Joan of Arcadia
Shadows And Light

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: B- | Grade It Now!
One Small Step For Kevin

Stevie's leaving the foster home when Joan calls her name. Stevie: "It's Bridget." Joan's like, riiiiiight. She returns Stevie's iPod (ch-CHING!). Stevie unenthusiastically thanks her and turns to go. Joan asks where she's going, and Stevie tells her she got her SSN, so she's got a couple of job interviews. Joan keeps after Stevie like a guy who doesn't know what it means when his date says, "I'm reeeeaaaalllly tired." She asks about school, but Stevie says she can't go back there, and she's going to get emancipated and get a job. I assume she means emancipated from the foster home, because Charlie doesn't have custody now, according to what they just told us in the last act. Joan tells Stevie she's a kid, and she has a family. Stevie demurs, but Joan goes off about how much Charlie and Ericalice care about Stevie, and again, her point would be a lot stronger if Ericalice hadn't been planning to leave the country. Joan continues, "Do you really think she's a criminal? All she ever did was love you!" Oh, Joan, you're not going to trap me into a debate about the ethics of what Ericalice did. Not at minute 51, anyway. Stevie looks sad and conflicted as Joan tells her that if she's going to run away without appreciating what she's been given, then she's getting exactly what she deserves. And y'all probably don't "deserve" yet another rant about this plot, but sadly, one is coming anyway, posthaste. Stevie's life was awesome before this happened. Now it kind of sucks. And shit like that happens, but for God to have basically tricked Joan into making this particular shit happen by framing it as something positive ahead of the fact, and then not providing a convincing reason for it after it blew up in Joan's face, feels disturbing and cruel to me. I mean, at least when God tested Job, he was honest about why he did it, and didn't cover it with bullshit about Greek philosophy and light bulbs. I don't know. Joan is supposed to learn and grow from her missions, and I just don't see how it's going to happen here. And what REALLY bugs me here is that this episode was still better than a lot of offerings this season. Haylie Duff actually wasn't bad, and the B and C plots were excellent, for the most part, and if the A plot hadn't succumbed to a bunch of problems that were incredibly distracting but also eminently avoidable, this episode would have been a real keeper.

But it's time for Kevin, who's getting ready for his treatment. He's in front of two metal rails that look like even parallel bars, and there's a film crew at the ready. An attractive young female is explaining to Kevin what will happen with the electrodes attached to his legs. Kevin translates the explanation as that his battery's dead, and he's getting a jump from another car. The woman agrees that that's basically it. "We'll send a signal to your perineal nerve. If it still functions, your leg will twitch." I'm twitching right now, but it's from anticipation, not electricity. After a slight hesitation, Kevin bravely hauls himself out of his chair and holds the rails as he says, "Light me up, Igor." The woman sends the pulse, and…nothing. After digesting that, Kevin fights to keep his voice even as he tells the camera that twenty percent of paraplegics don't respond to the therapy. Man, having to do a news story on your own heartbreak is rough. I don't know how the "liberal media" hacked the last two Election Nights. The woman kneels and tells him that sometimes you just have to adjust the electrodes, as Kevin jokes about her copping a feel. Dude, I know you wouldn't feel it, but I still think you don't want to encourage her to put an electrode in a particularly sensitive place. They try again, and after a few seconds, Kevin's right leg jerks forward. You wouldn't think it would kick through my TV and into my chest, but that's what happened, if my suddenly-pounding heart is any indication. As triumphant music plays, Kevin takes a few more steps, and then, overwhelmed, turns to the camera and says, "For WPFK, this is Kevin Girardi. I'm running the marathon at Hogan County Hospital." He sends it back, and that means I have to comment again. I can understand the apprehension of people of this storyline, but frankly, I think they've been out of ideas for this character for a while, so it might be worth a shot. From the link above, stim therapy is an arduous process and requires a huge commitment from the patient, so I don't think they're going to snap their fingers and have Kevin walking by the end of the season or anything. We'll see how this storyline is executed, but I'm kind of rooting for Kevin. As long as he apologizes to Luke, and means it.

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Joan of Arcadia




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