'In Plain Sight' - 'When Mary Met Marshall' Recap
by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 8th 2010 12:32AM
(S03E02) In its third season, 'In Plain Sight' has become one of the best dramas on cable. In a pool that includes 'Mad Men,' 'Burn Notice,' 'Breaking Bad' and 'Justified,' to name a few, that's some damn good company.
Granted, 'In Plain Sight' isn't as lofty as some of those others, but the characters are sharp, the writing is excellent for this genre, and it's a show that you can look forward to watching each week. Try saying that about some network dramas. More on tonight's episode and remembering when Hello, Kitty rings were cute, after the jump.
The calling card for "When Mary Met Marshall" was supposed to be when Mary met Marshall. However, the producers upped the ante on 'In Plain Sight' when Allison Janney was cast in a major guest spot. Even though she didn't appear till the second half of the show, she was just like Allison Janney -- superb.
But before we get to her, the set up of the show was how Mary landed in the Witness Protection Program. Believe it or not, Mary was once even harder and more ornery than she is now. She brushed her teeth outside her car and spit out the paste with bottled water. Back in 2003, her view of WitSec was that it was WimpSec. Marshall, of course, was more sensitive, much like he still is.
Their charges were a young couple, Henry and Claudia, who rushed into the program and were compelled to get married. Actually, it was Mary's advice that urged Henry on, only Mary assumed Henry would break up with Claudia. Seven years later, they were at each other's throat. Mary predicted it and reminded Marshall over and over again. She was anxious to sing the 'I told you so' song which, apparently, they pull out when one is right and the other's wrong. Marshall got his chance by the end of the show.
We get some real insight into Mary's contrary personality. She hates helping the needy, but that's not only her personal life situation with Brandi and Jinx, but also her professional life as a U.S. Marshal. That was increased exponentially when she became a WitSec officer. Marshall pegged her from the get-go. To his credit, he urged Stan to get her transferred to their office by the time they closed the case in 2003.
Brandi is back to lying like crazy. Even if she turns out to be doing something good, or at least good from Brandi's point of view, the mendacity is out of control. Peter should run in the opposite direction no matter how great the sex is. She asked for $20,000 for community college tuition.
Now about Allison Janney. She made an instant, strong impression as Allison Pearson, and not just because she towered over Paul Ben-Victor. Wasn't it great how she dropped the reference to a meeting with POTUS? That's 'West Wing' speak for President of the United States, and a reminder that Allison and Mary were co-stars on that Emmy-winning drama. You know, back when NBC had some of the best dramas on TV.
Allison, the character, was there to kick the office into shape. When the case heated up and Mary felt Pearson was in the way, she acted like Mary and shoved her aside metaphorically. Once the dust settled and the case was successfully closed, it was Pearson's turn to call out Mary for being rude and disrespectful, but like most people, she recognized that Mary's good at her job. Too bad for Mary, Allison is sticking around (as her schedule allows). That latter bit is good for us fans, too, because Janney might be back for more than just next week's show.
Other points of interest
-- They did a very good job of jumping between the past and the present. Mary's bangs in 2003 were a perfect tip-off; good job by the hair and makeup personnel.
-- Marshall's name is a family tradition; five generations of Marshall Mann's. Mary mocked it, of course, and assumed he was gay. He probably thought the same of her, because she was mega-butch in 2003, even more than now.
-- Dialogue we like:
Marshall: "Thank you, Mary Sunshine, but it's their decision."
Mary: "They might as well hold hands and go to Lilith Fair."
Mary to Henry, after he set up a fake break-in to get intimate with Claudia: "You were a nice guy once, but now you officially suck."
[Watch 'In Plain Sight' on SlashControl.]