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Monty Ashley: C- | Grade It Now!
And They're Off!
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Because we might not have seen the first episode, we start with a ponderous voiceover telling us about how this is a tiny town with three women with magic powers. As it happens, I have seen the first episode, so I don't see any need to pay attention.

You know someone's up to no good when the first thing we see of him is his boot as he steps out of his vintage car. That's how we first saw Spike, I think. Oh, and you also know he's up to no good because he's got Roxie tied up in the trunk of his car. She screams for help, notices a brand on her kidnapper's stomach, and wakes up because this is one of her psychic visions. Or is it? (Yes. It is.)

Later, outside, Joanna enthuses to Kat about HarvestFest, which I believe is an upcoming harvest festival. I pick up on subtle clues like that. Aren't you lucky to have me here? There will be dancing and skits, which sounds horrifying. Joanna has made a turkey centerpiece, which both Kat and Roxie claim looks like a "vazhuzh". I'm not quite sure how a turkey can look like that (and don't email me pictures) but Joanna agrees with them and is mortified. Moving on with the plot, Kat is thinking of calling a divorce lawyer. Roxie approves of this, but Joanna objects, saying "He's also the father of her kids. Her five kids." Look, I watched the pilot. Do I need all this exposition?

The conversation turns to Roxie's dreams of Jamie, the guy who has her in the trunk in the vision. Joanna insists that it wasn't a psychic vision, and Roxie says that "all sorts of strange things" have been happening since Darryl Van Horne came to town. Kat thinks it's a leap to assume that Darryl has something to do with the strange things that have been happening. Well, I guess technically her earthquake and lightning bolt weren't as obviously magical as Roxie's and Joanna's, but still. My point is that it's going to get awfully tiring to have a character who resolutely denies that there's any magic going on when there's obviously magic going on constantly. And Darryl has all but handed them a business card saying "DARRYL VAN HORNE -- DEMON OR POSSIBLY THE DEVIL" on it. So I'd like to move past the part where we have to pretend there's a rational explanation for all this.

Just then! A shelf in Roxie's shop falls down. Kat doesn't think Roxie's psychic at all. And then they all see Jamie approaching the shop and Kat and Joanna are smitten by his floppy hair and British accent, and also his Johnny Depp-style facial hair. They poo-poo Roxie's worries about being killed by this guy and just swoon all over the place. It turns out he's renting the apartment above the store, so he'll be around a lot. And the only entrance to the apartment is through the inside of the shop, which seems like a bad idea.

I hate the title card showing up and then not giving me a commercial break.

Joanna is in the newspaper morgue, flipping through microfiche when Penny comes down and complains that Darryl has put his picture everywhere. Penny recaps the fact that Darryl Van Horn is dead, and Joanna explains that there's a mysterious note saying "8-4-84 Eastwick Gazette", so she's trying to find that issue. She's having no luck, because the archives are poorly organized. Penny takes offense, because she's the one who organized them, but I think she did a lousy job. Newspaper archives are easy to organize; you just put them in chronological order. If you have a specific date, it shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes to determine if that issue is in there. Joanna and Penny theorize about what Darryl's deal is. Joanna believes that Darryl Van Horn has stolen the identity of a baby that died about the right time. That's a classic. I can't remember if I learned about it from The Anarchist's Cookbook or Highlander. Penny seems disbelieving, even though she's the one who told Joanna that Darryl isn't really Darryl Van Horne.

In the hospital, Bun is still in a coma, and Kat is keeping an eye on her. Meanwhile, Raymond is recovered from his lightning bolt to the chest, which is pretty impressive. He wants to go home with Kat, but she hasn't forgotten that threatened divorce. He claims that he was speaking out of anger, and also recent lightning bolting. She relents and allows him back in the house, but warns that he's got one week. He seems a lot nicer now, but it's not clear whether that's the character reforming, a readjustment after the pilot, or just an act so he can get back inside his house.

While reading the 1984 newspapers, Penn and Joanna run across a record store ad and promptly sing "Like a Virgin" and dance around like idiots so that Will can walk in on them unexpectedly. Will's got an extra ticket to Harvestfest and wants Joanna to go with him, but she declines, saying she'd rather go alone. He walks away up the wooden staircase, and there are ridiculously loud footsteps on the soundtrack. Bad job by the foley guys there. Or whoever was in charge of turning the volume down on the sound effects. Penny demands to know why Joanna turned down Will's invitation, and it turns out that Joanna feels bad about hypnotizing Will into liking her. Then she finds 8/4/84, and it shows a story about a young millionaire drowning. And he looks just like Darryl! Well, a little like Darryl, anyway. Actually, I don't see a resemblance at all, but I'm terrible with faces. They cut from the microfiche to the picture of Darryl, though, so I'm pretty sure it's him.

A berobed Darryl welcomes Roxie to his lobby. It's too big to call it a foyer. He strongly recommends some sex before she starts sculpting him, and he is quickly naked. A little something for the ladies! But not Roxie, who declines to even make out a little. She wants to start with his head. Changing the subject, Darryl thanks her for recommending Chad, who is doing some light construction duties around the mansion, like breaking down drywall in the kitchen. There's drywall in this place? It looks like it's made of solid stone! Chad walks up and starts hammering on a wall for no apparent reason. It looks like he's trying to dig his way out of Colditz. After some chit-chat about the guy who tried to rape Roxie's daughter last week, Darryl tries to make Chad jealous that he doesn't know about the situation. And it works pretty well. That's not that difficult a goal. Chad's easy to mess with. As Chad stomps off in a huff, Roxie hears "Crazy" on the radio and flashes into a psychic vision. Her vision has Jamie rolling her into an open grave. It's not a shallow grave, either; it looks like somebody spent some time on this. We see the brand on his hip again.

Joanna and Kat arrive at Roxie's house, and she offers up vodka. Darryl crashes the party and talks archly. He's very pleased with himself. Not about anything in particular. He just thinks he's awesome. He's brought gifts for them. Kat gets a silk nightgown. Joanna gets perfume called Maurice, which Darryl looks really excited about. Joanna doesn't care. She can tell he bought it at the drug store. Roxie gets spirit dice. "If you roll one, you can see the past. If you roll two, you can tell the future. And if you roll three, you can affect the very course of fate itself." And if you roll a natural 20, you get to do double damage if you're wielding a scimitar. Anyway, the change will always bend toward chaos, whatever that means. He did, in fact, get the dice at the mall, from a kid with black fingernails and a cape. He proposes a toast to the coming harvest. Everyone drinks.

Later, in Roxie's place, Roxie and Chad are making out. Chad claims to be "a sexual Batman", which I think I've read stories about. He tries to convince Roxie that he should get to use one of her dresser drawers to store his stuff, but the only unused one has her husband's clothes. The one who's been dead for five years. It's a giant bedroom; couldn't he get some kind of plastic crate? Roxie is frustrated by her boytoy's attempts to forge a real relationship, and he's frustrated by the way he gets to have no-strings-attached sex with Rebecca Romijn. Hey, t

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