Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Lady in the Lake

I hope everyone had a good New Year! It isn’t one of my favorite holidays, as we don’t do much to celebrate. (I would love to attend an Oriental New Year’s celebration sometime!) But hopefully it will be a good year, filled with Perry goodness.

I actually had a topic on Thursday, but then I wasn’t feeling well and had to put it on hold. And then Friday night came along and provided another topic, so the original one has been put on hold again.

So for once I caught a Perry movie while it was actually on the air. I kind of wish I hadn’t, because then I would have recorded it for later and we’d have a copy that could be kept. I wasn’t planning to record it since we’d be there to watch it at the time. How was I to know that it would end up having such an exciting twist?

I imagine there are some purists who don’t like that The Lady in the Lake ended up with the murder victim not being dead, considering that a real murder is part of the Perry formula. But considering who the victim was, I’m thrilled!

I had thought the victim would probably be that awful Lisa person. When instead it was the wife, I was deeply disappointed. She was certainly among the handful of characters who didn’t deserve it in the least. To have her be alive and held prisoner was wonderful, in my estimation. And even aside from that, just looking at it from a story structure standpoint, I think it’s good to jar up a formula now and then. It keeps things fresh and new and puts people on their toes, wondering when next something might be different.

The one thing that puzzles me is who the Lisa person is. For a while, I honestly thought she was the sister, having survived and come back for revenge—which would be ungodly depressing, considering how horrible Sarah felt about standing by and watching her end up in the water. In the flashback at the beginning, the sister has red hair, even though the paintings of the girls both feature blonde hair. And Lisa’s hair is very strikingly red. When they found the sister’s brush in that motel room, it seemed to cinch the idea all the more.

Unless the movie was edited, there’s only one point where they could have explained the brush—right after the final commercial break and before the big reveal in court of Sarah’s survival. At that point, our local station made their commercials run so long that it cut into the movie’s return. Ugh. That’s been happening a lot lately and I’m getting sick of it. They need to time their commercials better!

I’m assuming that the Lisa person was instead exactly who she said she was and that she wasn’t the sister at all. Perhaps the brush was something Sarah was keeping. Or perhaps Lisa had it to taunt Sarah with. But I was definitely left confused when that angle didn’t appear to be explained in what I watched.

I also thought the evidence against the husband was rather flimsy. It would have felt more believable if he and Sarah didn’t get along well or even if their argument had been more intense. On the other hand, though, I really loved how their relationship was portrayed, for the most part, and I wouldn’t have liked to have seen that be changed.

I just wish Sarah would have been more receptive to the truth that Lisa was the one engineering the kiss and Sarah’s husband didn’t want it. It always annoys me when one member of a couple shows such a lack of faith in the other half. Of course, if she hadn’t been upset and gone out, then Lisa wouldn’t have cornered and abducted her at that point, but I’m sure they could have reworked the script a bit so that there was another reason why she went out.

I still think Paul Jr. can’t hold a candle to his dad as far as private-eyeing goes. And it really made me roll my eyes when he decided to pretend to be the thug the defendant’s brother thought he was, in order to try to get information from him. It worked for a bit, but it certainly backfired on him! I imagine that’s why Paul Sr. hardly ever did stunts like that. As I recall, he was usually always up front about being a private detective. And he had a pretty good track record of getting information.

At least, though, I liked how determined Paul Jr. was to finally catch up to Lisa and her companion. Paul Jr. was the one who actually rescued Sarah from her captivity, so he must be given credit for that. I was very glad to see him corner Lisa at last, after he kept bumbling through the case. And no matter Lisa’s motives in keeping Sarah alive, I have to be thankful to her that she did.

It was fun to see David Ogden Stiers as the prosecutor. He did a good job, although I was hoping to see him and Perry get a little more involved in having conflicting feelings about how the case was going. I like when that’s happening with Perry and Hamilton, as long as it’s handled without casting a bad light on either side and doesn’t dissolve into wildly flying accusations about the attorneys’ conduct.

I adore the reunion scene in court, when Sarah is brought in alive and she and her husband embrace. I just wish we had seen them again in the epilogue, although it was amusing when the epilogue consisted of Della insisted that Perry wouldn’t be skiing again.

All the cast did an excellent job, although most of them are unknown to me. The only guest-star other than David Ogden Stiers that I’m familiar with is David Hasselhoff. Knight Rider is a fun show that I enjoy watching sometimes. I never saw Baywatch.

Overall, I found it a very satisfying entry in the Perry movie series. And although I don’t consider the movies part of the canon, I like this one so much that I’d like to say that I imagine a version of it happening “off-screen” in the television series, if that makes sense.

I’ve kind of thought of bringing a few of the movies’ characters, including David’s and Scott Baio’s prosecutors, into my stories. They’d be the same ages as they are in the movies, only the Perry they would encounter would be the television series Perry instead of the movie Perry. In other words, they would be part of my extended television series ventures instead of being at work twenty-odd years after the events of the series.

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