Beacon Hill: Surprise!
Okay, fancytime soap nerds, let's take a look at the Season 1 finale of Beacon Hill, shall we? I think the running time should allow this to be quick and painless. The weather outside in NYC right now suggests I might electrocute myself just for writing this, so don't ever suggest I don't love y'all, okay?
And we're off! Some part of me assumed that as the season finale (and the fact that we'll be waiting a full year for the next season), the episode would be super-sized. You know, like 13 minutes. Or even 10. I saw the progress bar and realized this was not the case. So hang onto your hats because a lot of everything and a lot of nothing will be happening!
I need to talk about the title cards real quick.
Is this a digital image of an eyeball or a vagina? I'm certain it's one or the other, but the graphics confuse me.
Anyway, we open on Tom Wesley driving and dialing his daughter. He leaves her a grumpy voicemail that she can't keep ignoring his calls. Don't worry, he's using a hands-free device of some sort.
Sara is working on her computer when her step-grandmother comes in to say hello. Oddly, she doesn't open with, "Hi, Nana!!"
Evelyn sits down to chat with Sara and tries to explain how much she and Sara's grandfather love each other. Sara is appropriately squicked by the idea of her grandfather being romantic with anyone, much less this young chesty thing. Sara gets a mysterious phone call and has to bolt, leaving Evelyn looking messy and sad. And busty.
Sara runs down the street in her cute hat taking a "very important call" from her editor.
It's my favorite kind of soap opera one-sided phone call, with vague references to an angry but out-of-line person on the other line demanding that some sort of unspecified deadline be met immediately. She will GET HIM HIS STORY, DAMMIT!
She knocks on a door. It's Katherine's door!
Sara goes in and Katherine gives her some coffee. It took way too long to play the obvious beat of Katherine remembering how Sara takes her coffee. Then they talk about how awkward this is, because why show when it's way quicker to tell and you only have seven minutes? Anyway, the basic idea is that Katherine wants to explore Sara's suggestion that they try to be friends. "You weren't just my lover, Kate," says Sara, "you were my best friend!" Do people still call each other their "lovers?" Honest question. I can't wait to use that expression soon.
They're mutually wary of each other because Kate's a politician and Sara's a reporter. Apparently one article that Sara wrote was actually about Kate, but Sara responds to that by giving the wildly helpful and thorough "this is only a seven-minute episode" advice of "Just ignore it!"
They needle each other a bit more and Kate laughs in that perfectly beautiful Sarah Joy Brown way of laughing.
I want to know how she does it. When I laugh, I either snort or look like I'm in pain. When I act-laugh, I look like Billy Idol.
The ladies agree to a general truce.
Meanwhile, Sara's current "lover" Diane has shown up in Boston and conveniently stops by the coffee shop where everybody knows Sara to randomly ask for directions. "I'm looking for Senator Preston's house, I heard he lives nearby," she says. Because typically you can just get a United States Senator's home address by swinging by the nearest coffee shop. Diane is indeed played by Jessica Morris, formerly known to those of us who survived it as "Jen" from One Life to Live. I hate to jump the gun so quickly, but if you're looking to see that her acting has gotten deeper and more nuanced over the years, this isn't going to be where to find that.
She explains to the ladies that she's Sara's "friend" (because "lover" is just silly and since this is the regional origin of the phrase "Boston Marriage," she clearly has to politely announce that she is Sara's FRIEND if she wants to be culturally appropriate) (when in Rome, do as the Romans do; when in Boston, pretend your lesbian lovah is your close friend?).
The coffee shop ladies see right through this, of course.
They've got their fingers on the pulse (or something else, perhaps) and they understand the code. They are also big-time Sara/Kate shippers.
Sara deliberately ignores a phone call from Diane and asks Kate out to dinner, who agrees with trepidation. Meanwhile Diane pulls out her important New York City newspaper, where the headline mentions that Kate is likely next in line for Senator Preston's job.
(That looks like a B&B era photo of Brown, doesn't it?? Massachusetts has some very glamorous representatives.) Diane is angry and jealous, which you can apparently tell by her facial expression.
She just knows her girlfriend is with her EX-LOVER.
Down the street, the doorbell rings and a WASP-drunk Claire Preston stumbles to answer the door.
I love that Chappell produces this and that she has made a vocation/avocation out of both playing lesbian characters and producing lesbian-and-bi women's soap stories for about a decade now for whatever awesome reason, and while she is not the greatest actress working today, she does this very specific kind of drunk really well. I buy it completely.
She opens the door, puts her hand to her heart and exclaims, "Oh my god!"
And folks? That's the end of the season!
Adapting to this ultra-short format is still a major adjustment for me. I think once I indulge a little more (I hear all of Venice is free right now, temporarily?) I can make the leap and accept the paradigm and not find it so bizarre. But legit, y'all, I could've posted the episode's transcript and you could have read it in 1/5th the time it took you to read this recap. If you read this recap. And if you did, bless you. Gesundheit.
I mean, look. It's ten bucks, it's almost the length of a movie, I don't have to leave my house, and some of these folks get to show off their chops in a way they never got to do in the grueling hour-a-day-year-round format. I can dig it, but there is an adaptation phase required.
Who watched? Who enjoyed? Who might indulge now?