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

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Eli Stone: Heartbeat

The title of this episode was called "Heartbeat" because Eli's case involved a heart transplant -- two actually -- but "Reflections" might have been more appropriate. Eli awakened in Nate's body and continued to find himself reliving his brother's life ten years before. And not on just any day, but the day that their dad died.Overall, this was a particularly interesting episode because it seemed to lay the groundwork for where Eli Stone is going. Since it's likely that the show is going to be renewed, the prospect of Eli getting that surgery, which may correct the aneurysm that's causing his visions, may not be happening after all.

Picking up the threads from the previous episodes, Maggie returned from her trip home and everybody could see that something was different about her, everyone but Eli. Of course, when he finally did see the change -- the engagement ring on her finger from an unseen fiance -- it was at the same time he was freaking out about Taylor having slept with Matt. I don't know who was more freaked about that really, Eli or Jordan. Neither of them want Taylor with Matt, and Taylor is saying she doesn't want another interlude with him, too. But in a scene in which Matt seemed to be channeling Arnie Becker from L.A. Law, he was sure that Taylor's no was really just her way of saying yes.

But the more important story was Eli's legal case: defending Nate from a man whose wife had died when she was passed over for a heart transplant based on Dr. Stone's decision. With Eli jumping into the past and reliving Nate's life ten years before, he discovered that Nate had had a similar case and made an eerily similar choice, when their father was in the hospital and dying. It turns out that he didn't die in a car crash like Eli thought; he'd had a heart attack. When given the chance to accept a heart transplant for Mr. Stone, Nate chose to let someone else have the heart because the old man was an alcoholic and likely never to stop drinking.

Did Nate make the same choice about Karen Masters, his patient who had died when she didn't get a new heart, because she was also an alcoholic? Interesting question, but the answer was a bit of a cop-out. In confidence, she had told Nate to give the heart to a more worthy candidate. Only after Eli proves to him that he knows about their father's transplant opportunity, does Nate explain that he didn't tell Eli the whole truth about Karen so as not to betray her confidence. Very noble, but considering the fact that his career was on the line, I think he would have told Eli anything and everything to save his ass.

Nate is duly impressed with the accuracy of Eli's flashbacks/revelations/sensory hallucinations to the point that he envies the fact that his brother has an aneurysm. Okay, maybe not the ailment, but the ability that Eli has acquired. The show keeps dancing around what is actually happening to Eli. Even Dr. Chen is running out of ways to explain what the visions/memories/whatevers mean. Between you and me, I love the mystery. It makes the show more delectable not knowing what it's all about. And I think that's why he's not going to risk losing this thing by having the operation.

Other Points of Interest:

George Michael was heard when Eli first goes to the hospital (as Nate) to see Dad. The song is "Father Figure," and when Eli recognizes it on the elevator, he says, "So not in the mood for this."

Great scene between Jordan and Matt when the latter discusses his romance with Taylor, referring to it as a hypothetical case involving Parent Co. and his subsidiary Daughter Inc. who may be contemplating a merger. The look on Victor Garber's face was priceless. When he says Parent Co. would crush any attempt at a merger, he reminded me of the Jack Bristow in Alias at his most lethal.

Nice touch with the ancient cell phone from ten years ago. But the cover of the newspaper showing Princess Diana's death as a time marker? That was tacky.

The wrap-up of Nate's case was kind of obvious. Eli brings in the woman who received the heart transplant instead of Karen Masters, basically saying that Nate made a difficult choice that doctors must make all the time. The jury agrees that Nate did not act with malice and they find in is favor. It was a tidy ending, but it was a good twist that Howard Masters refused to let Nate off the hook. He wished Nate the pain he's still feeling.

Taylor and Maggie teamed up on the "B" story, a couple accusing each other of infidelity when they meet online anonymously and plan an assignation at the Fairmont Hotel. It was essentially the story in "The Pina Colada Song" -- you know, by Rupert Holmes? "If you like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain..." Like I said, silly.

Patti is being seriously underused. She got off a good line when Eli said the messages he's been getting may be from God. She asked if God looks like Morgan Freeman or George Burns?

Hopefully, this won't be the last of Tom Cavanagh as Mr. Stone. It could be because of the closure thing, but I would prefer seeing more of him in other flashes. The way things are going with Eli, he could be flash forwarding soon and find Dad there in some reincarnated form.

When Nate said that Eli should re-think the surgery, he said that what his brother was going through may not be medical. He described Eli's ailment as "beyond science." I liked that; we may be heading to Twilight Zone territory.

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