Episode Report Card
Sobell: C- | Grade It Now!
Mother, Drugs and Need

When an episode starts out with the shrill child soprano and the foreboding gong of church bells, it's a surefire indicator that we're in for a downer hour. It's like there's a checklist:

( ) Mournful, inarticulate keening, pitched directly below the range used to summon dogs.
( ) Musical elements meant to evoke religious symbolism, thus cueing the listener that we're about to get a big morality trip laid on us.
( ) Listener silently wondering why musical elements meant to evoke religious symbolism can't come from the Rastafarian school of worship.
( ) Camera shots panning over empty landscapes at twilight, thus prompting the viewer to think about what a bummer it is to die and be alone and stuff.
( ) Close-up on religious icon, warning the viewer that they weren't kidding about the big morality trip.
( ) Viewer wondering why nobody ever bothers with the foreboding close-ups of Kali, or Thor, God of Thunder.

Anyway, we're all primed for a big downer morality trip, which is why, when the doors to a school open and a horde of Catholic school children exit screaming, I'm all, "Oh, please, let us not discover that the Diocese of Las Vegas is about to join Boston, Los Angeles, et al. in racking up the headline-grabbing lawsuits." We get a shot of a big Jesus statue hovering protectively over the children, because it's still considered offensive to show children in presumed danger while someone screams, "Your god won't protect you now!" and so would-be message senders have to opt for the subtle, ironic route.

A nun who looks like Linda Hunt looks up from her conversation with another nun. Both nuns look concerned. Perhaps it's because the conversation went like this:

Non-Linda Hunt Nun: So I told the guy, "No, I don't dress like this because I'm into Jil Sander. I'm the bride of Christ."
Linda Hunt Nun: Hold on, sister…I'm the bride of Christ.
Non-Linda Hunt Nun: We're both married to --
Linda Hunt Nun: That does it. Let me find out what this woman in the SUV wants, and then I'm off to see if the Baltimore Catechism covers bigamy in any meaningful way.

So she abandons that sticky discussion to see what soccer mom Sybil wants. Sybil asks, "What's taking Alicia so long? We have a doctor's appointment in 40 minutes." Sister Linda Hunt says that Alicia's not there, nor was she in any of her classes that day. Just then, Sybil's phone rings and she snaps, "April, get off the phone. I can't talk right now." Ah, but she'll be interested in this conversation, since April is gibbering about how it wasn't her fault, but someone took Alicia.

Within moments, Sybil's driven her gas-guzzler to the convenience from whence Alicia was presumably abducted, and charges out of the SUV toward April: "What'd you do?! What the hell did you do?!" Then she delivers unto her eldest daughter a big, juicy slap to the face, in full sight of the police officers already on the scene. The officers immediately separate them as Sybil screams, "Where is she? Where is she?" and April screams back, "I'm not sure! I'm not sure!" You know, if they were doing this in the key of B-sharp in Italian, we'd have an opera. And Sybil swings into the solo screaming with "Go find my daughter! Go find my daughter!"

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