Saturday, May 16, 2009

Next Week's Episode


Barn Burner

Charles and Joe Kagan are jurors in the trial of a bigot accused of torching a barn and assaulting Adam.

Actually, Tivo, it's Andrew Garvey who is assaulted. Adam and Mary aren't even in this episode, which is good because I think Mary the Firebug would have been a viable suspect.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I'll Be Waving as You Drive Away 10/10

Ma and Pa arrive at the school and by the lighting it looks like it is early evening rather than the middle of the night. When they enter the school, the headmaster walks out from his office and asks if there is a problem. Ma and Pa must keep bankers' hours or something because it can't be as late in the day as was suggested. They run upstairs.

The next morning (unless everyone decided to change clothes and its only half hour later) Charles is loading up the wagon as Adam and Mary supervise. What? The stage blocking suggests that activity for them. Charles remarks on how the rain will make the open coach ride a tad unpleasant before telling Adam that they will meet again in about a month. Pa asks Mary if she is ready and she says "just about". Caroline picks up the cue and ushers her husband away so that Adam and Mary can have their moment. No hands on face action you two.

Charles and Caroline board the coach as the two lovebirds say their goodbyes. They're both excited about what the next month has in store for them, they just don't want to wait that long. Mary recaps her journey of enlightenment that the blind school provided. Hey, hey! Mary, what did I JUST SAY about the hand/face contact? Adam moves in and much smooching ensues. He whispers "I'll be waving as you drive away." I've decided from now on if a character on any show says the episode title I'm going to apply the Pee Wee's Playhouse secret word rule. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Aren't you glad I already did "Sylvia" and "Annabelle"? Anyway, Mary boards the coach, with some assistance from Pa, and they're off. Sure enough, Adam is waving and Mary waves back.

In case the ghostliness of Walnut Grove wasn't clear enough, a pretty bad wind storm is whipping through the town. It looks like the Mercantile is still in business as Nels is replacing some stock behind the counter. He greets Charles and Mary, saying he heard they were back in town but not for long. Charles says he plans on leaving town in about a week but he has some livestock he'd like to sell. Nels shows Charles the stockroom and informs him that the inventory is getting sold to a wholesaler. I guess things aren't going as well as I thought. Then Mrs. Simms enters the store. She was looking for Mary to congratulate her on the new teaching job. Unfortunately, Mrs. Simms job is on hold as the school had to shut down along with everything else. Her family will be leaving town the next day. However, Mrs. Simms has a present for Mary: a cameo she received from her first teacher. Oh the places you'll go, Mary. The teachers hug and Mrs. Simms leaves in tears.

Back at the homestead, the family is playing with the new baby as Mary comes down from the loft. She brought with her what looks like a clipboard so that she can write a letter to Adam. Laura is intrigued by the apparatus and Mary explains that it is a braille writer. Laura asks why not write a letter out by hand, but Mary says someone would have to read the letter to him. Laura doesn't get why that would be an issue, but Ma knows a thing or two about prison letters and tells Laura to ease up on the questioning. Mary brings up the tragic Mrs. Simms situation and then asks if they are going to church in the morning. Caroline and Charles share a confused glance. I guess they didn't expect that Mary would want to go. Mary definitely does as it will be their last chance to say goodbye to the town.

At church the congregation has dwindled quite a bit. Let's see, the Fosters, the Ingalls, the Garveys, Doc Baker, the Olesons, and a woman with a rather unattractive hat are all that are in attendance. Reverend Alden is disappointed by the turnout. Maybe he'll be like the pastor at the church I attended growing up and admonish the crowd for all the people who didn't bother showing up and admonish the crowd again after people left early. Never mind the fact that those who he wanted to direct his message were NOT IN THE CHURCH. Anyway, the Reverend takes the pulpit and talks about the dire situation in Walnut Grove. His voice starts to waver as he realizes the inevitable. His sermon is about how "men of greed be allowed to do this to men of faith." But then he recalled the chat that he had with Charles way back when Mary was losing her sight. You remember. This segues into telling the congregation about Mary's new job and how it is serving some higher purpose. Yay, full circle.

The Reverend invites Mary to the pulpit to lead the congregation in prayer. Mary opens with a speech about her time in Walnut Grove, with a brief recap of the four years spent in the church. She then opens her braille bible to Psalm 15. Good choice -- it looks like it is striking a chord with the crowd. Mary finishes reading the passage with her fingers and smiles.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'll Be Waving as You Drive Away 9/10

Charles and Caroline arrive at the school and it only takes a moment for Ma to find her daughter and give her a hug. After a few moments of Mother/Daughter bonding, Pa says "What about me?" Grimaces, like smiles, aren't audible, Charles. Mary walks over for a hug. Mary then introduces Adam to her folks. After some handshakes are exchanged Mary offers a guided tour of the school. Charles and Caroline are floored by this. I think they got their money's worth out of the tuition.

We rejoin the family and Adam as they finish the lunch that Mary has prepared. She offers dessert, but Adam has to step out. Mary brings over a lopsided cake, telling her parents that her cakes were always lopsided. That's not surprising. Mary sits down and asks Ma what she thinks of the whole situation. Caroline is amazed, as if Mary was always this capable and that things will be just like normal back home. Mary drops a bomb that things do change. Before the bomb explodes, she thanks her parents for sending her to the school since she probably would have just holed up and died after a pity party of doom. Now for the boom: Mary is going to join Adam in Winoka. Adam lined up a teaching job for Mary and they will be leaving in a couple of weeks. Ma starts to cry, half in sadness that her daughter is leaving and half in the joy that Mary is going to realize her dream of being a teacher. Pa smiles proudly.

Later on, Ma and Pa get back on their coach and head to their hotel. Mary and Adam, holding hands, stand on the porch and say they will meet again in the morning. Caroline is still sobbing in joy. Back at the hotel, Charles is pacing as the rain is pouring outside. He looks like he has decided on something and wakes up Caroline. He recaps all the hardships currently facing Walnut Grove and Caroline tries to say that they have been through difficulties before and have survived. Charles has decided that they should pull up stakes and move out to Winoka. Caroline asks if that means they will sell the farm, but given the market the way it is Charles doesn't believe there would be any buyers. In other words, the Ingalls would be starting from scratch in a new city. Caroline paces about for a bit, puts on her game face and says "let's do it." The two of them decide to head back to the school to tell Mary the news.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I'll Be Waving as You Drive Away 8/10

Adam and Mary are walking into the Harp room as a girl with a crutch is exiting. He says "good afternoon" to the girl who responds with a good afternoon to both Adam and Mary. He whispers to Mary that the girl is one of the school's best students and a gifted pianist. Not a harpist? Seriously, what is the harp doing there? It seems like an odd rental from the prop house, particularly if it doesn't end up being used. Mary is more focused on how a blind kid knew that Mary was in the room. Adam smiles as he explains that Mary's footsteps and the rustle of her dress gave her away. Mary is wowed by the idea of using sound as a clue to your surroundings and realizes that she noticed the girl had an unusual walk. Adam explains that the girl had a crutch as a result of a wagon wreck a few years back. Another result from the wreck: the girl is an orphan. Mary's response to the news: "I used to think nobody suffered but me." Shut up, Mary. Your one suffering card is your blindness which doesn't carry too much sway in a school for the blind. Mary promises to recognize the girl next time around, causing Adam to passive aggressively remind her to actually say "hello" since smiles aren't that audible. They walk to the classroom and later on we see Mary enjoying her reading lesson.

Back in Walnut Grove, things are looking a little ghostly. A door is left swinging in the whistling wind. Over at the Mercantile, Charles runs into Jonathan who has some good news. Jonathan was able to line up a mill gig for the two of them. The pay isn't great, but it sounds like any paid work is worth it at this point. Charles says he is on board. Caroline runs into the Mercantile with another letter from Mary. Charles takes out the letter and hands the envelope to Mr. Garvey, who is amazed at how straight her writing is. Charles ruins the illusion by saying she uses a ruler. That's cheating. Back to the letter, it sounds like Mary will be coming home. There is much hugging and celebrating.

In the harp room, Mary and Adam are listening to Jenny play the piano. The girl thanks Mary and stands up. I guess she is picking up the vibe that the other two would like some alone time. Mary starts to talk about how much she loved listening to Pa play the fiddle. Adam asks if she plays anything, but she says she never learned. Is there a harp lesson in her near future? Adam offers to teach her how to play something, but Mary goes into pity party mode. Adam tells her to forget about the blindness and to stop using it as an obstacle. He brings up the example of John Milton, the author of one of Mary's favorite books Paradise Lost. Adam renews his offer, but Mary says there isn't enough time. Once again, Mary Ingalls sucks at flirting.

She reveals that she is a bit scared to leave the school, where things are safe and easy. Adam tells her that she can't depend on him for everything. Before she can say something stupid about staying at the school, Adam tells her that he is going to be moving to a school in Winoka in the Dakotas. This news causes Mary to be glad she is going home. Brat. Adam tells Mary that life outside isn't all that different, but Mary disagrees. "I wouldn't expect you to understand," she tells him. Either she has reached a new level of twerpitude, or she doesn't know that Adam is blind. That's awkward. Mary goes on to say that the world is nothing but an obstacle course filled with faceless people making strange sounds, present company included. Adam tells Mary to look at him, then grabs her hands and puts them on his face. She gets a feel and a smile crosses her face. She asks about Adam's eye and hair color and smiles when she gets an answer. Adam asks what Mary looks like and her face drops. Yup, awkward. She takes his hands and he feels her face. Uh, is this sex?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'll Be Waving as You Drive Away 7/10

A few students walk along the walls of the hallway as Adam brings up a dinner tray. It looks like he too is using the walls for guidance. Oh, is he blind, also? That would explain a few things. Again he knocks on Mary's door before barging into her room. Mary sits up on the bed as Adam apologizes for being late. Apparently one of the students cooking in the kitchen mixed up the cayenne pepper and cinnamon bottles. Ouch and yuck. Of course anyone, blind or not, can make a mistake like that in the kitchen. I ate in food co-ops all four years of undergrad and one time the dessert makers made brownies but didn't realize until the treat started cooling that they had used salt instead of sugar. They were not good brownies. According to Adam, the apple pies the students were making were a bit hotter than usual. Mary is so beyond small talk at this point and Adam is able to pick up that vibe instantly.

Adam invites Mary to join him at the table, but Mary is hesitant to do any thing. She has a defiant look on her face, which really is not a good look for her. As she stumbles over to the table, Adam informs her that supper is part of Mary's homework. Mary says she is not particularly hungry, despite the menu of roast beef, peas, and potatoes. Adam hands Mary a napkin, that she rudely snatches, and he begins the lesson. Mary says she wants to eat by herself, but Adam sternly informs her that she doesn't get that privilege until she learns how to eat properly. Mary says she doesn't like people looking at her, which Adam supposes is because she has become accustomed to eating with her fingers. Mary takes great offense to this and says she didn't come to school to learn table manners. Uh, yeah, they did. Just because it wasn't itemized doesn't mean it isn't part of the package. Adam tells his pupil that she doesn't get to eat like an animal just because she's blind. He then begins the lesson, explaining that food is arranged in a clockwise pattern: potatoes at 2 o'clock, meat at 5 o'clock, vegetables at 8 o'clock. That's kinda cool. Mary grabs whatever is at one o'clock with her hands and takes a bite. Adam admonishes her, but Mary says that if he doesn't want to watch her eat that way he can leave. "All you think about is being blind," Adam lectures. Mary tells him to leave, but he keeps going. "Pitying yourself won't help," he says. Wow, way to bust her M.O. there. "Blind people are just as good or as bad as anybody else. You're not special." Mary throws her plate on the ground and screams for him to get out. Adam raises his eyebrows and tells his student that she can find towels on the top shelf of the closet and that she will need them to clean up her own mess. Yay blind co-op!

The next day, in the drawing room, Adam walks over to the harp. Am I right to assume that harps were a staple in 1870's drawing rooms? Mary is sitting on a hideous chartreuse love seat (another staple? I hope not). Adam instructs Mary to walk towards him, but she says no. "Do it, Mary." That's what he said. Adam is able to tell when Mary stands as he then informs her that she should follow the sound of his voice to reach her destination. Mary slides her feet along the carpet until Adam yells at her to stop shuffling. He also brings up the idea that everyone will be watching her. "Walk with confidence," he tells her, gently. Mary Ingalls sucks at runway. As Mary starts to walk towards Adam, I suddenly realize who the two of them remind me of: Cameron and Chase from House. This is not a compliment. When Mary reaches Adam, he tells her "See, it's not so hard." "No," Mary responds. "No, I don't see; that's the point." Really, Mary? I'm trying to be nice this episode but you are making it EXTREMELY difficult with comments like that. Adam's just about reached his limit, also, and he tells the little brat that if she doesn't learn he doesn't get paid. Adam curtly tells his student she has five minutes to sulk and wash up for dinner. Mary will need to go at triple speed to get all of her sulking in such a short timeframe.

As Adam heads upstairs, he runs into the headmaster who asks about his progress. Adam says things are going just fine, but I can't tell if he is just being polite or if everything is actually going according to plan. Perhaps a montage will help. Yay montage! Mary is attempting to make the bed and she seems quite pleased with herself when she pulls the last part of the comforter over her pillow. Adam doesn't even bother trying to bounce a quarter off the bed as he can tell from one touch that Mary failed. He crumples up the sheets and gives them back to Mary. We then see Adam folding a piece of paper along a ruler. Are they about to play Exquisite Corpse? Anachronism! Oh, Mary is just writing a letter. Wow, it looks like her penmanship has not suffered, which I think is pretty amazing. I mean, I'm barely legible when I can see what I'm writing. We then see Mary pass her final eating exam and she has earned dining room privileges. [/montage]

Back in the classroom, Adam guides Mary to a desk as he informs her that today's lesson will be reading. Mary is baffled by this until Adam gives a shoutout to Louis Braille. Adam asks Mary to move over so he can sit down for what is no doubt a very hands-on lesson, if you catch my drift. He opens a giant book and guides Mary's hand across the page. Adam reads aloud and it is the opening of Genesis. He puts that book away and pulls out a book with the Braille alphabet. He gives an explanation on how Braille works (though he bypasses its interesting history) then grabs Mary's hand so he can guide her through the lesson. As Adam quizzes Mary the line between "lesson" and "date" is completely burred. Before the making out starts, we see Caroline back at the homestead with Mary's letter in hand. "She's learning to read!" she screams excitedly. That's not all she's doing, Ma.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I'll Be Waving as You Drive Away 6/10

Wow, this episode opens up right away with dialogue. Doctor Burke is reiterating that Mary is going to go blind. Then Mary freaks out and starts screaming about the darkness. That was fast. Almost immediately Mary calms down, sits in the rocker downstairs and has to listen to her Ma tell her that she is getting shipped off to Iowa to go to a school for the blind. Despite the choppy editing so far, all this action seems eerily familiar, like I've seen it before.

We now see a wagon approaching what looks like a school. Pa and Mary are passengers in the wagon and disembark once they reach their destination. Before heading inside, Pa tells the driver that he will need to return to the train station to catch a four o'clock train. Inside the school, the headmaster invites Pa from the lobby to finish up the paperwork. Mary just stays in her seat and tries to get absorbed into the background. A few moments later, a male voice from off screen calls out "I'm looking for a Mary Ingalls." Mary takes a moment before declaring herself Mary Ingalls. The man introduces himself as Adam Kendall AKA Mary's new teacher. He also says that he is there to escort Mary to her room. That doesn't sound sketchy.

The headmaster and Charles head upstairs to check out Mary's room. Before going in, the headmaster tells Pa to keep things brief. Pa was hoping to spend the afternoon with Mary, particularly since his train doesn't leave for a few hours. The headmaster poo poos this, saying that the longer the goodbyes get drawn out, the more painful it will be for everyone involved. The headmaster opens the door and we can see the reflection of Adam and Mary in the mirror. There doesn't appear to be any hanky panky going on, but having the door closed seems entirely inappropriate. The headmaster gets Adam out of the room then starts the clock on Charles' goodbye. Pa breaks the ice by saying the room looks nice, but Mary's response is more "oh! Pa is here!" Before she gets too excited, Pa lies and tells her that he was able to catch an earlier train. Dude, that's cold. Granted, telling Mary you have to leave because the school told you to would make your last moments together turn into a negotiation session, but this lie makes it seem like you couldn't get away from your handicapped daughter fast enough. Boo! Mary is about as unimpressed as I am and when she and her father hug she begs him not to leave her there. Pa just says "I love you", pries Mary off his torso and scoots out the door. The headmaster only told you to be brief, Charles, not be an asshole. After Charles goes down the stairs, the headmaster tells Adam "school begins."

Adam knocks on Mary's door before barging in. He tells Mary that her bag is on the bed and she can have some down time to rest and unpack. "Unpack?" Mary asks, horrified. "I...can't." Adam is not phased by this and tells her she has to. Adam tells Mary that supper is at six and then departs. Mary stands there for a moment, then tries to feel her way through the room. Mary slowly works her way around the bed until she gets her bag in her hand. She then turns around and gropes, er, blindly for the dresser. Mary feels around the surface of the dresser so she can set her bag down and then starts to feel the mirror, which must be there strictly for dramatic effect. This school thought of everything. Mary and her reflection burst into tears.