"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Eli Stone: Freedom

Ah, now I see the pattern! The titles of all the first season episodes of Eli Stone will be titles or references to titles of George Michael or Wham songs.

This episode I was treated to a rendition of Michael's "Freedom 90" sung by a boys' choir. Their first appearance on the show was okay, but they really got high marks from me during their choreographed number later in the show, accompanied by Jack Bristow senior law firm partner Jordan Wethersby. I don't know if that voice was really Victor Garber's or not, but it worked pretty well nevertheless.

I have to say that I very much liked the series premiere of Stone: it had a funny and whimsical beginning that carried the rest of the program. This week, not so much of that. It's not that I didn't enjoy the episode, but the lightness that surrounded last week's installment just wasn't there this time around. In fact, if Eli didn't have any visions, this episode could have been swapped with one from Ally McBeal.

I think it had a few things going against it. Since it was only the second episode much of the beginning was subject to a recap by a number of the characters of what had happened the previous episode. And, that's after a one-minute recap at the very beginning of the program. I really didn't need all of that information; the first recap should have covered it all. The other thing going against it was the lack of visions that Eli had. Other than the quick glimpse of the boys' choir at the start of the episode and the two scenes with the biplane (reminiscent of North by Northwest, perhaps?) the next vision was until about the third break.

Of course, the visions seem to be limited to the plot of the particular episode. For instance, the red biplane was there because the client Eli was about to take on was a pilot; the boys' choir was there because this was where the client's son (which she gave away for adoption) was singing. Still, I wish there was a bit more substance to them, and that they were spread out throughout the episode, so that the bulk of the show wasn't my basic legal dramedy.

The third thing going against this episode was the introduction of associate Maggie Decker. I have only one word to say about her: really? Okay, she's a first year associate, and I'll give her a little slack. But, not being able to raise objections in court and properly question a witness? Come on! I have never been to law school but I know they must have mock trials on occasion to work on that type of stuff.

Thing is, it looks like Maggie may turn out to be Eli's partner during his transformation into a different type of lawyer. She would be the right person for him to work with as he could pass along all of the knowledge that he has gained over the years directly to her. I just hope that they downplay Maggie's ignorance and make her a stronger partner for Eli.

There were a number of good things going on. I am glad that Eli just didn't drop his fiancee in order to live his life fully before he eventually dies. I've seen that so many times before and I like that Eli is sticking with the woman he will marry, despite what she said to him last episode. I also like Jonny Lee Miller in the role of Eli Stone. I can't put my finger on why, but for some reason Miller reminds me a bit of Vince Vaughn in some of his characteristics. In other words, he has that nice guy-doesn't take any crap type of attitude that Vaughn has shown in movies like Dodgeball.

Who I really enjoy is Victor Garber, mostly because he isn't an arrogant d*&k of a lawyer. Despite the fact that he owns a huge law firm that caters to big business, somewhere in there he is still a human being. The best example of this is his conversation with Eli after he doesn't take the huge Supreme Court case. Even though he doesn't understand what Eli is doing he certainly respects his decisions. Perhaps that's because, deep down inside, he envies the way that Eli is re-inventing himself.

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