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

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Own Worst Enemy: High Crimes & Turducken

"High Crimes and Turducken" starts off with a pretty good action piece. Edward has gone off on his own and made a deal with the KGB to deliver a Maguffin-type object called The Falcon in exchange for information regarding his parents fatal 1986 "car accident" - and Henry is, of course, caught in the middle. Henry awakens during a foreign Falcon-exchange and is almost taken out by his own company Janus.

What I enjoyed the most about "High Crimes" was the momentary focus on Edward as an actual human being and seeing the flashbacks of his younger and fuller-eyebrowed self with his parents. Also, Tom's attempts to mend his broken relationship with Mary as touching as they are almost unbelievably naive.

The show's smallish formula during the short time it's been on the air is this: Some peripheral character on the show is going through some form of catharsis that exactly mirrors what Henry is going through, and thus is able to help Henry emotionally deal with a certain problem. Last episode, it was Mariam love of her "assigned" husband. This episode it's Angie's Dad discovering that the mother he never knew was Jewish. And it's able to help Henry come to terms with his own feeling about Edward's parents. This formula isn't overly annoying, but it sure isn't coy or clever anymore.

I really can't believe that during this time in Henry's life, when everything is on the line for him and his family's lives are in constant danger - that he would be so much of a proud patriot as to object so highly to Edward's "off the reservation" mission. The fact that he considers Edward a "traitor" is a strange breaking point for Edward. See, torture is fine. Black ops are fine. Killing his friends off and threatening his life are fine. But possibly selling secrets to the KGB? That's enough to actually make Henry go and...turn himself in? Really? Don't buy it. That should be the least offensive thing that Edward's done. And to actually attempt to turn himself in as a traitor to be executed, and lose absolutely everything he's been frantically scurrying to protect is ludicrous.

I've said before. This is a tricky show. Two personalities that need to have two believable character arcs that meet up in the name of suspense and intrigue. It's a rough ride. I sympathize. But for Henry to stand on such a skyscraper-sized high horse is absurd. Edward banging his wife into oblivion? Fine. Edward taking his daughter along on a mission? Sure. Why not. Edward selling a secret box to the KGB to learn why his parents died? Well then...just commit suicide. Henry waking up mid-coitus with Dr. Skinner was pretty good, but his level of taking offense to things needs to drop. He should be ready for anything these days. But things are actually falling into place a little too conveniently in this episode. It turns out that Edward actually gave the KGB a fake Falcon. It turns out that Henry didn't have to freak out and turn himself in because…well, everything's just fine.

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