Welcome back! We’ve missed you show. We’ve missed you fan family. Kelinswriter (@worddancer21) and myself are here to charm with erudite commentary and hilarious screen caps. Our beautiful show has changed so much. But TPTB make sure it’s still home.
Kelinswriter: It’s back, it’s back, IT’S BACK!!!!!!!!!!!
Kelinswriter: Uh oh wait Owen’s not breathing?
We pick up where we left off. Moments before, even, because last year’s scene has one more line. “No pulse.” Owen’s dead.
Back in the Reality Where Owen’s Death Hasn’t Happened Yet, Gina has just kissed Stella.
Kelinswriter: Stella, you’ve changed. Also they seem to have been magically transported into a way nicer place than the set formerly known as the Colonel’s kitchen. Apparently they upped the Colonel’s pension since last we were in Venice…
Stella’s being gentle, as always. The face may have changed but the message has not. Stella is the best possible reality. She’s sweet to see even as she makes Gina face the truth.
Kelinswriter: For soap opera characters, these people are so trusting. Why is it not occurring to either of them that Lara might be lying?
Rysler: The implications of that could be an essay in itself.
Remember the romantic dinner? The ring? Lara’s super awkward proposal? Now Ani has managed to get all the way inside without giving Lara an answer. It’s a soap, just go with it.
Kelinswriter: Don’t say yes, don’t say yes, don’t say…aw, shit. She said yes. They are cute together though.
And why not? It’s the thing Lara and Ani are both most scared of–a successful relationship. That desire and terror binds them. Lara understands this. Ani, as we’ll see, does not.
If Stella is the best possible reality, Lara and Ani are the worst possible. Even though Lara is trying so hard it breaks my heart.
Now leaving the Reality where Owen…
Kelinswriter: This was the first time I yelled at the screen. Oh, poor dumb Owen. You went and got yourself killed by that crazy ass Black Swan wannabe.
Brandon appears! I am so happy to see him. He does some manly cop stuff with Colonel, and it’s a comfort. See what happens when you call the police after a tragedy, Colonel? Brandon shows up!
The Colonel is strong enough now to call his daughter. But he’s too late. Gina has appeared on her own.
Kelinswriter: Poor Gina, walking through the door and seeing that. What a total suckerpunch. Beautifully played by Crystal. Rewatching just now, I full on teared up.
THE DEATH ANNOUNCEMENT MONTAGE. The best part. The money shot. We see what’s coming and we’re helpless to stop and the pain is jagged glass and it’s so good. So let’s begin.
Ani first, just when she had one moment of calm. Somehow it doesn’t matter anymore that she just got engaged.
Jamie’s day though, is pretty bad. The sky has been taken from him. Logan and Alan are there plotting when he gets the call.
Kelinswriter: All that sadness interrupting making out on the couch and that fabulous shirt of Jamie’s and everything.
Adrienne has peace in her life these days. Because of Owen.
New!Richard is made of sterner stuff than old!Richard. But Owen’s always been that guy to him. That friendly screw-up baby brother. The family he never had. So much of that going on with him, and it all hurts.
Will the universe end in heat or cold? Guya has a chill. Her family needs her. Once again, because something unfathomably horrible and senseless happened. But her family is so much smaller now.
Kelinswriter: This just breaks my heart. What a perfect moment of actors just doing their thing.
Ani shows up at Gina’s door. Their love is what binds them. Ani sees that. But Gina can’t stand it.
Kelinswriter: Ani hiding her engagement ring before the door opens was very telling. It almost looked like she was throwing it away.
Kelinswriter: Gina, don’t turn Ani away. Don’t turn her away…don’t…aw, shit. But at the same time, I get it. When you’re grieving like that sometimes the last thing you can stand is to be around someone who knows you inside and out and can bust you on your bullshit – because at that time, your bullshit is all you have to hold on to.
After all that agony is the memorial service! No longer agony, because everyone who’s anyone is there, including Sarah and Logan and Lara. And a lemon-pie-eating-ghost. The show is about to begin.
HIJINKS ARE ABOUT TO ENSUE. Scene opens… on a toast.
Kelinswriter: Of course there is drinking. OF COURSE THERE IS.
Adrienne is there, looking distraught and out of place.
As long as these two are uncomfortable together, it’s Venice. Gina is talking us through the murder and Sami’s subsequent fleeing, as if her rage will make it all make sense. She sets upon the cops. Brandon is prepared, but haggard. Owen was his family too.
Kelinswriter: Gina’s righteous fury just breaks my heart here. As usual she’s going to focus on the external so she doesn’t have to deal with the internal.
New!Dana attempts to comfort Gina. Remember, their dinner date was like, two days ago. After another funeral. For the record I think new!Dana looks a little like Roma Downey.
When Gina strides off, the cops talk shop. It’s a comfort.
Van is there, not looking guilty. I’m so amused that they have Wes Ramsey looking like Eric Martsolf. (Kelinswriter: Clearly you weren’t paying attention to Playboy Club, aka the “Laura Benanti is fucking amazing and how dare you cancel her after 3 episodes” show.) His brief appearance is sinister. I wonder if he knew his own power before. The power of his mother. To manipulate the forces of the universe and play with the dead.
Adrienne is genuinely sad about Owen’s passing. The drinking doesn’t seem to be helping. She keeps looking around, waiting to get caught.
It seems a shame Wes Ramsey has to have such dead, dead eyes.
Okay, done looking at him… (seriously, time has passed).
Receiving Line. Ani and Lara’s turn. The Colonel gets to meet Ani! Yay! It’s so awkward and awful, yay! Gina and Lara are willing to play the game, for their own reasons I think they’re relieved to be in the pattern. But the Colonel, looking at the girl who broke Gina’s heart, and her new lover, just can’t take it. When Ani says Owen’s name, he flees.
Kelinswriter: Oh, Ani and Lara have stopped by. How awkward. This first introduction of Ani and the Colonel is so delightfully tense. He may hate that Gina’s gay, but you better not break his little girl’s heart.
Ani takes it personally. Stella leaves, too, and when the threesome is alone, Lara chooses the better part of valor. Ani and Gina stand apart. So often are they given their space that they’re almost comfortable in it, not speaking.
Then Ani speaks. Gina snaps. Ani pushes. Gina relents.
Kelinswriter: Ani, good for you for calling Gina on her hostility. You finally got an honest response out of her.
It’s a wonderful little exchange, and by the end of it, the rock of grief lodged in Gina has loosened just a bit.
Lara, left to her wiles, finds the wrong woman to hang out with. AS USUAL. It’s Logan, who is at this memorial because… well, she doesn’t have to explain herself to anyone.
Kelinswriter: Logan and Lara are having a “this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” moment. God help us all.
Is that handshake not the greatest thing ever? Go be evil, Lara and Logan! Logan wastes no time sinking her claws into both Lara and Ani’s back, but Lara gives as good as she gets. Gina and Ani lurk in the background, in their own space.
There’s a plate of lemon pies at the memorial, and Guya and Gina reminisce about what a fucking punk Owen was.
Kelinswriter: The lemon pie flashback made me smile. Though I’m wondering where they got them for the memorial since Hostess was shut down most of the summer. In the world of Venice, apparently there are still Twinkies and Ho-Hos too.
Kelinswriter: “I want him back.” Favorite line, favorite line reading. You just killed me, HBS.
(As an aside, the memorial guest list includes Drew! Good to see him.)
Meanwhile, it’s receiving line time again! Ani and Jamie are chatting and they see Richard and Sarah walk in together. Ani immediately panics. A nice comic moment in all this angst. Heh.
Kelinswriter: “Oh, no.” Okay, maybe that’s my favorite line and favorite line reading. There were about fifty different emotions flying across Ani’s face at once.
“Reality’s a funny thing,” Richard says. “Sometimes it just shows up on your doorstep.”
Ani: “Hol-lee shit.”
Kelinswriter: Richard, you are a clueless dumbass. YOU DO NOT DO THAT TO SOMEONE. Especially not to your kid. Gina is entitled to every bit of the anger she’s feeling at the moment, counterproductive as it is.
Sarah says some things, but Gina’s trying to kill Richard with her laser eyes. Alan watches everything go down from the corner. Gina drags Richard away to yell at him in private, but has she ever won an argument with Richard, ever? She stalks away.
Sarah looks at the pictures of her dead uncle.
Van finally goes to Adrienne. But only to tell her to lie for him. Van is all threatening, but Adrienne says, “If she’d loved you enough, she’d never have gone after Owen.” She’s miserable, Van is angry, and Brandon is watching.
Kelinswriter: Van, you are also a dumbass. You might want to stay away from Adrienne when there is a cop in the room.
The Colonel reminds Richard that Richard is still his favorite son, and is nicer to Sarah than he was to Ani. Because Richard makes him feel better.
Ani scampers up to Gina like they’re friends again, and pries about Sarah.
Kelinswriter: “I think you have me confused with your girlfriend.” BURN. You kind of set yourself up for that one, Ani. Sorry.
Gina shuts back down.
Kelinswriter: Are we in Heaven, or have we just wandered onto the OLTL set?
Meanwhile, in heaven’s cloud and star-filled gaudy waiting room, Owen waits. And eats a lemon pie. Jazz plays. It’s all rather pleasant. Joel Brooks shows up, being all St. Peter-esque. Owen gives a brief bio and then says, “I was–am–an aspiring actor.” My favorite line of the night. Oh, Owen.
“You should go on soaps,” Joel says.
Owen tries to kill Joel with his eyes. It’s a Brogno thing.
Kelinswriter: This is such old school soap. It’s fun to see them bringing that element of the genre into the show.
While Owen waits, Guya thanks Jamie for the shindig. Then she notices that the pie is gone! The plate, btw, is on a copy of The Actor’s Guide.
Kelinswriter: Have I mentioned how fabulous that hat is?
Back to Owen watching Guya looking at the empty plate.
Kelinswriter: Wait, I have a better TV in my house than is available in Heaven? God really needs to get Himself a Best Buy card.
Next to Owen is champagne and berries of some sort. That is the life. Er–Anyway, Joel explains that Owen can go on to the afterlife, or go back to earth. Owen chooses earth. Joel points out that he’s dead, so… he has to go back to earth in a different body. Hm.
MEANWHILE… on the Waltons, or some totally different show, Alan and Katherine are looking out over the vineyards and the mountains and being… them. It’s so alternate timeline that it’s night when it’s day!
Alan makes a phone call. TO ANI’S BROTHER. WHO IS SNORTING COCAINE OFF HER FUCKING FACE.
Kelinswriter: Snorting coke off an iPad with your sister’s
headshot picture on it? There are so many things wrong with that, Jake. SO MANY THINGS.
Alan says he can launder the money now, so Ani’s Brother needs to head to Venice. Yes, yes he does please!
Kelinswriter: So how exactly do you know Jake, Alan? The plot thickens…
Sarah’s at Richard’s shiny new van, wanting out of this whole deal. Sorry kid, you’re in a soap opera now.
Kelinswriter: Richard, when all the women in your life are telling you that you did something stupid, you should probably pay attention. I feel awful for this girl. I wouldn’t blame her for running like hell.
Gina’s in her Texas hoodie. Jamie is there to comfort her. As long as there’s this, there’s Venice. Gina has her wine glass, but it isn’t enough. Jamie is always there in her darkest hour. He presses a phone into her hand.
Kelinswriter: Gina always needs someone to point out the obvious to her. She’s still so afraid to just be human. Thank God for Jamie talking some sense into her.
Owen walks out of heaven. “My sister needs me.”
Lara and Ani are in bed together when the phone rings. Because it’s night. Ani sneaks away to answer it. Lara watches her.
Kelinswriter: These two spend their entire lives tiptoeing around and hiding things from each other. This does not bode well for them.
Kelinswriter: I miss Katie (and Liz). I have to wonder – if she’s not with Jane and she’s not in Heaven, then where the hell is she? Because, as has been established, Hell is just a PR stunt…
Guya tries for Owen. She knows the dead can talk to her. But they’re both gone.
Only Brandon is there, to hold her as she breaks.
Kelinswriter: Brandon is such a good boyfriend. Guya, you are one lucky lady.
Ani goes to the door. Gina has come to her. They embrace. As long as there’s this, there’s Venice.
Kelinswriter: The look on Ani’s face when she came through the door got me crying again. They just know each other so well and love each other so much. CATCH A CLUE, LADIES. That’s right, Gina. Let yourself be loved. It’s okay. You can do it.
Rysler: I’m impressed with the editing. The movements were quick and sharp and sad and revealing. This show. It kills me.
Kelinswriter: Fabulous start to the new season.Until I did my rewatch over the weekend, I hadn’t realized how much I had missed these characters. It is wonderful to have them back and I’m really curious about where they’re going to go. Sad as I am to see Owen “die” (I liked him, dammit!), it opens up a lot of possibilities moving forward.