Missing: the ticking bomb


Aside from my need for Carly to shut her yap, a week and a half in I do have other, less visceral, responses to GH’s sweeps event.

When they made it clear that they were going to do some semblance of a real time event again, I didn’t actually have a problem with it. I still don’t. It may now be unoriginal, but what doing something like this over three weeks allows is for most of the cast to be involved and for all their stories to be told over the period, rather than trying to squash things together.

It also allows room for quite a deal of cast integration, which is always a positive. And even though both GH and Days have vastly improved in that area in the last 12 months, I still always welcome a chance for it to happen to a greater degree.

That general point aside, the execution this time around has been vastly inferior.

The main reason is the lack of suspense.

During the Metro Court crisis there were two main things that drove the action in terms of keeping the stakes clear and urgent. First there was the quite literally ticking bomb waiting to go off. Second there was a villain who, no matter how convoluted and painful he has become since, drove the action and was always raising the stakes by being genuinely unpredictable. In other words, shooting Robin was a great move.

This time around there is no ticking bomb, literal or otherwise. There is the promise of Nikolas waking up next to an as yet unidentified but rather obvious unconscious female, whose fate is also obvious (and ridiculous), so the only unknown is the cause of said fate. Other than the writers of course. I’ll rant more about that when said female and their fate is actually revealed on screen as opposed to in the mags.

There is no one driving villain. Instead there is one highly amusing but not really scary lunatic who no longer has any clear target, one long term character suffering fits of violence and black outs – who is far more scary and yet also a character with a future on the show so how far will he actually go? – and a series of potential red herrings/character assassinations and nameless so-called mercenaries. Against those are the whole rest of the cast, most of them more heavily armed than the people they supposedly fear.

It just doesn’t have me anxious to find out what happens next. How they get from point A to point B, point B very possibly involving everyone but Nikolas and The Body having left the island some time before, for all we know.

In more traditional sweeps fashion, I’m actually more interested in the personal revelations that may or may not occur: Jake’s parentage, Kate’s past, Coop’s role in the Metro Court, Logan’s military misdeeds, etc. And most of that is more about a sense of oh, they’re finally going to deal with that then, than anything else.

The secondary reason it’s not working this time around is the refusal to acknowledge that they’ve done this before. They seem so afraid to draw attention to the fact that they undertook a similar exercise a mere nine months ago – as if we didn’t notice – that they’re avoiding even the most obvious references to the Metro Court experience and its undermining the drama. It’s silly.

That is particularly noticeable in the Patrick/Robin/Ric section of the drama. For a large part they put Patrick, Robin and at points Emily in a situation that they have experienced in different ways before, with a group of people who didn’t experience it, and they refuse to even refer to it.

There should be no circumstances in which those three doctors who are preparing to sew up Ric with fishing line do not refer to the fact that rather recently one of them guided another over the phone as to how to do exactly the same to the third, and it all worked out. That they’re studiously ignoring that fact is ridiculous. If there were any depth to the character portraits they’d be drawing on that experience, not acting like this is something entirely new that they’ve never had to cope with before. It doesn’t undermine the story to acknowledge that; we all know it – ratings clearly indicate that there’s no new viewers watching now that weren’t watching in February and even if there were, this would be helpful background – and not referring to it just looks like the writers are trying to hide the perfectly obvious.

Also, they’re missing a golden opportunity to have a few genuine bonding moments between Patrick and Robin that would be relevant even if they have medium term plans for the chemistry vortex that is the Leyla/Patrick pairing. I can’t believe that anyone, including the writers, see Leyla as anything other than an obstacle, and high crisis sweeps events are the time you focus on the core pairings even if only for a short time, not the obstacles.

Given I think that they’ve got the overall pacing and focus wrong, there are things, moments that have worked, definitely. I think Tyler Christopher is doing a great job. The moments between Ric and Alexis were fantastic (though I guess we see no more of those going forward). Throwing Luke and Scott into a room and having them actually speak to each other – no matter the general sacrelige of some of Luke’s other statements – after the bluster and the yelling, is a good thing. Nadine has, remarkably enough, turned into a breath of fresh air.

Also as with the Metro Court situation, so far at least not everything has been about Jason being heroic. Sure, he’s running around ferrying people to the barn and occasionally saving Carly’s life, damn him, but really, to date, Jax has come off as the most active and heroic in actually getting stuff done. Aside from the doctors and nurses, of course.

So, they haven’t done everything wrong by any means, but if they were aiming for edge of your seat action, which I suspect they were, then they’ve failed. I do want to see what happens, but that’s mainly to find out: (a) how many characters they can unnecessarily kill and then resurrect in track suits, or other inappropriate outfits; (b) whether Carly’s head does actually explode when certain revelations are made; (c) whether Skye’s hair ever moves; and (d) just how many characters they can arm with what variety of weapons in such a short period of time.


One Response to “Missing: the ticking bomb”

  1. I know, I found it quite odd that Emily doesn’t say something to Robin like “this is eerily reminscent of sewing you up with fishing line back at the Metro Court” and then Leyla can trump her with “well this reminds me of when my family fled from Iran!”

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