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the island of conclusions

Caught up!

the island of conclusions

bright star

Caught up!

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bright star
I watched too much TV yesterday, when I should have been doing more remunerative things. But, since I did, I thought I’d seize this rare moment of being caught up with four (4!) shows.

Okay, I am caught up with Southland, and...I kind of wish I wasn’t. Or, maybe I wish I’d been spoiled for the latest episode (5.9) before I watched it. I’m at least glad that I didn’t watch it right before I went to bed. I…don’t even know what to say about it. I feel I should watch it again, but I’m not sure I can stand to. It was so classically Southland to have all this stuff happen/not happen between Cooper and Lucero, and then…not resolve any of it before Lucero died. Do you guys have any more coherent thoughts?

Two other things about the last few episodes:

What do you think about John and Laurie seeming deciding to have a baby together? On the one hand, it doesn’t come out of the blue: she’s been the person he’s been closest to since the very beginning of the series, and what we’ve seen of their post-conjugal relationship has been very real and caring. On the other hand, it seemed a little, IDK, regressive that both of them would seemingly give up on their romantic/sexual futures with other people like that. Or maybe I’m wrong: they would just have a child together—not start living together again?

Shamefully, now that Ben is truly, truly bad, I find him fascinating again. In particular, I’m finding his thing with Elena and her brother totally hot. If I were going to write any Southland fic, I’d write Ben/Elena/Christopher kink. I am a bad person.

Or, I’d write future!fic about John, Laurie and their baby.



I am also caught up with two mystery miniseries—just because I totally can’t wait to find out what happens next/who did it. Top of the Lake and Broadchurch are both variations on the old Twin Peaks formula of “dead child in a tiny community that is not as bucolic as it seems; outside detective (with demons of their own) arrives to solve the case." You've seen the formula many times—but these shows do it well.

Top of the Lake. There’s this moment in Patrick O’Brian’s Post Captain when, Jack Aubrey asks a young girl who's in a ship that has been taken by the French, "I hope I see you well. Quite well?" and the narrator points out that what he really means is "no too much raped?"

So, okay, that’s not a question you’d want to ask any of the female characters in Top of the Lake. ‘Cause you’d get some pretty explicit answers. The show has maybe the harshest worldview I’ve seen on TV—no one is trustworthy, violence is around every bend.

There are a bunch of reasons to watch it, though. 1) Elizabeth Moss is astonishingly good—strong, smart, vulnerable, violent, complicated, sexy. The other acting—particularly by Peter Mullan—is excellent as well. 2) The New Zealand scenery is as spectacular as you’d expect. The human scenery is also amazing: the show is probably worth watching for the tattoos alone. 3) Aside from the preoccupation with rape (or along with it?), the show’s take on sexuality is really interesting. You see a lot of middle-aged people, with realistically middle-aged bodies, having sex. This never happens on TV.

Another thing about Top of the Lake is that it makes the ongoing family angst of Broadchurch seem fluffy by comparison. This is the ITV series with the Dr. Who actors—David Tennant and Arthur Darvill—and a whole bunch of actors you’ve seen before somewhere. It’s total crack: everyone is alternately suspicious and sympathetic, and the seaside landscape shimmers endlessly. The last two episodes have been a little draggy (montages, slow motion walks, etc.)—but who am I kidding? I’d watch these guys stare moodily into the sea forever.

I am also caught up on Grimm, and I don’t have much to say about it, except that much as I like Juliette and want her and Nick to get together again, the Nick-Monroe domesticity is endlessly pleasing (plaid flannel bathrobe!) and I can’t believe there aren’t a million fics about it.
  • 5x9 was very distressing to me for personal reasons. I definitely can't watch it again. I think where I shut down was when they took Lucero in the bathroom with the blowtorch. My imagination ran away with me and refused to come back. It was a spectacularly terrifying hour of TV, but as usual with Southland and my personal boundaries, it was too much. Too real.

    I have no idea what to make of Cooper and his ex having a baby together. I doubt that it means he's moving in with her or anything like that - co-parenting in separate residences, I think. But the whole thing is odd. This entire season has been so odd. At least I was glad to see some vestige of concern for Cooper in Ben's reaction to his kidnapping. It shows he's not wholly gone to the dark side, tho he might as well be; his moral compass went into a ditch ages ago and I doubt he'll ever find it again.

    If next week's ep is the last one ever, which seems likely, this might be an unsettling place to leave things with these characters. No way can they wrap up these storylines in one ep.
    • oh, wow, I can't even imagine. I found it almost unwatchable, and I don't have any associations with it--even the landscape is unfamiliar. I was unspoiled, and right about the time they started torturing Lucero I thought, this is Southland, both these guys could die before the end of the episode. And until the end, I wasn't sure Cooper would live. Realistic, yes, but painful.

      The only reason I'd watch again would be to appreciate Cudlitz's acting withing being so freaked. I think this season has been odd, like you say, but he's bee phenomenal. I loved the whole "I'm gay you moron" scene--proof of your point before about him not hesitating to come out when he feels it's warranted.

      Co-parenting in separate residences is...still odd..but better.

      And yeah, Ben wanting to find Cooper was the bright spot of that episode. Though, I agree that Ben seems pretty morally irredeemable at the moment (if still hot). I think you're right about this week being the series finale, and it seems a shame to end with his character being in such a bad place (if, yeah, maybe realistic). I don't think they'll be able to wrap things up in a satisfying way--but who know what that would even be.
      • Have you seen the season finale yet? Because that was...really quite an episode of TV.
        • I just watched it--and...I'm not sure I can say anything coherent. Just repeating, "oh no, holy fuck," and staring at my screen with my mouth hanging open. Sorry I watched it so close to bedtime.

          Well written, though.

          They aren't going to do another season after this, are they?
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