Author Topic: Irony and Foreshadowing -- Episodes 9 & 10  (Read 1613 times)

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Offline Luciaphile

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Irony and Foreshadowing -- Episodes 9 & 10
« on: December 07, 2004, 05:59:34 PM »
No fashion notes because it is still the same damn day and aside from everyone looking worse for the wear, they are still in the same damn clothes. Although, Mitch Ryan looked quite yummy in his shirtsleeves and vest.

I don't know why but every time Bill Malloy shows up, I smile. I just like him or something. He's very un-soap opera-ish--both the actor and the character, and he seems like such a nice guy. What can I say, he cheers me up. Although, sometimes he behaves in an inexplicable fashion. We see him run into the hotel, pick up the house phone (the desk is completely unattended by the way). He rings Burke, speaks to him demanding to see him, and then he runs promptly out of the hotel to Collinwood. Okay, color me confused because if Burke is in his room, then why not go up there and meet him?

As I watched these two shows last week, I can't remember the context of this. For some reason there appeared to have been dialogue between some characters (Liz and Bill??? Carolyn and Liz???) about the basis for the Collins family fortune. The Ewings had oil. Palmer Cortland had electronics. The Corys had newspapers. The Collinses (wait for it): Sardines. Yep, in keeping with the soap tradition of having your wealthiest family in town be in a glamour industry and all, Art Wallace gave us those pungent little fish in cans that no one wants to eat.

To be fair, it's not a bad decision because I think he wanted to reflect the fact that with the passage of time, the family had gone from being leaders of the region and shipbuilders to something a lot less impressive. And at the same time, it's not all that implausible. A lot of fanfic writers like to have Barnabas reviving the shipbuilding side of things, but let's be honest those days were gone, even by 1967.

Carolyn's face lights up like a Christmas tree when she learns that the man who threatened to take her over his knee and spank her was none other than the one, the only, Burke Devlin! You can practically read her mind as she's hearing this: Tall, dark, and handsome: check. Fits into the schoolgirl gothic rape fantasies: check. Hated by her mother: check. An acceptable non-incestuous alternative to Uncle Roger: check. Someone to provide her with an alternative escape route out of Collinwood: check.

These two episodes are full of lots and lots of discussion about ghosts--living and dead. I started jotting down all the humorously ironic comments, but my repetitive strain injury kicked in so I'll spare you all. The living stuff is pretty cut and dried. Liz, for those of you who didn't know, is the living ghost. She shut up her house, kicked out everybody she could get away with kicking out, and she hasn't left her property in (say it with me or drink a shot or whatever) eighteen years. We got that.

What's more interesting to me is all the talk about the conventional ghosts. ¢â‚¬ËœCause one thing is clear: even at this point in the show, that much discussion about their existence or non-existence, in that kind of setting, heavily implies that there are plenty of them. And you watch how the hardcore family (Elizabeth, Roger)--the people who have spent multiple years living at Collinwood--deal with this question with the public (Bill or Burke or Vicki) and on very rare occasions in private (amongst themselves) and a couple of things are clear:

Rule #1: There are outsiders and there are insiders. If you aren't a family member and you haven't been living in Collinwood for over a couple of decades, you're an outsider.

Rule #2: You don't talk about it and if you're forced to talk about it, deny, deny, deny.

Rule #3: Keep telling yourself that there are no such things as ghosts. Maybe some day, you'll believe it.

Because Elizabeth and Roger as will become clear in the coming months know damn well that there are ghosts.

Okay, enough of that. Bill has a definite yen for Elizabeth. Not that she returns these affections. In fact, I get the feeling that 20 years ago, this is the kind of guy she'd have driven over with her car. But all that devotion comes in handy, a technique she has clearly found with Matthew Morgan, human bulldog. Anyhow, Bill all but pretty much states that Elizabeth is his ideal woman.

Vicki is writing another letter. She's been at Collinwood about a day and a half, you realize and she's apparently running for most ardent correspondent ever. I know that the orphans undoubtedly have it hard, but somehow I cannot believe that the only joy in their lives is a letter from the gal who made it out of there--unless, of course, my grim theories about Mrs. Hopewell are accurate. Meanwhile, Carolyn comes in, convinced that her mother has fired Vicki and in an oddly passive aggressive moment, starts rather meanly regaling her with the story about the Widows.

Now I always liked the legend of the Widows. It got warped into something more trite as the show went on, but originally like a really good ghost story should be, it was genuinely creepy. Later on we got all the stuff that gets 13-year-old boys jazzed like zombie pirates and Frankenstein monsters. Now we have traditional spooky ghosts. The Widows make me nearly as happy as seeing Bill.

I'm not quite sure where Vicki or Carolyn are coming from emotionally at this moment. Carolyn is under the impression that Vicki got canned. Now granted Carolyn's got all this baggage about being trapped in Collinwood and wanting to get away and all, but seriously, I thought a friend of mine just got fired, the last thing I would be doing is trying to scare her with thoughts of vengeful ghosts out for new governess blood. And Vicki when she reveals that yes, she's still employed, isn't at all turned off by any of this.

Blah, blah, blah Carolyn and her conflicts about staying or leaving Collinwood. Were we really this self-absorbed as teenagers? Can't get myself too excited about her turmoil. This isn't some poor kid living in a three-room coldwater fourth floor walkup, trapped with her only escape being marriage to the boring factory worker so she can turn into a carbon copy of her faded and worn mother. This is supposed to be the daughter of a fairly wealthy and influential family. Even if cash was tight, it's not like Elizabeth would not have been willing to fork over the dough to send her daughter to Smith or Vassar or Wellesley. And while Carolyn isn't exactly screaming intellectual to me, you cannot tell me that for every truly bright student in those colleges, there weren't a fair share of the academically-challenged from privileged families as well.

Bill, who just five minutes prior, declared that what he liked most about his beloved Liz is the way she faced any threat head-on (and how's that for irony) is now upset that she's firmly in denial about Burke. Not sure that any of these people has a logical or effective strategy for the Burke problem. Elizabeth has a point though. They really don't know for sure what Burke has in mind.

Carolyn decides she needs to get out more. Oh, and once again she references the paddling/spanking thing. Between that and Roger's "pain preceding pleasure" remark, this family is um, interesting.

I admit it; I'm bitter. Free trip around the U.S. and Carolyn turns it down for a chance to get paddled by the stranger out to get her family. Although from what we heard Bill saying to his sister about taking Carolyn and her daughter (Bill: "the mother will pay for it all"), it doesn't sound like much of a trip company-wise. Carolyn decides instead that she will take the bold step (hey, it is 1966) and go to Burke's hotel room. Hot stuff, baby!

Elizabeth, unaware that her daughter is hell-bent on trashing what remains of her reputation, is doing some more successful parenting with David. He broke one of her teacups and attempts to hide. Heh. She spots him right away. Then there's a less successful parenting moment when David opts to blame the Widows for breaking Elizabeth's favorite china (which incidentally, I don't care much for) and he runs off.

Burke's hotel room is well, kind of what I imagine a small town hotel's "best" suite would look like. Kind of worn, kind of shabby, kind of desperate. You just know that whoever makes these decor decisions (surely not Mr. Wells) spent a long time agonizing over the bed spread and the artwork and the sofa and unerringly picked out the exact things that would date the fastest and look the cheapest. Oblivious to the care and attention to design detail, Burke sets up everything he needs to play the gullible Miss Stoddard, which makes me laugh. She's soooo determined to be sophisticated and soignee and every single word that comes out of her mouth proclaims her as the young and inexperienced little girl that she is.

David has a great little robot toy--why can't I find things like that when I'm trying to do my holiday shopping? Inquiring minds want to know. The kid hears someone coming and dodges behind an armchair. Roger demonstrates just why he should have empathy for Sam when he comes in making a beeline for the brandy. Me, I like to take off my coat, dump my bags, go through the mail, but that's just me. Elizabeth comes in and makes a snarky comment about the drink. Roger is more concerned with Vicki's meeting up with Burke than his alcoholism. And then we have a lovely big ol' scene that answered a lot of my burning questions the first time I saw it. Namely:

1.   How come Elizabeth ended up with all the cash and the house and business?
2.   Why does Roger let Elizabeth call the shots?
3.   Just why didn't they send David off to school (private, special, or military)?

So here's the skinny:

1.   Roger and Elizabeth inherited equally from their father. Roger cashed in his half after a yet-to-be-disclosed incident in 1959. It's gone now (we never do hear the specifics of that). In exchange for having to buy him out and for other yet-to-be-disclosed reasons, Elizabeth demanded that Roger clear off for good. Which he did--to Augusta, Maine.
2.   So Roger's lost all the dough. His marriage, as we are about to find out, well, bitter and violent sound like understatements to me. He's stuck with a child he clearly does not want. And he ain't got no money. So new bargain. He comes back; he can work at the cannery.
3.   And as little Davy is the only reason why Elizabeth is having any of this, little Davy stays. If David goes, Roger goes.

Not quite grasping all the nuances of this conversation, which is not that surprising, given that he is only seven, David reaches one conclusion: his father wants to send him to an institution. I don't think Roger is talking Choate or Andover either. Elizabeth sweeps off and the marvelous toy betrays David by starting up again, which segueways into an unpleasant glimpse of the Augusta years.

Roger and Laura used to indulge in marital problem resolution--of the screaming and furniture- throwing variety--a lot of screaming and furniture-throwing with a healthy share of bitter accusations for good measure. To top it off, the name "Burke Devlin" is actually quite familiar to little Davy's tender ears. Laura and Roger used it often. Since Roger's method of childrearing apparently involves equal violence, it's something of a relief when Elizabeth comes in and rescues David. Oh, I'm guessing that holidays were such a fun time for all concerned. Not.

Unaware that she could have been getting some vital information right in her own backyard, our little Dorothy is off seeing the wizard in his hotel room. Burke takes the fun tack of telling Carolyn the truth about his intentions, proving it's not what you say, but how you say it. And she's just totally convinced that he's the best thing since sliced bread.

Elizabeth is taking a little cat nap when in walks David quite filthy. Very filthy in fact. What I like about David is that he doesn't waste a lot of time wringing his hands. No, he has a problem; he goes out and solves it. His cousin also does this as she promptly demonstrates by showing up with Burke in tow.
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Offline Raineypark

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Re: Irony and Foreshadowing -- Episodes 9 & 10
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2004, 07:23:28 PM »
If I'm not mistaken, Smith, Vassar and Wellesley were all Women's colleges at the time.  Which means our girl Carolyn wouldn't have gone to any of them unless dragged there in a straight-jacket.  And if she had, I can't see her lasting more than one semester before either flunking out for poor grades, or getting thrown out for having "inappropriate relationships" with any number of the male faculty.  [vryevl]

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Offline onyx_treasure

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Re: Irony and Foreshadowing -- Episodes 9 & 10
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2004, 12:44:26 AM »
Luciaphil,
     I am not very familiar with the early episodes but you make them sound  interesting and mysterious.  Roger seems very different from the later portrayal.  This Roger sounds alot more layered and disturbing.  Thanks for taking the time during this hectic holiday season to give us these delicious reviews. [ChristmaS15]
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Offline michael c

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Re: Irony and Foreshadowing -- Episodes 9 & 10
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2004, 01:58:05 AM »
again luciaphil,awsome read.i would love to watch these episodes again but i leant my "collector's series vol/2" to a co-worker who as they say in the human recources dept. has "left the company".i might have to order it again if i really get the yen.

i reading this chapter and the previous one i was pleasently reminded of vicki's all-day phone call at the inn.the show's first two weeks covered less than a twenty-four hour period!the mail in collinsport must have been delivered at a speedy rate since vicki recieved her first letter less than a day after she left new york.and didn't mrs."at a very fair rate of pay"hopewell tell vicki how much she was missed once she got her on the phone(again,next day)?
maggie was so saucy!everyone was sooo mean to vicki!and as has been pointed out,carolyn was not the most ambitious of girls in terms of schooling or occupation....what would she have done with herself if her "home-situation" hadn't drastically changed a few months down the road? [vampy]
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Offline Luciaphile

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Re: Irony and Foreshadowing -- Episodes 9 & 10
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2004, 02:17:53 PM »
If I'm not mistaken, Smith, Vassar and Wellesley were all Women's colleges at the time.  Which means our girl Carolyn wouldn't have gone to any of them unless dragged there in a straight-jacket.  And if she had, I can't see her lasting more than one semester before either flunking out for poor grades, or getting thrown out for having "inappropriate relationships" with any number of the male faculty.  [vryevl]

Possibly true, Rainey, although I have a feeling that those inclined to pursue the male sex in those kinds of schools had all sorts of opportunities to do so from neighboring institutions. I think little Miss Stoddard would have done just fine in that department  [santa_cool]
"Some people ask their god for answers to their spiritual questions. For everything else, there is Google." --rpcxdr-ga