Monday, August 26, 2013

Venice the Series: Season 4, Episode 3

Better late than never, right? Real Life has been kicking my ass this past week and I was finally able to kick back enough to find some free time, so let’s do this.

This week’s episode feels shorter than the previous two this season, even though the run time is about the same as last week. Not in a bad way, but in a gone-too-soon, left-wanting-more kind of way - like Owen. Owen’s never been more present than he is this season, and I’m not even counting the Heaven scenes.

When I wished last week that Episode 3 would pick up where Episode 2 had left off, I was thinking about Gina and Ani in bed, not so much Lara being furtive with her trash, but here we are. It’s a good place to pick back up.

This time Jake goes up to Ani’s front door and starts pounding on it. It’s kind of an asshole move. There’s knocking and then there’s pounding. Wow, that came out dirty. Anyway, moving on. Jake knows Lara’s in there and he’s not willing to accept the polite brush off of her pretending to not be home. He keeps at it (pounding) and yells until Lara gives in and comes to the door.

Lara’s polite, and I think a little bit charmed against her better judgement, even as she sizes him up. She doesn’t just hear “Ani’s brother” and assume that everything is wonderful like some people *cough*Ani*cough* did when other unexpected relations turned up. But then Lara knows all about secrets and darkness, enough that she isn’t cool with it when Jake invites himself in. She’s protective of her space and Ani’s. I like her more for it.

Gina’s sitting at the beach thinking, because apparently that’s the only place she can remember things. For instance that time she was so devastated over the loss of her brother that she was curled up in his bed clutching a t-shirt that his scent still lingered on and sobbing as her ex-girlfriend, who she thought didn’t feel that way about her anymore, came up behind her and spooned her and snuggled and made out with her a little. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Gina is full of regret. She feels like she wasn’t there for Owen and she misses him horrible. Ani caresses her face and holds her. She looks into Gina’s eyes and tells her that Owen knew how much Gina loved him, because she’s felt Gina’s love and she has first hand experience of how awesome it is. Geez, just make out already. Oh, wait.

Ani does a little more face stroking, cleverly disguised as tear wiping and snuggles down a little more into the bed and a little closer to Gina before she can’t hold back all the love in her heart and starts kissing Gina. It’s the natural conclusion to where her confession-slash-pep talk was going. The only problem is that pesky engagement ring in her pocket that means she’s committed to someone else.

The kiss is soft, sweet and so incredibly full of pain. It isn’t a quick “oops!” brush of the lips. It lingers until Gina opens her eyes and sees Ani. Just like that, the spells broken. Gina looking at her somehow means things are real again and reminds Ani that she shouldn’t be doing this, the thing that she’s been needing (even if it was only subconsciously) to do for Gina since the moment she found out that Owen was dead.

The conversation afterwards is almost as heartbreaking as the kiss. Gina wants it to mean something and Ani wants it to mean nothing so she can stay close to Gina. So they’ll still be this parody of friends that they’re trying to be. Ani gets out of there like her hair’s on fire and Gina lets out a deep breath. The world just isn’t getting any easier.

Speaking of not getting any easier, here comes Richard. He starts with an apology. It’s a good opening line but his follow through leaves something to be desired. Richard reminds us Gina that he always wanted to have kids. The part of my brain that sees conspiracy theories everywhere thinks it’s weird that Richard doesn’t know why his wife suddenly didn’t want to have kids. Most people don’t just randomly change their mind about major things like that and if they do they have a good reason. It seems suspicious that he wouldn’t know the reason. Or like I read too much into things.

Blah, blah, Sarah is an unexpected gift, blah. Richard is thrilled. So thrilled that he’s not willing to take no for an answer. Whatever his original intentions might have been when he came to the beach and saw Gina, he’s pushing her now to do what he wants and have a relationship with Sarah. Gina’s still not having it. She doesn’t care if Sarah’s the most special snowflake to ever snowflake, she’s already about to go insane dealing with Owen’s death and Ani’s mixed signals. She cannot take one more thing, especially this thing, her daughter that she gave up. Then Richard tells her Sarah’s gay. It’s the first thing that’s made Gina stop and think beyond nononononono.

Jake’s doing the brotherly girlfriend interrogation. Lara’s holding her own. Jake discovers she’s the next JK Rowling. Seriously, how many of these people with no kids have heard of YA series enough to know what’s super popular?

“Poor, old, Marshmallow.” Those three words, man. If we didn’t already know Jake’s behavior towards Ani is loathsome that would have confirmed it. I kind of wished Lara had called him on it. She was awesome when Ani told her that story about her crazy Aunty calling her fat at that family function. Jake moves on pretty fast though to bring up that wedding magazine on the counter. Maybe Lara just got distracted by how much she was dying to spill to anyone and everyone that Ani said yes.

It seems a little bit weird and out of line that Lara didn’t wait for Ani to tell Jake about their engagement. I mean, I get it, why Lara couldn’t wait any longer, but it seems like one of those things that a couple should tell their families together or separately, coming from the person they're related to, just from an etiquette standpoint.

At any rate, Ani picks that moment to walk in with a big ol’ bunch of “I made out with my ex-girlfriend and I feel so guilty” roses. She is less than enthused to see Jake but she makes nice. Her body language says a lot. She’s almost hiding behind Lara and she makes no move at all to reach out to him. Definitely an oddity for touchy-feely, huggy Ani. As guilty as she’s feeling about the whole making out with Gina thing, she doesn’t let it stop her from making a pointed comment in Lara’s direction about how they weren’t telling people about their engagement.

The minute they open their mouths about when they’re planning to get married (completely opposite timetables) Jake picks up on the dissension in the ranks. He proceeds to make far too innocent comments about Lara’s drinking, never mind the stricken look on Lara’s face when Ani pipes up. His condescension towards Lara sets my teeth on edge. By the time he gets around to saying he hopes this is the first of many get-togethers, Lara and Ani both look like they’d rather be sucking on some extremely sour lemons than putting themselves through that.

When he leaves, Ani dispenses her flowers and all but confesses she made out with Gina. Okay, not really, but her actions scream of guilt. It just happens to be what Lara needs to hear. For once the pressure isn’t on her, for what she’s done and she can be gracious about Gina if Ani’s come home with bouquets of roses and apologies and making out with her. These two are amazing and wonderful together when they’re being all sweet and cute. It’s the dark moments that are a problem and unfortunately we see a lot more of those than this sweeter side.

Ani makes inquiries about Jake, why he said he was there and how he behaved. Lara reassures her that everything was fine. Ani has the skepticism of an addict’s younger sibling. She wants to believe in Jake, that he’s on the up-and-up, but she’s been proven wrong too many times. Ani’s been let down and hurt enough times to be prepared for it but she feels responsible and doesn’t want Lara to be taken in by him.

Back on the beach, Gina’s showing some interest in Sarah for the first time, asking questions about her. Richard is a little too enthused about this development. Gina rightfully snarks on him for it. Just because they’re both gay it doesn’t mean she owes Sarah anything. Richard begs Gina to come meet Sarah anyway. She’s at the Colonel’s. Gina gets pissed off again. The one thing she asked him not to do - okay, the third or fourth thing she asked him not to do, but still. Guya calls with news about Sami and Richard’s off the hook again. For now. I’m starting to wonder how much of this season Gina’s going to spend in that striped shirt.

Galen’s Owen’s head shot stares up at Sarah as she asks her grandfather what her Uncle was like. She thinks it was cool that Owen was an actor. The Colonel is upfront about his feelings about Owen’s career. I’m glad he didn’t change it for her or let nostalgia blunt how he felt. At least he’s always forthright. He tells Sarah he doesn’t think her painting is a career yet either, but he’s much more gently about it with her than he ever was with Owen and acting. It seems more reasonable. Sarah doesn’t back down or take his crap though. She holds her own and accepts it easily enough when The Colonel won’t let her come with him to find out about the new information that the police have because Gina will be there. The Colonel’s consideration about that surprised me. I didn’t think he had it in him.

Van is still making trouble and he’s not even present. Brandon makes a comment about his absence being better and Guya has her defenses up immediately. Brandon starts to explain, but they get interrupted. The gang’s all here.

Gina looks extra gorgeous here. I don’t know. It felt worth mentioning. Everyone gets seated and then before Brandon can say anything, Guya reminds how exciting she finds having a cop for a boyfriend and blabs the news. They have confirmation that it’s Sami’s prints on the scissors. Gina wants to strangle her and is disappointed to learn this isn’t how the world works.

Van is mad Adrienne’s leaving him. Adrienne is done with Van, this town and all the Brogno crap. When he can’t persuade Adrienne to stay, which he took all of about a second to try, Van tries to pretend that he’s happy that she’s leaving. It’s not a good look for him. Owen wasn’t a poster boy for maturity but Van makes him seem all grown up by comparison. If Van’s toys won’t do what he wants then he’ll throw them away. Van’s fooling no one, least of all himself.

Gina apologizes to Guya for being hard on Brandon and thanks her for what he’s done. Guya’s response leads Gina to wonder if there’s trouble in smoking hot paradise. I don’t think Gina buys Guya’s reassurance but she’s not worried enough to press the point and goes to talk to The Colonel and Brandon. Gina and The Colonel and Guya are all relieved that their ordeal is finally over. Brandon knows it’s not but hesitates to say anything. They’ve been through so much already. Shawn C. does an awesome raised eyebrow of skepticism. It’s a thing of beauty.

Gina’s hanging out on Guya’s porch drowning her sorrows when Van joins her. She calls Van out for his behavior towards Owen, accusing him of being glad Owen’s dead. He dares Gina to hit him. He wants the easy way out of being held accountable for his actions. One punch and it’s over. Ani could learn a thing or three from him about concealing guilty feelings, but no matter what his actions spurred poor, crazy Sami into doing I completely buy that Van didn’t want Owen dead. This kind of revenge isn’t nearly so fun as having a lifetime to torture Owen and make him suffer. Not to mention that competing with his sainted dead cousin is so much harder than his slacker, nearly-orphaned cousin and Van wasn’t doing that great to start with.

Gina considers taking him up on his offer, despite the words coming out of her mouth. It only pisses Van off more. He wants someone to let him off the hook, someone besides himself to be angry at and Gina won’t oblige him on either account. The toughest part is living with the choices he’s made. Gina agrees, looking off into the distance, thinking of Owen and more than just Owen.

Malbec. Ani and Lara look gorgeous as they walk into Jake’s impromptu engagement party. Do they even know any of these people beside Jamie and Jake? It seems unlikely - and way less incestuous than most Venice parties. It would be exactly what Lara needs except for the part that Jake is determined to be a colossal asshole and use his knowledge of Lara’s drinking issues to throw them in her face. He's passing out glasses of champagne and makes it a big deal. It embarrasses Lara and it looks like it kills her to be in this situation. For once Ani looks excited enough about this engagement and her brother’s congratulations that she doesn’t even notice what’s going on with Lara. I’m not Lara’s biggest fan and we know she hasn’t been honest about being sober, but I still feel bad for her. Jake’s working a beautiful divide-and-conquer and doing his very best to make Lara squirm and feel small. It’s a hateful thing to do and it makes me like Jake’s character even less. His final drink of champagne is directed straight at Lara.

So far it seems like Jake's more interested in controlling and ruining Ani’s life than anything else. That he gets to use Gina and ruin her business while he's in town is just a bonus. Not because he seems to care much about Ani, but because he can and because he wants to get back to making money. Is it too much to hope that he gets run over by a car later this season?

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