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

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

In Plain Sight: Never The Bride

For a change of pace, In Plain Sight opted for a mainly comic episode. The results were mixed. The comedy wasn't really all that funny, and the plot was plagued by more than a few inconsistencies and holes. But once again, what's keeping me from switching to another channel is Mary McCormack as Mary Shannon. She's really a compelling actress, and this Mary Shannon is a complicated mess of a very cool character.

Mary's newest witness to be protected is a con artist, bigamist scumbag -- Mary's words -- named Treena. She ripped off her previous husband while on a Hawaiian honeymoon, getting away with $10 million in conflict diamonds before being arrested by the FBI. When Mary is forced to take Treena under her wing, she makes no secret of her antipathy for people of her ilk, saying, "God I hate con artists, even more than murderers."

There's an instant conflict between Treena and Mary, the uncooperative witness and unhappy marshal. Mary suspects that Treena is playing her and the system. She warns her that if you hang onto garbage from your past, sooner to later it starts to stink. The machinations to get Treena into the WITSEC program is the first leap of faith in the episode. The second comes when she allows her picture to appear in the newspaper, announcing her sixth wedding.
By this point, Treena should be out of the program, but instead I'm led down a path that finds Mary's anonymity as a U.S. Marshal compromised, Mary being trussed up in a ridiculous bridesmaid gown, and finally, Mary being tarted up by her sister Brandi to attend a bridal shower. All of this was supposed to be funny. It was more incredulous than hilarious. I appreciate absurdity, but the Treena wedding scenario strained. Mary is smarter than this. She wouldn't put up with this kind of nonsense. She's way too in control to be dictated to by a witness, especially one with a history of lying like Treena. It was all a bit much.

On the plus side, the subplot involving Raphael and Mary was illuminating. Raphael, I learn, is a professional baseball player. That was not in the pilot, as I recall. Anyway, he's called up to the Marlins. So, because he's leaving town immediately, Raph invites Mary to his home. She thinks it's a booty call. It's not. He proposes and she can't handle the prospect of commitment. She flips out and runs out leaving him with no answer. It's only in the end of the episode, when Treena -- who was really in love with her latest (yeah, right) gets married and tells Mary, "Allow yourself for the possibility of something greater" -- that Mary comes to grips with her feelings about Raphael.

Taking Treena's advice (really?), Mary calls Raphael and asks him to wait before boarding the plane to Miami. Mary tries to get to the airport, but at the railroad crossing she's held up and attempts to drive through. Her car conks out on the tracks, and with the train careening in her direction, she gets her dress caught in the door. Mary finds the strength to push the crappy purple Ford Probe across the tracks. As the train zooms by, the plane flies overhead. Was Mary really willing to risk it all for love and Raphael, or was this her trying to prove to herself that she would put it all on the line to make a commitment? What was she thinking?

Other points of interest:

How rich is Mary supposed to be? She's living in a house with a pool -- and a pool boy (with a six-pack) to take care of it. She also still supporting her mother and sister, apparently. Brandi lounges around in a string bikini, reading Success magazine, and seems oblivious to Mary's suggestions that she get a job.

I love that Marshall is wearing "mambo pants." What does he do when he's not working a case with Mary? In the office, however, the way Stan stepped up to give him pointers about how to dance was over the top. So far I'm not impressed with Stan. What is this character about, other than giving Mary and Marshall their next assignment? They need to color in the details. He's a stick figure right now.

Mary lets Brandi dress her for the party and Marshall is stunned by her slutty look and says, "You look nice," but he can't look at Mary because her boobs are so distracting. Not sure I believe this; he's never noticed Mary's a looker in all the time they've worked together.

And when she kisses him in the stable, Marshall is too willing to take it to the next level. Have they never confronted the underlying attraction they have for each other?

Funny stuff when Treena tells the story about Mary as a co-ed in psych class dressed as a Catholic school girl sans panties. That was quite a bit of imagery.

At the bridal shower, that was a butt ugly male stripper. They should have shown the guy from the pool instead. Of course, it turned out that the stripper was a real cop. Not much of a recommendation for the real thing.

Loved it when Bobby D. appeared on horseback with the bad guy in tow and Mary wonders, "Where the hell did he get a lasso?"

Treena nails Mary for being like her, lying for a living. It hits home, but would Mary really commiserate with the male stripper, even one who was actually a local cop? Maybe it's easier to vent to a stranger than to her family or friends?

Nice to see Joanna Cassidy as the groom's mother. Would have liked to have seen more of her.

No Jinx in this episode and neither Mary nor Brandi wondered where she was. To be frank, she wasn't missed.

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