H:LOTS – S05E10 – “Blood Wedding”
At the reigns of this taut episode is another The White Shadow (a show created by the late, great Bruce Paltrow who – wait for it – directed a bunch of eps of St. Elsewhere, a Fontana related venture) alum-cum-director – Kevin Hooks. Is it just me or did that one show turn out more TV directors (I see you, Tim Van Patten) USC does in a decade? Hyperbole aside, Hook is a fantastic helmsman. His command of the language of filmmaking serves the needs of this story quite well and it is a fantabulous episode. Don’t let the smooth taste fool you; Hooks is no vanity director. He directed the satisfying Wesley Snipes vehicle Passenger 57 – Always bet on black, baby! – and served as both producer and director of Fox’s hit series Prison Break, where he helmed a chunk of episodes and also directed episodes of the ABC juggernaut Lost and countless episodes of hit television shows. His skills as a director are formidable. When I say that H:LOTS is a Master Class for television directors I’m not just being cheeky. The best of the best have helmed this show and Xena bless the producers for being so freaking amazingly inclusive, what with all the brilliant folks from various marginalized extractions and identities getting tossed the keys to H:LOTS and taking it out for a spin. It makes my heart swell every time I scan the credits. Again, thank you, Mr. Fontana and Mr. Levinson! You too, Julie Martin. Much love to all y’all!
Hooks is the bespeckled brother!
Zeljko Ivanek gets a big episode in “Blood Wedding” as the murder case unfortunately hits too close to home for Maryland State’s Attorney Ed Danvers. In a tragic turn of events his finance is gunned down during a botched bridal shop robbery – wait for it – while dressed in her wedding gown. Taking place immediately after the bride-to-be and her groom-to-be discuss the nature of bad juju as it relates to nuptials. Making matters worse – at least to Danvers – is the discovery that the investigation of his finance’s murder will be handled by Frank Pembleton, who you might remember has just been placed back into rotation! Naturally, Danvers is decidedly uncool with this development and there’s a heap of unexamined ableism along for the ride. While it’s authentic and grief drenched, it’s problematic just the same. That isn’t to say H:LOTS is trafficking in problematic tropes, but rather the writers are doing a decent job exploring their reality, which is especially tricky in the “muscular” world of the murder police. The normally soft spoken and thoughtful Danvers transforms into a vengeful, anguish stricken nightmare of a loved one, the kind homicide detectives are usually adept at handling, except, of course when it’s one of their own. A point which on which Frank needs a bit of refreshing and Gee is only happy to provide, “Hey, in this unit, Danvers is tu familia, cappice? I want you to take every word out of his mouth seriously. I want you to investigate every single lead, Frank. And if that’s a problem with you, I can give this investigation over to Bayliss and he can handle it. Now, down the line, I want to be able to look Danvers in the eye.”