Monday, July 02, 2007

"Or are you going to part like the Red Sea?":John From Cincinnati


(I am filling in for Todd this week on John From Cincinnati while he is on vacation. -- J)

His Visit: Day 3, or How we all convened at the Snug Harbor motel, and dispersed without a thought.

After watching the first two episodes of John From Cincinnati, especially after watching only the pilot, I was nervous about how this show was going to turn out. The type of dialogue that seemed to sit so well with the characters of Deadwood seemed a little off, nothing seemed to be going anywhere, and I sort of waited around, trusting (like I do with many a show on HBO) that it will pay off in the end. I've been bitten by this before (do any of you remember Carnivale?), but after watching the third and especially the fourth episode, I think everything is going to work out just fine.

As far as plot, most of the episode centered around people looking for someone else. Butchie, Kai, and Bill all spent most of the time meeting up with one another and going on a search for John, who walked off out of Kai's place at the beginning of the episode and was missing (and for most of it he was wounded after being stabbed, unknown to them). The doctor, who now has quit his job in the hospital, was looking for Butchie. Mitch, perhaps, was looking for himself, attempting to understand his bizarre levitation phenomena. Eventually almost everyone in the cast except for the Yosts (minus Butchie, who was there) end up at the Snug Harbor motel, and witness a potential miracle as a healed John arrives with Vietnam Joe, who found him left for dead. They all barely register it, however, and then break off into pairs at the end of the episode, with many new potentially interesting relationships forming (anyone else excited to watch Bill and Steady Freddie launch random diatribes at each other?).

While most of the characters continued on in their odd state of absorption, completely oblivious it seems to that which is happening around them, a select few do seem to know that something strange is happening, finally. I think this episode was a critical mass, where the intensity picked up a bit, climaxing at the hotel, then burning out as everyone broke off into pairs. Now it seems that everyone has their separate journey to understand or cope with what is happening every since the stranger walked into town, if they take the time to care, that is.

The doctor definitely thinks something otherworldly is happening, but for being the one person who is most certainly, keenly aware he hasn't yet thought to connect it to John, and is in fact walking around in somewhat of a daze, as one funny scene where he acquires a catalog demonstrates. Even Cass, whose has a vision which compels her to rush to the motel and then take John in, doesn't seem to know, and neither do Butchie or Kai, who were affected by similarly strange experiences last episode. The only other person other who really seems to be onto something is Mitch, while pondering the levitations, seems to connect it to John being in town, even going so far as to say "he looks at me like he knows something about me" when thinking about how odd he is.

However, the one very and truly great thing about the episode though is that John finally has started to reveal to others (and the audience) that he is a special being and he seems to know it, and finally speaks to people in a way that is not a repetition of what they just said. He does so with the doctor and Vietnam Joe, directing one that he can be healed and to the other that tomorrow is another day. He also repeats conversations that he wasn't even present to hear on a few occasions, although I'm not sure the characters even notice this. In any case, I am excited about this change in the character and hope that the gradual reveal continues, I'm fascinated at where it is going to go.

Also, sometimes the show is just a joy to watch even on it's own terms. I mean is it wrong if I throughly enjoy watching Ed O'Neill alternatively ranting to a staircase (his wife?) wrapped with bubble wrap or at a parrot, from which he seems to be getting telepathic instructions now? Or the antics and interaction of the pair of criminals from Hawaii, who are staying on in town for what reason I'm not sure. Besides the large number of interesting characters, the photography is brilliant, and it is easily the most quotable show on television right now. The only real major drawback I have is the Shaun Yost character, and that is because the actor who plays him just seems so wooden so far, especially in opposition to the color that the rest of the characters have.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I like this show. Its not as good as Deadwood, however. Here's a link to a blog I created about John From Cincinnati