(Preface background: This is at least my second time through watching CM and due to erratic cable syndication schedules, there is almost no logical order to how I am re-watching and then reviewing.)
Some episodes are just episodes. In them, there is a story, but not quite a Story. We are used to say 3 stories a night, 6 nights a week (maybe 7). But we long for a real Story. This was one.
It has a villain. Tim Curry is the kind of villain that goes down in lore. His acting brings the character to life. The viewer comes to hate him as much as Morgan does. And you notice I talk about the villain as Tim Curry, not Billy Flynn. Curry does that much to personify him.
Ellie stands in the place which might be called a damsel in distress, if that weren't so anti-PC. It's OK though, I think, because she is smart and courageous and even belligerent, and since she is a kid, it is not an insult to call her that. Isabella Murad does it so well. I would say she is the star, except that this episode had so many stars.
Morgan personifies our hate and he ends up being the hero who confronts the villain, but wait, who rescued the damsel? Not Morgan.
Oh JJ. Bravo, bravo. (Should it be "brava"?) In a series that has had a hard time showing us strong women in earlier years, JJ steps up and rescues the damsel. And how does she do it? She does it as a mom. Is there any mortal stronger than a mom? Not today.
I didn't always think all the elements made sense, but life doesn't make sense. Psychopaths don't make sense and certainly this one doesn't. And sometimes sense doesn't do the saving.
Yes, this is possibly the best, or at least one of the top 5 episodes of CM, certainly to this point in the series. 100 may be more memorable because of it's sadness and consequences, but this episode is better. It is certainly better storytelling. At the end of a review on Zugzwant (season 8), which I rewatched and reviewed before this episode, I ask if sadness and tragedy are more profound than victory or love. Perhaps this story answers that question in the negative.
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