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    • Episode 18 (Celebration): Fairly certain I don't need to tell any regulars in this thread what time it is. Even I knew this episode's name and key twist beforehand thanks to longtime lurking. But it is also that time again: Please register in order to view this content That's right: Bill Duke is back behind the camera once more! And it shows, although it definitely creeps up on you more this time. The opening is a bit famous as well and has been referenced many times both here and elsewhere - Ciji biking through the brilliant sunshine over her rollicking "New Romance". I've never seen this sequence before myself but upon revisiting some of the thread, I've seen Khan and others discuss it as well on varying blogs. It's clearly a deliberate and ironic counterpoint to what is to come, not unlike the opening of an even more famous and fateful episode of Twin Peaks seven years later, which has a long, slow journey through a family home to the strains of Louis Armstrong's crooning "What a Wonderful World", offsetting the hints of a vicious murder that takes place in that house and with that family the very same day. And Lord, yes, Gary the drunk is literally collapsed out front of Ciji's building and drunker than I've ever seen him, comically so. All he needs is Andy Capp's hat. Shackelford's slurring of words is apex level. Laura's planned outfit for Ciji's big bash is straight outta the planet Krypton, but that aside the disintegration of the Avery marriage has really been backburnered all season - probably because the writers felt "Night" said it all about them, and Richard maneuvering her back into the home with what I still think were deliberate manipulations could not lead to anywhere truly reformative or healing for either of them. It's all over but the crying and signing now, but I don't think it ever really got back together despite a few feints. Laura said what she really thought of Richard during the agony throes of birthing Daniel at the start of the season, long before the other Daniel opened its doors, and while I like Richard when he's at his best IMO she was right, as Laura, to feel that way. She was shotgun-wed back into that house and looked like a prisoner headed to the gallows when she did it - I will never forget the look on McCashin's house as the pregnant Laura walked back into the home Richard had held her hostage in weeks or months before at the end of Season 3, seeming like a caged animal. Everything since has been a coda, even Richard's dream bistro, which has actually, sadly been a success. First, Ciji's purple couch, neon lights and electric blue walls are stunning. God bless the '80s. Second we have more lesbian-adjacent drama with Laura's kaleidoscopic sweater and Ciji's fire-engine red 'I am the man now' workout getup - sapphic superhero drag for both of them. Then of course Richard gets physical again and now everyone is threatening Ciji this week. (It is not lost on me that Ciji getting involved with these nice, well-to-do upwardly mobile monied yuppies is essentially what destroyed her life.) Why does Laura not call the cops on Richard after he throws Ciji out? Why does she not kick him out? Given "Night" she has cause. Karen and Val wandering along the beachfront in their new cosmopolitan outfits - no braids or suspenders on either of them like in Seasons 1 or 2, with Val to the nines and Karen in stylish suit and hat - are once again shown to be visually fundamentally different from the women they began as, go-getter soccer moms or hippie-dippie country girls who both married young to men who consumed their independent lives in very different ways. This feels like part of the continued long metamorphosis for the show and its characters first into and through the heart of the '80s, stylistically and perhaps idealistically, that's an ongoing process and endlessly fascinating to me. Which brings us to Lilimae. Lilimae: Where I come from, anger is better than helplessness any day of the week. Anger is real live feeling! And if it's the only thing my girl's got to lash back with, then she needs to stay angry.  Lilimae speaking for us and the times we live in! God bless. Dear God, Diana's hair in this episode. First with Chip, then in rollers in the kitchen when she tells Karen about her brilliant plan to move with the Monorail Salesman from The Simpsons and presumably try to squat with Jessica Walter from Season 3. Interesting that even Lilimae seems over Chip. I was going to ask when Val will finally kick Chip out, but Chip now seems prepared to get while the getting's good after trading looks with Val. He's gonna split before she boots him. Which begs the question: Allowing that Chip killed Ciji, was it this premeditated, this far back? I don't think so, not until she threatens to expose him later in the episode. Which means he was potentially prepared to pick up stakes and head out again simply because he'd worn out his welcome with the Clements women, I think. Then there's the soon-to-be-fired Ward family funeral walk, beachside through (presumably) Santa Monica as Lankford and Houghton ponder their future residual checks. Kenny is still sulking about Ciji, but Ginger won't have it. Erin Molly (sigh) with her giant eyes and adorable scrunched face looks like a literal anime character brought to life while No Longer Grinnin' Kenny and his inexplicable Indiana Jones drag stare off into the barely middle distance and ponder a career working at Roy Rogers. Incidentally, Mack is a shameless flirt with Ginger when he comes by their place to pick her up and it's cute, as his bashfulness and self-deprecation when he watches them shamelessly make out later. Dobson has a gift for comedy and also poking fun at Mack's flaws and/or idiosyncrasies. I kind of like Mack's grudging concern for Gary and tenderness with Abby, both in this episode and previous ones; one wonders if it goes back to Mack's own troubled relationship with his alcoholic father, the guy who wandered through a mediocre episode a few weeks back complete with his stereotypical Irish music cue. I'd like to think Abby showed real fear and upset when she then impulsively calls her lawyer trying to see how much she can protect and enrich herself if Gary goes belly-up or dies out on his endless drunk. Is her positioning herself at least partly a coping mechanism for her anxiety over Gary, perhaps? People can decide for themselves. The Bill Duke touch is less pronounced early on this time out past the opening, but begins to spark up again when Ciji first returns home and we're viewing her through the golden bars of her bedframe in her crazy-quilt-of colors apartment, like someone's trapping her. Other glorious examples as the tension and chain of events began to build and cascade: Lilimae left behind, reflected in the mirror in Val's darkened bedroom; Richard surveying the neon-lit blow-ups of Ciji dominating his dream in Daniel ('looks like some damn cathedral to her'), and Ciji's diagonal, cross-hatched silhouette preceding her from out of the neon-blue dark, as Val beelines there for Gary. The episode begins to fold in on itself from here both stylistically and in terms of character quadrants, all twilight shadows and growing dread, as characters are increasingly shot from behind plants or objects like surveillance, or from the eyes of a hidden assailant, as everyone comes to the party, and this is where Bill Duke gets to really flex again behind the camera. Daniel seems to get progressively darker and darker from the inside out as the night goes on, while the colors get hotter and hotter (again, we can look to Duke's own alma mater American Gigolo, or Paul Schrader's follow-up Cat People, etc, or other choice films from the era). Chip's blown-up giant face watches over Diana and the arriving Chip; Lilimae's red ensemble and amazing hat; the orange-gold tones of the powder-room as Abby (suspect #5 and counting) emerges, late, from the shadows. Later, when the deed is done and no one can find their star, Jeff arrives investigating her haunted house; Ciji's apartment is consumed in those same blue shadows and lines from when she answered Val at the door. The show has gone full neon noir. Gary calling Val, drunk, with the sounds of the beach behind his incoherent voice. You really believe it could be anyone, even if IMO Chip is still a bit too obvious. Would it be more interesting if Chip had done most of the work but someone else finished her off, or the question remained open? Jeff's gambit with Ginger is a wild dovetailing and tying-up of both Season 3's subplot with her and the beginnings of this season - it's a nice bit of narrative symmetry, even if Kim Lankford is no Lisa Hartman. Duke excels here too at the climax, with Ciji's neon pink ghost floating over the stage, with the majority of the cast lined up in pairs like a police line-up. Ginger's literally superimposing Ciji's face in some of the blocked shots as Kim Lankford sings her heart out (meh), backlit still by Ciji's light and hair, then the camera quietly pans and rack-focuses to Ciji herself at the end of the song with an aggressive, almost accusatory stare and searing sapphire eyes. The slow dissolve from her glittering eyes almost becoming superimposed themselves over the previously-intercut dark beach shots (which almost looked like found footage of a crime scene), then down to the body, is truly haunting. I know it's been said around here before by some that Ann Marcus supposedly plotted out the Ciji Dunne arc before leaving. I was under the impression Marcus and her husband only hung around for Season 3 before returning many years later. I've been trying to corroborate this and would appreciate any input. Episode 19 (The Loss of Innocence):  Karen: Murder. People like us don't get involved in murders. Mack: People like us do. And are. The opening discovery of Ciji is straight out of Jaws, when the cops find the dead girl on the beach. The shot of just Ciji's legs folded out behind some rocks is particularly harrowing. Also the great, cold pre-episode teaser which, for the first time I can remember in awhile, has no background music over it - just a stark laying-out of the scenes involving the murder investigation, on Ciji cold on a slab. In fact, as far as I can recall, this episode has no background music at all. And that's part of what makes it brilliant for me, stripped, brutal and sinister, and possibly better than the more famous previous hour. Longtime producer Michael Filerman co-writes this one. This is also another Alexander Singer joint, and I love the growing atmosphere and tension ratcheting up, silently - the random kids on the beach who find Ciji and their fear (again, like Jaws); the slight angles on the Avery household kitchen as Laura walks out on another argument with Richard, who thinks they can sweep all this under the rug just like the night he took hostages; the close-ups on Val behind the stairs watching Laura and Chip leave, then the shift to the sounds of the waves and seagulls and these recurring reverie shots of the ocean, morphing to a slow pan up from Gary passed out on the sand under the boardwalk (very probably the same boardwalk he and Val came to talk/fight/make up after his affair with Judy Trent), up to a little boy just watching him a few feet away. So much is said with no dialogue or music, just the sound of the gulls. The show keeps intercutting back from various people to Gary, including and up to the post-lap audio cut of Abby at the beach house: "Dammit, Gary, where are you?" playing over him running from his fear and confusion. Again, all with zero music, right up to the cops covering up her body as Gary watches. This episode plays like a straight-up suspense film. Zero dramatic musical cues, just ramping up tension, even with some occasional abrupt, hard zooms on people as they interact - Gary telling a furious Abby that Ciji's dead, as she goes into Lady Macbeth mode and tells him to shut up, "you stupid drunk." Joanna Pettet debuts here as Detective Janet Baines, I know her best from "The Group" with Candice Bergen, Jessica Walter, Kathleen Widdoes, etc. Didn't she fall out of a window in that? She's instantly stylish and coy with Mack (clearly an old flame, clearly still interested) in the grim but not maudlin morgue scene with Ciji's body, which is reduced to cool, tough procedural-esque essentials and dialogue; Dobson is great here. "What are you doing here?" he asks Ciji. Baines thinks he's talking to her. There's an interesting beat with Karen shutting Mack down when he tries to play mediator between her and her daughter, Sid's daughter, for the first time as her husband. She wisely apologizes, but when Karen says her and Diana clashing in their typical loud off-Broadway showdowns is 'their way' he's right to suggest another way, for the sake of all our inner eardrums. This leads back to the past, though, when she accidentally calls him "Sid" as they banter, and the look on his face is really something. The issue seems settled midway through the episode as Ciji's death takes precedence, but I'm not sure it really is just yet judging by the look on Mack's face as they embrace. Though the relationship would seem to be confirmed to be platonic, it does beg the question of why Laura has a key to Ciji's place. I was a bit unsettled to see her there alone with Chip, too. The lighting, angles, etc. as Mack and Baines look upon Richard insisting his wife is hysterical over blaming him for Ciji's death - Laura asking if he got what he wanted - indicates a suburban murder mystery is already afoot and that everyone behind the scenes is absolutely in love with it. Four seasons of buildup has made this a very fertile playground. Interesting, too, that Lilimae already seemed pretty much over Chip to me both last episode and this one in the opening scene - it may be partly how Julie Harris plays it. There's also a great little scene in this episode that did not need to be there and many primetime soaps would not have bothered with - Diana and Lilimae in the middle of the night (Diana is bold for walking right in, but I guess that's these two families and the times) and having tea, talking about life and death. Julie Harris still has the best smile in the business, ever since East of Eden. Kenny and Ginger continue to loiter by the studio fire exits as her music career hits up. Leave quickly. The Ewing-Cunningham family Monopoly rituals are back at the beach house! The game continues to allow Olivia and Brian to emulate their mother's learned ambition, while Gary shatters the tenuous frame by brusquely saying in front of the blithe, too-used-to-it kids "if I don't get a drink my head's gonna explode." This situation is not tenable. Again, suspense pervades as we're lost in the darkening beach house, as Abby takes the kids up to bed in the shadows and Gary heads for the decanter. Later, there's even more L.A. noir unfolding at the station: Singer does a great pan across the geometrically-bisected police station waiting area, as we see Chip, Mack, Ginger, Richard and Laura and more of the cast waiting on their turn in the barrel with the cops - and still, there's no music anywhere, and it's perfect. Under the popping colors of the brilliant blue ocean at the beach house, sunshine noir intensifies as Gary and Abby conspire in coordinating red-on-white outfits. There's a tear in Abby's eye you can just barely catch on the sunlight when Gary says he doesn't think Ciji was having his baby because he can't be certain they actually slept together. Is it hurt and pain, relief or both? The various interrogation scenes in the stark white chamber with the hardboiled cop and the graceful Baines make them a very good double act, with British-born Joanna Pettet's lilting Anglo-American voice as the subtle blade. Kim Lankford is really not nearly as good as either of these guest actors; her bug-eyed acting is often Eight is Enough-tier at best. Is no one going to bring up Richard taking his family hostage over their last attempted breakup while they have him in the box? Seriously? Is this not public record? You can see Chip's mind working when Mack enters the Fairgate/MacKenzie house and announces Baines to the family - a cop. His face shifts quickly. Pettet is pretty good, hidden accent and all. Everyone puts the finger on Gary this week, but the beauty of both the story and the case against Gary is that virtually everything people are saying about him is true. Gary is a drunk: True. Gary has a violent temper, especially when loaded: True. Gary was infatuated with Ciji: True. Gary has a history of domestic violence: True. Today he might well be classed as bipolar. Baines plays Gary and Abby beautifully, dropping the bomb about Ciji's pregnancy on her way out the door and watching both their unguarded reactions. It's not often someone can get the drop on Abby. I dunno if any thought was ever given to Joanna Pettet staying with the show longer than what I know is a short stint (I don't know anything else about Baines, and I assume her past career and money was enough to keep her out of the need for a ton of primetime in those days), but it might have been interesting. And of course, Gary incriminates himself and initially, in confusion, answers 'yes' to killing Ciji. Karen and Mack holding hands back to back in the dark, unsettled and uncertain, is a great capper to end this on for me. I always love when they return to moonlight fears and secrets in Karen and Mack's marital bed, like this scene late in this episode where the opening quote comes from - murders in Knots Landing, in the cul de sac, among the people we've gotten to know for four seasons? Couldn't be! But as the audience knew a bit about in the early '80s but knows all too well now decades later, with cases like Dennis Rader/BTK or the Green River Killer (both active during Knots Landing's run, both noted members of their suburban communities), Mack is absolutely right. Which also makes me wonder what it'd be like if a show like KL today pursued an actual story along the outline of a prolific serial killer hiding within its canvas, although obviously that's not what the Ciji Dunne case is (even if Chip Roberts/Ted Fenece has killed before). Anyway: It's hard to stop watching now. I've been preoccupied IRL as I think we've all been, but we'll see how many I get through however quickly. I may take a bit of a breather once I hit Season 5, after an episode or two, but I doubt it'll be long. Amazingly, this show is a testament to the changing mores in more ways than one: Today, most primetime dramas (particularly those still on network TV) are on fumes or close to it by Season 5, recycling themselves with part or half the episode count. Here, churning out between 20-25 or perhaps later 30 at the peak of network content burn in the '80s (which produced a ton of chaff and bad fodder in most shows, particularly procedural or episodic ones like the Trek shows that had to fill space), KL feels like it has barely begun to hit its heights. That doesn't happen anymore. Anyway: Cheers.
    • Do you mean by new episodes current year 2022? Since I don’t see them they are only available in USA?
    • As I have seen many ask, all over the internet: Why can't Elizabeth's story be about... ELIZABETH?
    • I guess Xander and Zende serve the same purpose so they couldn't have them on at the same time. They couldn't possibly create some new stories for them.
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