Saturday, January 28, 2012

Eternal Law, Season 1, Episode 4

So we have another case and this time our angelic lawyers are playing prosecution.

And the person they’re prosecuting? Gemma, a woman whose won was murdered and who woke up in the middle of the night to find a man who was stalking her in her home – a man she then stabbed.
Oh dear, please gods don’t try to draw parallels with actual British cases here or my head may explode and I may have to force everyone to listen to me rant and rave about terrible legal reporting. No-one needs to see that, it’s not pretty.

One thing I do see touched on at least partially well is the demonising of lawyers for the cases they have to represent. Again, trying to avoid my ranting, but if lawyers only represent “nice” people and refuse to act against people who are “nice” then our legal system would very rapidly be a very very messy and useless institution. (And that’s aside from the fact that our “nice” definition is, inevitably in our prejudiced world, skewed towards the most privileged folks in society – straight, white, upper class).

Okay, enough of my rantings and on with the show!

Zak is hassled by the press for his prosecution – causing much angst and grief

Tom is torn over whether they’re doing the right thing and his sympathy for Gemma, over what she’s been to as a mother losing her son, over Gemma’s suicidal thoughts and attempts. Especially when Richard raises the idea that maybe the man she killed was the one who killed her son.

And, of course, Richard the fallen angel is there to undermine him and sew more seeds of doubt. And Richard does make a damn good case, I have to say. It’s very good to see a tempting infernal argument that is actually well done and genuinely appealing.

There follows some intriguing detective work and the truth is reveaaaaled. We have Zak doing some lovely catharsis – and Tom doing some unwise revelations which has tragic results.

And the doomsday clock started ticking. I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is not a good sign

I’m not quite sure on the premise here. Yes we can play god works in mysterious ways (or Mr. Mountjoy) but to send Angels down to do his bidding but then leave the angels guessing as to what that bidding actually is strikes me as… inefficient.

Tom continues to be childlike, if anything the childishness is maximized in this episode. Even his challenge of the others’ apparent callousness towards Gemma comes across more as an innocent naivety (especially from a legal context). He even runs off in a tantrum and Zak treats him as a child and Mrs. Sherringham treats him like an infant – a child who needs protecting and sheltering.

This could have been an interesting dynamic, but we can’t separate them from the racial context
I think the language used to refer to stalking wasn’t ideal – the idea that a stalked victim wouldn’t go to the police, the idea that a stalked victim would be tense, worried, afraid of being alone – of being stalked by someone who isn’t actually breaking any laws. I don’t think there was enough validation of these feelings

We have some limited Hannah and Zak angst but that, thankfully, takes a back seat. Unfortunately we have a lot more Tom and Jude – and Mrs. Sherringham rather condescendingly shunts her off to Durham to protect Tom from her dreadful female wiles.

We seem to continue to have no GBLT characters though have a bonus of anti-gay slurs instead. It’s possible we may have a suggestion about Richard, the Fallen Angel. Which would not amuse me.

And yes, I do love that reading Paradise Lost counts as “googling oneself” 

All in all, not a bad episode, not fascinating, but fairly layered.