Thoughts on the week of June 29-July 3.
They didn't pull any punches about this being the last Bauer barbecue. While that gave the event a little more pathos than usual, it still managed to be entertaining. It's hard to complain. They managed to make it everything it hasn't been in years. It was humorous, nostalgic, full of references to show history, appearances from old characters and nice little speeches. They spanned it out over a few days to get the full breadth of it and it didn't feel like it was arbitrarily inserted into things, as it sometimes has in the past. Instead, it was integrated and the current plots flowed through it quite seamlessly. There were nice little bits like Buzz and Lillian slipping into the trees to make out, Rick stealing pie, Billy hanging out with Mindy, Danny and Michelle offering vague hints about their current lives and Cyrus and Mel flirting.
There was also Shayne being tense and Phillip trying to keep himself together. Shayne was tense because Henry's paternity has been revealed to Mallet. Shayne has been doing his best to convince himself that the child is where he should be, even if that means he has to put up with people constantly telling him that he would understand this or that if he had children of his own. While all of this grinds on him, Mallet proved early in the week that he can actually do detective work and pieced it together. He accepted this, and the fact that so many people have been keeping it secret from him, with surprising ease, which leads one to suspect that the tensions between the two men are far from over. At least one hopes so. The show has had a few too many anti-climaxes lately.
The other big secret of the week was Natalia getting confirmation that she's pregnant. Blake is helping her keep this from everyone. Nat's reaction (interpreting it as punishment from God and then running away), whether one likes it or not, was completely true to character. Although bringing another Cooper into the world does sound like some sort of diabolical act, Father Ray urged caution about interpreting it in a grand way. She drifted around town like a zombie, had a nice moment with her son and then vanished. Olivia spent most of the week eagerly anticipating their public coming out and then had her heart broken. She ran through the woods and collapsed in tears. It was one of those beautifully sad moments that they do so well. But does this mean the end of Otalia? I don't think so. I'm trying not to be as negative as some people have been about this turn of events, although I know where they're coming from. On the bright side, at least this means we'll see more of Doris and Olivia interacting for awhile and that's always a good thing. Besides that, this rather melodramatic move does bring the plot back into line with where it came from. Olivia chasing after Nat should help bring back some of the more gothic romantic overtones which already started to return last week. Being understated, naturalistic and holding hands is nice, but the ladies deserve more soap opera sized emotions too.
Meanwhile, Reva was doing her best not to interact with anyone. She virtually barricaded herself into Cross Creek with her son, waiting for news of Jeffrey. Her father came by and they barbecued a chicken and watched TV. Isn't this the kind of life she's spent most of her life running away from?
Anyway, those were my thoughts about last week. Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below and remember that this is all in fun.
- Matt Purvis