From Clink-Boom to Drip-Bang: Imitation Is the Laziest Form of Self-Flattery
In case you didn't see the promo that told the entire story in 60 seconds or read any of the many media interviews about this groundbreaking bit of television, I feel it is my duty as a soap blogger to bring you a recap of Friday's show.
This episode was promoted as something epic, and there were some very good performances (not so fast, Maurice Benard). But the writing. Man. A Xerox machine churns out more original work. Clink-Boom may have been nearly 15 years ago, but most of us still remember it. Duplicating it with slightly different dialogue and occasionally different characters several times a year isn't fooling anyone. Except Emmy voters.Side note: Mallory already told you about Bob Guza's description in Soap Opera Digest of Sonny shooting Dominante and then finding out the guy is actually his son as "the penultimate, the cosmic guffaw." I would just like to go on record as stating that while attempted murders are indeed hilarious, I'm thrilled to hear that this is Guza's second-to-last one. (Reminder: This man is paid many dollars to write things in the English language. REAL AMERICAN DOLLARS. Yes, they are worth less now than they used to be, but do they have absolutely no value?)
On with the show.
Michael and Morgan are talking about Josslyn's christening. "It's like a free pass to heaven, basically," Morgan says. I don't think that's how it works, but I have not voluntarily been to church since 1984, so ignore me. Carly interrupts in a silver dress that is really not the best choice for Laura Wright's coloring (which is fab) or figure (ditto).
Carly and Michael talk about how Michael saved Josslyn. Fortunately, before we have to live through yet another recitation of Michael's self-defense ax-handle homicide, Jax comes in with Morgan and has Josslyn in one of those weird straw-material baby carriers that I've only ever seen for dolls and TV infants. The doorbell rings and it's Lady Jane. Adorbs.
Jax beams at his mom, and I must mention that Ingo's hair is looking great lately.
At Kelly's, Lulu is trying to persuade Lucky to attend Josslyn's christening with her (she's the godmother), but Lucky doesn't want to go and doesn't understand why Lulu is giving him the hard sell. "I just have a bad feeling," she explains. Dun dun duuuuuun.
In Dante's room, Dante is insisting to the other undercover dude whose name I can never remember that the arrest warrant for Sonny has to wait until after the christening.
They make a plan to arrest Sonny immediately after the service. I'm certain that will go off without a hitch, because I have street smarts equivalent to Josslyn's.
Sonny is getting ready for the christening and he and Jason are talking about how Dominic is "as good as dead." Olivia shows up and says she's going to stop Sonny, and you just know she's talking about something else (because people on soap operas never hear things that are said at full volume two feet from them). Break to the crazily outdated credits with an assload of dead and recast characters in them. Classy.
Lucky really doesn't want to go to the christening and agrees that the "potential for disaster is astronomical," given the guest list. Lucky makes a crack about Liz and Nik and then apologizes for being negative -- um, I think he's allowed -- but since this is all about Lulu she continues to beg him to go with her.
Dante doesn't appreciate the other undercover dude's doubting that he's going to pull off the arrest. The other dude says Dante has changed over the course of the investigation, and he's worried, including about that maybe Sonny already figured out Dante's a cop. Gasp!
Of course Olivia didn't overhear Sonny's death threat to her kid. She's just there to remind his selfish ass that the christening is not about him and that neither Sonny nor Jason should cause any trouble today. Oh Olivia, have you recently experienced blunt force trauma to the head?
Lady Jane talks about Michael and Morgan as Josslyn's "handsome protectors" and then gives Carly a "hybrid, rapid-growth maple" to plant in honor of the christening that will grow over five feet a year.
Carly's like "uh, yay, a plant." Ha. Carly leaves to run an errand. (That dress they put Laura Wright in truly is spectacularly unflattering. I hate it ten times more on re-viewing.)
Jane and Jax talk about how happy Jax's dad would be for him and that it should be one of the happiest days of his life. But Jax is sad, because he's "afraid it's all about to come crashing down." Marriages to Carly crashing are usually a good thing for the guy involved, but Jane weirdly acts like Jax has just said something bad. After the commercial break, Jax reveals to Jane that he's helping the police bring down Sonny. He plans to be honest with Carly about what he's done.
Jax, Carly doesn't really like honesty. Maybe you could commit a felony or two? Try to grease the skids a bit.
Because we're supposed to think there's sexual tension between them, Olivia has to help Sonny tie his tie. Sonny starts in again on Johnny and makes veiled threats. Carly shows up and correctly surmises that she and Olivia both had the same idea about warning Sonny against doing anything hinky at the christening. (I do like the implication that Sonny is such a d-bag that he would even ruin an infant's party.) Sonny says he gets it, and today is a day to "dump the garbage at the side of the road." I wonder what he could mean by that!
Dominante helps Lulu put on her coat at Kelly's. I feel like I should disclose that I have completely fallen for Dominic Zamprogna. He's gorgeous, charming, talented, and effortlessly sexy. I wonder whether he and Jason Thompson ever sit around and discuss what it's like to be awesome and Canadian. (Side note: Michael Fairman just released a great interview with Zamprogna. His voice makes me a little swoon-y. I...need to go on more dates. I know this.) The only real downside to this guy is that right now he seriously needs a haircut, but I'm choosing to believe that is a character choice so I don't have to bitch about it. Plus after this, it's hard to get me too riled up about such things.
Anyway, Dominante senses that Lulu is nervous, says she is rightfully so, and gives her an out if she's "having second thoughts about standing by your man." Somehow it doesn't sound cheesy when he says it. I told you the man was talented. Lulu says she's in but she just wants the day to be over. Dominante does too. They agree to meet at the church because Lulu is going to swing by the Haunted Star and try to convince Luke and his insane hair to attend the christening. Lulu gives Dominante a quick kiss goodbye and after she takes a few steps away, he goes after her and pulls her into a much longer one. Good god this man is sexy.
Elizabeth has come to see Luke at the Haunted Star. She says she owes him an apology because obviously after she promised Luke that she and Nikolas were over, they weren't. (He owes her and the everyone who looks at him an apology for that hair, but apparently we're going to deal with that in a different episode.)
Luke immediately accepts her apology, much to Liz's surprise. Luke correctly points out she is raking herself over the coals sufficiently and doesn't need his help. Luke talks about Lucky and Liz's history and at that point, of course, Lulu walks in. "What are you doing talking to this lyin' piece of trash?" Oh, ugh. The writers are determined to go this route with Lulu, huh?
Lucky shows up at the church, because he's a good brother. Side note: Jonathan Jackson turned in a seriously brilliant performance this week, so I feel bad being negative about him, but FOR GOD'S SAKE HE MUST SHAVE.
That is distractingly awful. I had to rewind this scene because I initially zoned out on Lucky's chat with the heavens while contemplating what Jackson could possibly be thinking leaving the house, much less appearing on national television, with that "scruff." (No offense intended to actual scruff.)
Back on the show, Lucky has a talk with God about why his life is such a shitshow right now. Jason, of all people, arrives and catches the end of Lucky's convo. He says Carly will be glad Lucky decided to come. Since they have a minute, Lucky brings up his and Liz's split (Jason says he was really sorry to hear about it, and Steve Burton does a good job of making that sincere), and says while he wishes he could assure Jason that everything will be okay with Jake, he's just not sure what's going to happen. Jason is pained.
Jax exposits to Josslyn (still in her weird giant carrier in the living room) that he's not sorry for what he's done and would do anything to keep her and the rest of his family safe. He just hopes Carly understands, so of course at that moment she walks in.
The two parents sit and gaze at their baby. Carly thanks Jax for making every one of her dreams come true. Well, nothing's going to get effed up here.
Dominante stops in to see Olivia, who is in a sentimental mood, remembering his christening. The start to chat but Dominante gets a call from Sonny, ordering him to the house. Olivia tells Dominante that something has Sonny on edge. I'm sure it's not anything that could lead to violence, though.
Michael and Jax are alone in the living room (except for the very cute Josslyn) and Michael is bitching that it's taking Jax too long to fix the Dominante situation. Jax stalls. Carly, Lady Jane, and Morgan arrive and everyone heads for the church.
Lucky and Jason continue their conversation about Jake (and Cameron). Lucky is really pessimistic about being able to give the boys a decent environment. Jason says Lucky will do the right thing for the kids. Lucky isn't sure, because "It's really bad this time." So, in other words, way worse than the last time your wife cheated on you, with the guy you're having this conversation with? Awkward! Lucky is worried he can't carry through with his promise to take care of Jake. Jason is pained, again.
Liz says she doesn't need to hear any more from Lulu. Then she thanks Luke for his compassion, which is "more than [she] deserve[s]." She turns to leave, but Lulu just has to add "you got that right" and then after Liz is gone calls her a "skank" and berates Luke for being nice to her.
Oh, man. I don't care how much I like Dante and Lulu together, or how good Julie Berman is, it is going to be hard not to hate Lulu again if this keeps up for long. Luke thinks this is for Lucky and Elizabeth to work out and that Lulu should chill, because "The rest of us throwing in our judgment and our hostility is not going to help. Because the thing about judgment, cupcake, is it's a boomerang. And sooner or later, ::nifty boomerang sound effect::, it comes right back and smacks you in the face."
Sonny opens his desk drawer and stares lovingly at his gun as Dominante enters the front door. He comes into the living room and asks Sonny where the guards are. Sonny says he sent the guards ahead to the church to make sure everything's okay for the christening. Dominic Zamprogna perfectly plays Dominante's impending sense of doom. Sonny gives Dominante an assignment involving a shipment and yadda yadda which we all know is actually the setup for Dominante's car to go off a cliff or whatever. Sonny says if Dominante leaves now, he'll make the spot by nightfall. "And by nightfall I'll be dead," Dominante says.
Good instincts, dude! And I don't mean that in the Carly sense of the expression. Commercials.
Maxie and Spinelli arrive at the christening and it is truly not possible for me to explain how fucking annoying I find them now.
They talk, including about Lulu and Dominante being in love, and suddenly -- apparently only because the guy has a connection to Lulu, one of Spin's former stalking victims -- Spinelli seems to have the realization that he's played a key role in a human being's impending murder. Bummer, huh?
Lulu arrives and immediately thanks Lucky for coming. Ethan arrives with a dirty ponytail and an open-collared shirt, because he is cheesy and gross. Lulu is worried that Dominante isn't there yet.
Sonny says Dominante is being paranoid. Dominante basically correctly runs down Sonny's entire plan for him and Sonny says he would never do that, unless he found out Dominante betrayed him. Dun dun duuuuun, part 75.
Patrick and Robin show up looking gorgeous.
Patrick hotly discusses how he feels "warm and fuzzy" because he's really part of a community now and Robin is one of its most beloved members. Robin somehow resists tackling him right there in the church pew.
Johnny arrives, also looking gorgeous, except for a pink plaid tie. Of course Olivia is close behind. She wants to know if they're speaking. Johnny says that's up to her. They get off topic, because Olivia is weirded out that neither Sonny nor Dominante are there yet.
Back at Sonny's:
Dominante: So we're back to that, huh? You're questioning me? Suspicious of my loyalty? You know Sonny, I'm starting to get whiplash here. One minute I'm in line to inherit everything, and the next, I've betrayed you somehow and I need to be taken out on some lonely road --
Sonny: Did you just say "betrayed me somehow," as if there's a question as to exactly how?
Dominante: ::DZ does amazing job of showing Dante's realization that he's done:: You know, I um, I wanted to give everybody one last good day. You, Carly, your kids. But I uh, I took it that one beat too far.
Sonny: Danger is a mis-gotten addiction. [I have rewound this numerous times and am still not sure if this is what Maurice Benard mumbled. -Ed.]
Dominante: Nothing that can't be rectified. ::pulls out badge:: Michael Corinthos, Jr., you are under arrest for the murder of Claudia Zacchara Corinthos.
Sonny: ::oh-no-you-din't smirk::
The commercials provide me some sweet relief from whatever the hell Maurice Benard was going for there.
Lulu, Johnny, and Carly wonder where Dominante could be. Carly points out that Sonny isn't there either. Was this the best plan by the professional mobsters, BTW? Perhaps one involving an actual alibi for the kingpin might have been better advised? Anyway, Jax is life eff this, you snooze you lose, we're doing this thing.
Sonny: That's good, you go by the book. You don't want me getting off on a Miranda technicality after all your hard work, Detective.
Dominante: Anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law.
Sonny: ::pulls gun, inexplicably starts speaking with teeth and lips pursed together in a manner that made me guffaw, and I mean as in the correct usage of the word:: We're not gonna make it that far.
Christening. Priest is blessing Josslyn. She's a creature of God, etc. Jason the paid killer looks on. Beams. Sees no irony in this situation.
Back to Sonny's, where Sonny has just cocked the gun.
Dominante: You don't want to do that.
Sonny: Yeah I do.
Dominante: You really want to add cop-killer to the list, on top of everything else? We're talking first degree. Once they find my body, you're as dead as I am.
Sonny: That's the thing. Nobody's gonna find you.
Christening. Josslyn gets anointed, or something.
Sonny: I trusted you. I liked you. In some ways I still do. You got guts, you're smart, you gain acceptance ::dissolves into creepy faux-Godfather whisper:: from my family. I was seriously considering making you my successor. Bet you got a good laugh out of that one, didn't you?
Dominante: Yeah, I appreciated the irony. [Snarky until the end. I am seriously in love with him. -Ed.]
Sonny: Well that's too. bad, de. tect. ive. [Impossible to convey weirdness of Benard's delivery there. -Ed.] All that effort was wasted.
Christening. Jason and Lulu accept godparenthood. Child is doomed.
Sonny: Any last words, detective?
Dominante: Yeah, you're damn right I've got some last words for you. I want you to know who this was all about. You remember Mr. Pilletti? Lieutenant Pilletti? From the old neighborhood? Well you should, because you had him gunned down, like he was some worthless bad guy. Except he wasn't a bad guy. In fact, they didn't make 'em any better than him. Any kids in my neighborhood who were lacking in something? Mr. Pilletti came along and tried his best to make up for everything. I was one of those kids. Trying to grow up and be a good man in a household with no male role model? Mr. Pilletti stepped in. He taught me everything I needed to know, and then some. And you had him taken out. You had him taken out, and you went on with your worthless, pathetic life. Being chauffeured around in your black limousine wearing your fancy suits, demanding and receiving respect from everyone! But not from me, Sonny. I don't respect you. I despise you.
Christening. Josslyn gets baptised. Water. DRIP.
Sonny: I don't remember your sainted Lieutenant Pilletti. But if I did kill him, believe me, he deserved it. [This is your romantic lead. This show is horrendous. -Ed.]
Extreme close-up on the gun.
Christening is wrapping up. Everyone smiles. "Amen."
Sonny's. Another close-up on the gun.
Dominante: I think you should pray, Sonny. Not for me but for your kids. You pray they never see you the way I'm seeing you now. [I think the writers were going for "ironic." -Ed.] Cold-eyed bastard who will kill anyone to get whatever the hell he wants.
Sonny: Goodbye detective. ::BANG! shoots Dominante in the chest::
Audio of the christening plays while Sonny stands over Dominante's lifeless body. The priest says "there is no more sacred bond than that between parent and child" as Olivia comes in, sees Dominante, and screams. "So today, let us celebrate that bond," as Olivia cradles Dominante. "Let us honor all the parents who try to keep their children safe from the evils in this world..." Olivia is understandably horrified.
Olivia: For god's sake! You just shot your own son!
Sonny: ::ponders whether he remembered to set the Tivo for the Lost season premiere::
Okay, I get that as a standalone episode, if you know little else about this show, that was a good hour of soapiness. HOWEVER. The writers can't use this same happy event vs. killing juxtaposition set to music thing three times a year and still expect the audience to appreciate it. Sure, it'll win you a boatload of Outstanding Writing Emmys, but audience engagement and appreciation, in contrast, are actually worth something.
In conclusion, Dominic Zamprogna could absolutely get it.
Screencaps courtesy of LisaW's Soap Heaven.