Welcome to the Venice: The Series Recaps with Kelinswriter (@worddancer21) and I. This sure started out as a nice, calm episode, didn’t it?
We open on Malbec, with Alan and Jake. Alan’s calm, Jake’s nervous.
Kelinswriter: Jake is freaking out all over Alan about exposition.
Gina’s accident was going to change his whole life, and now everything’s reset back to the beginning.
Alan’s in it for the long con, though. He’s been dealing with Gina’s ups and downs since she slept with his staff member, since her dad got sick, since everything.
Jake’s concern for his sister does seem genuine. He wants her out of the line of fire. He knows Lara, she’s a kindred spirit. But how well does he know Ani?
Anyway, he warns Alan off his piece of tail. Katherine’s dangerous.
But Katherine’s looking like the least dangerous person in the world, counseling Logan on true love. She’s heard about the trials of Gina.
“Alan is a gossipy old lady,” Logan protests. She can’t stop Katherine’s eye from twinkling, though.
Kelinswriter: I could care less what these two are talking about. THEY ARE IN A SCENE TOGETHER AND MY HEART IS HAPPY. But it’s a truly lovely scene. Leave it to Katherine to find the soft gooey center of Logan’s black dead heart.
Jake’s dropping by Lara’s to check on things. Lara seems over his bullshit. Maybe she was skeeved out. He also can’t believe Ani agreed to marry Lara so quickly. But everything’s going to work out for all of them.
Kelinswriter: Lara looks really hot in that shirt. Meanwhile, Jake is randomly switching from her biggest supporter to the guy most likely to freak her out to the point that she confesses. Not sure if he’s trying to play an angle in his game with Alan or if he’s just psychotic. Even Lara notices that he’s acting weird.
Gina is out in the daylight, limping over to Stella, the most forgiving person in the world, to ask for forgiveness.
Kelinswriter: There’s Stella! And she’s pissed. This is not a smart move, Gina. Have you seen what she can do when she’s pissed?
Stella tries to give Gina advice, but Gina is whiny and obstinate. (Gina is Gina!)
Kelinswriter: Gina is refusing to ask Ani what they were arguing about when the accident happened. Stella’s “Why? Because you’re insane?” may be the line of the episode.
Stella is especially hard on Gina for turning away her daughter, which is fair from Stella’s point of view as an actually good parent. She eventually agrees to help Gina make amends to the less forgiving members of the clan.
I don’t know what prompted Gina’s change of heart. Maybe a good night’s sleep? Letting Owen’s words sink in? This is the first episode without him.
Ani, out and about by herself, is tormented by flashbacks.
Kelinswriter: Ani is having soap opera flashback brain. Also she uses the key to open her car instead of the autolock thingy on her keychain, which is extremely old school.
She’s on her way to pick up her wedding dress but she’s remembering her fight with Gina, trying to figure out the missing piece of Gina’s heart–i.e., the Letter. The proposal from Lara, which even now doesn’t sit right. But everything’s going to be all right. She’s resigned herself to the life in front of her, instead of the one she can never seem to grasp.
Meanwhile, the Usual Brogno Suspects are gathered around a table at Malbec.
“Stella. You have any idea what this is about?”
Kelinswriter: The Brognos and extended clan are sitting around looking like they’re on the way to a funeral, which is not surprising considering this was the site of Owen’s memorial. Gina shows up and attempts to be contrite, which she’s not very good at.
Stella has invited everyone except Van (ouch) to a party thrown by Gina!
Gina makes a little speech about what a prat she’s been, and how grateful she is. Jamie, the most second most forgiving person in Venice Beach, is mollified, and he hands her a drink.
Guya gets up. Uh oh.
“You didn’t say I’m sorry,” Guya says. And before Gina can flounder with some sort of protest, Stella backs her up. “Your aunt’s right.”
Kelinswriter: There’s a lot of “me” in that explanation, and I’m glad Guya calls her out on it. Guya is also someone you do not want to have pissed at you.
So Gina apologizes sincerely to her loving family, and then Guya hugs her and tells her everything’s going to be all right. Theme for this episode? So I thought.
Kelinswriter: Happy Brognos happily drinking together again. All is right with the world.
Lara’s gotten beautiful roses and poured wine and is all ready to treat Ani like a princess. Things are on track. They talk sweet to teach other. And a little bitchily. But mostly sweet.
Kelinswriter: There’s a lot going on in this scene. Obnoxious cuteness followed by “the Gina fight” x8000 followed by Ani positively reinforcing Lara as only she can. And then Ani takes a sip of “seltzer” (side note: ew) and discovers that that ain’t seltzer.
(Pause for lengthy discussion between us on the merits of seltzer.)
It’s done. Over. Before Lara even gets back in the room.
But Lara gets back in the room and they argue. It’s just as bad as before, on the precipice of madness and violence. Lara’s been drinking, and lying about drinking, and blaming Ani for it. Ani won’t take the blame. They yell about Gina, like she’s a weapon.
Kelinswriter: Lara makes up about four different stories about what’s happening here. She’s just throwing words at Ani, hoping something will stick. And then we see a flash of that dangerous temper and things get scary. To paraphrase a line from the movie Michael Collins, being married to Lara would be like being strapped to a bomb, and I think Ani is starting to get that. They’re just going to repeat this cycle over and over again. I actually let out a little cheer when Ani took off that ring and walked out the door – even if it is her house.
Is it wrong that my first thought was, “This is going to mess up Jake’s plans?”
I know we’ve praised the editing and the quick cuts and bouncing from story to story, but it’s also nice to see a quiet, linear episode like this, where everything has time to sink in. A few breaths.
And then, to paraphrase, a bomb went off.