Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Somewhere Inbetween 1x04 - 'As Seen on TV'

WRITTEN BY: Lee. A. Chrimes
PREMIERE DATE: 27/11/2004
PRODUCED BY: Monster Zero Productions http://www.somewhere-inbetween.co.uk/sibepisodes1.html

While Chris is more concerned with research, Twist wants to go autograph hunting at a film premiere while they stay in Orlando. It isn't long however when she is swamped in a whole heap of trouble concerning the police, a TV news crew, and a seemingly unstoppable assassin named Lambert summoned from the depths of Hell to drag Twist back to where Chris unwittingly rescued her from.....

Teasers can make or break an episode, a maxim that every writer and producer in TV, whether real or virtual, knows very well. If a teaser is poor, the reader may very well not bother reading the subsequent four acts. However, if a teaser is like the one in this fourth episode of Lee Chrimes arsekicking vampire show, you're guaranteed the reader is going to lap the remainder up with glee and a side order of relish. A terrifically written, exciting opening moment concerning Twist on the run from the ruthless Lambert opens up the story here. Throw in a slightly comic TV crew in the bargain, and you're onto a winner. So, does the episode live up to the excitement of it's opening? Yes, by and large.

The ending of the previous episode left us with the tantalising prospect of a demonic assassin being summoned from Hell to bring Twist back to that dark realm. Here, that thread is followed up on full force. The assassin in question is Lambert, and there is a definate whiff of Terminator about the guy (thankfully however without the cod-English, monosyllabic Austrian lilt). He could have turned into quite a comic caricature, given the lightness of the proceedings in general. Somewhere Inbetween really doesn't take itself very seriously at the best of times, a fact which goes in it's favour, but there are moments and points in this episode, as in the others, that eschew the tongue-in-cheek flavour. Lambert at times is one of these. In the early scenes, he says almost nothing and his relentlessness is sometimes rather chilling. Ultimately, however, Chrimes takes the very surprising path of giving Lambert a totally unexpected connection to Twist, his prey. It certainly gives his character, and the story around him, more depth. At that moment, he stops being a T-100 and becomes a human being. It's an interesting decision, and one that pays off, not to mention posing a few interesting questions: did Chris really bring Twist from Hell through luck, or was it more than that? Why is Twist so important? Is it Veshnaggi who wants to recover her, and was he using Bagwell and Lambert for his own ends? Plenty of threads to follow up on in the future.

The story unfolds, as it's predecessors have, at a rollicking pace. Chrimes trademarks are all there in evidence: the superb descriptive fight sequences (in particular the Twist/Lambert brawl at the film premiere); the sparkling repartee between Chris and Twist; plus the ability to infuse the comedy of the proceedings with moments of depth. The aforementioned development of Lambert is one such, but the most satisfying for me was the final moments between Chris and Twist. After some well-written exposition, there's a moment where we see the developing bond between these two mismatched souls, where Chris admits he'd fight to protect his partner. Sure, Chrimes chucks in a gag to prevent the scene ending too seriously, but the job is done. That growing bond is affirmed, and it only serves to further deepen these characters and their commitment to one another.

By the time we reach the excellent climax, (the scene where Chris draws his samurai sword slowly out in the shopping mall facing Lambert a truly thrilling, hairs on back of the neck moment), the story has reached a satisfying conclusion. My only real problems are the slight dip in grammar the episode suffers from, with the occassional error we haven't seen in previous outings, and the fact it maybe at times is just too lightweight. A minor gripe, however, and a personal preference. It takes nothing away from the consistent quality of the narrative, and yet another strong performance from this delightful series. On a par with the last episode without a doubt.

WRITING: 2/2
GRAMMAR: 1/2
FORMATTING: 1.5/2
STYLE: 1.5/2
DEPTH: 1/2

FINAL RATING: 7/10

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