Commander in Chief: Sub Enchanted Evening
While I'm enjoying this show still, after this episode I had to wonder if I could have just cut-and-pasted my review from the last episode before Christmas and changed a few words. The title: over the top cute (but still far better than "First Act of War" or something). The outfits: better, especially the yummy chocolate silk jammies. The angry teenaged daughter: still angry, still whiny, still want to slap her. Nathan Templeton: no longer evil. Just... not. What's with that?
What did I like? Well, those jammies. The nicely-built cliffhanger. The way Mac answers her phone while wearing aforementioned chocolate-colored jammies. It's soooo Presidential. The developing relationship between Jim Gardner and Rob Calloway - the dynamic works pretty well, sparring but with growing respect for one another. And Gardner with the loyalty? Boy that was a nice (if canned) little speech. I could almost hear the orchestra in the background soaring as he delivered the "I love the Pres" address to the gathered generals and admirals and such. Finally, I am going on record as saying that Ever Carradine's hair was nice this time. It still needs to be shorter but, at long last, it looks like it belongs on an adult. With a job.
This week, the episode goes like this: Nathan Templeton, arch-enemy of the president, saves her butt, the butts of a hundred-odd seamen, and oh yes, the butts of the Whole World. Or, well, he starts to before the cliffhanger ending. Everybody plays kissy face. Templeton gets more platitudes from his wife in an exchange oddly like one I would have with my husband (and her name is Sarah... does Stephen Bochco have a wire in my house?), but our exchanges have fewer of the "oh you're so right!"s from my husband. *sigh*
Becca whines, Kelly giggles, Rob looks serious, and Jayne tries to broke her once-upon-a-time power with her once-upon-a-time lover. All in all a typical day at the Mackenzie White House.
Something's got to be new, though. There's a sexy little exchange between Jayne and Richard (a.k.a. Zack from Saved by the Bell) that I liked way, way better than the Richard Kelly pairing. There's the uncovering of more evildoing on the part of dear departed President Bridges - this week, he's lied to everyone about the spying-on-North-Korea mission. That's how a submarine ends up a little too close to our arch-enemy, which is why they got in the pickle in the first place. And that's also why Gardner does his earnest, loyal, almost-sputtering speech at the end: "No more CYA memos, no more coverups, no more disrespect!" he tells the Admirals-and-such. Snap! Consider yourself served (and consider yourself lucky: just a smidge more drama and I would have been laughing).
I feel that I need to say this final bit again: I don't like Nathan Templeton nice. Sure, he is believable as a nice guy. I can dig that. But it's just so uninteresting. "Templeton will tear me apart!" says Mac when she's discussing the pros and cons of running for re-election. Then he goes and about breaks his face from smiling at her throughout the rest of the episode. She may as well ask him to be her vice president and have it done with. There is just no tension between them any more.
The question at the end, though, the only one that matters: are you dying to see what happens next week? Will this "Act of War" involve your viewership? It will mine, even though it's up against a Scrubs doubleheader. (which I totally plan to catch on reruns) It's dramatic enough to have me - if not on the edge of - at least, in my seat to see what will happen.