Blogging Harper’s Island (Because Someone Has To)–Episode 11: Splash

Let’s just get the graveyard out of the way, OK? Here are your names and your epitaphs:

Goodbye, Nikki! Im sorry that neither your character nor your characters death served any purpose.

Goodbye, Nikki! I'm sorry that neither your character nor your character's death served any purpose.

Goodbye, Shane! Ill miss your attitude, but you did put up a good fight. I really thought hed cut your arm off, though.

Goodbye, Shane! I'll miss your attitude, but you did put up a good fight. I really thought he'd cut your arm off, though.

Goodbye, Cal! I really thought youd do the whole pirate movie hero thing. I am very sad for you, but mostly for myself.

Goodbye, Cal! I really thought you'd do the whole pirate movie hero thing. I am very sad for you, but mostly for myself.

Goodbye, Chloe! It was very romantic, but you could totally have gotten away. Cal told you to run. You let him down.

Goodbye, Chloe! It was very romantic, but you could totally have gotten away. Cal told you to run. You let him down.

I guess I ought to remark on the passing of the deputy, whose body was found in the church. He is the fifth dead body of the episode. There. Graveyard planted.

I am not sure if I really liked this episode or not. On the one hand, it had Leoben from Battlestar Galactica in it, a character I absolutely loved played by an actor who owned the role (Callum Keith Rennie). Despite appearances, I don’t really watch that much TV, and I don’t see that actor that often, so it was a treat to watch this episode looking even for glimpses of him. It kept my attention until the end. It got by me last episode that it was this actor, so I was totally surprised to see his name in the opening credits. On the other hand, it was an episode where people were wandering around–which I find boring–and it was an episode that shot to hell my “elegant theory” (the mysterycanuck said it was elegant!) about how maybe Wakefield wasn’t the murderer and how maybe he was tracking down some son who actually was. My predictions about shows are never right, so I never expect validation, but I never particularly like seeing them proven wrong, either. So that was a drawback. And it was disgustingly violent. I mean, wow, gross, ick violent. I thought a lot of the people early on died in pretty grisly ways, but some of them were sort of interesting (I realize that sounds just terrible to say), and the camera didn’t just focus and focus and focus on it. This stabbing business was over the top. I don’t know why we had to see all of that. It was sort of a major departure from the methods of the other killings (creative, staged, private), which added to the sense that it was out of place, and it really requires an explanation now that we haven’t gotten yet. That Wakefield used to love a woman like Chloe is not sufficient.

Speaking of which, these tunnels are interesting to know about, but I refuse to believe anyone could enter and exit them quietly, especially with a captive when everyone else is standing IN THE SAME ROOM. Chloe could not be dragged out of that church into a tunnel without anyone noticing. No gag is that efficient, and she was standing in the middle of a bunch of wooden pews, and those things make noise when you try to move between them. Secret kidnapping just not happening. Cal coming to find Chloe was very romantic, and their escape and him buying her time to get away and all that, but the time it took for her to stand there and watch Wakefield kill Cal, and for her to have a conversation with Wakefield would have been plenty of time for her to get around that fence and run away. Cal was a beautiful, wonderful boy, but she had no business throwing herself away after him… especially in a scene that was such a rip-off of The Last of the Mohicans, when Alice dropped herself off a cliff. I can get how suicide might be empowering in some situations, but this isn’t one of them. This is lazy writing. Call me a cynic, but I would have made a go of it. I might have slipped in my haste (although the rushing water was far enough away that the spray would not have made the pipe slick) and fallen anyway, but just giving up when she was already started and Wakefield was already so far away was a bad decision.

And I’m just tired of Abby, who I never liked, and I am tired of Madison acting like a simpleton (although I am very happy people are telling the truth to her now–nothing makes crazy like lying to a kid who senses what’s really going on). I guess I never minded Shae, and I am impressed with how Trish has stepped up to the plate, and I guess I’m supposed to think that Jimmy is the new bad guy (although surely Abby’s dad would have some insight into that and not sacrifice himself so that Abby could live long and prosper with Jimmy by her side), and I don’t understand how all these rugged, rustic locals who until the wedding party arrived probably hunted a fair piece are missing all these shots. (Henry, I’m looking at you. Abby, too.)

To wrap up on a lighter note, I appreciated the dynamic between Danny and Sully. Sully confessing his dark secrets and pretending to be “less guarded” now is sort of a cliche, but I found Danny’s reverence for his fear and turning to religious comfort in his dark hour was an interesting choice. It’s probably the most reasonable thing anyone did all episode. Small touches like those go a long way towards authentic characterization in better shows, and it’s nice that Generic Friend got something real to do.

I will watch the rest of this series and get it out of my system, hoping now that Trish catches on to how Henry’s really helping Abby fight her battles instead of helping Trish. A breakup at the end would please me. I probably ought to figure out how many episodes are left, too. One, two, whatever.

I am still a big fan of the short summer series concept, however. Hopefully this show will serve as some sort of trailblazer, and not matter in the end if it wasn’t very good. If it teaches the viewing audience and writer teams what the format can do, then better shows can follow, and I will be grateful.

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