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Medium: Head Games

by Brett Love, posted May 3rd 2007 11:00AM
Jason Priestley(S03E20) "Head Games" marks the beginning of the star studded, three part, season three finale. It was a good way to kick things off. There is a murder case for Devalos to prosecute, a new friend(?) for Allison, a new head doctor for Joe, visions that may or may not be correct, a new baby... just a lot going on. It's a good thing there are three parts to this.

Seeing as how the episode opened with Walter Paxton (Jason Priestley), let's start there. The dream within a dream open was very good. The head in the pantry came as quite a surprise, and led to a great Joe moment. He was so calm and forgiving when he woke up in the dream, but so frustrated and fed up when he woke up for real.

I've always liked Jason Priestley, from 90210 right on through to his more recent work on Tru Calling and Love Monkey. It's nice to see him again, and with a very interesting character. I really like how they presented Walter's situation, casting doubt on Allison's visions. I was as shocked as Allison when Mrs. Paxton's head showed up with the wrong body. The explanation that she never saw the killer, so the message she was sending to Allison was who she thought killed her, but not necessarily correct, was a nice twist. It doesn't clear Walter, but it puts the doubt out there and opens up all kinds of possibilities.

And speaking of doubts and possibilities, meet Debra (Neve Campbell). I guess we can chalk it up to stress over what is happening with Joe, combined with the ongoing Paxton dreams and the trial, but Allison really missed some big red flags with Debra. For starters, the car accident. That's a big ol' parking garage, and there really wasn't any damage to the car. Not only does Debra want to fix the pretend damage, but she just walks straight to Allison. And then we have the lunch meeting where she so clearly was digging for info about Devalos and the case. It's a nice performance by Campbell, because I didn't trust her from the get go, and I don't think things are going to end well between the two of them.

And now, what I thought was the best part of the show, the ongoing story of how Joe is dealing with the aftermath of the events in "Joe Day Afternoon." This is something that I never expected to see on Medium, but I'm so happy that they are doing it. They really could have just dismissed any repercussions from that episode. The Paxton case, and the weirdness with Debra are enough to carry the show through the finale. This bonus story of Joe though is just endlessly fascinating to watch. Most of the reason for that is Jake Weber. He's making a solid case for an Emmy nomination as he has captured what Joe is going through perfectly.

I loved the exchange where Joe told Allison that the therapist said he was angry. She asks, "What did you make of that?" and he responds, "It pissed me off." I have every confidence that Joe will pull through this eventually, but it is interesting to see the whole story play out. The situation with Melinda (Katie Kreisler) adds nicely to the story as well. Their scene in the hospital was very well done. On the surface it was all friendly, congratulations about the baby, cigar for the husband, etc. But it was clear that both of them are struggling, and their shared experience has formed a bond that wouldn't have otherwise been there. Great stuff on the Joe front.

With all of that going on, there wasn't a lot of screen time left for the Dubois kids this week. Their early scene where Bridgette was jinxed and couldn't talk was very cute though. I'm sure there will be more for them to do in the coming episodes.

6 out of 7Overall, another very good episode. It is looking like the three part Paxton/Debra story is going to end season three on a very high note. I'm giving this one a 6, out of 7.

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Officially renewed.

May 07 2007 at 3:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My first thought would have been that Debra was coming onto me, to which I'd say I'm flattered, but no thanks.

I also thought that Debra might be dead, but Allison would recognize a dead person when she saw one, right? I agree with what some of you have already posted; that Debra is involved with Paxton. In the preview of next week she appears to be one of the victims. Maybe Paxton finishes her off because she knows too much and she's served her purpose.

May 04 2007 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That Debra is just pissing me off. Is she a nasty reporter? Is she a murdering mol? Is she really going to die a horrible death? All I do know is every time they bring in quality actors to guest star, it make it more and more clear just how plastic Deputy Doll really is. Sad.

May 03 2007 at 7:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I didnt think Debra was dead (but its a good theory ), I do think that she is a reporter digging for information becouse she suspects that Allison is psychic

May 03 2007 at 5:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brett Love

La-di-dah, I agree with you about Marie. It's too early for her to get her own episode, like Bridgette and Ariel have had, but it is fun to see her role being expanded little by little.

Thor, I'm not sure what you are getting at. I did consider for a moment that Debra might already be dead, and Allison was the only one seeing her, but I abandoned that after the phone call in the restaurant where it seemed that he could see her when he turned around. I could have just been reading into that though.

And Betty, that's a great theory, and holds up well with what we have seen in the previews for next week. Also, you're right, more Scanlon wouldn't hurt.

May 03 2007 at 3:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Brett, you are so gifted in picking things out and articulating them in just the right way!

Yep - don't trust that Debra chick at all!

Of course, I am completely bummed that we didn't even see Scanlon until 40 minutes in and then he was on screen for what, a grand total of 1 minute? What's up with that?

Why isn't Allison confiding in Scanlon? He confides in her and they have had some great discussions in the past - why aren't they using that?

Why oh why must be have more Deputy Doll than Scanlon?

My theory is that Debra is Paxton's girlfriend and accomplice.

Can't wait until next week!

May 03 2007 at 2:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Thor Goodrich

There's probably a reason why Debra and Alison were not recocgnized in the restaurant by the waiter....

May 03 2007 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I must say, this episode is the tops 8/7 for me.
1. The shiftiness of Priestley's character made me (just like Allison) willing to believe he did it. "My Natalie, my ass," I said. But did he do it? Is he at least connected to the killer?

2. Campbell played Debra nea' to perfection. I realized why Allison was off her game this morning: usually, she her soundboard, her rock is Joe, but he's on the fritz. And she doesn't have many friends. And I assume the powers-that-be didn't warn her about Debra because Allison is supposed to save her. I love the whole set up of taking a lonely, former-housewife, and oh...psychic vulnerable to such a easy set up.
From the get-go, I also knew something was off about Debra. At first, I was so paranoid, I thought she was working for the defense. Apparently, a much simpler explanation exists (next week's preview). Funny. I thought Lynn's character would be one to raise a ruckus.

3. Loved the kids. Love that Marie is starting to speak. Love that Bridgett is always funny.

4. Loved the Joe part. His texting the other engineer and his scene with her at the hospital was perfect. But I also loved Allison being tiffed at Joe because he hasn't opened up to her. Instead, he is texting.

Can I re-iterate: I loved this episode!

May 03 2007 at 11:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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