Saturday, January 14, 2012

Eternal Law, Season 1, Episode 2,

And time for another episode of Eternal law, where our whacky angelic lawyers adapt to the world and save people’s souls. And here we learn, among other things, that angels are not the most domestic of beings. Though they do appreciate the merits of a good cup of tea (as they should).

And here we have a divorce and a child custody battle, between mother and father. Our angelic lawyers are representing the father – but there’s a twist. Not only is our naughty fallen angel representing the mother but he has passed the case to one of his new lawyers – Hannah. Yes, Zak Gist’s ex, Hannah. Unfortunately, the presence of Hannah tends to make Zak all mushy.

As is very true to life, these hearings are not even remotely pleasant with 2 parents who both deeply care for their son who has had a very hard life already after being adopted from a very bad situation.
And, of course, as Zak brilliantly points out, there often isn’t a “goodie” and “badie” in these situations (“It’s a contested hearing, not an episode of Bonanza”). After that we get a very real depiction of just that – the unpleasantness of a custody hearing. I could go into detail of the back and forth, but it would be more a transcript – but it is well done, emotional and well acted.

I have to say that it’s not something I enjoyed, I want to see angels and magic and good & evil – this rather bleak and rather real battle over a child may be a great legal drama, but it’s not what I consider fun viewing – especially after the fluffiness of the first episode.

Of course as an extra complication it seems Mr. Mountjoy doesn’t want them to intervene in a custody battle – he wants them to get the feuding couple back together. And maybe, just maybe, Zak will be bending those little rules a little more – in particular to convince Anna, a woman who used to work in the adoption agency, to speak up in favour of the father –or produce a letter he wrote to her on behalf of them both. But Anna is burned out – tired of human misery of seeing families in pain and suffering, she doesn’t want to be involved, she just wants to be left alone.

There follows so much twee and relationship counselling which all falls apart into utter chaos and badness. The court is not amused – but the bad ending is redeemed by Anna coming forward with the letter (after a little intervention from Zak) and behold, loving tweeness is restored! Anna regains her love of helping people, the warring couple get back together and everyone lives happily ever after. Except the Fallen Angel. He is grumpy.

Damn, amazing what a letter can do, isn’t it?

Oh and Mr. Mountjoy gave them a doomsday clock for some reason. Do I smell meta? And we learn why Zak didn't fall for Hannah - because he believes that if one more angel falls, Mr. Mountjoy will abandon humanity

I do like the interactions between Tom, Zak and Mrs. Sherringham. They’re funny and snarky with the constant push of Tom’s naivety  and Zak’s cynicism. Especially as Tom tries to examine the mess that is human love. I do think Tom was sidelined in this episode, we saw very little of him and he was more peripheral to the plot and the other characters than he was a major player as befits a co-protagonist

But Zak’s continued angst with Hannah doesn’t amuse me even slightly. Heavy angst just seems to twist the story unnecessarily.

And we learn more about Mrs. Sherringham – her love for a mortal man lead her to give up being an angel in order to be with a human man she loved. She gave up her angelic nature – but her husband died shortly afterwards from cancer.

All in all this episode has made me re-assess everything I imagined from the first episode! Then I was concerned that it would be too silly, without enough consistency and depth. Now I worry about the opposite – I worry that the courtroom drama, the heavy emotions, the angst from Mrs. Sherringham and the conflict/angst/whatever between Zak and Hannah will be too deep and dark and drag it down away from it’s fantastic elements. I honestly don’t know where this is going now.