Tuesday, April 26, 2011

USOT Recap: Transitions

"I liked you." Lionel

...And the Lionel/Marshall union is as past as the tense of that verb, folks. I have to admit that even though I never thought the two were right for each other, it was a little bit sad that Lionel, the threesome-orchestrator and general boundary-pusher of the group, ended up being more invested in his relationship with and subsequent breakup from Marshall than viceversa. It's the first true glimpse of complexity I've seen from Lionel, and I sure hope this isn't the last we'll be seeing from him, because I definitely appreciate what his character brings to the show and to television in general. I don't think we've had much in the way of complete, unapologetic, even self-destructive gay characters on TV since Six Feet Under and certainly none that were so young.

I actually don't know what surprised me more about this week's episode: that Marshall initiated the secret fooling around with Noah or that Dr. Hattaras listens to death metal in his adorable, tiny car. The good professor still purports not to believe in DID, but he is definitely showing some avid interest in Tara, pursuing her through different channels when she initially refuses to allow him to write a paper on her condition. (Apparently Hattaras is some sort of genius therapist in addition to skeptical academic.) It turns out that last week's big treatise among the Taras resulted in a surprisingly detailed and coherent written contract agreed upon and signed by the alters, a direct result of which was an almost too-easy interaction where Alice relinquishes the body to Tara upon immediate request. Of course, that was Alice. Jury's still out on the integrity of the loose-cannon alters T and Buck, not to mention the mystery alter that I still believe exists somewhere in Tara's subconscious in spite of his/her absence from the imaginary conference room.

Meanwhile, Charmaine and Neil are in over their heads with baby Cassie, but Charmaine still stubbornly refuses Tara's involvement and help (at least initially; the damn "sister scene" at the end made me get all teary-eyed again). Max is not having an awesome professional experience at his new job with Orgalawn. Turns out, having to answer to someone else might not be worth the financial security. I'm actually pretty disappointed with the Max storylines so far. More often than not, he seems to be treated as a passive character by the writers, reactive rather than proactive, which would be fine if the factors he were reacting to were less lame. Basically, I would like to see him be more than a foil for Tara, but at the very least he could be given some marginally more interesting conflicts.

In fact, this whole episode was merely OKmore of a transitional chapter than anything else, dealing primarily with the gradual shifts into events we all knew would take place sooner or later: the Marshall/Lionel breakup, the Tara/Charmaine reunion, the Tara/Dr. Hattaras partnership. The only truly entertaining scenes this week were Kate's, who was also stuck in her own transitioning phase from aimless teen to spunky flight attendant but who at least had some hilarious interactions in the process.

Rumor has it Dr. Hattaras will make an important discovery in one of Tara's therapy tapes next week. It better be good.

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