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S1x06: Three Men and Adena

March 23, 2010

AIRDATE: 3/3/1993
DIRECTED BY: Martin Campbell
WRITTEN BY: Tom Fontana

This is the kind of episode H:LOTS does best. Some might call it “Emmy Bait” as though one should be ashamed to showcase taut story telling, skillful direction and stand out performances. This is the Pembleton and Bayliss show. Most of the action takes place inside THE BOX and just watching the episode makes me claustrophobic with the tight camera shots and the sense of being unable to escape.

Frank and Tim have ten hours to wear down their chief – and only – suspect “THE ARABBER”. This is the first time we really get to see Pembleton do his thing in the box and Bayliss is doing his best to keep it together while demanding answers from the suspect. Mad Dog 20/20 shout out! Frank’s measured intensity is contrasted by Tim’s erratic and relentless ‘ounding of the suspect. The beginnings of Tim’s Howard Beale like moments of uncontrollable rage are evident as he thrusts a photo of ADENA WATSON in the suspect’s face and demands that he say her name. Shades of “11 cents”. It is heartbreaking watching the suspect – a lonely old man – trying to hold it together as he talks about feeling betrayed by Buppies. The suspect is written in a sympathetic and complex way. Tim and Frank go back and forth between shouting and saddling up to the suspect and trying to befriend him. They try to demonstrate an understanding of his circumstances and play to his vanity and pride. It’s hard to watch, but compelling all the same. I can’t go another minute without mentioning the riveting performance by Moses Gunn, who commands the camera’s attention with a focused and understated performance. And to all those assclowns who favored NASH BRIDGES to H:LOTS, I challenge you to watch this episode and justify your position.

S1x01 Pilot: Gone for Goode
S1x02 Ghost of a Chance
S1x03 Night of the Dead Living
S1x04 Son of a Gun
S1x05 A Shot in the Dark

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2010 10:43 am

    What’s sad is when a low-rated show actually wins the Emmy after it’s already been canceled. Great post Snarky.

  2. March 23, 2010 11:51 am

    I blame critics. Most TV critics tend to be snobs who browbeat anyone who happens to enjoy run of the mill programming and shame their choices. They also tend to be sharply – and needlessly – critical of more popular crowd pleasing fare, choosing instead to champion the obscure, the tedious, the pretentious and the punishing. H:LOTS is none of those things, but its “favorite show” status it enjoyed amongst critics often coupled with the shaming”…that you’re not watching” probably did more repel viewers than its 10pm Friday night time slot.

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