Funeral For a Friend
(I realized after I had started this post that I already used "Funeral For a Friend" as the name of a blog post, back when we saw Stuart's funeral, which was a pretty fantastic episode of All My Children. As was Palmer's memorial...and Myrtle's. For whatever reason, the AMC writers take their writing talent out of hiding and bring their A game when it comes time to bid farewell to popular characters. So when I beg and plead for a better written show, am I actually advocating for killing off much-loved residents of Pine Valley?! I suddenly have a very clear image of Brian Frons saying "Excellent" in his best Montgomery Burns voice--which, considering his skill set in most other areas, probably isn't a good imitation at all.)
Most of you have been reading this blog long enough to know two things:
1. I think Alicia Minshew is, to borrow a phrase from the 1920s, the cat's meow. A fantastic actress with a wonderful head of hair.
2. I tear up very easily. Okay, I WEEP very easily.
So I am sure you predicted, correctly, that I enjoyed the performances in today's episode and had to reach for the Kleenex a few times. I mean, please, when they teased Kendall saying "Always, only you" during the commercial break, I started to sniffle, and when Ian kissed Zach's picture and then Spike COVERED it with kisses, I was gone.
Overall, it was a really nicely done episode. There were some major exceptions to that statement including a notable, six-foot-two, Ryan Lavery shaped exception, but more on that will follow. I do so enjoy flashbacks during memorial episodes, but I suppose we got enough flashbacks during the stretch when you could almost hear the writers cackling maniacally as they drove home how happy Kendall and Zach were together and how they had such a long history and an even longer future ahead of them and "Haha, it's funny because they have no future ahead of them because Zach is going to DIE".
I toyed around with doing a full recap, but I realized that it would include the words "And then I started to sniffle" or "Tear!" in every paragraph, so I am opting instead for random thoughts and observations.
- The first, and most important, being: Alicia Minshew owns me. I have been completely floored by her performance in the past few weeks and have found her portrayal of grief to be so painfully, horribly realistic. If you've experienced a major loss, or know someone who has, you know the overwhelming grief and the struggle to keep it together, and I think she has just been pitch perfect in conveying that. I hope, hope, hope that she gets Emmy recognition but, at the very least, she can be proud to know that Mallory at Serial Drama gives her major kudos. And that's way better than an Emmy, right? Especially because she doesn't have to sit through a cheesy awards show to get props from me...
Kendall: I love you. The first time I said those words to you I could not believe they were coming out of my mouth. I mean I was so sure I would never say them again because love, it never lasted. So I stopped trying or at least I tried to stop trying but you wouldn't let me. Crazy considering you were just as scared as I was. Yeah, you heard me, I called you scared. You decided I was worth the risk and you convinced me to take that risk with you. Thank you. So we held hands and we took a leap. We got married against all odds. You helped bring Spike safely into this world against all odds. You gave Ian the strength the keep fighting, to survive, against all odds. Everything we did was against all odds but somehow we made it work. Was it easy? No. But my god Zach it was worth it. Someone asked me recently what I thought you would want. I know you would want me to be strong and to keep on going and I will because I have to for the boys. But I won't think of you as gone forever. You've just taken another journey across the sea and I will be here waiting for you. I will never stop loving you.
- Susan Lucci was also fabulous--I loved the little touches of Erica wiping away Kendall's tears and trying to be strong for her daughter and her daughter's sons. I also enjoyed her SPARKLY BLACK COAT. I ran into technical difficulties before I could screencap, so you'll have to take my word for it: SPARKLY.
- On the fashion subject, I'm a bit confused by Greenlee's backless dress. And I'm MORE than a bit confused by Jack's hair starting out normal and landing on slicked back and kind of skeevy at the memorial itself. It was like he looked in the mirror and said to himself, "It's just not douchey enough".
- Speaking of douchey, I was taken aback by the choice to cast Eddie Matos as Rev. Torres. I don't think he, personally, is a douche, but his pervy General Hospital character was and his State Farm commercials are all sorts of smarmy.
- You can't talk about douchebags without mentioning the Lord of the Douche People.
Ryan: We, uh, certainly had our ups and downs. That's kinda putting it mildly. I mean, there were many times that we couldn't be in the same room at the same time, let alone call each other friends. But then Spike was born and Zach had my son's back from the very beginning. From before the very beginning, actually. He refused to let the doctors deliver prematurely because he was afraid he wouldn't make it. He had so much faith in you. He knew that you were going to be okay, that you were going to pull through and you did, and so did our son. Over the years, I called Zach a lot of things, a lot of them not so nice. Most of them I wish I could take back. But I was always proud to share the title of Spike's father with him, and I always will be.
Yeah, nice attempt at a save there, ass. "I hated Zach. A whole lot.A helluva lot. Actually, I prayed for his death many times. And now he's dead. Huh. I'd take it all back if I could, though. Because that's the kind of guy I am. I'm a forgiving guy. I'd do anything for the chance to forgive Zach for making me say such horrible, hurtful things."
- While Ryan is mostly terrible, he's not wholly terrible: his scenes with Spike were all kinds of adorable, because Cameron Mathison is so charming when he's with kids. If Ryan became a babysitter and had his screentime reduced to about eight minutes a week, I could learn to stop hating him with a burning passion.
Spike, on his Redwings shirt: I wanted to wear this for Daddy Zach.
Ryan: I don't know what I was thinking. This is perfect.
And it WAS perfect. So cute! I wrote down "Spike is so cute, I can't even" two separate times in my episode notes.
- I had some traumatic flashbacks when Greenlee started her eulogy with the words "Zach was amazing in that bomb shelter".
- I sort of adore Christina Bennett Lind and her shiny, shiny hair but when she came out with this:
Bianca: [Zach] saved your lives. And he saved mine, too. But he also gave me life, the most precious gift. He gave me Gabby.
I started to scream, "KILL IT! KILLLLL ITTTTTTTTT!" I'm not proud. What an appropriate and not at all uncomfortable topic to discuss at a memorial!
- The scenes with Tad giving Kendall support and advice on a subject he knows all too well were really nicely done.
- When Bianca couldn't find Kendall (she was getting the aforementioned support and advice from Tad), Amanda tried to be helpful by asking, "Have you tried calling her?" Oh, Amanda. So, so pretty. So, so dim.
- Does Ricky Paull Goldin add anything to this show?
- The memorial dominated most of the episode, save for a few minutes between Asher and Caleb, with Caleb telling Asher about his mother's death. And I have to say, their scenes were really nicely done! I enjoy Asher (I enjoy him even more since his presence in Pine Valley rendered Damon obsolete) and Trent Garrett did quite well today. And--this is HUGELY shocking--Michael Nouri actually ACTED in their scenes. I KNOW! I was as surprised as you because that NEVER happens. He mostly just acts uninterested or bored.
So good, you guys. And so sad. Do you think AMC can make it two good episodes in a row? Or does there need to be another dead body for that to happen?