Joan of Arcadia
Trial And Error

Episode Report Card
Deborah: C+ | 1 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
Law And Order: Special Virgins Unit

Shout-out to Liz, one of the posters from my site, who's an extra in this episode, and told me all kinds of neat inside stuff I'm not at liberty to share with you, and to all the people who offered to help me get a tape when my VCR decided to play an April Fool's joke on me. Y'all rock. Also props to Jennifer of the Cogeco Cable call centre, who got me a time-shifting package that allowed me another crack at taping the show.

A note about the grade: It's a lot higher than it would be if the acting on this show weren't so damn good. I've been down this road before, a steep and winding road called When Stellar Acting Offsets Substandard Writing, and I'm still having to explain A & B grades I gave shoddy (and worse) episodes of The West Wing years ago. But I don't believe in just grading on the writing alone. So there you have it. I would give the writing for this episode a D, and the acting an A to A+, so here we are at B-. I'm disappointed in how a show this promising has turned into such a mess, but I'm too worn out to work up much of a head of steam about it most of the time.

The episode begins with Will being mobbed by the media as he escorts a distraught woman named Mrs. Hoyt out of a building, which looks like it could be a hospital or coroner's office or something. It doesn't look like Arcadia PD to me. As the reporters badger the woman, we gather that her daughter was abducted and murdered. She makes a plea for anyone who has information to come forward and help catch the murderer. The camera drifts back to her daughter's smiling school picture on a TV monitor in a nearby van.

Joan and Adam walk down the stairs at school, followed by Luke and Grace, as Joan beams, "It's our anniversary. April 2. One year." Adam's dumsquizzled: "You're kidding." Joan: "No! We kissed on my porch." Frink rolls his eyes. "What a girl." He thinks it's extremely abnormal that women in general, and I in particular, can remember not only every significant date in our relationships but details like the weather, what we were wearing, et cetera. The thing is, I just happen to have a very good memory; it's not something I really have to work at. Well, that's less true with each passing year, but I used to have a frighteningly good memory. Anyway. Joan seems like the type to write it on her calendar and enclose it in a heart. Luke volunteers: "They kissed at the science fair before that." Ha! I get to give Frink a triumphant look. Grace wonders, "Why would you retain that?" Well, only because it was the best episode ever? We don't get to find out, because Joan interjects, "Yeah, it's not the same thing…we were all 'should we, shouldn't we' for the longest time, and then, that night on the porch…we definitely took the plunge." What does it say about this season that I can't even recall that scene anymore? Seriously, I had to go look up the relevant recap. ["I didn't recall it either." -- Sars] And even if I watched that scene and "Jump" until the end of time, I don't think it would erase the icky taste left in my mouth by this episode. Anyway, Adam looks pretty poker-faced about it all, despite Joan saying, "We should celebrate." He agrees: "Sure." Grace: "Stop talking like this in public!" Luke: "What, are you saying you don't remember when we first became official?" Well, given that there's a notarized document to that effect lying around somewhere, she can probably look up the date. Talk about official. Wait, she ripped that up, didn't she? Grace puts in her earphones and says, "Bye-bye." Joan puts her head on Adam's shoulder and snuggles. Adam: "I can't believe you remember the day and everything." Frink: "Get used to it, kid." Joan simpers, "My lips are an alarm clock. Brrrriiinnggg! One year." She makes her alarm noise just as the bell goes. "My lips are an alarm clock"? Uh-huh. If she talks like that much, I can almost understand Adam turning out to be such a dick. Almost. Luke announces, "History. French Revolution." He tries to kiss Grace as he says, "Au revoir, baby." She gets all prickly and says, "Don't mark me, dude." Does Luke wear lipstick or something? But she puts her hand on his chest and says quietly, "Biology closet, 2:15." She grabs Adam, who's smooching with Joan, and says, "Come on, lover boy, we're late for Spanish."

Joan hustles off and bumps right into one of the janitorial Gods, and I don't even care which one anymore. Way too many janitorial Gods. In fact, too many Gods and not enough God, and that's just one of the many things that have gone wrong with this show. They argue a bit, each claiming to be the one at fault, but God claims he's the one responsible. Joan: "God feels guilt?" He calls that an interesting question: "Of all the life on earth, only humans experience guilt." Hmm. I'm no Dian Fossey but it wouldn't surprise me to learn that primates can feel guilt. And I've known some dogs in my time that definitely seemed capable of guilt. Cats…not so much familiarity with the guilt. Sars can likely speak to this. ["Not a lot of feline guilt happening over here, no." -- Sars] He continues, "Or innocence, for that matter. Dogs don't, birds don't, fish don't…" Joan's bored: "Okay, got it." He says humans are the only creatures with a conscience: "The only ones able to distinguish between right and wrong." And most days, not even that much, it seems. "Recognizing it is the real problem, though, isn't it? Don't you love exploring such a complex issue?" No verbal response from Joan. He tells her she should join Mock Trial: "They love talking about these things, too." Joan: "Mock Trial?" He tells her, "The legal system affords you so many ways to look at guilt and innocence." As he walks off, he points out a few papers she missed when she was picking up everything that dropped when they bumped into each other earlier. She calls out, "How about one day I get to ask you to do something?" God just waves his bolt cutters. Joan is suddenly seized by a minor pee-pee dance frenzy and dashes into the girl's washroom. That was…strange.

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Joan of Arcadia

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