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

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Eli Stone: Waiting for the Day

What the hell? Did I really just see what I thought I saw on Eli Stone? The entire episode was predicated on Eli having a vision that if it were to come true, would be catastrophic. He sees the Golden Gate Bridge destroyed when an earthquake hits San Francisco. This isn't the first time he's seen this kind of destruction, but the last time nothing happened. So, then, what am I to make of the fact that this time around, it really does! Like I said, is this really real?

Seriously, what happened in this episode suggests that this is the penultimate moment for Eli Stone, the character and the series. Everything is building to Eli having the surgery to remove the aneurysm that's supposedly causing all his sensory hallucinations next week. Eli meets with the surgeon and is advised to get his affairs in order. With just a 50-50 chance of surviving or becoming a vegetable, Eli asks Matt -- who now calls himself "The Dowd" -- to write his living will. When Taylor finds out and insists that nothing will happen to Eli, he tells her he doesn't want to be Terri Schiavo'ed, hence the documents. Patti learns that if Eli dies, she gets all his George Michael CDs.

Unable to get anyone to believe his visions, Eli turns to Dr. Chen. He alerts Eli to Dr. Daniel Foote who claims to have a machine that determines earthquakes. His forecast coincides with Eli's vision, so Eli takes Dr. Foote's claim to court to get the city to close the Golden Gate Bridge for that time of the quake. Eli winds up facing Marci Klein, Jordan's nemesis at W.P.K., who is determined to win in court and make Eli look ridiculous -- which in turn will prove to the partners that Jordan's faith in Eli is ruining the reputation of the firm. By getting Maggie, who was second chair with Marci, to testify against Eli, Ms. Klein wins in court. Before the partners, Jordan speaks eloquently about humanity and the need for an Eli Stone in every business. Still, when the votes are counted, Marci wins and Jordan is ousted as managing partner.

Even though the judge rules against Eli and Foote, a representative of the city tells them that the mayor is a believer. The bridge will be closed -- just in case. Eli pleads with his co-workers to have faith in him and leave the 22nd floor offices and go to Golden Gate Park where they will be most likely to survive The Big One. Some do, the partners don't, and just as Jordan gets the news that he's been trounced, the quake hits and glass shatters all around. A beam crashes to the conference table and he asks for a re-vote, having been proven right about Eli.

At Golden Gate Park, Eli, Nate, Patti, Dr. Chen and Maggie (plus her cute fiance, Scott), watch as the Golden Gate Bridge collapses in two! And that's that. This was a 6.8 quake on the Richter scale and all they showed was the bridge collapsing (thank you, CG effects) and some rubble in the office. Where was the devastation? Where was The Big One in Silver Terrace? For all the build-up, nobody's hair got mussed! I realize this is episodic TV, not a feature, but please -- if you're going to make it real, make it real. I was left with a big 'what the hell?' I guess we'll find out next week.

Other Points of Interest:

There was no music in this episode. No joyful song. No clues in the lyrics. Nada. Zip. I missed it.

Why was there no connection to the last episode's messianic show? If you had a vision of a possible future where you're leading a cause, with the message to Live Brave beating in your head, wouldn't you be thinking about it? Eli didn't even bring it up.

There was carryover from the last episode in The Dowd and Taylor. He finally got a dinner date with her and proceeded to act like a jerk. It was fun to see Eli choose him to do the living will because he wanted a lawyer with an "utter lack of humanity."

Jordan really went to bat for Eli. He referred to himself as being "made of Kevlar." That appeared to be so after the earthquake left him unscathed. He also had a good scene with Eli, letting him know that Eli's weird cases have been allowed because of Jordan's good graces. He used the phrase, "at my pleasure," like Eli was his servant. Very imperious. Very Jordan.

When Eli speaks to his co-workers, he says of himself that he's the lawyer with the hole in his head and an inappropriate song in his heart

Eli's feelings for Maggie are getting complicated. After giving her a frame as an engagement gift (Patti bought it), Maggie puts a picture of Scott in it and Eli recognizes that Scott was driving the cab in Eli's vision of the bridge collapse. After losing in court, Eli implores Maggie to believe his prediction of destruction and save herself and Scott. To convince her that he knows Scott's involved, he uses the pet name Scott has for Maggie -- "Macaroni."

I like Katey Sagal as Marci Klein, but she's really coming off as too much the Wicked Witch. She needs to have something else going for her besides proving Jordan wrong. Was she telling the truth about a past affair with him? Her manipulation of Maggie was predictable. Hell, Eli warned Maggie that Marci would use her against him, and Marci did.

Nate should have been with Eli when he met with the surgeon. I'd want my M.D. brother with me when I'm planning on having brain surgery.

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