Ghost Whisperer: Actually decent. Surprised?

GHOST WHISPERER: 5.10 “Excessive Forces”

After my disappointment in last week’s episode, it took me a while to watch this episode of Ghost Whisperer. But in a surprise twist, I actually enjoyed this episode.

I should say one thing, though. What entertained me about the episode was not necessarily Melinda, Eli, or Jim (which we’ll get to), but actually the plot. It kept you guessing. Is he a bad cop? Is he covering a murder? Did the victim date his daughter? Was he a bad kid? Is her actual boyfriend the bad kid?

The infuriating part–and it didn’t leave me infuriated, per say–was that all these questions could have been easily explained by the ghost. Actually, we didn’t get much of the ghost at all in this episode. He appeared only a few times.

Actually, it was the certain flashes of the past that kept us going. Is it just me, or are we getting a lot more of these in this season? Anyway, it worked. It made you question motives and what really happened. Sure, they threw a lot at us, but it really made us go along with figuring out the mystery alongside Melinda.

It was actually sad to see what really happened to the ghost. And the “cheese factor” wasn’t too overplayed at the end either. True, the ghost admitted that he was displaying his own aggression against his father to hurt the cop, and the father/daughter moment was there, but it wasn’t too Touched by an Angel. I really can’t complain.

But I am reviewing the episode, so I will to an extend. I still get surprised in the show that all these strangers just spill their family histories to a perfect stranger. Everyone just seemed so happy to tell Melinda everything–including a mother telling her that she found condoms in her son’s room and called his girlfriend’s father about it. True, she thought Melinda was a parent of a child at the school (which is just deceptive in its own right), but still. It seemed strange. But I guess you have to have some sort of that suspension of disbelief in a show like this or else you wouldn’t find anything out about the case.

Another little pet peeve that I had was Melinda’s reference to Aiden’s gone missing in the previous episode. The kid wasn’t kidnapped. He ran away. Say it that way. But Aiden was good in this episode, almost cute, so that’s good, right?

Finally (and if I don’t mention this, I’m sure there’s a certain tweeter out there that will have my neck, haha), what was going on with Eli and Jim’s discussion about Eli’s role in Melinda’s life? Personally, I thought that didn’t fit the episode. Jim’s starting to worry about how invested Melinda really is in dangerous things–which I found completely refreshing–but blaming it on Eli seemed strange. First, Eli didn’t start this case. Melinda was the one that left the restaurant to go see the ghost in the cop’s car.

Which makes me think that we set up this little…fight…to lead us in a direction for the season. Are we suddenly going to have awkwardness between Jim and Eli over Melinda? I can’t see it turning into a love triangle, but even Jim’s caution and hesitancy to have Melinda spend time with Melinda would be annoying. It just doesn’t seem like Jim. He’s always been one to be direct with Melinda not Eli.

Anyway, I guess we’ll just have to see where that one goes. Hopefully nowhere. Or hide it in the shadows. Look, I made a joke!

Ghost Whisperer: Keep (it) in the shadows

GHOST WHISPERER: 5.09 “Lost in the Shadows”

What a terrible episode.

I really wanted to like this episode. I was looking forward to seeing Madison Leisle, Julia, return. She stood out in the Sally Stitch episode as someone to keep your eye on, and as someone very ominous.

Unfortunately, that just didn’t happen.

And it wasn’t her fault. In fact, I’d say with what she had access to, she did a good job handling her role. But I blame the writing. And Connor Gibbs. My God, that child can’t act.

Seriously. Everything he said was so one-sided. And I don’t mean biased. I mean, it’s as if you were looking at something that was supposed be a 99-sided die, and you were just stuck on one side that had a little square on it. And you just thought, is that a square? Or a square? Maybe it’s a square! For a hour.

For a kid who knew he was breaking his parents’ rules but supposedly for the good of another, he seemed to show no emotion at all. He wasn’t happy to help someone. He wasn’t confused to be blindfolded. He wasn’t scared at the shadows attacking Julia. He wasn’t mad the shinies couldn’t help (we’ll get to that later). He wasn’t thrilled to see his parents return. He was nothing. He was a painted square on a 99-sided die that isn’t being used properly.

But we can’t just blame an eight-year-old for the horribleness that is this episode (and yes, he does look eight, not five, and I’ve always thought so). They really didn’t build this episode up at all.

Sure, we knew about the shinies and the shadows. But other than gagging Melinda, we haven’t really discovered the danger behind them. This is the first time we’ve seen a ghost scared of them, and for being such a “big” episode, I think we needed to see that much earlier. Carl was clearly the best moment in the show, as we actually saw fear in him. But at the same time, what does showing a ghost all the bad in their lives really do to them? How is that dangerous?

Plus, the audience hasn’t grown to like Aiden. There was no fear in the entire episode that Aiden would be gone forever. First, I didn’t care if he was. Second, I wasn’t scared for him. Which brings me to another point:

They didn’t establish Julia as an opposing, negative force. Beyond two sinister looks and a hissy fit against Melinda’s help, we have no reason to think that she’s a bad ghost. And since every episode has that “turn” at the end, you could guess that she’d be good all along. Which she was. If we had spent more time seeing her at the hospital, seeing how she acted around her parents, or even seeing her with the other ghosts she wanted to protect, it all would have made more sense.

And what about those other ghosts she wanted to protect? How was she helping them by hanging around? Will we find out later? Is it just a moot point? Is the Sally Stitch person one of them? Bah!

And as for the shadows and shinies, I’m bored. There hasn’t been a threat yet, and the first time we’ve seen the shinies (who, for faceless being, sure had eyes and noses), it was lame. I felt like I was watching The Haunting–yeah, the bad one starring Catherine Zeta Jones.

Overall, the episode was weak. I just feel like with a few tweaks and some major character buildup, it could have been an effective episode. I mean, even building up the characters more and pushing this off until later in the season could have worked.

And hiring someone other than Connor Gibbs. I don’t think there’s anything we could have fixed about that performance.

I really wanted to like it; I really did. The episode was almost more disappointing than usual, just because I really wanted it to work.

Ghost Whisperer: Not too bad

GHOST WHISPERER: 5.08 “Dead Listing”

Last week, I requested an episode that basically straightforward, centric on characters other than Eli, and distracting us away from the story arc. And in a weird turn of events, that’s actually what we got. In fact, I think the only thing that we didn’t get that I requested was that Aiden be in less of it. And while, sure, his moments were painful, at least he wasn’t talking about the shadows again. He was just being a kid.

Not to say it was a perfect episode. I have to say that Melinda was off her game. Her entire “fairness” talk to Aiden made absolutely no sense. Seriously. All she really had to say was this,

Honey, what if Superman tried out for the football team? He’s got super speed. Even though he has this gift, that doesn’t mean it’s fair to use it around people who don’t have it.

Instead she used weird sentence fragments and strange examples that even the viewer didn’t follow her explanation–and we even knew what she was coming in to say!

Plus, what was Melinda’s reaction when she found Rita dead? She took that in stride. Whether I could see ghosts or not, I’m pretty sure my first response would be, “Rita, what happened?!” not just jumping in to discuss the engraved award. Somehow, her calm exterior just ended up looking cold and heartless for someone who cares so much about others.

Beyond that, though, not a terrible episode. I was really glad to see Delia get a larger role in this episode. See? You can get people who don’t hear or see ghosts in a storyline without a stretch! Or without just discussing their dating lives.

And I will say that I really enjoyed seeing Greg Germann . You know I’m an Ally McBeal fan, so it was great to see him again. The story was a little weird. I got their competitive nature, but the shrimp (oh, terrible CGI!) and intestines seemed to be a stretch. In fact, I think the intestines were there just to make the show seem darker or more serious–aka, unnecessary. But oh well. The story got a little complicated, what with the question of whether Rita was cheating or whether she was buying the brownstone or selling the brownstone or knew of the mold or didn’t know of the mold (and why was he in the brownstone to drop the award near the mold in the first place?). At least there weren’t access characters, but it did go around in a few circles.

And now to Aiden: What did we think of his magic act? I found this a little boring. I guess it’s nice to see that Aiden does have “friends” (at least it’s only the viewers that dislike him), but it just didn’t entertain me.

But it looks like we’re heading back to previously unfinished storylines! I look forward to seeing what next week has in store, now that the cancer patient is back. But in Aiden’s closet? Maybe she’s not as human as we thought she is.

What to say about this week’s ‘Ghost Whisperer’

GHOST WHISPERER: 5.07 “Devil’s Bargain”

I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to say about this week’s Ghost Whisperer. If you were paying attention to my twitter this weekend, you would have seen that I was postponing watching the show because of the Jennifer Love Hewitt pole-dancing scene. Yes, that was enough to make me not watch because it seemed as needless as her video game outfit last season.

And really, it was. Melinda could have just as easily watched the other girl pole dance as much as she really needed to. That was rather ridiculous. I wonder who’s brilliant idea that was.

Honestly, this entire episode just seemed very convoluted. It makes me question whether the writers have taken on too much with their introduction of the “shadows” storyline. I mean, we had a ghost, that was supposedly angry at the beginning but by the end was supposedly trying to protect the good doctor; a doctor that was ex-best friends with the president of the university; the president of the university that somehow got his job because of the shadows and has a sick mother; and more people. It just seemed like we were hopping from one story to another, and I started to lose track.

The main thing we were supposed to realize was that the president of the university has some sort of deal with the shadows–or at least are being blackmailed by them–and knows about the book.

I’m curious to know what the shadows really are. I’m excited to know that they’re really making a tangible presence on the show, but they’re still too far beyond arm’s reach to really make sense of the information being revealed to us. The book is protecting itself by hiding information about them. They can take over someone’s body and cause events to happen–elevators crashing, people to die. They overtook Melinda so she could barely move. Clearly, they’re bad and they need to be stopped.

And I do want to know what parts of people they really are. The evil side of people? Say, if you have a bad heart, it’s left behind? Who knows?

But the way it’s being presented. Uggh. It’s horrible. I can’t understand left from right with this. I think the show needs to focus. And here’s how:

  1. Choose your episodes carefully. If you’re going to reveal a lot about a story arc, make it a story arc-centric episode. The writing’s not strong enough to juggle.
  2. Make filler episodes better. Make them so much better that we don’t realize they’re filler episodes. Keep the story arc out, keep the storylines clean, and then get the episode done.
  3. Focus the story arc episodes. Don’t throw too many people in the episodes that surround the arc. Make us keep guessing, too. Don’t tell us the answer (like you did last week). Give us material that when we rewatch, we go, “How did I not notice that last time?”
  4. See the minor characters. Just because the Emmys and Oscars define people as supporting actors and actresses doesn’t mean the show itself doesn’t. Focus on someone other than Melinda and Eli for an episode. You’ve got some strong talent. Show it.
  5. Cut back Aiden. He might see more things than Melinda, but he’s a terrible actor. Cut back his air time, and start using heresay. It’ll work just as effectively with fewer headaches.

Anyway, that’s just my two cents. Hopefully I understood enough from this week’s episode to understand next week’s (which has Greg Germann in it–yay!), but here goes nothin’!

Ghost Whisperer: Headless

GHOST WHISPERER: 5.06 “Head Over Heels”

I’ve been holding off writing about this episode because I can’t quite gather my thoughts. Clearly, it was a Halloween episode. And that wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t that great either. I enjoyed seeing Riley Smith appear in the episode (by the way, yes, he is on twitter), as well as Amy Davidson, but I feel like the ultimate reality of the episode–introducing the ideas of the shadows–was pushed down our throats hardcore.

Let’s look first at the headless horseman. Well, let’s look first at Eli. Man, he was annoying. This could really have been a little spookier, if he hadn’t been slinging jokes constantly. Ignoring that, it’s ok.

Everything just felt so convoluted. Well, no, that’s not true. I felt like the answer was pretty easy. It didn’t surprise me that the father planted the keys. But the fact that first we had to actually have a best friend find out and the father realize his daughter was following him–oh, and let’s identify who owned the mask in the vision and let’s call the little sister “The Barnacle”–it just seemed so messy. I just wanted to take a red pen and take out blocks of text. (The editor in me is coming out.)

And why did the father have to have dementia? That really wasn’t covered. And I always wonder, why does the ghost choose to appear and haunt now, so many years later? This is actually a hole that isn’t discussed on a number of episodes, but it seemed especially prominent now, unless I missed the fact that the father’s dementia was the guy haunting him. But if that’s the case, that just doesn’t seem to be in his character.

But let’s move on. Now we’ve discovered that sometimes, an entire person doesn’t go into the light. Parts must be left behind.

This is intriguing, and I like that Aiden was the one to really reveal this to Melinda. However, I would have liked that to be dragged out more. I liked it better when Sean stumbled over the words when he described the father’s death, so you really wondered what happened. Then bring it up a few episodes later so that when you rewatch the episode, you catch it. That would have been great.

Instead, we have a whole epilogue where Aiden reveals everything and we see a terrible CGI of leaves falling (because when the leaves fall, so will the innocent). It just felt forced. Leave some room for the viewer to put some things together. Suspense without force. That’s what I want.

You know what else I want? Follow up on Sally Stitch and the morgue guy. Those were great setups, but where’s the fallout? Am I demanding too much? Probably so. It is Ghost Whisperer, after all.

Ghost Whisperer: Just because you’re paranoid…

GHOST WHISPERER: 5.05 “Cause for Alarm”

I can’t say I loved this episode. To be honest, it was pretty bad. There was very little here to commend.

But let’s start with that little because I want you all to know that there was something intriguing. Mainly, it’s Aiden’s new friends who just happen to be something other than ghosts. They move things around his room. Melinda can’t see them. And we’re to assume they’re not his new imaginary friends. Oh, and they’re shiny.

What do you think they are? Or do we think Aiden’s just imagining some fun new friends so he isn’t completely overwhelmed by the unhappy ghosts that are constantly filling his eyes, mind, and dream state?

Well, that will be something to find out, huh?

Congratulations, Ghost Whisperer. You made five minutes of interesting television.

The rest? Boring. Utterly boring. I actually got up in the middle to start cutting some veggies for soup in the middle of the episode. I got so enthralled with my onions, carrots, and celery that I forgot to pay attention to the TV. I missed the guy’s son almost kill him. By the way, when you leave a toxic smoke-filled panic room, one generally should cough a little bit. That’s to you, Chad Lowe. (And yes, I just realized why I thought he looked so much like Rob Lowe–slaps forehead in realization.) What a waste of an Emmy Award-winning actor. He was terrible!

If you’re wondering, yes, I did rewind my TiVo to see what happened in the end. And then I had to sit through the exhausting moment where Melinda, the men, and the ghost all confronted each other in the middle of the town. This was the most emotionless confrontation I think we’ve ever seen on the show. Terrible. Just terrible.

But not quite as terrible as Aiden. My god, this child is a bad actor. This was pointed out in a previous comment but cemented in this episode. I realize that they want a happy, well-rounded little boy, but he’s terrible. I feel bad insulting a child actor, but with so many other promising ones out there, I feel like they just chose him because of his hair color.

I think this season really has some promise. Not much has changed in the five year jump except for adding in Aiden and putting us in closer proximity to the hospital. And honestly, that hospital is really a driving force for the season. We’re certainly seeing some new growing storylines appear, and I look forward to seeing how they progress. But these filler episodes are really hard to watch.

Maybe it’s not what the writers want to do–give us the answers to the bigger questions right away–but they at least need to play to the show’s strengths. Just introducing a child actor doesn’t work (well, maybe it did for One Tree Hill but that’s a different show entirely). Play up the creepy. Give us more emotion. Steer away from Touched by an Angel.

And please: Just keep Aiden’s mouth shut!

Ghost Whisperer: 1950s scapels and head twitches

GHOST WHISPERER: 5.04 “Do Over”

There’s something especially curious and scary about medical procedures in the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s. Maybe it’s because we know they didn’t have all the same medical advances that we do now, and that scares us. I don’t know. But there’s certainly a reason that there are flashbacks to those decades in horror movies (think The House on Haunted Hill)–and why it was so effective on Friday’s episode of Ghost Whisperer.

Personally, I’m very glad that we’ve separated the two ghosts. There was one ghost (the creepy doctor) that was taken care of and sent into the light. And then there was another ghost–who’s still very much active–in the morgue. And that’s the mystery Melinda’s still got on her hands.

This is not a very kind hospital. So far we have Sally Stitch, who’s haunting a little girl in oncology. Now we’ve got this creepy guy in the morgue, who has his very creepy facial accessory, the gas mask. Oh, and apparently, Melinda is supposed to know him.

I think this is great. I really want to find out that there are even more lingering spirits from other eras wandering around, waiting, and causing havoc. I think this could be a season-long story arc–though I’m not sure if I would really want to find out that they’re all interconnected. I just want to see the ghostly angst build. If they all had the same problem and all went into the light all at once, I think it’d be a little too Touched by an Angel. But who knows? This show does try to keep us surprised. Either way, I hope we discover that there’s a few other spirits with the creep-factor ready to pounce. This is getting fun.

Morbid and horror-like, but fun.

True, it was a little too much like a horror film when his head was flopping around at intense speeds, but without that, would you be much more scared? It was kind-of an interesting effect, and we needed something mysterious and downright scary for his face-off with Melinda. Much more than moving corpses, and that was a neat touch.

But why is this all happening now? We thought it was because of the kid who went into the morgue–you know, the one who’s grandfather was the one in the heart surgery. But in fact, that couldn’t have been it. That was just a coincidence, and it led us to the other ghost.

Methinks it was something slighter. Particularly, I think it was the quick message that they were cleaning out their old archives. You know, when the nurse came out with the box and Jim (Sam Jim Jim Sam) grabbed the old instrument. She mentioned they were cleaning things out. I bet that’s where those ghosts were resting (not in peace) and now they’re disturbed all over again.

Anyway, this was a great episode if you like the creepy. Sure, the grandfather got to me a bit. I’m a little skeptical that after all this, the teenager would embrace being a nerd just because his granddad almost died at 16 (plus, he dressed better as a “thug,” as the ghostly doctor said–and where would he know the word, “thug”?). But you’ve got to have a bright side.

Especially with the scary gas-masked ghoul is still haunting the morgue.

Ghost Whisperer: Bleh. Ick. Sigh.

GHOST WHISPERER: 5.03 “Till Death Do Us Start”

I’m so disappointed. Incredibly disappointed.

I was expecting this amazingly well-done episode that follows up with the incredible Sally Stitch storyline of the previous week. I wanted to see more creepiness and possibly go to bed with nightmares.

Yes, I’m weird.

Instead, we got this. A lame story of Eli and his parents.

Now, I realize that Jennifer Love Hewitt thinks that Jamie Kennedy is the bee’s knees, but I find the Eli storylines to be excruciatingly dull. Not only are they just boring, but Jamie Kennedy’s Eli is quickly going downhill in his capabilities to be a “blind” ghost whisperer, you know, someone who can only hear the ghosts.

And this storyline with his parents was just so awful.

First, they set it up like he could have a half sister. Well, that’s all well and good–except that we had that storyline last year. So unless we were going to just regurgitate some stuff we’ve already seen (which it really did seem to be that way for a while), we knew there would be some sort of twist.

And what was that twist, ladies and gentlemen? Lesbianism!

Sigh. Must every TV show had lesbians somehow incorporated? What’s worse is that not only is Eli discovering this truth about his family, but the amount of time he spent thinking about his mother’s possible sexual partners is a creepfest in itself. Perhaps I should watch what I ask for.

I don’t know. For some reason, I had absolutely no interest in this episode, and was highly considering flipping over to Say Yes to the Dress instead. I think it would have had more drama.

I feel bad saying this. I mean, I’ve overall been rather positive about Ghost Whisperer. It surprises me that sometimes the writing on this show–a show that I don’t think many people take seriously–is actually pretty good. The entire Sam Jim Jim Sam storyline last year was unpredictable and a good watch. I give them props and kudos.

But they need to find the correct strength in the show. And that’s not Eli. I don’t care who Eli is dating, and I don’t really care about his family life. I do like his new role to guard the book, but that’s a rather limited capacity. It only comes up now and then.

I just think this could have been stronger. Maybe if they had just cast someone else as the son–not replaced Eli but making the son of the deceased father a random third party–it would have been stronger.

Or maybe I’m biased. You tell me. What did you think?

Ghost Whisperer: Creepy yet outdated

GHOST WHISPERER: 5.02 “See No Evil”

There were some great things about this episode, and there were some not-so-great things. To keep the readers reading, I’m going to start with the good.

Creepy! The idea of stitching your eyes and mouth shut–let alone having aged Puritans do it with no anesthesia–is just creepy. The idea that we were seeing through Melinda’s eyes that were sewn shut… It just gives me the heeby jeebies.

And it’s not over. While the introduction of a third party who started the chain letter was a little bit of a cheap trick at first, we’ve discovered that there really is a Sally Stitch, and she’s haunting a poor girl with cancer. Well, a poor girl who has one creepy doll and one sinister look. She’s not one I would want to interrogate about ghosts.

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to seeing this develop in the next week or so. The episodes of Ghost Whisperer where creepiness is the strength tend to be my favorite. Plus, I wonder if we’ll get to see the young Aiden interact with Julia. We didn’t really get to see him do much in this episode; instead, we got idle chatter about whether Aiden’s dreams are the ones that Melinda’s been seeing.

My only complaint about the episode, though, was that it seemed outdated. I mean, email chain letters? That’s so 1990s. I feel like the time to feel threatened by an email chain letter came and went ten years ago. Now we’re so immune to seeing them that the delete or spam button is second nature.

We should really be discussing mystery podcasts or viral videos. That’s what people would really take note of.

So it pretty much bugged me that this was the main focal point of the episode. I could see it belonging to the first season, but now? Especially when this was five years later from the season finale? If anything, the five-year gap allows for the little bit of technological inconsistencies, like the fact that the email chain letter can update the list of terrible events while sitting in your inbox. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this yet, but emails don’t tend to refresh information. Websites yes, emails no.

I don’t know. It just seemed like a rookie episode. I just couldn’t get past the email chain letter all episode.

Beyond that, it seemed standard. I liked that Ned got a larger role in this episode (though the fact that he’s a college student, making out with girls, just surprised me–he’s growing up so fast). The doll hanging in the closet was a good surprise for us all. At least it wasn’t a real body hanging there. (Apparently, I’ve watched too many procedurals, now that I’m assuming when you turn a light on, a dead body will be hanging there.)

Anyway, good setup for next week. And I’m looking forward to discovering the mystery of Sally Stitch. Why is she stitched up? Has she done something wrong? Who is her target? Who does she want to hurt? And who hurt her?

What do you think?

Ghost Whisperer: Five years later

GHOST WHISPERER: 5.01 “Birthday Presence”

I’m sure by the time you started the episode, you had forgotten that I’d posted about how the show was going to jump ahead five years.

But first, they had to jump ahead a few months. Right to September 25, when Melinda has her baby boy, Aiden. And, of course, there are complications. Not only is the baby born not breathing, but he’s also born at the exact same time a ghost is confused and assumes that he’s her son. This will screw him up a lot later.

Well, five years later, to be exact. Right about his birthday, when the ghost is finally fed up with Melinda for taking her child (who is not her child), and she wants him back.

Now, I must say, the logic in this isn’t completely clear. I mean, the ghost knows she’s a ghost. So what’s she going to do with the boy once she, you know, gets him to go with her. Kill him and let him stay in the afterlife with her? Well, that doesn’t seem all that motherly.

Not that it really matters in the end. She sees that her son is well taken care of and that he’s happy, so she’s happy. The end.

But that’s not really the interesting part of the episode. It’s really what Aiden can do–or can’t do, if you’re looking at Melinda’s opinion. What we discover is that Aiden can see ghosts. He knows they’re ghosts. In fact, many children can see them, but they may not realize their ghosts (actually, we’ve discovered before that children could see ghosts, and they typically just assume they’re imaginary friends).

But what’s his special power? Empath. He can feel what others are feeling, and apparently he has a special connection with his mother.

Now, I don’t know if you quite noticed the bowling alley, but the end of this episode seemed to remind me a lot of Smallville, when Clark was saving Ryan in the bowling alley–you know, when Smallville was still good. Except for this little flaw of creativity, I can’t complain about the episode.

It was a good enough episode to introduce us to the new way of the series. Five years in the future. A son with special abilities. Sam/Jim is a doctor, and as Aiden pointed out, there are a lot of ghosts in the hospital, so maybe that will play a part in some upcoming episodes.

I’m not sure yet what I think of the new order, but it’s worth finding out how it goes. I mean, there have been other successful jumps into the future, and at least we don’t have to hear Melinda complain about crying and diapers. Of course, it does bug me that Melinda is just so perfect as a mom, but what can you do?

It’s her show.