Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Illicit Illusion

I am still trying to figure out what happened to all those topics I had in my mind a couple weeks ago. I’m so sorry! From now on, posts may sometimes come on any day at all, at least for a while.

I would have had a post on time for the weekend if I’d managed to review The Illicit Illusion on Saturday night. (I didn’t have much luck catching MeTV’s the previous evening.) As it turned out, I didn’t get the chance until today.

It’s actually never been a big favorite of mine, even though I love both season 7 and Samuel Newman’s writing in general. Every writer turns out some lesser episodes at some point, and regardless of whether this is Mr. Newman’s, it’s probably my least favorite of his scripts.

I think the main thing I’m unsure on what to think about is when Hamilton and Andy’s actions to try to prove the murder suspect’s guilt are proclaimed entrapment by Perry. I’m glad that Mr. Newman’s usual kindness towards Hamilton is present, however, and Andy is quick to assure Perry that there was no entrapment and the thought of taking flight was never even suggested to the defendant. But since Hamilton (and the police) have so many strikes against them already, I’m not sure what to think of another being added, even if proven untrue. Despite what was said in their defense, it still seemed that a bad feeling towards their actions lingered through the rest of the court case.

One interesting thing, though: it does show, once again, that Perry can be quick to throw accusations at Hamilton and the police, just as they often did, mostly in the past, towards Perry. I suppose one could take it to mean that Perry, having grown tired of being accused, has decided to start voicing suspicions of his own. Of course, he is always quick to announce such suspicions and accusations, if he has them, in every season. But it seems like he does it much more frequently later on.

Aside from that angle, I do have one other, more general complaint. We never do learn exactly who killed the old lady in New York. It’s certainly implied that it really was Ambrose, and yet unless he’s just trying to make himself look better, there’s the thing where he yells at Leslie, his accomplice, that he’d told her he didn’t want anyone to be hurt. He seems distraught that she  killed Kirk Cameron. And that left me puzzling over whether he truly killed the woman in New York, even though he was swindling her. Unless even the DVD episodes aren’t entirely complete, Mr. Newman left the confirmation of that killer’s identity out of the story. I don’t like loose ends of those proportions being left hanging.

Pushing those issues away, the episode is interesting. There’s a definite Gaslight type plot going on, where the hapless woman is made to think she’s going crazy by various events, notes, phone calls, etc. Things she sees are later construed so as to not have happened, while she’s told of phone calls she’s made that she can’t remember making. She’s so convinced that she’s going bonkers that she absolutely insists her doctor isn’t telling her the truth when he says she’s just overworked and exhausted and run ragged by her bad marriage.

I do think it’s a bit preposterous how susceptible she is to the idea that she’s teetering on the brink of insanity, particularly when she’s struck over the head after seeing the desk a mess. When she wakes up and finds the desk normal, it seems it should be obvious that whoever hit her cleaned up the mess! No matter how many times I see the episode, that part always strikes me as bizarre. The audience is apparently supposed to accept that by that point, she’s so deeply into the “illusions” being crafted that she can’t even accept that being struck was what actually happened to her. But that doesn’t make much sense to me. It should convince her that something is going on other than what she’s being made to believe.

The illusion that really seems eerie and unexplained is when she staggers down the stairs after the elevator isn’t working and drops her purse before tripping and swooning. There’s no indication of anyone else being there, yet she comes to discovering her purse seemingly unaffected by the fall and standing upright. Now that’s creepy stuff.

I do like how compassionate and worried she is about her husband, wanting Perry to defend him when he’s arrested for the murder in New York. And another interesting point: I think this might be the second episode in season 7 where Perry does not defend a potential client but does offer some form of help (the other episode being The Woeful Widower).

On another topic, tomorrow is the anniversary of William Hopper’s death. It would be a good day to watch a Paul-centric episode or two. Episodes I can think of offhand with lots of good Paul scenes and/or plotlines are:

Paul Drake’s Dilemma

The Impatient Partner

The Nervous Neighbor

The Wooden Nickels

The Carefree Coronary

The Sausalito Sunrise

One thing Paul is always worried about is doing anything that could possibly be interpreted as breaking the law, which would get him in big trouble. I saw that again today on a favorite season 1 episode, The Moth-Eaten Mink. I have to admit, I don’t always think it’s right for Perry to put Paul in situations where he’s in danger of losing his license. He knows Paul won’t refuse to help him, because they’re friends and Paul can’t stand to leave him high and dry. (And also because Paul knows Perry is ultimately working towards justice.) To some extent, sometimes it does feel like Perry takes unfair advantage of Paul.

Yet on the other hand, as was mentioned in one of my stories, whenever Paul gets into trouble, Perry is generally getting deep into it as well. And he doesn’t ask Paul to do things that he wouldn’t do himself. That whole plotline in that story, where Dr. Portman tries to turn Paul against Perry and Paul is fighting against it and having conflicting thoughts, is basically my exploration of my own conflicted thoughts on the matter.

Later in the week I plan to have a comparison up between The Moth-Eaten Mink and The Sausalito Sunrise. Having now seen them both within a relatively short amount of time, I have some assorted opinions on how the plots of each hold up.

No comments:

Post a Comment