two tv shows and a book
Person of Interest 1x03
So I watched another episode of this. Mostly because it airs at a time during the week when I’m in need of something that plays out several degrees below body temperature. I’m am still not completely sold on Jim Caviezel and his lizard-voiced leadeness, but I’m sold enough to start spelling his name right, and I’m prepared to admit that I enjoy a) his hulking hugeness, b) his being over 40 (look, I’m the CBS demographic!) and c) his willingness to get right up in Michael Emerson’s shit, like a Rottweiler messing with a terrier, even though said terrier could probably tear the Rottweiler to shreds once it gets going.
It’s also the right amount of zeitgeist-y, not just in its a-new-world-started-after-9/11 stance on things, or in its obsession with surveillance technology, but this week there was also a scene where Reese headbutted some Wall Street guy. Basically just because he was a Wall Street guy.
O_O I was completely shocked to see Lancelot go! And sad, b/c I’d been enjoying whatever you call the thing he had going with Merlin. And just plain old enjoying him. Also, I wasn’t prepared for the way it violated canon—Lancelot is supposed to outlive Arthur, dammit!
Otherwise I totally enjoyed the episode again. The Merlin/Arthur stuff was golden. And as much as I’m sad that Gwaine seems to be Ye Olde Royal Buffoon this season, at least he seems to be stepping into that role so that Merlin can be all competent and compelling, so I’m actually okay with it.
It was cheesy, but I loved the scene where Elyan told Arthur the knights would fight a thousand battles for him. Because it’s nice to see that the show actually did some character work last season: quite diligently showing exactly why each of those knights would have such fierce personal loyalty to Arthur. And it’s nice to have people other than Merlin and Gwen who believe in Arthur, and for good reasons, too—for too much of the first three seasons he was supposed to get by on his personal belief in his own awesomeness.
I was also happy Arthur thanked Elyan instead of brushing it off—that was a nice touch.
Also loved: Merlin’s growl-y dragon-summoning voice.
I was sorry, though, that they’d edited out the scene they must surely have filmed of Lancelot solacing frozen!Merlin with the heat of his own body on their way back to Camelot. And also the scene of drunk!Lancelot and drunk!Merlin deciding what the hell, we’ve already done naked cuddling we might as well make out during their night in the trapper’s hut.
The boys, for their part, very much enjoyed the giant naked mole rats.
So, I actually finished a real, printed book! It only took me about five months
I started reading Andre Dubus III’s Townie because it was an account of growing up in (basically) a single parent household, and what it’s like for a boy who desperately wants to beat people up (in the service of “protecting” himself and his family, not an general sadism) and then trains himself to do it. And then comes out the other side—finding ways into (his own) life that aren’t about violence.
And it is genuinely interesting on this score—the descriptions of the impulse towards violence (both street fights and boxing) are fascinating—visceral and clear-sighted and compelling. And Dubus’s account of how hard it was/is to turn away from this mode of dealing with the world is really interesting too—especially his account of how starting to write taught him empathy for other people.
The things about growing up in a split family (in which his life with his mother and three siblings was very economically deprived) was fascinating, too, in a kind of disturbing way, because even though Dubus apparently has nothing but respect for his mother, doesn’t ever blame her for the conditions in which he grew up, and seems to have remained close to her his whole life, she plays nothing like the role in his psychic or emotional life that his mostly (emotionally if not physically) absent father does.
Which of course is partly because his father was a writer and he became one too, but is also, I think (I know) just the truth about many fathers and sons. Dubus remains very clear-sighted to the end about how his father failed their family, but that doesn’t stop him becoming very close to him, and not just loving him, but being endlessly fascinated by him. Which Dubus represents as a kind of redemption for both of them, and I suppose it is. But was just another illustration for me (in a weekend full of them) of the way women’s responsibility for all the practical matters of life negates their participation in any other level of consciousness.
Anyway, by the far the most interesting aspect of the book is not this, actually, but the texture of life Dubus records about growing up poor in the Greater Boston area before the great waves of gentrification in the 1990s—the class stratification and the culture of drugs and violence and the way cities just seemed to be decaying all around you. It is extremely vivid and rang true to me, at least.
I recommend it, but I’m not sure how it would read if you didn’t have these personal reasons for reading it. Certainly not worth reading if you don’t like memoirs as a genre.