Friday, September 4, 2009

A Matter of Faith 5/5

Establishing shot of the house as seen through the open barn door. Inside the house, Caroline is using the table to lift herself up to the medicine cabinet. Horse linament? No -- she grabs a smaller bottle and starts chugging. After she takes whatever medicine was in that bottle, Caroline looks over at the table and sees the key to the front door. She slowly works her way across the table and grabs the key. We’re zoomed in on her hand, specifically her wedding ring, as Caroline struggles to reach the door. Once there she unlocks it, opens the door and goes outside. She steps with her right leg and drags her left (which is even grosser looking than before) and grabs some firewood.

Later, Caroline is sitting by the fireplace and is pulling a soaking cloth out of a kettle over the fire. She takes a moment before she throws the hot, wet cloth onto the wound. Caroline probably should have grabbed a wooden spoon to bite into before doing that. She does grab onto the rocking chair as the pain courses through her body. More wedding ring close-ups.

Then Charles, in his red full body underwear, swings on a rope and jumps into a lake. Laura is next to go. Really show? White nightgowns for the girls, the oldest of which is 14? I understand that those were probably the style of the time, but from a filming perspective WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? Anyway, Laura and Pa are laughing and tell Mary to hop in. Mary’s all pensive, saying she doesn’t want her head to go underwater. She asks Pa to make sure he’ll catch her and he promises. He then crosses fingers on both hands and shows them to Laura in a way that even Mary should have been able to see but she doesn’t. And no, she isn’t blind yet. Mary grabs onto the rope, swings, and Pa completely misses his daughter. Mary isn’t too bothered by it, saying it was fun. Laura takes another turn and there is more laughter. Then Pa says they should get cleaned up before Reverend Alden shows up.

Meanwhile, Caroline is contemplating her current predicament. She looks like she has an idea and grabs her Bible. She starts flipping through it as if it were a magazine with a really good recipe for gingerbread. She’s found the passage she was looking for (here it is for those playing along at home). We get a closeup of the passage, then we see Caroline reading the passage aloud, then we get a tighter closeup with a literal spotlight on the phrase “cut it off”. Caroline thinks about it for a moment, then a third closeup with “cut it off” completely filling the frame. But it’s not your foot – it’s your leg. Caroline doesn’t seem to care about that argument, instead looking around the room for the sharpest thing she can find. She gets out of the chair and hobbles over to the drawer to get the dullest knife she can find. Yuck, self-amputation is bad enough but that knife is going to make it take forever. Caroline drags herself back to the Bible to reread the passage, knife in hand.

A babbling brook, some swimming ducks, and the Ingalls family playing Blind Man’s Bluff nearby. Charles is wearing the blindfold as the kids and Jack taunt Pa. Laura sneaks behind him to snap his suspenders while Jack bites at his feet. Did Jack read that passage, too? Charles eventually grabs Carrie and tries to guess who he has. He jokes about feeling whiskers on her face and guesses Mr. Edwards. Cute. Pa takes off the blindfold and says “It’s Carrie! How are you?” What’s funny is it works both as a daddy/daughter moment and a “oh, you’re still on the show?” moment.

Laura and Mary notice a wagon approaching and Charles can see that it is Reverend Alden. The family goes to greet the Reverend and Mrs. Foster. Alden tells Mary and Laura that their Ma’s pies were the first items to sell at the fundraiser bringing in $4. Alden takes some of the credit, boasting about his salesmanship. Uh huh. Charles approaches and asks if Caroline changed her mind about making the trip, but the Reverend thought she left early to join the family. Ruh roh. Charles is surprised that there wasn’t even a note but the reverend tells him he need not worry. Um, actually, that is exactly why you should be concerned. Charles decides to go home to check things out.

Back at the chop shop, Caroline’s leg is still attached but she is preparing for some unpleasantness. She has tied a spoon around her leg and seems ready to do what she believes she has to do. She moves the knife blade into the fire. Then we fade to a Scrubbing Bubbles commercial.

On the road back to the house a neighbor stops Charles. Apparently the Ingalls cow has been causing all sorts of trouble. Charles is surprised that Caroline has come to retrieve the animal. While the neighbor passive-aggressively complains about the cow, Charles decides to pick up the pace to return to the house. When Charles arrives he finds Caroline passed out on the floor. I don’t see any blood, but I also don’t see Caroline’s legs.

That night, Laura looks through the window into the bedroom as Doc Baker examines his patient. She walks over to join Pa and Mary, commenting that she has never seen her Ma that sick. Mary asks if Ma is going to die, but Pa tells her not to talk like that yet saying “God takes care of those that love him.” Laura suggests they all pray with all their hearts before she starts to cry.

Charles goes inside and sees Reverend Alden holding a sleeping Carrie in the rocking chair. The Reverend looks like he has seen better days. Outside, Mary and Laura are comforting one another. In the bedroom, Charles is praying at the foot of the bed while Doc Baker changes out Caroline’s wet cloths.

Sunrise the next day. Yet another closeup of Caroline’s wedding ring as her hand reaches over to touch Charles’s hand. He fell asleep at the foot of the bed, but his wife’s touch wakes him right up. Charles calls for Doc Baker who pronounces the fever broken. He says if Caroline didn’t open the infection when she did she probably would have lost her leg or even died. Instead, the prognosis is significantly better. Doc Baker goes out to tell the girls the good news. The Reverend overhears this as he stands watch outside the house. Doc Baker walks over and confides that he would have had a tough time making the decision that Caroline did. “How she picked exactly the right moment … only God knows,” says Baker. “I’m sure he does,” the Reverend replies. The entire family is now gathered around their recovering Ma. Aww, Deus ex Machina works in mysterious ways.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Matter of Faith 4/5

A song of mourning plays as we return to Casa di Tetanus. There is a close up of an unlit lantern sitting on the mantle that we pan down from to find Caroline, who is writhing in her rocking chair. She decides to take a look at the wound and we switch to her POV. Ew, if her discolored foot is any indication you may want to wait until the end of your lunch break to finish reading this. No joke, y’all, it’s about to get unpleasant. Caroline slowly lifts up the nightshirt to reveal the now festering and pus encrusted wound. Even Caroline, who I look to as a model of resilience, seems a bit squicked out by what her leg looks like. She looks across the room and things get all squiggly again. Caroline decides to go for the scarf hanging by the door but after about two hobbles she falls to the ground. It would have been funny if it was Mary.

The next day a drove of piglets are snacking out of a trough while one is checking out the open bar that is the mama pig. Mary is holding a different piglet while Carrie pets its snout and Laura is petting Carrie’s hair. Mary says not to scratch too hard since it is a baby. Who is she talking to? Oh, Laura is now interacting with the pig as well. “PigglywigglyI’lltakehimhomeandputhiminmybed,” Carrie...says? Laura tells her that probably won’t be happening. Over at the smokehouse Charles is chit chatting with the pigs’ owner about the quality of the meat. The owner notices how the girls are interacting with the piglet and jokes about a new member in the Ingalls family. He says something as he takes the pig from Mary’s hands but the piglet acts like every other piglet on TV and starts to freak the fuck out. Laura tells Pa that Carrie wants to take the semi-subdued beast home, but Charles says they can’t because the piglet needs to stay with its mom. “ButMarysayswecanfeeditwithabottle,” Carrie “says”. Mary Ingalls sucks at weaning. Ha! Charles is giving his eldest daughter a look that agrees with that sentiment. Pa firmly says that the pig must stay and grow up on the farm. “Thenwherewillitgo?” Pa stammers as he tries to euphemize porcine university (Go Razorbacks!) before the farmer cuts in and says the pig will find a lady friend and raise a family. This satisfies Carrie so Pa uses that as a cue for the family to skedaddle. Carrie waves goodbye to the piggly wiggly.

Back at the homestead Reverend Alden and Mrs. Foster are arriving to pick up the baked goods. I’m surprised the ones sitting outside weren’t ruined by the storm. The Reverend knocks on the door and calls out for Mrs. Ingalls. She is a bit indisposed at the moment, having not yet regained consciousness from where she fell the night before. Oh good, she starts to come around as the pies are transferred. Ick, another unnecessary extreme close-up of Caroline’s eye. She can hear the Reverend and Mrs. Foster chatting outside but all she can focus on is the window shutter that is slightly ajar. Oh goodness, Caroline is dragging herself across the floor. First off, couldn’t she just call out so that they know she’s in there? Also, the door is closer than the window and jiggling the doorknob is a bit more helpful of a signal. The cameraman is careful not to have the door in the shot but still – it’s a little house, show.

Uh oh, Reverend Alden has loaded the last pie and Caroline is still crawling. She manages to reach the window shutter and opens it just as the Reverend’s wagon is driving away. I will say the execution of this shot is quite lovely, but the circumstances make me say “hmmm”. Caroline says nothing as she has another spasm of extreme pain. She struggles to pull herself up by grabbing onto the table but eventually gets a grip on the rolling pin instead. She smashes the window with the pin, but since no one is nearby it doesn’t really help her situation. Caroline, who is looking a lot like Jodie Foster at the moment, is sitting up and starting to cry.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Matter of Faith 3/5

Caroline eventually comes to but there’s no indication as to how much time has passed. It is still raining and when she looks over to the house it looks all squiggly and out of focus. Also, there’s a cat on a Theremin. Caroline struggles to pull herself up and she staggers over to the house. Once inside, she tries to towel herself off and takes refuge in front of the fireplace. She slips off her skirt and it is revealed that the poultice has moved down her leg revealing the full extent of the gash. Yikes! That cut is at least four inches long and who knows how deep.

Charles and the kids are also caught in the storm, but they have a tent sent up alongside their wagon. Not exactly ideal campout weather, but it looks like they’re going to try to make the most of it. As Pa serves dinner he guesses that Caroline is having “the time of her life” with the house all to herself. It’ll be memorable I’ll give him that.

We cut back to Caroline who has her hair down and is dressed in one of Charles’s nightshirts. That was me about a week or so ago after I got caught in the rain. It’s almost liberating – like you have a frumpiness license. Anyway, she is shivering as she lights a match. She has something wrapped in paper that she lights on fire with the match. Hmm, WebMD doesn’t say anything about pyromania being a symptom of gangrene. Oh, we get a closeup of the paper she is burning and see the article that Charles was reading earlier. Caroline looks over at the door but then a clap of thunder freaks her out and the room gets all blurry and out of focus. Many close-ups of Caroline’s eye before she hobbles over to lock the door. That seems like a bad idea. Maybe Caroline’s thought process is that she won’t be able to defend herself but chances are the storm would be enough to keep any would-be thieves at bay. Besides, no one likes to steal wet stuff. After slamming the window shutters closed, Caroline turns around, takes two steps and buckles under the pain in her leg. She’s able to hobble over to the fireplace and stoke the fire a bit. Speaking of fire, what was the purpose of burning the paper earlier?

Some water is dripping down onto the lip of a pot as Caroline is reapplying some bandaging on the wound. She looks like she could use a nice cup of hot tea. She wraps a shawl around her shoulders and starts to read her bible. Rather, she tries to read but the camera makes it all blurry and tricky. Knock it off, camera. Caroline is a little overwhelmed at this point and has to take a bit of a breather before continuing. Good idea.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Matter of Faith 2/5

Caroline takes another tasty looking pie out of the oven. When she sets it on the table she feels a twinge in her leg. She checks the wound and...Caroline Marie! You don’t even have that thing bandaged? She goes over to a loaf of bread and grabs a hunk of it. After she dunks the bread in a pitcher of water we cut to Caroline finishing tying a cloth around the wound. Hmm, apparently this is a remedy called a “Bread Poultice”. I had no idea. Once Caroline is all bandaged up she gets back to her baking project. Without washing her hands. Ew.

Later on we see her placing a pie on the outdoor cooling shelf. Wow, she’s got a lot done – there are at least seven pies cooling. Caroline looks a little winded, but I’m not sure if it is from her leg or from working with a hot oven all day long. As she stands around to get a second wind Doc Baker is riding by. She calls his attention and he asks if Charles is around. Caroline tells the Doc that Charles and the kids are out of town for the weekend, which disappoints the Doc because he was hoping Charles could fix a squeaky wheel. Caroline invites the Doc in for some pie (not a euphemism) and he decides to take the offer. As they walk towards the house, Doc Baker notices that Caroline is barefoot and looking a little flushed. Are bare feet a symptom? So that’s what was wrong with all the hippies during undergrad. Doc Baker asks if there is anything wrong and Caroline doesn’t think there is. She does mention that she cut her leg and shows the bread poultice. Doc Baker is all “that’s what I would have prescribed” but offers to look at Caroline’s leg just in case.

Just as the two are about to enjoy some pie, a man rides up to the house calling for the Doc. The man kvetches about not being able to find the Doc before explaining that his son Toby fell out of a loft and broke his arm. As Doc Baker leaves Caroline asks if there is anything she can to do help, but the man says that won’t be necessary. Caroline looks pained, but I don’t think it is from the rejection.

Doc Baker finishes putting a sling on Toby while giving his “You’re Very Lucky” lecture. Toby’s Ma is all like “the boy won’t listen!” so Doc Baker tells the kid point blank not to get out of bed for two weeks. As they leave the bedroom, Toby’s Ma invites Doc Baker to stay for dinner. At first he declines because he has a few more calls to make, but then Toby’s Pa comes in and says that storms are rolling through and the Doc probably won’t be able to make it back to Walnut Grove. Sounds like Doc Baker is crashing for the night.

Speaking of crashing, it looks like Caroline has hit a wall. She looks really out of it. You can tell she doesn’t really want to move, but there’s something mooing outside (presumably a cow) and she goes to the window to investigate. Yup, the cow is still outside in the pouring rain. That sounds like the start of a country song. Anyway, Caroline wraps herself in some rain gear and runs outside to lead the cow back to the barn. The cow is not having any of it and puts up a fight. Caroline is pretty soaked and worn out at this point and has to sit down to take a breather. The cow looks over and stands around as if nothing is wrong. Hmm, the camera goes out of focus for a moment. Sinister violin music starts to play shortly before Caroline passes out in the rain. If she is already under the weather this development is not going to improve Caroline’s situation. Rather than help, the cow calmly walks away. Cows suck.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Matter of Faith 1/5

Establishing shot on the homestead on a sunny day. Jack is sitting outside just waiting until he hears the wagon ride up to the barn. The girls greet the dog as everyone disembarks. Once the girls hop off, Caroline climbs from the buckboard to the flatbed to help Charles unload a few crates. As her husband walks off with a sack of grain, Caroline goes to the back of the flatbed and injures herself somehow. Charles checks what happened as Caroline frets over her now ruined pair of stockings. We move in for a close up of a metal wire that has given Ma a decent sized gash. The music gets all “spoiler warning” – changing from a bucolic theme to a more pestilence nuanced movement. Charles tells his wife to clean the wound and that he’ll get her another pair of stockings. How about not leaving metal wires flopping about where your children are being transported, Charles?

Caroline enters the house with her crates of baking supplies. She sets down the items and looks over saying “Oh Carrie, what have you done?” There’s an open jar of something spilled on the floor, but there isn’t really much of a mess. Carrie robotically apologizes anyway. Caroline rushes over to clean the mess, telling Carrie not to move. I guess there’s broken glass? I don’t know, and Carrie's robo-pologies aren’t bringing clarity to the scene. I wonder if she grew up to become the pioneer of the online chat help cable and phone companies offer. When I was setting up cable in my new digs I was asking what I thought were basic questions and not getting any semblance of a real answer so I asked if I was speaking with a robot. “I can assure you that you are interacting with LiveHelpTech Traci,” was the reply. Thanks a lot, Carrie Ingalls.

Meanwhile, Reverend Alden is riding up to the homestead. Oh, Caroline is already outside, so I guess it is “later” instead of “meanwhile”. Anyway, Reverend Alden is stopping by to ask if Caroline would be interested in baking some items for an upcoming fundraiser. Caroline is flattered by the offer but stops to consider it. Meanwhile (for real this time), Charles saunters over and chats with the Reverend. They have a casual conversation about the family outing the Ingalls are planning on enjoying this weekend. Reverend Alden apologizes to Caroline for asking for the favor since it would interfere with those plans. Caroline gets Charles up to speed on those details and he reminds her that the outing isn’t for a couple of days. Caroline says the pies should be fresh, so they should be baked on Saturday for Sunday’s bazaar. Alden gets all “Won’t somebody think of the children?” and Charles says he can postpone the trip for a week. Caroline doesn’t like that idea, so she suggests that they go on the trip since it will be easier for her to bake without a bunch of kids running around. Reverend Alden offers Caroline a ride to the bazaar on Sunday where she can be reunited with her family. This solution seems to work for everyone. Good, can we move on?

Caroline and Charles are in bed. Charles is reading a newspaper and Caroline is reading over his shoulder. He points out an article about a family whose house was cleaned out because they left the door unlocked. Caroline is horrified by the thought, so Charles suggests that she keep the door locked while the rest of the family is gone. Um, I got the sense from the story that nobody was home and that’s what made the house an easy target. Caroline knows how to defend herself, but she humors her husband. Pa lets on that he thinks Caroline might be shooing the family away but she says she’s just excited about having a day off. They turn off the lights and go to sleep.

The next day Charles is packing up the children on the Ingalls Express. As Laura and Mary dump their items (and run back inside to get items they forgot), Caroline comes out with some first aid supplies and the first pie of the day. Charles and the girls ride off waving. Bye Ma!