Sunday, February 5, 2012

Eternal Law, Season 1, Episode 5

And this week we don’t start with a case. We start with Mrs. Sherringham disapproving of Zak’s booze and telling him they should give Tom more responibility (while worrying about him). Mrs. Sherringham watching the endless emotional angst between non-character Hannah and Zak (and worrying about it. In short, we’re set up for some glorious angst. Oh joy, let me fill my glass.

In actual plot, Tom rushes to help a female soldier who has been stabbed in the leg and gets picked up from the military base by Zak who, as is sadly recurring, treats him like a naughty child. Anyway, they end up taking the case to defend Laura (the soldier) from court martial – the allegation that her wound is self-inflicted to prevent her being shipped to Afghanistan. And it’s quickly clear that Zak has issues with soldiers and/or the military – I smells more angst I do. He was a soldier in the first world war – and he’d used his powers to save lives much against Mr. Mountjoy’s wishes. He then was tasked with saving World War 1 soldiers who were accused of cowardice and desertion – and, as any history student knows, the success rate in these cases was very very low and a lot were executed. And there we see Zak’s problem with the military

And for reasons that are completely unfathomable, Zak decides he wants Hannah (Love Interest) to assist him and not Tom. Because they’ve decided that Hannah really needs to get to know a Major who caught his buttons in her hair. Of course, protracted time together is exactly what Zak and Hannah needs. By setting Hannah up with the Major she’ll apparently stop being a distraction and temptation for Zak (because that totally works, right? Seeing the person you love with someone else completely removes them from the picture?) I dislike how this turns the already character-less Hannah into even more of a tool - a chess piece to be moved by Richard and Zak (or Mrs. Sherringham).

Being sidelined and removed from the case, Tom has a rather childish temper tantrum which is treated as such by Zak and Mrs. Sherringham. I’m really getting tired of that dynamic.

But the plot thickens and Sophie, another soldier in the regiment (and, blessedly, a POC who isn’t childlike) tells Tom that the sergeant has been coming on to Laura – and wasn’t taking no for an answer. Confronting the sergeant naturally doesn’t result in a confession but makes it clear he’s a very unpleasant person. At least we get to see a shred of what angels can do when miffed. Unfortunately, Sophie is a coward who won’t come forward to protect her friend.

And while Zak is in court doing the serious business, Tom engages in a rather bemusing bike chase through the army camp. He crashes and then gets himself in trouble laid on an unexploded mortar and needs Zak to rescue him with the help of Sophie to prove how courageous she is and redeeming herself since she was the one who caused Laura to be stabbed.

So we have Tom being childlike and needing rescuing. Childish and child-like was tiresome before, needing rescuing as well just takes his to a next level especially since Tom did very little that was serious. He ran around being rather ineffective and action packed while the serious adults got on with things. He was rescued by a black woman however, though the counter to that was that she was the one behind the whole thing anyway.

Mrs. Sherringham has her box of mementos that she angsts over and then decides to get drunk – more power to her. It’s her wedding anniversary and she keeps seeing Billy, her dead husband. And, of course, Richard the Fallen Angel is there to twist the knife. But just when she starts sinking into despair she meets Karl, Billy’s brother who brings some hope and happiness.

I honestly cling to these shreds of personality even with my dislike of angst because it’s the only real character Mrs. Sherringham has. Without her grief, she’s just a complete mother hen, a matriarch who exists to serve, help and scold the men. In fact, since she rarely displays any independent character of her own, I was tempted to just name her Mother Hen until she develops a character. Oh and Hannah will known as Love Interest, again, until she actually grows a personality.

And while I’m on the subject I’m going to say that I dislike how Mrs. Sherringham’s second name is maintained by people she lives with. At one point I thought it a gesture of respect but increasingly it feels like the professional distance that one maintains with a servant. Or perhaps the naming distance children maintain with a parent

I can see shreds of development here with both Tom and Mrs. Sherringham perhaps growing some kind of character, but it’s slim and weak. We had some ruminations as to the horror of war and what there was was well done, but it was few and far between. I don’t know, I’m increasingly left with the feeling that this show could be a lot more than what it is and that it’s far too shallow for its own potential. Perhaps if it had maintained it’s light heartedness I wouldn’t see it as much – but it hasn’t. We’ve gone deeper and a little darker – but we’re still too shallow.