Eli Stone
Pilot

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: B- | Grade It Now!
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Well, I Guess It Would Be Nice...
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Before I start, I just want to say that as I mentioned in the recaplet, there was a big brouhaha over the storyline in this episode involving a preservative in a vaccine causing autism. The American Academy of Pediatrics took umbrage at that depiction, worrying that it would prompt parents to shy away from getting their kids inoculated against diseases. My personal viewpoint is that if you base your life decisions on the content of medical storylines on television, perhaps your license to watch the tube should be revoked, followed immediately by your license to have any more children. However, I'm not going to dwell on that, because dissecting the dodgy legal proceedings is going to be time-consuming enough for me without bringing the medicine into it.

One more thing. Jonny Lee Miller, Angelina Jolie may have taken your hairline in the divorce settlement, but you are still adorable.

From a quick opening shot of the sky, we descend to a valley surrounded by snowy mountains, and the caption reads "Mundoli Village, India." We see locals doing whatever it is locals do, and then we see Mr. Miller, who's clad in a three-piece suit and sitting in an open shack, a leather luggage set next to him. I know we're immediately meant to learn that he's out of place here, but I still think the suit is a bit much. I mean, a Patagonia jacket would have been a lot more practical, while still looking almost as incongruous in this rustic setting. When two Sherpa types approach, beasts of burden in hand, he asks if they're his guides, and then introduces himself as the eponymous lead character, Eli Stone. He babbles about how he's going to the base of the Panch Chuli Peaks, and then mentions that one of his bags has a laptop in it, but the Sherpa handling it is unmoved, as he tosses it into the cart without a care. Considering that this part is supposed to happen after the transformation we'll witness in the episode, it might have been more believable for him not to have the laptop at all, but then we would have had to look elsewhere for our Sherpa humor. Eli wrests the laptop bag away from the Sherpa, gives an endearingly big dorky smile, and then tries to mount his donkey ride but pitches himself clean over it. Hee. He gets up and says he's fine, and that he's going to walk for a little while. From the looks on the Sherpas' faces, it doesn't seem like they live off tips. In VO, Eli tells us that he's a lawyer for "Wethersby, Posner, and Klein" in San Francisco, and you wouldn't have heard of his firm "unless you own a huge company that's screwed over a little guy." Eli then asks one of the Sherpas to take his picture in front of the mountains, and gives him instructions on how to work the camera. In his native tongue, the guy says to his counterpart, "Like I've never used a disposable before?" Hee, again. Hey, I like a cheap laugh. And that's going to come in handy. Eli dithers about whether or not to have his shades on in the shot, prompting Sherpa #2 to remark that it's going to be a long week. Eli, in VO, then asks us if he mentioned that he recently found out he might be a prophet. From the needle scratch on the soundtrack, this is apparently supposed to be a surprise. It's the fault of the strike that this is, like, almost the only new scripted show in 2008, but I'll tell you what: I already knew that.

We get a frankly rather boring, but blessedly quick, montage/voice-over about how Eli has been materialistic, ambitious, and shallow, unlike the idealistic kid he was when he was younger. In my personal calculus, VO + Montage = Fast Forward, anyway. Eli hugs Natasha Henstridge as he finishes that he was like that, "and then I heard the music." We see him on a terrace with a beautiful view, making some notes into a tape recorder about a case involving "Beutel Pharmaceuticals," when he hears the opening strains of George Michael's "Faith." After ignoring the music once, when it comes back, he calls for his assistant, a woman who's sassy and speaks frankly to her boss. For the readers who just bought their first television, I'll mention that she's black. Anyway, Eli asks her to do something about the music, but she hasn't heard anything. They then head out to a 2:30 meeting, and as they pedeconference, we get exposition that Sassy Assistant doesn't like "Taylor," who's presumably Natasha and is definitely Eli's fiancée, and whom Eli defends. Sassy Assistant: "You take all the fun out of this job." If George Michael is going to be showing up at the office, I have to disagree.

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Eli Stone

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