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

Monday, January 12, 2009

Eli Stone: Unwritten


There are always shows that promise big payoffs, emotional moments, episodes that can’t be missed. Rarely do those actually occur; the good parts get given away in commercials, or the twist ending you saw coming a mile away, or it’s no big deal after all. Since the beginning of the season (only two episodes before this, believe it or not) the writers of Eli Stone had been teasing us with the idea of big changes ahead. They definitely delivered on that promise.

Eli and Taylor are arguing over whether or not Jordan should take the stand at his competency trial. Jordan agrees with Eli that this is a bad idea. It seems Jordan agrees with Eli about everything, which miffs Taylor, but at least they seem to be getting along. Not so for Taylor and Matt, because Matt suggests that having his own daughter defend him is going to make Jordan’s case look biased, and that she doesn’t have to take the case to make her father proud of her. There’s the Matt Dowd I know and vaguely like, but Taylor doesn’t seem thrilled.

The next day, Eli’s not thrilled because Nate’s been poking around in their dad’s journal again. He wants him to help one of his patients, whose name he found in the journal. Apparently their lead paint liability case is supposed to go all the way to the Supreme Court, which never happens. Eli says he’s too worried about Jordan’s trial. Yet God decides to tell him to clear his calendar: he gets a nightmarish vision of Matt, now working at Posner & Klein, telling him he just got beaten senseless at Jordan’s hearing. The vision is enough to make him quit as Jordan’s counsel, which makes everyone unhappy. Except for maybe me the viewer, because I get to see more of Keith this episode and Keith is awesome.

You know who else is awesome? Dr. Chen. He tells Eli to stop freaking out about his dad’s journal and manages to get it away from him. So Eli takes the lead paint case and I find out why these cases don’t work: with multiple layers of paint in a building it’s impossible to determine which manufacturer actually made the paint that caused the illness. He decides he’ll just sue all of them. Except he doesn’t know how.

Keith and Taylor aren’t having much luck with Jordan’s hearing. While Taylor kicks butt by bringing up past good deeds her father has done, she ends up having to cross-examine her own stepmother (makes me wonder what happened to her mother?), who admits that Taylor told her she was concerned about Jordan. Oops. Jordan is not happy and decides like it or not, he’s going on the stand anyway. He goes back to the office, which leads to the most awesome scene ever.

Eli wants to explain to Jordan why he quit Jordan’s case, but Jordan doesn’t want to hear about visions considering his entire world is falling apart around him. Victor Garber basically rips out my heart and tears it into little tiny pieces as I saw a very proud man at his lowest point. He wants to blame Eli, but Eli tells him that it was his decision to do what he did without them really talking about it first, and they argue. It’s leaving his mentor’s office that Eli has a vision of how he’s going to win his case. Thankfully he’s not on Jordan’s case because Posner wants to blame Eli for making Jordan nuts, since Eli admitted in the premiere that he talks to God.

Jordan takes the stand in his trial and talks about how he used to be a different person. He’s wielding this cocktail napkin he found while talking to Keith, on which he and his two fellow partners wrote their mission statement thirty years ago. Something about the public good. Yeah, that’s not true anymore. As Posner and Klein squirm and look genuinely chagrined Jordan tells the court he’s going to make that napkin relevant again. Never since The West Wing have I felt so much love toward a napkin.

Everything seems to work out in the end, almost: Jordan is declared sane, but he loses the backing of the WPK board and as such, his partnership. Not that he cares, because he’s going solo. Eli’s clients take an offered settlement that will pay all their bills, and Eli sneakily suggests to another attorney that he look into the case. Namely, with Jordan and his new firm. And oops, seems Jordan’s the only one whose name is on the title to the offices, so really it literally is his firm. Touche. Not to mention he makes Chen proud by burning his dad’s journal. He’s better off without it.

There’s one last hitch, though: in his last vision, Eli does in fact see the new attorney taking the lead paint liability case to the Supreme Court, but he sees Maggie…working for Posner & Klein, representing the bad guys! This is like that episode of The Simpsons where Homer accidentally changes the world because he sneezed in the past. Eli is shocked. (I’m not, really, because the camera totally gives away that she’s standing on the wrong side of the courtroom way before she opens her mouth.)

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