I'm always a fan of the 24/39 hours earlier format in serials. It builds tension and suckers you in.
And up to a point, it served this ep well, but more on that later.
It's a big old cast, and there are still backstories, and flashes that we have yet to see. So this ep also used the old staple of reminding us of where we stand, and used that opportunity to remind us of the intricacies of political wranglings, and the human cost. That is IMO the essence of it's Zeitgeist flavour. We are in shaky times, people have hopes and dreams for the future but still feel uncertain, hope is there but it's muted. I enjoyed the Senate scenes. There was menace, drama, coercion, and a horrifying acknowledgement that, that is probably, exactly how it is. The "chinese" man, anyone?
I actually quite enjoyed the reveal of Janis as a lesbian. I know some of the dialogue was clunky, and some of the tender moments seemed a tad awkward, but I felt that really was the writing and directing at fault. Who sits like that round a table in a resturant? When the actresses were allowed to be more comfortable in the space they occupied I thought there was some nice chemistry. I quite liked how the baby was a red herring. My only thought was maybe she shouldn't have called that guy in the karate class a "douche" - he seemed fine to me, regular guy - 'cos that might be one donor off the list. Seriously though, I felt more concerned for the breakup of this tryst, than I do over Mark and Olivia at the moment. And I think Christine Woods' portrayal is great.
I also thought Courtney B Vance was terrific. His reaction to Mark's confession, that his vision was impaired by alcohol, was mesmerising and his brutal taunting, cruel, but understandable after his own behind the scenes machinations. Nothing gets nothing in Washington.
The stuff with the towers was intruiging but just keeps spinning the background along and that was fine for tonight but anymore and I may lose some patience. I liked the deepening of the individual storylines, and can only hope that we get repaid a la Lost, and not flumoxed a la Heroes. But I gotta have me some story in there too. And then came the ending, it's been said, the magical exploding car, the Hollywood movie walk whilst shooting, and then there was also the little matter of the choice of song and it's artist. Hokey?
I thought again the scenes with Janis did better. Once we knew, she was the person on the phone to Mark, we knew she would be targeted too. Immediate tension. Plus she had some kick-ass moves. And, despite myself, and so what if the electronic voice repeating "wake up" was a bit too much, I quite liked the little spirograph effect. Thanks for popping by.