Saturday, August 22, 2009

Alex Has A Bad Week - Vacancy

(note: if you're receiving this as an email update, you may wish to click on the title to view the mini-vids on the blog site)


Over the last 2 seasons it’s Robert Goren who we have seen suffer personal hardships. Alex Eames only gets to do that occasionally and only for a single episode. One of the first episodes I can recall this happening in is Vacancy in Season 5.

Alex is annoyed about one thing or another during the whole episode; most of the time, with reason. She gives away a lot of herself and her personal feelings in Vacancy. Goren notices right away she is out of sorts and even fills in for questions she fails to ask.

Alex is annoyed at Alice (acquaintance of the victim) for looking to Goren to be her white knight. I get that. Knowing Alex, she would feel Alice should be responsible for herself and not go looking for a man to save her.

Alex is also annoyed with Alice for looking specifically to Goren. Alex must be feeling particularly territorial that day! Goren is very funny during that scene.

Alex is even mad at the awkward way Goren handles Alice.

Alex particularly dislikes Alice for being an irresponsible drunk with nothing but excuses. (We find out why when Alex explains to Goren in the hallway. )
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She then becomes really annoyed at herself…

…For being so transparent in her hostility for the drunken Alice in front of Rainey.

…Which then leads to possibly messing up the case as Rainey's bail is lowered and doubt to his involvement rises.

…Which then leads to confessing her weakness to Goren, who was rather inept at consoling her when she broaches the subject. (HA! It was probably an act of self-preservation for him. But he also might have been surprised that she even needed his consolation.)

And all this made everyone (Deakins, Carver and who knows who else) notice it was she who may have caused the case to fall apart.

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Yup. Alex was pissed. She hates being wrong. Surprisingly she did soften up to Alice and reassured her, which then annoyed Carver! She just couldn't win and she knew it.

This is all very unusual behaviour for Alex. The episode title, Vacancy, as it relates to Alex? Her normal practical sense had vacated her. Okay, I’ll say it. We might have a case of PMS. And that is probably what really ticked her off most.
A) that she was showing it and
B) that it was noticed (and no doubt commented on by her male colleagues).

Yes, Bobby was probably safe to stay as quiet as possible. She carries a gun. Did you notice he did acknowledge some responsibility for what happened by saying "He faked *us* out"? Sweet.

I really enjoyed seeing this more vulnerable side of Alex. She usually has it all together for both of them!

Just an aside: Fast forward to Lady’s Man in Season 8 and the scene in Ross’s office when he wants to take her off the case….

"A murder victim is a murder victim, our personal feelings about them don't matter. At least that's the way I've always worked a case" Hmmm, not quite Alex. You're busted! (even though Alice is not the murder victim in Vacancy, Alex has still has let her personal feeling affect the case) Poor Alex! I'm sure she'll hate being reminded of this! At times like this she's happy she's fictional!

Vacancy was written by Gina Gionfriddo.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Music Video Awards Results

Gee, what can I say?

Thanks for the awards - it's great to be recognized by people who know and love the show - and the fan videos that go with them!

The full results page can be found here.
All the nominated songs with links can be found here.

A big thanks to the judges and particularly UntapdTreasure for doing such A LOT of work!

And here are my prizes - with links to YouTube (and lets hope they stay on YouTube!)

For Best Eames video - poor girl, I didn't do her justice as this was my first video using Sony Vegas.... Sorry Alex! I hope I can make it up to you soon! Turn up the volume when you watch it. Make sure you hit the HQ button.
For Best Editing - very cool award! Not the vid I would have picked. Again, make sure you hit the HQ button.
Oh, poor Imogen! When I thought YouTube was searching tags for copyright, I removed all references to song makers. Speeding Cars is by Imogen Heap - whose new CD Eclipse is due out August 24.
So do you think this song is about suicide? It adds more poignancy to the vid if you do.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Recovery of Robert Goren in Season 8

Season 8 of Criminal Intent has come and gone (sniff!) for Goren and Eames and has left some of us scratching our heads....
(if you are receiving this as an email update, please click on the title to view the 8 mini-vids included)

For some reason (well beyond my comprehension) USA network showed the Criminal Intent episodes so out of order it annoyed even me. I'm almost always happily along for the ride wherever they want to take me, but this was so bizarre....


The order in which Season 8 was shown (G&E episodes only):
Playing Dead
Identity Crisis
Faithfully
Folie A Deux
Family Values
Lady’s Man
All In
Alpha Dog

the order they were filmed in (not even close to the viewing order):
Faithfully
Folie a Deux
Identity Crisis
Alpha Dog
Playing Dead
Lady’s Man
All In
Family Values


(info gleaned mostly from The Reel which had some references to shooting dates)

Only by seeing these episodes in the order they were filmed can you really see what a fabulous job Vincent D'Onofrio did in bringing Robert Goren back from the edge of the insanity of Frame at the end of Season 7. USA did him no favours here.

My friend Susan, who is much more eloquent than I, made this observation:
It upsets me to think that many think Vincent's performance is "flat" or that he is acting like he is bored with Goren. In my opinion, he is putting as much into Goren as he ever did, keeping the storyline real. No one gets over half of what he went through in only a few months. ...............it takes time to get over real losses, and Vincent knows that. I think he is portraying Goren as real as possible, and will continue to do so. Vincent isn't flat, he is showing us that Goren is flat, which is what happens to people when they suffer loss. Many people continue to function at work well, but lose their spark for a long while. I wish more people would "get" what he is doing and appreciate his incredible talent!

Here are 8 mini-vids from Season 8 shown as they were filmed in order to showcase Goren's recovery (from my point of view!).


Faithfully
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Goren returns from his leave a week early surprising Eames. They greet each other like a pair of awkward teenagers.... Interesting.
As so often, he can't help but show amusement at Eames little comment about "entertaining". And Alex cannot help but be amused by Goren's correction of Ross about Batman. I guess at that point Ross realizes Goren is fit for duty. Goren further shows he has all watts burning with his cheeky "respectful" comment to the pastor's wife. And then shows he is still the smartest guy in the room when he enlightens Ross about the boys stuttering. I was stunned that he actually touches Ross' elbow in this clip. The interaction between Goren and Eames shows two people who are comfortable and happy to be back working together. The last clip shows that dare-I-hope thoughtful gaze.



Folie a Deux
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Alex is tense and disgusted right off the bat - a child is missing. Goren is suspicious from the time he finds the glass in the carpet in the hotel room. Funny how brusquely in charge he is in the first clip - not his usual style.... Is he trying to show Ross he is on his game? Goren is still sporting the beard and longer hair. It's easy to hide behind the beard. Did you notice him pocket the money? He messes with the villains in three clips. He wears a suit. He talks over Eames, interrupting what she is saying. And he shows us a tired/disgusted/disillusioned/sad look at the end. Is he really recovering or covering up?



Identity Crisis

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In this episode we see a much less take-charge, less animated Goren. Some of the beard is gone, but hair is still long (I assure you I'm not complaining!). He is quietly observant throughout. There are no glaring cheeky moments, very little "educating Ross" moments and no smiles in this episode. It all comes down to the aria with one of the most subdued and beautifully poignant endings. The parallel tragedies of dysfunctional mother and son relationships bounces back and forth between Burris and Goren. The heaviness and sadness is back in Goren's demeanor. There is no triumph with the confession.



Alpha Dog

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Goren is still sporting the longer hair but a shorter scruffy beard.
In this episode he is once again more active. We see him being right a number of times; we see him amused, we see him having a tug-o-war with a bottle of scotch (this would have made it into the Hung Up vid!). We also see him uncertain when dealing with Ross, but the two of them do some wonderful team work to get their way. Goren simply looks at Eames and she takes over (more details of that can be seen in the previous blog entry here). There is one scene that I cannot quite figure out. Goren almost seems to forget what he is doing and Eames gives him a look which prompts him on to his next words.Goren is very satisfied at Deguerin’s discomfort when he enters the interrogation room and he chooses just the right words to get under Deguerin’s skin. We start to see the return of the predator's predator.
This episode was shown as the last Goren/Eames episode of the season and as much as I love Eames, it should have ended with a shot of the two of them, doing one of their classic exchanged glances.



Playing Dead
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Sex, politics and weirdness. No wonder they started the season with this one. But, excuse me? To us hard core Goren fans, this was too odd. We left Bobby shell-shocked from Declan confessing to orchestrating the death of Bobby's brother. We all wondered how he was ever going to recover. So first episode back he looks and sounds as perky as this???

In this episode Goren is clean-shaven(!) with short hair and looking dapper. He is comfortably correcting Ross, he’s teaching Eames about wine and employing French accents to irritate. Robert Goren is enjoying himself.
The case turns very serious and both detectives share numerous looks showing their unhappiness with the circumstances. Goren has to feel comforted that Eames shares the same feelings and they need not be verbalized.
Goren minces no words with the villains, is dying to pick up Di Rogga’s finger, empathizes with a young woman with no overt hint of his own tragedy. In the aria he comes really close to doing a classic Goren yell at Hayes-Fitzgerald.
Yeah. Now we’re talkin’.


Lady’s Man
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Now here is an episode I really must devote a blog entry to. Was this really a shippy episode? It certainly was loaded with classic Gorenisms!
He plays a drunk and a wannabe lover to get information about Eames and her relationship with Kevin Mulrooney. He even plays a bit of the hurt partner for “everything you haven’t told me”.

I think in this episode Eames was a bit sorry Goren was bouncing back! She was so sensitive about so much that had happened in the past and kept fighting Goren, her biggest ally. At one point he must have thought he was lining up for another Purgatory-type blasting from her. Goren was sharp, highly attuned to Eames (much to her annoyance) and downright nosy! He enjoyed needling everyone he interviewed, especially Mulrooney. And he even openly observed Alex like he was seeing her as someone else might. The aria was disturbing but at the end Goren put his partner first, and with a shove to Mulrooney to display his contempt, he symbolically passes the handcuffs to Alex.
But most importantly in this episode, he no longer seemed to be haunted by his own problems. He was concerned for a very important someone-else who was worth protecting.
What a beautiful progression.


All In
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It's such a shame they couldn't get Lou Taylor Pucci to reprise his role as Joey Frost (Cruise to Nowhere) for this episode. It would have provided a wonderful (but ultimately sad) story arc. Most of us want to believe that Joey turned out okay.
Goren seems to be doing well; entertaining/teaching Alex by burning flash paper and sharing stories about the rifle; actively involved in analysing the scene; no conflicts or tension with Ross. Goren’s quiet pervasive sadness seems to be leaving.
You know things are much more at ease if Alex will snark at him about taking up accounting. And there he is at the white board, crunching numbers and enjoying showing off to Alex. Long gone are the days when she would roll her eyes - she gets it and runs with it. Ahhh, love the authoritative tapping of the badge, seen in episodes like The Third Horseman and Vanishing Act. Interesting that Josh can read Goren so well. In Cruise to Nowhere Joey Frost could read Eames easily and that really annoyed her.
The clip where Eames talks about losing a spouse is added for three reasons: 1) it is interesting she seems comfortable enough to talk to him about it at all 2) that she is confident he is resilient enough now to hear about it without dredging up wounds and 3) it is important in that it gives Goren his ammunition for provoking Josh at the end. There is no satisfaction in Goren’s face when Josh confesses. In light of recent Goren history, it was a jolt seeing him put the gun to his head and pulling the trigger. (If I had been Eames and he hadn’t warned me that he was going to do that, I would have shot him myself!) And how many villains has Goren quietly told to call their lawyer and what to tell that lawyer? It appears he is now able to be compassionate without becoming emotionally submerged.



Family Values
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Family Values has all the elements of a great episode of Criminal Intent. Best of all a beautiful aria showing Goren mentally as light on his feet as at any other time. There are no smiles, no quirks in this episode, no friction with Ross..
At the country house Eames is Ross’ interpreter into the mind of Robert Goren. Eames verbalizes what Goren has surmised. Goren is already mentally miles ahead. And he can’t resist giving Ross a pop quiz. “You tell us”. Ross passes the quiz.
The urgency created by the dropping temperature spurs Goren into motion and the aria commences. Goren accuses Devildes of serving the devil (ha, Devil-des – kinda like Cruella DeVille in 101 Dalmatians....) and has no problem in reading him throughout the aria, but when he sees his tactic isn’t working he does a lovely pirouette and changes his aim.

We see Goren reading, manipulating, bullying, empathizing and continually re-assessing his next move. I’d say he was back in the game. And the bonus – he gets to save a life.

So if I watch these Season 8 episodes in the order in which they were intended, I do get my exchanged glance at the end. And it was a beauty – perfectly timed between them and excluded Ross completely. These two are back in synch and I can hardly wait till Season 9. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait as long this time....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ross and Alex's Little Finger

Goren and Ross are like oil and water. But what about Eames and Ross?
Well Alex is the golden haired girl. She always gets her way when she confronts Ross.

Take, for example, in Endgame when she asks Ross to allow Goren to stay on the case. Goren is lucky his head didn't roll for insubordination. Ross tells Goren he's off the case and stalks out. Alex runs after Ross and weaves her magic with enough logic and reason that Ross gives in and allows Goren to remain on the case....

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The very next Goren & Eames episode (Amends), Alex is back diffusing the testosterone crowd (even though it isn't Alex versus Ross, it's a wonderful example of how she can cut through the crap).
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Later in Amends, she must convince Ross that she should remain on the case. Her logic is enough for Ross, who gives in pretty easily.....

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In Untethered, Alex even yells at Ross, gets away with it and still gets his support! (When Goren did that, he got sent home for a week, with a "Rubber Gun") Instead of firing Goren, he helps Alex rescue him. Good thing, too. If they hadn't stepped in, Goren wouldn't have lasted much longer. Ross presented a pretty solid case to the wicked witch warden at Tates. I don't think Alex would have been able to pull that off so persuasively, considering how stressed she was during her emotional outburst in Ross' office.....

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It seems by the end of Season 8, in Alpha Dog, they finally have figured out how to get their way with Ross without alienating Goren. Teamwork.

Ross is actually pretty amusing, he almost whines, about not wanting to be involved, but Alex tells him that he's needed.... And once again, Alex has Ross tied around her little finger without a fight. And all he can do is look at her.

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I hope we see lots more of Eames and Goren cornering Ross like this!