Eli Stone: Freedom
(S01E02) "I'm getting the ass end of this arrangement, man!" -- Eli Stone, concerning his role as supposed prophet.
Ah, now I see the pattern! The titles of all the first season episodes of Eli Stone will be titles or references to titles of George Michael or Wham songs. Next week's title is 'Father Figure' and the week after that it's 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go'. It also looks like each week will feature another performer, or set of performers, who sing a piece of that particular week's song. I wonder who'll they'll get to sing 'Wake Me Up' in a few weeks.
This week we were treated to a rendition of Michael's "Freedom 90" sung by a boys' choir. Their first appearance on the show was okay, but they really got high marks from me during their choreographed number later in the show, accompanied by
Jack Bristow senior law firm partner Jordan Wethersby. I don't know if that voice was really Victor Garber's or not, but it worked pretty well nevertheless.
During a conversation about Stone a friend brought up the subject as to whether or not these musical numbers Eli has in his head are similar to what you would see in shows like the very short-lived Viva Laughlin. I would definitely have to say no. The musical numbers on Laughlin, and its more successful British predecessor Viva Blackpool came more out of the situations that the characters were encountering rather from the nonsensical ravings of the lunatic mind. If you wanted to compare Stone with another show I would say it we be more like the BBC programs Pennies From Heaven and The Singing Detective. Detective in particular would be more of a match with Stone as it featured the feverish hallucinations, which sometimes featured musical numbers, of a hospital-ridden Philip Marlow.
Well, enough about that! I have to say that I very much like the series premiere of Stone: it had a funny and whimsical beginning that carried the rest of the program. This week, not so much of that. It's not that I didn't enjoy the episode, but the lightness that surrounded last week's installment just wasn't there this time around. In fact, if Eli didn't have any visions this episode could have been swapped with one from Boston Legal or Ally McBeal.
I think it had a few things going against it. Since it was only the second episode much of the beginning was subject to a recap by a number of the characters of what had happened the previous episode. And, that's after a one-minute recap at the very beginning of the program. We really didn't need all of that information; the first recap should have covered it all. The other thing going against it was the lack of visions that Eli had. Other than the quick glimpse of the boys' choir at the start of the episode and the two scenes with the biplane (reminiscent of North by Northwest, perhaps?) the next vision was until about the third break.
Of course, the visions seem to be limited to the plot of the particular episode. For instance, the red biplane was there because the client Eli was about to take on was a pilot; the boys' choir was there because this was where the client's son (which she gave away for adoption) was singing. Still, I wish there was a bit more substance to them, and that they were spread out throughout the episode, so that the bulk of the show wasn't your basic legal dramedy.
The third thing going against this episode was the introduction of associate Maggie Decker. I have only one word to say about her: really? Okay, she's a first year associate, and I'll give her a little slack. But, not being able to raise objections in court and properly question a witness? Come on! I have never been to law school but I know they must have mock trials on occasion to work on that type of stuff.
Thing is, it looks like Maggie may turn out to be Eli's partner during his transformation into a different type of lawyer. She would be the right person for him to work with as he could pass along all of the knowledge that he has gained over the years directly to her. I just hope that they downplay Maggie's ignorance and make her a stronger partner for Eli.
There were a number of good things going on this week. I am glad that Eli just didn't drop his fiancee in order to live his life fully before he eventually dies. We've seen that so many times before and I like that Eli is sticking with the woman he will marry, despite what she said to him last episode. I also like Jonny Lee Miller in the role of Eli Stone. I can put my finger on why, but for some reason Miller reminds me a bit of Vince Vaughn in some of his characteristics. In other words, he has that nice guy-doesn't take any crap type of attitude that Vaughn has shown in movies like Dodgeball.
Who I really enjoy is Victor Garber, mostly because he isn't an arrogant d*&k of a lawyer. Despite the fact that he owns a huge law firm that caters to big business, somewhere in there he is still a human being. The best example of this is his conversation with Eli after he doesn't take the huge Supreme Court case. Even though he doesn't understand what Eli is doing he certainly respects his decisions. Perhaps that's because, deep down inside, he envies the way that Eli is re-inventing himself.
Next week -- Eli and his wife-to-be face off in court.
|Since his visions match so much with his clients' needs, I'd say yes.||102 (64.2%)|
|His visions really have nothing to do with the cases he is taking on.||2 (1.3%)|
|It's too early to tell.||55 (34.6%)|