Men in Trees

Season 2 Episode 2

Chemical Reactions

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Oct 19, 2007 on ABC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Chemical Reactions
Marin gets lost in the woods while looking for a special root for a stew and is found by Jack, who is filming a documentary. Lynn becomes envious of the passion she sees in other couples and wants the same kind of affection in her own relationship. Meanwhile, Patrick wants to change his surname and Sara's ex-husband wants full custody of her son.moreless

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  • Once again, a beautifully written episode with the beautiful landscape shots to back it up...

    With this episode, we continue to see the show grow into itself, to explore surroundings outside of the center locale of Elmo. Love is the theme. Romantic love is certainly a focus as Marin and Jack share moments in the forest, Theresa and Ben enjoy renewed marital bliss, and Celia and officer beau both say "I love you." Looking for her special ingredient for a cook-off with Cash, Marin runs into Jack and the heat just turns up. I don't know if it's acting or their real relationship seeping onto the show but it's palpable. Still, that's not the only love touched upon. The kind of bond shared between parents and children, in particular between mothers and sons, is explored. Celia and Patrick deal with the identity one gains from a last name, really with the identity Celia has given her son. Sara struggles to hold onto her son in a custody hearing where her prostitution almost causes her to lose her son. She doesn't but she remembers that Matty's father is also a part of her son and makes the decision to work with him. It's a beautifully written episode, as always, interweaving the morning show dialogue and the end monologue with the show's plot as it develops. The writers continue to excel. Also, as usual, the panoramic shots of the wilderness...ohhhs and ahhhhs around. To end, I guess we're all looking for that special ingredient, whether it comes in the form of romantic or parental love or even in some type of career, it's always there. It's like that beacon on the horizon, always calling. Just don't forget to enjoy the search, don't forget to smell the roses while you rush for it.moreless
  • What can be better than a writer who knows you don't have to beat a dead horse (angst) to make a good show. Coming back to this episode after such a long time without "Men In Trees" being in the schedule is a fresh breath of clean Alaskan air!moreless

    How do I love? Let me count the ways...

    "Men In Trees" reminds me so much of why I loved "Sex And The City." It's smart, it's contemporary, it shows women not only being vulnerable but strong and highly intelligent. (Ok, so Marin gets lost in the woods. She doesn't really give in to her predicament until its no longer safe to do so and hey, she has to learn how to navigate the woods surrounding her house anyhow. Right?)

    I love the upbeat nature of this show. Even in its drama it manages to have a heart of gold attached. There are so few dramas who are willing to portray the goodness of the human predicament. If we, as a country, are ever going to find our way back to caring about one another full-time instead of when our heart strings are pulled to do so, we need more examples of characters like these. They live, they love, the forge through the difficult hills and valleys of their lives.

    I love the way both James Tupper and Anne Heche allow the true nature of love to shine through their beings. Yes, I realize at some point along the way they were supposed to be involved in real life (I don't read the tabloids much, so I'm really not privy to the latest rumors). There's just something magical when an actor is so profound with his or her craft that for those 40-45 minutes I feel like I'm in love too.

    Love is a contagious thing. It permeates all those who stand in its light. I love the fact that the writers address growth from inside their characters and I love the nuance Suleka Mathew put on the whole arc regarding custody of her child. She has this beautiful demeanor that is strong, yet sometimes quiet and reflective. I don't know if it was the words the writer chose or the body language Suleka used in her scenes, but the struggle seemed so real. Having been a single parent and raised a child to adulthood by myself because his father took off, I know the turmoil Sara faced.

    And Callum Keith Rennie. WOW! I only say this because I've watched him since his third season pairing with Paul Gross in Due South. Rennie has done some DARK things and yet (and I HATE to use this word again, but...) the nuance put into his reaction to the court hearing - during, after...I love people who put together great casts. I guess it's time for me to see who "Men In Trees" uses for casting. Because of the way Rennie presents his character, you get much greater depth in the understanding of who Sara and her ex were and where they have been. You get to glimpse at the young and inexperienced couple they must have been before he took off and can almost understand how the hospitality business even became an option for Sara.

    When you have a child, you do anything you have to for the two of you to survive. I admit, it may be easier for me to read behind what was shown on screen, because while I was never a good candidate for the hospitality business I did know the feeling of helplessness associated with trying to raise a child in an impoverished household.

    And speaking of "body language," I love the contrast of Celia and Richard (who will be in the upcoming Stargate SG-1 movie). Instead of going over the top with being campy, it goes right to the crest and stays there. It's a sweet relationship, but can get extreme in a heartbeat and reminds us at our most basic level there are people waiting to express all those emotions they tend to keep in check from the world around them. The interesting thing is how naturally Cynthia Stevenson makes that first "tell" and how forced it looks in some other situations. Could it be Celia's subconscious was purposely trying to convey something she couldn't actually say to Richard?

    As I said before, "Men In Trees" has the sassy, adult, intelligent vibe you get from "Sex And The City," but it also has the added element of the small town "quirky neighbor" mix of "Gilmore Girls." Ben is just as sweet a man as can be and again kudos to Abraham Benrubi for showing us the look of love on a man's face.

    More loves? The way the writers are able to bring their characters "home again" without drawing out the dysfunction. We learn FROM IT instead of learning to emulate it. Take for example the short relationship between Ben and Sara. It had a wonderful purpose, but both Theresa and Sara have settled back into their prior roles with Theresa being his main love and Sara being a girl Ben loved in the past.

    In that same vein they have written Cash to be strong and sexy, but untethered. He balances perfectly between a character that would be able to fall in love with Marin, yet content to be her friend and competitor. What woman wouldn't love a man they were such good friends with, they knew they could trust them to be either friend or lover? In the end, you feel you can trust the writers to bring the characters back home again where they belong.

    I love this show in so many ways. The fact that the season was broken up gets on my nerves, because I'm always a little raw after networks have unjustly cut my favorite shows from the schedule in May (Studio 60, Crossing Jordan, Jericho). I am happy to say, however, that I stand in good faith that ABC will take care of this wonderful vehicle. Like a fine wine, this show will only get better with age.moreless
Alvin Sanders

Alvin Sanders


Guest Star

D. Harlan Cutshall

D. Harlan Cutshall

Delivery Man

Guest Star

Colin Cunningham

Colin Cunningham


Guest Star

Timothy Webber

Timothy Webber


Recurring Role

Nicholas Lea

Nicholas Lea


Recurring Role

Currie Graham

Currie Graham


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Marin's beige toggle coat with yellow plaid lining was designed by Aritzia, Vancouver. Her purple winter coat was designed by Land's End.

    • It's revealed in this episode that Celia's maiden name was "Hisbutt."

    • While faxing her lawyer, Sara referred to her lawyer as a "he." When we see the court scene, although we never see her face, you can clearly tell by her lawyer's hair and body that she's a woman.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Marin: Did I leave something here?
      Jack: Yeah, your sense of direction.

    • Theresa: Hey, I get it. How many burgers can one woman eat?
      Jerome: Five. I saw a woman eat five once.
      Theresa: It was a rhetorical question.

    • Marin: The good news and bad news about chemistry is that we'll never fully understand how it works. Every relationship is an experiment; you never know exactly what you'll get. Some people bring out a side of you that you didn't know you had. Some people remind you that your story isn't over. Some people surprise you. And once in a while, you surprise yourself. And, although all relationships require compromise, sometimes you get more, not less. And sometimes, you can't get more. Sometimes what you had is gone forever. And, although it's painful, you have to find the strength to go on, to keep searching for the love, for that one perfect ingredient. No matter how far or how deep you have to go to find it.

    • Marin: Hey Elmo. So, if attraction is what brings people together, what is it that keeps us together? Is it hard work and dedication to a relationship or is it something less definable? What do you think? Does it all really come down to chemistry?

    • (discussing the otters)
      Marin: They haven't mated yet, have they?
      Jack: No, you'd know if they did. It's not a quiet ritual.
      Marin: The best sex never is.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Justine Bateman was credited as Special Guest Star in this episode.

    • Featured Music:
      "Chemistry" by Semisonic
      "I'll Be Your Anything" by Darin Bennett
      "Black Light" by St. James Inc.
      "Truth Shines" by Coby Brown
      "What I'm Looking For" by Brendan Benson
      "Grip" by Bret Phillips
      "In My Clutch" by Nina Kinert
      "Can't Afford My Piece Of Mind" by Elisa Randazzo
      "Hallelujah" by Teddy Geiger
      "Let Me Go" by Scott Cresswell
      "Locked Up Inside" by Geoff Martyn
      "Shooting Star" by Adrianne

    • This episode first aired in New Zealand on June 25, 2007, on the TV2 channel in New Zealand before the episode aired in the United States because ABC chose to air the remaining five episodes of Season 1 as part of an extended Season 2.