Exciting stuff as 2010 ends! Venice has been named Best Soap by TV Guide Canada. That’s best soap, not best webseries. Suck it, Bold and the Beautiful. (Not really, you’re cool.) Michael Fairman, our guiding light, has posted his Best and Worst lists. Check out the Worst for the hilarious screencap of Meghann Fahy. And over on Youtube, there’s this. And TVOvermind has such a wonderfully squeeful article on Otalia and Venice that my recaps feel cynical by comparison. Talking this over with my cohorts (i.e. getting teased), I realized that I had never heard of Otalia when Season 1 of Venice was shooting. What an incredible year it’s been. Onward!
Shoutout to ralst! She’s lending Passion & Perfection’s considerable support to the recaps. I really appreciate her help. Venice deserves so much love and exposure.
jaina47: “12 minutes! Dear god, I feel the cliffhanger coming already!”
What you might not know about these recaps is that before each one is posted, kelinswriter and I spend hours chatting. Sometimes arguing. Sometimes throwing down until midnight or after. In tonight’s post-episode romp, we borrowed from Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica , and Star Trek: The Next Generation. And One Life to Live. This reveals that… well, that we’re raging geeks. But also, these are really good shows, and Venice is right there with them. Reach for the stars, Venice.
(jaina47 is too sweet to argue with anyone.)
kelinswriter: “I shall fly to DC and chase you with a broom.”
Tonight we open with Sami, as we so often do. One of my private ponderings of this season was “WTF is Sami.” I couldn’t figure her out. I caught a glimpse of her in Episode 8, with Van. And now here she is, flayed open and vulnerable. Her alone moment. She’s crying, guys. We didn’t get this before because it would have revealed way too much. Sami, laid bare. Sami, heartbroken. She’s just a little girl. Like everyone else.
kelinswriter: “Sami breaks my heart here. So bad. Even the hippo isn’t helping matters.”
jaina47: “Did Owen cheat on Sami with somebody else? And in the turnabout department, Sami is now the one leaving unanswered voicemails for Owen. That Sami doesn’t understand what’s going on with Owen is one of the truest thing she’s said. She does not get him.”
Adrienne Wilkinson, finally!
Owen’s rage and despair are just as destructive as Lara’s.
Meanwhile in Happytown (remember when the Colonel and Gina were in Hell?) the Colonel is cheerfully doing his exercises. The Colonel thinks Gina’s a nutcase. He’s proud of her. He gets a cheeseburger!
kelinswriter: “There’s such a lightness to this scene. They are actually bantering.”
jaina47: “Wow, okay, The Colonel is doing his exercises. With no battling and prompting that we’re shown…and Gina is offering treats. They’ve come so far. They’re negotiating. More than that they’re learning how to get along with each other. ….and he goes for the letter. He’s up! Hobbling! Hells yes!”
kelinswriter: “Gina gets her moment of peace. A well earned one. I am glad she got a good day. Just one good day.”
Ani’s sitting in bed next to Lara. Ani’s been thinking all night of what she wants to say. Her face hurts. The rest of her–She wants to be numb. She wants to be stronger than she is. Tougher.
kelinswriter: “Everything spilled out when she smacked her head. All her hopes, dreams, plans, what she and Lara could be. Whether she and Lara should be. There is nothing there anymore. She left it on the kitchen floor.”
Lara remembers everything. That’s what’s so scary for her. Ani’s the only good thing in her life–the only thing good for a long time, really–and she broke it. Why is she so clumsy? Why can’t she be more careful?
kelinswriter: “‘I don’t know anything any more.’ Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Ani’s Season 3 arc.”
Nadia is incredible in this scene. Every word seemed hard to say. Her voice was so halting and it broke the quiet even as she tried so hard not to. Jessica is incredible, too. There is so much in her eyes. She radiates. She almost glows. Our Jessica, at her best–someone is teaching her how to make these moments richly unbearable. This was their most important scene together. More important than the one before or after. Very nice work, Susan Flannery.
What did Ani expect to hear? What did Lara expect to happen?
kelinswriter: “I find it very telling that Lara is turned away and can’t really bear to look at her.”
jaina47: “Lara’s sleepy smile would be adorable in other instances. Right now it just screams TRAINWRECK. She’s not getting it and Ani’s giving her nothing. I wonder how long they’ve been like that. This chat is lending credence to the theory that this isn’t the first time this has happened with Lara. She has it too down pat. She knows the words.”
kelinswriter: “Ok. This kills me. And I want Ani’s dorky PJ pants cuz they look comfy.”
Back at the haziest beach in California, Van goes for broke and tells Sami that Owen’s not doing a movie. Van has now played all his cards. Sami and Owen are wrecked, and the best part for Van is that they blame each other, not him. He’s a master.
kelinswriter: “Van still looks hot. Van always looks hot even when he’s gutstabbing you.”
rysler: “That shirt is amazing on him.”
kelinswriter: “And Gina’s looking pretty hot too. And so adorably confused.”
jaina47: “Secret out. But, um, could you be a little more obvious there, Van?”
Gina delivers on the cheeseburger, but the Colonel has escaped her clutches.
kelinswriter: “Gina looks so naturalistic there. So free, and kind of unburdened. She’s said her peace to Ani (on paper at least). She’s settled things with Dad to some degree. She’s unburdened and kind of open as we haven’t seen her before.”
Meanwhile, Michele is Mona Lisa.
jaina47: “Hmm, so we don’t know which way it went with Alan, but it does look like the seriousness of Michele’s actions are starting to sink in. :D”
kelinswriter: “If he’d hated them it would have been a much longer, far more upsetting phone call. So she knows her problem is going to be with Gina…And maybe it’s going to be about the fact that she is apparently ready to do this on her own.”
kelinswriter: “This opens up some extremely interesting possibilities. Instead of ‘While the cat’s away the mice will play’ we got ‘While the cat’s away the mice took over the company.'”
Owen is skateboarding. (Which is hot, Galen.)
jaina47: “Skateboarding, Owen? Could you scream ‘self-pitying dissolute slacker’ just a little bit more?”
He’s just a little boy. He’s barely keeping himself from crying. He’s no match for this woman in front of him on the beach. He breaks first. He’s not as strong as Sami. Or anyone. Just like his father thinks. He’s so very sorry for that.
Sami: “I don’t even know anything right now.”
kelinswriter: “‘Thank you for thinking the worst of me.'”
kelinswriter: “That’s the heart of it. She can’t be with someone who doesn’t know how to trust and who is always looking for the negative in someone. Because Sami is a person who spends her life fighting for and looking for the light in people.”
kelinswriter: “Hey, look, I found a GL reference there. See that?”
kelinswriter: “I am beginning to think that Sami may be this show’s Maureen Bauer.”
(Which makes Jamie Victoria Lord. Thanks for playing.)
kelinswriter: “It’s official. I can’t look at Owen without hearing Keith Urban’s “Stupid Boy” in my head.
jaina47: “Um, wow, Wes Ramsey is hot, but I kind of feel like slapping the smug off his face. (I might be a tiny bit invested.)”
kelinswriter: “Van looks like some sort of Middle Eastern Potentate reclining on his throne.”
rysler: “I was thinking Roman, but yes.”
Back at Lara’s apartment…
kelinswriter: “Oh God, this mirror reveal. I want to, like, have Susan Flannery’s children over this.”
jaina47: “You know, I think I actually winced and tensed up when Lara put her arms around Ani.”
Ani’s bruise is horrible. She doesn’t really want to look at herself. Lara can’t look away. Ani says “I love you” for the first time. Lara’s eyes have never been so blue.
jaina47: “FU-UCK. They’re saying all the right words, going through all the motions, but Ani seems so dead, so not there. There’s no sign of the trilling confident woman from the beach. Why the hell would she stay for this? And Lara…I don’t doubt she has good intentions, but…”
kelinswriter: “Lara’s strategy isn’t ‘Do what I say or I’ll smack the crap out of you.’ It’s ‘I will die without you please don’t leave me.'”
kelinswriter: “What I’m catching here is how childlike Ani’s voice is. Her words are so simple. The way her eyes roll to the side when Lara says ‘I’m sorry.’ She’s empty, but there’s a jagged edge all around. There’s nothing but shards left.”
rysler: “I kept waiting for her to tell Lara to stop touching her, or for Lara to strangle her.”
kelinswriter: “Wasn’t about Lara.”
kelinswriter: “She barely even knew that Lara was there.”
kelinswriter: “When Lara starts speaking Ani can’t look at her. She keeps dropping her eyes. She’s still too raw to touch. And I don’t think she really buys into that Lara truly is sorry, beyond the fear of losing her.”
kelinswriter: “Truly sublime acting.”
(Just as a sample, this is stuff that usually gets cut:
rysler: “Lara is a shadow like the colors around her eye.”
kelinswriter: “Lara was like, a piece of furniture.”
kelinswriter: “Exactly. I like yours better.”
kelinswriter: “Lara is like gravity now. Ani’s caught in its embrace. Nothing she can do to fight it, it just is.”
rysler: “Right. That.”
kelinswriter: “See?! EXISTENTIAL HELL”)
jaina47, the voice of the people: “I still want Gina to see that bruise on Ani’s face.”
The Colonel, decorated hero, leader of men, has the greatest triumph of his life. Cane and everything. He has walked up the hill. He has made the journey. It hurts him every step of the way–like it should, he knows.
He did it all for his daughter.
jaina47: “So far my favorite part of this episodes is the Colonel and his heroic hobbling.”
kelinswriter: “I love the way he says ‘Okay young girl. Okay.'”
kelinswriter: “I just…I want to give the Colonel a big old hug for that.”
rysler: “Yes. The theme of the episode for me is ‘They are all children.’ and he nails that.”
kelinswriter: “Well he’s decided to be a dad, and take care of his girl. That’s just…so awesome.”
Guya’s not doing well, you guys. She’s so afraid. Of herself, of Katie, of Van. Of failure. Of losing herself. She’s drinking. I’m afraid, too.
Amber’s there when Guya’s alone. Amber’s screaming. It’s hard for Amber to scream, to manifest, to expend that energy that’s so very fleeting. But it’s important. Because Amber hates Guya. And Guya can’t get the screaming out of her head.
kelinswriter: “Liz Keifer scares the shit out of me here.”
kelinswriter: “…I think you should probably say in the Guya moment that Amber asserts that she’s Katie.”
kelinswriter “Because that’s important.”
For a brief, shining moment, Guya is the happiest she’s ever been.
kelinswriter “Then Katie/Amber said the most horrible thing that could ever be said.”
“Why did you do this to me?”
kelinswriter: “Okay, I was like everyone else. I yelled ‘Oh shit, oh no, you can’t leave it there’ when it cut to black.”
kelinswriter: “It was such a spooky, twisted, creepy out.”
kelinswriter: “It’s almost like a fairy tale ending. Guya gets to Nirvana and out jumps an UberVamp ready to suck the life out of her.”
So, is this next season’s trailer? The pinnacle of an amazing season? A doomed, messy harbinger of things to come? How’s everybody feeling?
Next week we’ll have all kinds of season arc analysis and speculation. And apparently we will be discussing Maureen Garrett a lot. Stay tuned!