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September 20, 2014

John from Cincinnati: His Visit: Day 3

by Julia Ward, posted Jul 2nd 2007 1:24AM
John from Cincinnat FOUR

(S01E04)
"Want to leave a message... on my face?" Classic. I'm officially forming the Steady Freddy fan club. I could use a lot less mega-whiny Mitch Yost and a lot more Freddy.

Mitch certainly showed his true colors this week. He's an egocentric, New Age whiner. I'm sure many people when confronted with a miracle would ascribe it to their own "specialness," but he went there faster than anyone else. Mitch resembles a good 80% of the aging men I've met since moving to Southern California. (Can you feel the chakras, baby?) That's a real compliment to Bruce Greenwood and the show's writers, but damn, if I don't want to smack Mitch in the face every time he floats away or starts whining about his blessed knee. I'd buy his "soul surfer" status a bit more if he weren't so bloody self-righteous about it.

As for this episode's other odd goings-on, we've got some new allegiances forming and new adversarial relationships shaping up. Bill, sent by Zippy the Wonder Bird, made a Winchell's peace offering to Freddy. He's a former cop. Of course, he'd come bearing donuts. Kai and Butchie are boning to Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" no less. Dr. Smith and Linc seem prepared to do battle. Smith has turned believer, and Linc's the money changer in the temple. That's heading nowhere good. And, lastly, Cass has taken John in on account of her own miraculous visions.

This episode's biggest revelations, however, have to do with John. There's no writing off the strange occurrences in Imperial Beach anymore. John's not just repeating things being said to him. He's saying things he couldn't have heard. He's done that in previous weeks, but he's doing it with such frequency now that it would be hard to believe that the other characters haven't noticed - particularly Dr. "put that in the P.S." Smith and Butchie "unsightly bulge" Yost. He also applied some Vietnam Joe mojo to his knife wounds and healed himself. (I thought only Wolverine and I had the power to heal ourselves.)

Where is this all going? The hell if I know, but John certainly has the power to connect people - literally and figuratively - to one another and their past (Barry's molestor, the guy Joe possibly left behind, etc.). I'm still placing my bets on a fancy theory that combines what it means to be "in-between" things - on the margins or borders - with a dash of William James' Pragmatism and some science-y stuff about water. Once I iron it out, I'll do one of those crazy Doc Jensen Lost-type posts that gets all heavy with the navel-gazing.

Speaking of Lost, if you want to really confound yourself, you can check out the multiple marketing sites that HBO has put up related to John from Cincinnati. The Yost family site is the one with all the hidden ridiculousness. It's not to hard to figure out. Just scribble your cursor around, learn to count, etc. You know how it works. The rest are all YouTube accounts set up by ad execs who probably use words like "cross-platform," "viral marketing" and "transumers" too much: Shaun Yost, Meyer Dickstein and Mitch doing a PSA.

In closing, I want to review some of the things that confused me in this episode. Maybe, you guys have some insight:

1. Why did John lay all those towels out in Cass' hotel room? Drools when he sleeps?

2. What was Butchie trying to tell Kai about Bill's bubble-wrapped stairs? Something to do with Lois?

3. What kind of partnership is Barry looking to have with Ramon and Lawyer Dickstein... if that doesn't sound too overtly gay?

If you met John Monad, you would...
Take him in, and abuse his magic credit card.99 (61.9%)
Start believing in God.26 (16.3%)
Bone him.14 (8.8%)
Knife him a couple of times and leave him for dead.21 (13.1%)

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Jim

I'll have to agree, the kid cannot act or the director is simply not showing up for his scenes.

Van holt is great, though.

The show was slow for the first half this week, but the second half was good.

July 03 2007 at 10:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

This is the SECOND episode after 2 slow ones that has really impressed me. Love the Steady Freddy, Bill characters and their monologues. Don't wanna over-analyze it too much yet. I'm just gonna try and enjoy it for a while.

I hope the unfavorable critical reviews don't hurt the long term prospects of the show ...unless it'd bring Deadwood back. For now, I'm happily surprised.

July 02 2007 at 3:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David

oh, one more thing. Last night had me thinking ...

(5) I wonder if Ed O'Neill knew what he was signing up for, and regardless, is he enjoying it? He's doing a terrific job with Bill, I think, and though I'm not a student of stagecraft, I think it doesn't look like it's easy.

July 02 2007 at 1:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David

(1) Tonight's episode was the first that really left me wanting a bit more from the show. The previous episodes had a bit more storyline advancement than this one did.

(2) If the episode was designed to start motivating viewers to really dislike Mitch, it was successful.

(3) I'm beginning to draw parallels between David Milch and Aaron Sorkin, which isn't a good thing. Both writers seem unable to "branch out" and write different kinds of dialogue. Instead, Sorkin relies on the talk and walk while Milch has most every character talking as if she has an MA in linguistics. I thought Milch's dialogue style worked very well in "Deadwood" but I don't think it's really appropriate or believable in 2007 Imperial Beach.

(4) Greyson Fletcher still can't act (or the character direction is poor; not sure which), Brian Van Holt is still giving Emmy-worthy performances, and the combination of Luis Guzman + Willie Garson has me smiling every time they're together :)

July 02 2007 at 1:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
drake

Don't forget the site http://www.jounmonad.com in the ring of JFC mystery sites.

That opening scene with John being two places at once was with the Imperial Beach Radio Receiving Station - make of that what you will (radio waves, tuning into people's transmissions?)

The Johnmonad.com site utilizes the visual of auditory waves for it's audio-only clips.

July 02 2007 at 10:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dkny

I think Bill’s wife took a spill down the stairs and died.

As for towels – I was thinking he would sleep on the towels as some makeshift mattress but what was weird is they Cass said she would work there first and then got down on her knees. Now am I the only one who thinks Cass and Dylan McKay are a little too un-amazed by all that is happening here.

Also I’m looking at this as a lot more of a theological show than a sci-fi one and if you ask me Shawnie is Jesus, John is a profit and Dylan McKay is a emissary of evil or some form of fallen angel..

I really do like the show I just hope in the end all this comes together because far too often when dealing with the supernatural the conclutions are rediculouse – Carnival anyone. For now though it’s a lot of fun.

July 02 2007 at 10:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve Hammons

Unusual healing is becoming a major element of "John from Cincinnati."

There are real-life connections to this: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is sponsoring resesearch to try to regrow amputated limbs.

Science fiction is becoming real science. Does the "fiction" in "John from Cincinnati" also reflect some realities?

More on this in the articles ...

"U.S. defense research agency sponsors ‘mind-blowing’ studies to regrow human limbs" at:

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=14652

- - -

“Developments in science, human consciousness hold promise of new discoveries, better world” at:

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=30886


July 02 2007 at 9:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Grover

I think Butchie was trying to tell Kai that those stairs had something to do with Lois' death (that's Bill's dead wife's name, right?).

Maybe she ran into them in some way and died, and that's why Bill has put all that padding up.

July 02 2007 at 8:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hank

mark me down as another one who started to get hooked by this episode. I kept at it through the first three episodes because of Milch's previous work but about half way through this episode I started to get actively interested. I could do without Mitch and Cassie but the rest of the characters are pretty good.

July 02 2007 at 7:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Twilight Zone Marathon

"2. What was Butchie trying to tell Kai about Bill's bubble-wrapped stairs? "

It seemed like he was trying to jokingly point out that Bill was hitting his head on the stairs too often and may be a little loopy...

July 02 2007 at 7:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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