Joan of Arcadia
Touch Move

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Deborah: B+ | 1 USERS: B-
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The Medium and the Message

Kevin has a dream in which he's not in a wheelchair anymore: he runs downstairs, complaining to his family that he's going to be late for school. They're all indifferent, absorbed in their own activities -- and they remind him that he's not in school anymore. His father wonders if anyone's noticed Kevin's legs are on fire. The family takes note but doesn't really react. Kevin looks down, and indeed his legs are on fire. Kevin wakes up hollering for help; Mom and Dad come running. Luke and Joan get out of bed, too; Will assures them everything's fine.

In Kevin's room, Helen soothes Kevin, telling him it was just a dream. Kevin says he was on fire. Will: "I'll get you some water." Kevin: "Dad, I'm not really on fire..." Ha! Will's going to get him some water anyway. Kevin tells his mother how real the dream was. She reminds him the doctor said he'd have dreams like this for a while. He says it was his legs that were on fire. She offers him something to help him sleep. He declines. Mom: "Drink the water anyway; it'll make your father happy." Kevin smiles at her. She strokes his head. He says, "Mom, when I woke up...my legs hurt." She nods: "In your dream." He says, "No, when I woke up. They were hurting." She looks stricken. Dad arrives with the glass of water, which he must have had to order in. I mean, it's a good-sized house and all, but how long does it take to get some water? Kevin pulls himself up, drinks a bit of water, hands the glass back to his father, and lowers himself again. He smiles at his father, saying he'll be fine now. Will takes off. I don't get the impression he's all that great at knowing what to do with his nineteen-year-old paraplegic son who's having nightmares. Helen stays put to ask, "Hurting how?" He doesn't remember: "I guess I was still dreaming." He lies down, and Helen kisses him and turns off the light. She lingers at the door to look at him, confused. Credits.

It's morning in the Girardi house. Joan looks in the fridge, complaining there's nothing to eat. Mom: "Keep looking...there might be something hidden behind all that food." Dad walks into the kitchen, yakking on the phone with someone he calls "Sir." I love the colour of the shirt Joe Mantegna's wearing; it's a warm light brown colour that's very flattering on him. Joan sneers, "'Sir?' Who does he call 'Sir'?" Luke says it's his boss. Joan says he doesn't have a boss. Luke: "Sure he does: the commissioner, the mayor, the attorney general, Mom..." Will argues with someone about whether or not the FBI has jurisdiction in a case he's working on. Helen admonishes Joan for eating some kind of Cheesy Poof snack. Joan: "What? It's just cheese and bread." Will finishes his call and waves off the food his wife offers, saying, "I can't eat a half an hour after talking to the mayor; it's like swimming." Luke mutters that that's reverse logic. Helen and Joan ask if Will's talking about the Reinemann case, in which a three-year-old boy has gone missing. Joan says she read in the paper that it's been six weeks and they have no leads. Will says it's been four days, and they have leads. How could Joan think that it's been six weeks? Even if that's what the paper said, which seems unlikely, if it had only been four days, wouldn't it be hard to think it had happened six weeks ago? In my experience, whenever a child goes missing locally, it's front-page news for the first few days or weeks. Her father asks, "And when did you start reading the paper?" Joan: "Actually, I saw it on TV. Didn't make you guys look very good." Will: "That's a surprise. Where's Kevin?" Helen says he left early to go job-hunting. Will asks, in a way that's supposed to be subtle, I guess, if everything was okay. Luke: "You mean after his screaming nightmare?" His parents don't answer, and Luke turns to look at them: "You guys are completely inept at subterfuge." The doorbell rings, and Luke and Joan both jump up to get it. Joan tells Luke, "This one's mine. You got the Jehovah's Witness." Hee! Not that I've ever, you know, given someone a hard time when they come knocking on the door of my home to proselytize about their religion. Heaven forfend. Luke relents.

Joan answers the door to find a Mindy Cohn-ish postal worker there (though it's not Mindy Cohn, but Wendy Worthington), asking her to sign for a package. Joan's pleased, until she's asked for $6.50 in postage. She hollers for her mother, but Not-Mindy says, "Uh-huh. You got twelve dollars in your pocket that you were going to use to buy a frappuccino and a muffin when you skipped history class after lunch, which by the way, do not do that." Joan's so busted. She says, "Oh, God. You are just a three-ring circus, aren't you?" I like the way she talks to God, but I think I'd be more afraid of the potential smiting if I actually believed I were talking to God. Postal Worker God smiles and says, "Okay, price went up. Give me the whole twelve." Taking the words right out of my head, Joan demands to know, "What are you gonna do with money?" Postal Worker God: "It's not what I'm gonna do with it. It's what you're gonna do without it." Joan: "Any guess as to when this is gonna end? First a job in a bookstore, then AP Chemistry...how do you top that?" Postal Worker God reminds her that she doesn't have to accept the package. Joan sneers, "Oh yeah, okay. And I can also take the blue pill. Hand it over." She takes it, fishes out her money, and hands the crumpled wad to Postal Worker God, who regards the wad and says, "In me you trust. Not entirely true." She leaves as Joan opens the package, finding a book about mastering chess. Joan's ripped off: "Chess? Hey, I do not play chess!" Never mind that: this was directed by Josh Brand! He's directed some great stuff, especially Northern Exposure, which was one of my favourite shows. That bodes well.

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Joan of Arcadia

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