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October 9, 2015

Heartland: Mother & Child Reunion

by Brett Love, posted Jul 10th 2007 12:19PM
heartland - treat williams, kerry matchett(S01E04) This week we finally got the big clash between Nathaniel and Jonas that has been coming since Jonas left Stanford to return to St. Jude. Unfortunately, it is still such a one-sided relationship that there wasn't a lot to the clash. It came down to Nathaniel jerking Jonas around while Jonas had no recourse other than to beg and plead.

The decision that Nathaniel was struggling with regarding the fetal uterine transplant was interesting. Certainly the dangers and risks of experimental surgery are nothing new to him, as evidenced by the Neubacher heart for baby Maya. It's a tricky bit of business though when the guy who blew up his marriage by cheating on his wife, and then cheats on his new girlfriend with the ex-wife, starts pulling out the morality card.

While I would have preferred more of a fight from Jonas regarding the operation, his confession of needing Nathaniel's approval did prove interesting in how it mirrors Nathaniel's relationship with Bart. I think that, more than anything, although Mary's confession of her own infertility didn't hurt, was what changed Nathaniel's mind. Jonas and Nathaniel are very similar in many regards.

When it finally came time to do the operation, it didn't surprise me that Nathaniel had to be called in to bail Jonas and Vancouver out. Everything about their interaction further cemented the idea that Jonas is still clearly a step behind and Nathaniel will be the teacher for a long time to come. What did surprise me about it was how awkward that operating room scene was. There was no sense of urgency from Nathaniel, just the calm "We're making progress... a little more suction..." It somehow felt off.

I wasn't that impressed with the other story. I thought it was pretty clear that Rebecca (Ashley Johnson) had actually shaken the baby right from the get go and hammered home with little subtlety as she tried to bargain organs for leniency. All of the interactions with Kate just came off as overdone. It wasn't enough to give us a troubled young mother struggling with raising a baby with a husband that wasn't pulling his weight, but we also had to find her on a bathroom floor cutting her wrists. There was plenty of drama and story there, we didn't need to be hit over the head with it.

Overall, it was another ok episode. There is still potential here, but I just don't think the show has found its footing yet. I don't know whether we will get a follow up on how Diane's (Deidre Henry) case is progressing, although I think that could be interesting. My hope is that the success for Jonas will bring with it a confidence boost so that he isn't so subservient to Nathaniel. Time will tell.

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September 08 2007 at 9:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brett Love

JLM, I didn't mention Bart as one of Nathaniel's visions because I'm not completely sold on the fact that that was what we saw. Was he really a vision or did he just sneak out with the check? Or maybe I'm just hoping that it wasn't what really happened because I'm not really digging the whole vision angle.

As far as the focus of the show goes, we are on the same page. I'm just not sure what they are doing with the characters. At this point they are picking up and dropping those stories so haphazardly that it works against the show. It is still just four episodes in though and I'm willing to give it some more time.

July 11 2007 at 12:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Brett, your review did not mention the final scene where we find out that the Dabney Coleman character is apparently just one of the “visions” that Nathaniel has. It was a very subtle revelation, and not very well integrated into the story arc. The same thing about the daughter Thea – what direction are they going with the family? Again, I think the story arc is not being integrated very well into the “crisis of the week”. The weekly stories are well written, but that will not make a successful series.

I may continue to watch the show, but only as a deconstructive exercise in arc development. It appears that TNT has also given up on the show by putting it before the 'Closer'.

Also, I feel like I am 90 years old watching Ashley Johnson as a mother. Wow.

July 10 2007 at 11:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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