jaina: “If it makes you feel any better I think you were more a call girl than a streetwalker.” Once again Guya gets all the fucking awesome lines. Though Katie is bringing it too. This conversation is like…bringing the fun back. And yet it’s about a soul snatching dead hooker and another woman who’s been dead for like a couple decades. Woo.
Kelinswriter: This scene is comic gold. And at first I was a little thrown by the staging device that is never seeing Katie’s face until she stands up. But it works, because damn does it sell the line of the episode and a top candidate for line of the season.
“What the hell was he doing with a hooker?”
“Really? You need me to explain that?”
Jaina: Katie’s not!amused face is also awesome. Heh.
Amber is sad for the Colonel and what he had to deal with, the corpse and the stroke and all. Then Guya mentions Gina. Amber wonders what that childe has been up to.
Kelinswriter: Gina is not going to like that upcoming conversation with Auntie Jane one bit.
Meanwhile Lara and Ani are having the saddest night ever. Lara’s got her wounded animal gaze and Ani’s faking sleep. Lara’s going to shatter into a million pieces. Right here, right now. Ani has no strength or patience to hold her together. Ani says all the right things. She has before. Lara knows they’re placating lies.
Lara wants to fight. Or fuck. Anything to feel she’s alive.
Ani wants to feel nothing at all.
Jaina: I don’t even know what to say about Lara and Ani. I could use the word “sad” again, but if I do Rysler might smack me. And since Venice has taught us that’s bad… I don’t even…fuck. They could not be farther apart in that bed. I almost buy Ani’s “I’m just not in the mood; it’s not about us” line, because I don’t think it is totally about their relationship. Ani seems depressed, down, bummed out with her life. It’s more than just Lara, but Lara is definitely a contributing factor. I don’t think Ani wants to look at her life or her relationships or where it’s going because she knows she’s not gonna like what she sees. She’s in denial, but she can’t escape that dread, that depression that’s following her around anyway. So yeah. And those crocodile tears, Lara. I see what you did there.
Lara goes to write.
Ani gazes at the empty bed and imagines Gina there.
Jaina: Yeah, okay that was sad too. Fuuuuuck. But…Ani’s learned what Gina taught her all too well. She’s not dissecting this time; She’s squinting her eyes closed as tight as she can. Thing is, that’s not working either. She feels just as lonely with Lara as she did with Gina. Maybe more so. That really seemed like a toss up though. Geez. Gina’s learning from past mistakes and I think so is Ani, but she’s learned all the wrong things.
Gina, too, is trying to sleep, neglecting Ani. Ani tries to keep from crying. It is difficult to look at her side of the screen.
Kelinswriter: Oh, man, the fragile intimacy of this just tears me up. Neither one of them can bear to say anything truthful to each other at this point. Lara falls back into her apologetic protestations of love routine and Ani finds a very polite way to say “Please shut the fuck up.” The gulf between them on that bed is about the size of the Grand Canyon. Lara can’t hack it – she gets up to write (code: drink) and Ani goes into flashback to she and Gina and the realization that in her own way, she’s switched roles and become the shut down person who won’t let anyone in. Kudos to Venice for hitting the nail on the head with Gina’s pissy “NOT THE TALK PLEASE NOT THE TALK AGAIN!” reaction. It’s just…ow. There is no awful like the awful that is lying next to the person you love and realizing you have no clue how to communicate with her any more.
It wouldn’t be any better with Gina, Ani tells herself. But she still doesn’t know what to do.
So she calls Michele!
When two characters from somewhat separate spheres get together on a soap, they bring all their baggage with them, and it gets all mixed up, and there’s so much here I’m kind of at a loss to summarize. Every time I try and talk about one thing I miss something else.
I’ll start with Michele. She is good at listening to other people’s relationship problems. At making herself smaller. At listening while dismissing herself. She’s encouraging, and she’s fun, and even Ani takes advantage of her rather than nurturing Michele’s pain. Michele’s pain is deep, perhaps equal with Ani’s. It was Gina who helped her before.
Ani would help her. But Gina doesn’t know her as well as Gina does. Or so Michele thought.
So Ani thought, too.
Screw bananas. Ani is eating a burger and fries. (Kelinswriter: Stop making me hungry, show.) She’s out in the sun. She’s happier than she’s been. Stronger. Here, talking to Michele, Ani feels like she can do anything. Even, maybe, have this exact conversation with Lara instead of Michele.
Jaina: I am irrationally happy that Ani is eating a burger. It makes me feel better about her mental state. Hopefully she just said fuck it all and relaxed. No one’s judging her there. No pressure; no worries. It is interesting to realize that Ani knows that she and Gina aren’t talking. I mean, I figured that she would be avoiding Gina after the confrontation at the beach, but when you’re avoiding someone it can be hard to realize that they’re avoiding you too. So…like I said, interesting. It adds more perspective to Ani’s suffering and dare I say depression.
Kelinswriter: I like the notion that Ani and Michele have this separate friendship. You just know they’ve bonded in large part over what a nightmare Gina can be to deal with and have maybe given each other little hints on how to handle her. I do wish there’d been a bit more in maintext to establish that Michele knows that Lara actually injured Ani and that Ani is trying to forgive her and move forward, because that’s a pretty big thing for a friend to process and accept. Either that, or Ani’s just been vague and evasive about what exactly their troubles are.
Jaina: Thank you, Michele, for voicing what I was thinking. YOU ARE NOT THE PROBLEM, ANI. Other than not bailing. Lara’s manipulative ways are all rage inducing. Do y’all think Michele thinks that what Ani hasn’t forgiven Lara for was the drunken pool falling or does she know what actually happened? Given Michele’s history’s with relationships in Season 1, I would totally see her reacting veeeeeeery differently if she actually knew what had happened. Duuude.
Michele thinks subjugation isn’t the way to go. She should listen to herself.
Kelinswriter: “You could never be like Gina.” I think Michele may be on the “Down with the Brognos” train.
Owen finds Sami, who’s de-slutified, and attempts to be all casual and cool. He wants it to be easy.
Jaina: Owen looks impressively scruffy.
Van is easy. Not Owen.
But here’s the difference between them. Owen, faced with Sami’s utter rejection and the implication of dating his cousin, just kind of shrugs and doesn’t want her to get hurt. He’s been through this before. He’s not evil. He’s just a loser.
Jaina: This conversation seems almost scripted. I don’t mean that in a show kind of way but a “this is how this conversation has gone in the past, is going now and will always go”. Does that make any sense? It’s just how it goes.
Kelinswriter: You’re dumb, Owen. You’re really, really, REALLY dumb.
He stands there on the street as Sami walks away from him, not even sure what happened. But he does know, whatever happened, it happened because he’s a loser.
Kelinswriter: Oooh, Sami dropped the F bomb. That’s significant, I think. Look out, Brognos!!!!!!
Jaina: Owen is also so busted, only now he knows it. And hates it. I almost felt bad for him for a second there, but…he did kind of bring this on himself. The Brognos, well, everyone really is having a shitty week/day/whatever. I think Guya’s the one having the best day/week/whatever and that’s a little sad because she’s having conversations with her dead sister who’s inhabiting a hooker’s spirit. Yup.