Joan of Arcadia
Something Wicked This Way Comes

Episode Report Card
admin: A | 3 USERS: A+
"But What's Puzzling You / Is The Nature Of My Game"

Cut to the flames in the fireplace in the den, and Helen waking up, breathing hard. Suddenly Joan comes in and stands in the doorway, telling her mother, "Something's wrong."

Sirens. Cut to flames raging out through the leading of a broken stained glass window in the shape of the Magan David. The synagogue's on fire. I actually feel my chest tighten. Will gets out of the car and looks around as the firefighters try to control the blaze. Chewy talks to someone and then tells Will, "They think they've got it contained; it won't affect the other structures." Will asks if anyone was hurt; Chewy says the synagogue was empty. Will: "Are we looking at the same guy?" Chewy: "Can't know yet. Rabbi's over here if you want to talk to him." Will: "What's his name?" Chewy: "Polonski." Will stops: "Polonski?" He turns his head and sees Grace and her father standing by a fire truck, watching the blaze in sadness and shock. It strikes me as slightly odd that he would know Grace's other family name, but not which synagogue he rabbis (I just made that verb up) at. Especially given she's dating his son and is best friends with his daughter. Grace's father is behind her, holding her shoulders tightly. Suddenly there's an explosion from inside, and Grace turns and her father kind of shields her; Will and Chewy similarly turn away. That could just have been something particularly combustible that just caught on fire inside, or it could have been explosives planted by an arsonist to take out firefighters and rescue personnel. It's followed by propulsive flaming from the broken window. As firefighters continue trying to drown the fire, one of them emerges from the synagogue, almost gingerly, carrying something. Even through all the smoke, and the less than momentary glimpse we get of him, I know he's carrying the Torah, and then I'm just a mess of tears. Rabbi Polonski looks up and sees the firefighter walking out (in slo-mo) with his precious cargo; Grace is still turned away. Even now, watching this for, like, the fifth time, I'm crying. This is actually the most heart-wrenching moment the show has given me all year -- and believe me, I've been waiting for one. I should have felt like this when Adam and Joan broke up, but they screwed that up royally. If they'd developed Judith more, I would have felt this way when she died; that was moving, but not as much as it should have been. I haven't felt anything like this for all of Season Two -- and now, in the last twenty minutes of the year, they manage it. Like I said before, I find desecration of sacred objects very upsetting. (Not to mention that Torah scrolls are very, very expensive -- they cost in the tens of thousands of dollars, and take twelve to eighteen months to produce.) And, whether it was intentional or not -- during the week of the tenth anniversary of the Oklahoma bombing -- the image of the firefighter carrying the scroll was evocative of the most famous picture (scroll down) from that event, of firefighter Chris Fields carrying one-year-old Baylee Almon out of the wreckage. I just wish they had shown us Grace's reaction shot to seeing the Torah brought out.

Another explosion of fire, and Grace's dad shields her face from it when she looks up. You know, if I were at a four-alarm blaze and the fire were continuing to build in intensity and there were explosions coming from within…I think I'd move a little farther back. I'm just saying. There's another shot of the fire raging through the Magan David window, and it's more than a little suggestive of the Nazis' evil rampage through Europe. We get a close-up of Grace, her face pressed against her father's arm, trying not to cry, as her father pats her back gently. Well done. Frink: "Two down, one to go." Me: "Right, like there's going to be a mosque on this show." I actually had a nightmare just last night about a mosque being desecrated; I don't think I've ever dreamed that before. I woke up from this nightmare after only three and half hours of sleep and couldn't get back to sleep. This episode really affected me.

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Joan of Arcadia




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