Author Topic: A Son's Love - Episodes 129 & 130  (Read 1404 times)

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Offline Luciaphile

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A Son's Love - Episodes 129 & 130
« on: April 04, 2006, 08:13:07 PM »
Fashion notes first . . .

Maggie has some nice sportswear. She's got on a ribbed, short-sleeved sweater and a belted straight skirt. Simple, but she looks very nice in it.

Roger, meanwhile, is all about pattern overload. Tweed vest, tweed jacket, and topped with his checked raincoat.

Sarah Johnson sports a black sweater set that is perfect. Just dowdy enough to be old lady attire.

Meanwhile, little Davy has on a pair of wildly patterned pajamas. Another reason to hope these things come out on DVD. I'm not sure if they're supposed to be amoebas or paisley or what. They are supremely ugly.

Onto the show.

Lela Swift directs both. First one is written by Ron Sproat; the second is from the pen of Malcolm Marmorstein.

Same day.

I remember the first time I saw these episodes. I was fascinated. My first exposure to Roger was as the snarky, tertiary character who stood by the brandy decanter and then as the hapless tertiary character who stood by the brandy decanter. I always liked him though and I thought Louis Edmonds did a good job in the part. So when I saw these episodes, it was a totally different experience.

Victoria's voiceover says that now her life is serene (well, a couple of Valiums will do that to you). Roger and "serene" are on opposite sides of the planet right now. That really must have been an awful marriage because he's totally freaked. He last heard from her when she moved to Phoenix. He seems baffled as to why she'd be back.

My first thought about this was "Duh? David?" But more than a couple of other characters also express puzzlement as to why she'd show up again. So I have to wonder just what kind of a mother she really was. David has fond memories of her, but that could be because she's better in comparison to Roger. I always have a sense that he was just a strategic object in their marriage--someone to be thrown in the other's face whenever the need arose.

Sam neither knows nor cares why Laura is back. He's focused on his impending jail time should Laura open her mouth. (Frankly, she's just as culpable as they are). They speculate about Burke's involvement or lack thereof. Laura by the way was at a sanatorium per Roger.

The distinction between a sanatorium and a sanitarium, for those of you who care, is that the latter came to be known as a place you went to in order to recover from TB. Sanatoriums, in contrast, were health resorts. Roger uses "sanatorium," but from the context, I don't think Laura was at a health resort. Nor do I think she had TB. It sounds like she was at a rehab facility that specialized in mental health problems as well. Subsequent episodes emphasize the mental illness part of her situation more.

All Sam has to go in Maggie's gossip.

Gosh, that must have been a fun marriage. A drunken Roger runs over a man. Burke's passed out in the back seat. Laura, who's sleeping with Burke, offers to perjure herself in exchange for Roger's marriage proposal. Roger, who's got a thing for her already, agrees and then has to a)deal with the guilt, b)question David's paternity for the rest of his life. She meanwhile deals with the guilt and being with a man she's not in love with by becoming an alcoholic. Add in bitterness, physical fights, and mental illness and wow, good times.

Scene switches to the Evans Cottage where Maggie and Joe are having a nightcap. Maggie initially doesn't want to talk, but that doesn't last. She's not exactly closemouthed about anything, is she? She tells him about her father's reaction to Laura. I think they wrote themselves into a hole with Maggie. She's not terribly intelligent. I'm sorry but she's not. She's got strong instincts, but the way she's written she can never properly articulate them. Her sense of timing is perhaps worse than Vicki's, which is hard to imagine.

Maggie is convinced that Sam is afraid of Laura. That's what I mean by strong instincts. She's right about it. But all she can say is that there's something odd about Laura. That's not KLS' fault. She can only say the lines she's given, but c'mon. There are ways to articulate that better. Joe is more practically minded. He surmises that Laura and Sam were once an item. I'll pause now for everyone who reads to bleach their brains of that image.

Now that he's home, strangely enough Roger's first instinct is not to head for the booze (well, he does, but his first instinct is to start to place a call). Elizabeth comes in. While she's not freaked by his news, I think it's safe to say that she's very unhappy. He goes so far as to call the hotel, but she's not there and he doesn't leave a message.

They wonder what the heck she wants. The writing of all of this is rather good. A lot of soaps, even contemporary ones, do this very deliberate trick of making every thing, and I do mean, every little thing into a big mystery or conversely into a huge exposition deal. What Ron Sproat does is to make it much more natural. Instead of laying it all out for us or making it so secret that you don't know if Laura's an ex-CIA agent or just a big ol' tramp, it's two people having a conversation. They both know the score so it doesn't have the fake feeling that the exposition scenes usually do. They reveal enough without revealing it all.

But I digress. Roger's evidently been sending Laura a check each month. Liz seems to know all about this.  So both of them know she's been out of the hospital. They both wonder why the hell she's back. Again, the fact that David isn't the first thing on anyone's mind leads me to wonder really how much motherhood and Laura went together. David as a motive finally occurs to them and Liz is instantly antagonistic. She would clearly prefer that Laura not come anywhere near David. Roger gets uneasy. Liz posits that he's afraid of Laura and gets all snippy. He gets snippy right back.

Can I just say that you can totally believe that these two are siblings?

Back at Casa Evans, Maggie and Joe are sitting very close together on the sofa when an inebriated Sam returns. Maggie tries to persuade him not to drink anymore, but he's belligerent and ignores her. Joe takes his leave and Sam gets it into his head that this is a good time to paint. He seems fixated on it in fact. Finally she goes to bed. He starts painting.

I should point out that throughout this arc, every damn character who lights a match stares into it deeply.

Day 24.

Roger calls the hotel only to learn that Laura is out and about. He shares the tidbit that this is odd as Laura used to sleep till noon or later. Yeah, I'm not seeing David's childhood as all that rosy. Mom's asleep in a drunken stupor. Roger doesn't strike me as Mr. Mom so I'm guessing David got his Cheerios or whatever all on his own. Mom gets up at noon. Maybe she can be bothered to slap some PB&J on some bread for him while she has her morning vodka, maybe not. Then who knows. Dad comes home around 5 or 6, starts drinking, and the fighting begins.

Meanwhile the other child of an alcoholic tries to wake up Sam, who passed out some time last night on the sofa, empty bottle on the floor. She evidently hasn't heard about coffee just creating a wide awake drunk, so she tries to press it on him. I'm kind of sick about Maggie knocking her coffee. Either learn how the hell to brew a pot or shut up about it. He's got no memory of painting. Maggie goes over to inspect and comments that it's not his usual style. For the record, it's a rough sketch of a woman surrounded by flames. She seems to think it's out there. All I can say is that indicates she's not terribly familiar with any kind of art.

Heh. The ABC announcer guy wishes us all a happy holiday season. These would be airing around Christmas time.

So Roger is again calling the hotel. Considering the size of the town and the prominence of the Collinses, I find it odd that her stay is such a surprise to these characters. I would have thought that the minute she showed up in the town limits, tongues would have started wagging. Mrs. Johnson eavesdrops shamelessly as she polishes the banister. Roger mentions to Liz that the last time he saw his wife, she was "out of her mind." They debate the Burke angle. They shut the door which gives Mrs. J time to hurry off and spread the news.

She's nothing if not loyal. The first person (I prefer to believe that she shares this gossip with others) she spills the beans to is Burke. Mrs. J is almost flirtatious with Burke. It's times like these where you realize how young Clarice Blackburn really was. Again, he seems totally mystified as to why Laura could be back. Our Byronic antihero has it bad for the lady, still. He's stunned to realize that she's staying at the hotel (again under her maiden name, which seems like it would be analogous to the president calling himself John Doe and checking into the Hilton). He knocks on her door, but nobody answers.

David meanwhile is on the swing at the Old House while Laura watches from behind a plastic tree.

Inside the little tyke complains about Mrs. Johnson's cooking. She makes oblique comments about how he'll be getting the discipline he needs very soon. Ha. And how someone else will be taking him on soon enough. Those seem like tactless remarks to make to a nine-year-old, but her character still has teeth so perhaps it's not so out there. David is curious. He thinks someone's been watching him. She tucks him in (and where is Vicki?) and takes off. Like five seconds later he's up and opens the window. Yeah, late December in Maine. I think not.

Roger still can't reach Laura. Her remaining family has moved away and he doesn't seem to have kept in touch with any of them. Unsurprisingly, she has no friends. Ha. Elizabeth is focused on David. I don't think she'd mind if she never saw her sister-in-law ever again.

Fresh from messing with the already-messed-up David, Mrs. Johnson opens the door to Laura. She recognizes her right off. Roger comes out and looks appropriately freaked. They make awkward conversation. Civil, but lukewarm. Her obvious concern is David.

Elizabeth greets Laura. It's a great little bit. They are pleasant and gracious. They say all the right things. They smile. And they both so clearly loathe each other.

Laura gazes into the fire, declines a drink (she's dry now), and talks about Phoenix. She says all of the right things. Evidently, she did some kind of psychoanalysis at the hospital. The answer to the $64,000 question is that she wants David.

The little darling is tossing about in his hideous PJs calling out for his mother.

Downstairs Laura clarifies that she wants David's love. She's still legally married to Roger, but she'd like a divorce and sole custody of David. She indicates money isn't paramount with her, which is nice, but nobody seems to be asking how she'll be able to take care of David financially.

Elizabeth is having quiet fits. Roger seems to think this is a great idea. No surprise there. Laura. Laura is very invested in acquiring David's love. See that's the kicker for me. It's all about her. It's not that she wants her son because she loves him or that she can provide a better and more emotionally secure life for him. It's that she needs him. She needs his love. Well, that's just ducky, but parenthood isn't generally supposed to be a one-way street. Hell, it's often equated with self-sacrifice. There's some lip service to loving David, but it's clearly that.

Millay plays this very nicely. What Maggie couldn't articulate is that Laura acts like someone who says all of the right things, but doesn't quite understand what those things mean. She says them because they will get her what she wants. But they're too close to being the right things; nobody talks like that and she's too glib. It's a fine line for a performer and Millay dances along it.

Everyone agrees to think it over. Liz won't let her see David, which Laura doesn't like, but acquiesces to. She leaves.

David and his patterned pajamas sleepwalk downstairs. He's out the door, but fortunately Roger catches him and they wake the kid up. He starts babbling about Laura and crying.
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Offline Gothick

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Re: A Son's Love - Episodes 129 & 130
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2006, 09:43:18 PM »
Just a line to say how much I'm enjoying these--and how pleased I am that you decided to continue!

*doffs cap*


Offline michael c

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Re: A Son's Love - Episodes 129 & 130
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2006, 12:46:32 AM »
i'll second that.another great read luciaphil.

that's funny that you mention maggie's lousy coffee.they seemed to make that something of a running joke in the early episodes.all-in-all not a great waitress.she makes a lousy ice cream sunae too. ;)

but i did like maggie as a character in these episodes.she was spunky and decisive.she made a play for joe haskell and followed through with it.i liked that.

after alexandra leaves and they need a new ingenue i think maggie loses alot of what made her different.
i'm currently watching the 1970pt episodes and here maggie is just so weak.i realize that the role for kls changed over time but i just like maggie with an edge.
sleep 'til noon and your punishment shall be the dregs of the coffeepot.