Medium: Second Opinion
I missed the very beginning of the episode because right as the show started my cable box decided that was the perfect time to shut itself off. So I scrambled to get all my junk flipped over to straight cable and came back in the middle of the scene with grown-up Ariel and Marie. It left me a little confused until old Joe and Allison turned up. I haven't decided yet whether Allison is just going to be a really hot 50+ woman or if the makeup to age Patricia Arquette just wasn't very well done. Old Joe looked good though.
It was an interesting twist to have Allison having a vision of her family so far into the future. It really showcases just how fragile her psyche is. She deals with a lot of crazy stuff, but that can be set aside to deal with other things. When it comes to her girls though, it consumes her. Arquette did a nice job conveying just how off it all made Allison. It made for another solid Joe episode as well.
I especially liked his crazy time-twisting argument against the mangled Mr. Snookie being the anchor that proves the clouds of doom are hovering. The great thing about Joe is that he is able to get his side of things across, all the while keeping his concern for Allison in mind. He doesn't just cave, and he doesn't just go baby her. It's a very complex and interesting relationship. I was waiting for him to toss out the possibility that maybe the house in question wasn't the house they have now, but another one. After seeing how things played out, it's obvious why he didn't, but I'll give a couple extra points to the writing for floating that idea out there.
Feel free to add those to the bonus casting points for getting Alan Ruck (Ferris Bueller, Spin City) to play Albert Bunford. I like him in everything he does, and he was good here. The whole moving scenario seemed like quite a leap, but it just serves to show the lengths Allison will go to. It was a nice touch to have Brigitte ask the big question. Won't there be children moving into the poison house once they sell it? The big reveal of Willow Elm was well done, with all the corpse-like people milling around and the water that went black.
For a while there I thought we were just getting two different stories, with Scanlon off dealing with the death of the kid he sponsors in NA. It took a bit to see how it was all going to fit together, but I thought it was pretty nice when the pieces all started falling. When we finally get to meet the young David Channing it was a great "Ah-ha!" moment. Very clever, and well written. I'm always in favor of more Scanlon. Such an interesting character, and David Cubitt does a great job.
Overall, another really good episode. It doesn't crack into that best of the season realm, but with a clever story and some somewhat overdue Scanlon focus, definitely worth seeing.