Friday, September 13, 2013

Dead Like Me, Season 2, Episode 3: Ghost Story

Open with George at work giving us a story about someone sinking in a swamp while she sinks under her huge work load (courtesy of her promotion) and Delores is so eager to tell her about the Happy Time Retreat she hasn’t signed up for yet! George is less than eager. In  between being a fluffy bunny, Delores makes a deadly accurate observation – George uses humour and sarcasm to keep people at a distance, pointing out she has no personal objects on her desk, no photos of friends or family at all.

Of course, George reflects part of the reason she isn’t joining Delores’s team is because she’s already been drafted to the dead team. To underscore that, she and Daisy go on a reap of two women speaking Spanish to a Brazilian personal trainer at the gym while George considers ways of making some fake photos of her fictional family. Though post Reap of the vapid stereotypes, Daisy agrees that George does use humour and sarcasm as a distancing technique.

At the Waffle House everyone else gathers around for their random comments about the fake parents picture George has made (I do like how they bounce off each other); and Rube agrees that she doesn’t fit in. Which is fine, George doesn’t want to – but she doesn’t want to stand out either. She even doesn’t join the Waffle House card club to get free waffles, despite every other Reaper joining.

Flashback to her childhood and her parents hiding from carollers with her at Christmas so they wouldn’t be dragged into joining them. (Side note – is this actually a thing in America? People gather on someone’s doorstep and sing at them? Do they even check if the people inside celebrate Christmas first?) Her family has always been loners who didn’t join in.

Back to work and the Retreat Facilitator joins the campaign to make George do stuff with people, he’s very pushy and leaves George feeling like a “loser” for holding down the fort. She goes to the Waffle House and tells Rube she’s going on the Retreat to help stay low – because being on the outside is making her stand out more. Rube still wants her on call though and objects to George’s sarcasm.

George joins Delores on the Retreat, though her sarcasm is very much in evidence. She doesn’t join in the game (saying what animal you are) very well and is snarky and prickly throughout – with added enthusiasm that out in the wild is a perfect place for everyone to truly get to know everyone. Which prompts lots of opening up about people’s secrets and pains and struggles and one recently split up couple starts to bicker. Millie continues to snark and not join in until everyone stares at her and she thaws and says – she’s a cat. Not a housecat, a stray – mean, distant

Rube also takes some time off (I wager to follow George) leaving them with the dire warning not to fuck up – meaning Mason who promptly loses his post it. He freaks out and panics and joins Daisy who is Reaping a biker in a notorious biker bar and discussing poetry (which I love – why can’t you have biker poets?)

At camp, I was right – Rube shows up to see George and give her her post it. Delores notices him so, again, they trot out the Alcoholics Anonymous excuse. George comments how even when she tries to join the circle, death drags her out again

George goes on her walk to find her Reap target while Rube joins the camp for storytime – telling a love story – a story of a man and a woman in love who fell out and he left in anger (I kind of like how Rube assumes leadership of the whole group without even trying) and then got stuck in a swamp trying to get back to her with lots of parables around it. The bickering couple both protest he could have got back to his wife, I imagine indicative of them regretting splitting up. Rube has a message for George about facing fears together and George’s internal monologue praises having a spot in the circle.

Daisy’s idea is to break into Rube’s flat where Mason hits Rube’s booze and they discover a vast supply of post its (hey, Crystal had a vast supply of stolen post its too – and didn’t seem to shocked by helping them work on their paperwork). They sample more of Rube’s booze and, predictably, get rather distracted, covered in post its and dancing. But in between the celebrations, Mason drops a bomb – someone’s going to die alone today and Mason keeps praising how perfect and beautiful Daisy is. Mason goes on with a powerful, despairing question as to just what, in the whole scheme of things, does one more unhappy soul mean. Daisy pushes him to remember the post it – because he always looks at it, always, before he puts it in his pocket. Proving also that Daisy watches Mason, pays attention to him. She lays next to him on the bed and tells him he needs to remember this one, or they will die alone.

Mason jerks up and hurries out, saying nothing. Daisy stays to clean up. He runs through the streets and finds the post it – held by the woman whose name is on it. He Reaps her just before her death

At the Las household there’s more fallout from the divorce, with Joy dressing the house to show potential buyers and Reggie is lashing out with a whole lot of anger. Joy puts on a whole act for the viewing buyers though her sharp tongue and edgy personality doesn’t keep it up for long. Reggie isn’t exactly sunshine either; and further disturbs the buyers by saying her dead sister comes back. Just as a breeze slams the door shut – house comes with bonus ghost!

As they split up, the prospective buyer asks Reggie about George and Reggie talks about George checking up on her; overheard by Joy.

The next day Joy makes the effort to set a table not for buyers – but for Reggie and herself. But Reggie has to go – poor Joy, she tries so hard. And tells Reggie she’s always there to talk to her.

So today’s message is that if you find someone who doesn’t want to participate in various activities, what you need to do is badger them and make them feel bad until they join in! Then their shell will melt and they’ll become a better person. Awwww, it makes me want to hit things. With hammers.

Tangent of normal commentary but I really hate this message. Some people like their own company. Some people have close circles of friends and if they don’t want to go with you to do whatever it may be that they don’t consider you one of them. Some people like to keep their work and social lives separate. Some people like to keep their private lives private. They may hate camping or the wilderness or outdoors, or being more than 10 minutes away from 4 syllable coffee. They may (shockingly) just NOT LIKE YOU and not want to spend time with you or the gang. You don’t need to “fix” someone who doesn’t want to join your group by badgering them until they do

This rant has been brought to you by an introvert who doesn’t want to join in whatever “fun” activity you’re trying to drag me into.

Another powerful element continuing season 2s darker and edgier feel is Mason – his underlying despair that came out when he was drunk throws a sharp context on his drug using and alcoholism. There’s an underlying bleakness to Mason

I don’t like the Daisy/Mason thing because it is based on Mason constantly nagging Daisy and Daisy brushing him off – there’s zero indication of interest on her part. Between season 1 and 2 there has been something of a Retcon – now they’re showing Daisy’s interest in subtle ways (like her noticing little details about him) as well as collectively stop pretending that Callum Blue is in some way not an attractive man. They’re breaking away from the nagging/disinterest of the first season and almost trying to put it in the “this didn’t happen” retcon category – but it did happen.