Jorja Fox is finally full-time (again).
Joss Stone is joining the cast of The Tudors. And no, this is not some different show called The Tudors, it's the Showtime period drama. And no, she won't be playing some court jester-y Aretha Franklin impersonator (they had those), she'll be playing Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of Henry VIII. I'm going to come clean here and admit that I don't know anything about Henry VIII or his wives except that he had mental problems and killed them all, so maybe Anne of Cleves was the one who didn't say much and just kind of belted out blue-eyed soul while barefoot, because that's the only way this stuntcasting makes any sense.
The show is just so...off, lately. I've really enjoyed it the last few seasons, but it's really not doing it for me this year, and it's strange, because I have to tell you, I'd looked forward to Sara Sidle's departure for weeks -- could not wait for her to git gone. I really liked Jorja Fox on ER, back in the day, and while I didn't have nearly the level of investment in the Gil/Sara romance that some did -- which is to say that I had none, and sort of thought less of Gil for rewarding all her moping and DUI-ing by finally responding to it -- I actually didn't mind it onscreen, and though Petersen played it well. But Sara had slowly devolved into a collection of mannered line readings, pissy glowering, and inexplicable tonsorial choices (what in the Sam Hill was that late-era-Brady Flo Henderson 'do from a couple seasons ago? And do they not have hot oils in Los Angeles?), and when I read that Fox would be leaving, I was really glad. The character had gotten tired, she'd gotten tired of the character, it showed -- good call.
But since she's left, the show doesn't hang together quite right. I'm all for a Hodges-centric episode now and then, because his relationship with Gil is unique and fun to watch, but that means a Liz-Vassey-centric episode also, usually, and they write her so annoyingly that it takes all the fun out of it.
And then there's this nonsense with Warrick. Sobell used to have a running gag in her CSI recaps about Warrick's semi-permanent residence in the subplot sub-basement, and it has always seemed like Dourdan is underused, particularly when you think about how many Catherine/Sam Braun subplots we had to sit through over the years -- but, you know, the guy has a gambling addiction, and then he gets over it, and then when he mentions gambling, it's kind of hard to tell whether the writers actually remember that. And he gets quickie-married, but then the divorce is taking seventeen times as long as the entire courtship and marriage combined, and we have no reason to care except that it's a device to gin up his drug addiction, and then poor George Eads has to play this Lifetime-y Randolph Mantears scene last night all, "So you're taking uppers AND downers MY GOD MAN LOOK AT YOURSELF"? He actually said that shit, first of all, just in a different order and without the "MY GOD MAN" part, and second of all, who calls them "uppers" anymore? Who wrote that scene, Jim Bouton? And third of all, with the...throwing them in the trash? And Warrick's like, "Good point"? And...they look at some evidence, and...scene?
This isn't even mentioning the weird Oliver-Stone-esque seduction sequence, which may or may not have been a withdrawal nightmare -- I think it was, but it was so stagey and overly drawn out, I couldn't really tell, and "confusing" and "ambiguous" aren't the same things, creatively. Dourdan did his best with the material; I don't envy him having to play that last scene. And at least they got him out of his shirt. It's just way too much, too late for the character. I don't think people watch the show for this sort of soapy Emmy-bait stuff, and if you want to foreground a character who's historically been neglected, you need to do it more gradually.
In short: I see what they were trying to do...I think. But if I'm right, it didn't work, and if I'm wrong, it's a total mess.