Ghost Whisperer: Coming alive

GHOST WHISPERER: 5.14 “Dead to Me”

Hold your breath, people. I’m about to say something shocking.

I actually enjoyed this Friday’s episode of Ghost Whisperer.

Don’t hate me because I’m fickle. Last week, I was basically ready to write the show off and having nothing more original to say. Plus, it just didn’t make much sense anymore. It was convoluted and exhausting to watch, and I was just growing tired of it.

But this week, we got something new. Instead of knowing the end and backtracking, we actually didn’t know what was going on. And it was great! The entire episode, instead of guessing who the killer might be or what the ghost might want, we were actually forced to watch and find out. There was really nothing to guess.

Ok, well, in the diner it was pretty easy to guess that they were in each other’s accidents (very Desperate Housewives, I must add), but we still didn’t know who the ghost was or why the ghost wanted them to meet. And since there was no hints as to why, we basically were forced to stop our guessing and watch.

Brilliant.

It led to an episode that wasn’t convoluted. It wasn’t overdramatic (well, until the car accident at the end). And honestly, I didn’t miss the guessing games!

Plus, we heard that the shadows are not quite out of Melinda’s world yet. Ned is working on getting access to a secured library to find out more about them, so clearly all the time we wasted in the first half of the season won’t be…well…wasted. Now, hopefully this will all link back to the strange ghost in the hospital, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

As for the “cliffhanger,” well, at first I was nervous. I mean, at the end of the episode, they said someone is going to die! Oh no!

But you know, thinking about it more, I think it’s something that will probably be very preventable. Or at least I’d hope so. If someone did die, I’d wish it were Eli. It won’t be. If I had my guesses, I’d think maybe Delia because she hasn’t been in it as much, but maybe it would be Ned because he seems to be in it more.

Ultimately, we’ve got a small cast here, and I’d be surprised if anyone does kick it, but we’ll have to wait and see. Clearly, we can’t kill Sam Jim Jim Sam again. That’d be just mean.

I did enjoy all the talk about why Melinda dislikes spirit boards. It goes into the whole lore of her gift, which I enjoy, but I’m a nerd like that. Ultimately, I just liked this episode. Plus, add in Margaret Cho, and who can complain? I’ve liked her long before she ever set food on this show, let alone Drop Dead Diva. And I hear she might be recurring on this show? That’d be, well, great!

Ghost Whisperer: Hold the insomniac all night

GHOST WHISPERER: 5.13 “Living Nightmare”

Sorry, any time I think of the word “insomniac,” I just get the Billy Pilgrim song in my head.

You know all those procedurals? The ones that start with a body, go through the suspects, and then find the killer? Sure, there’s nothing truly original there, but it works for the kind of show it is.

Did Ghost Whisperer ever have such a formula? Because I feel like we’ve somehow fallen off the formula truck. It’s like the writers are spending so much time trying to find hidden twists and side plots so you can’t figure out the right answer to Melinda’s mystery.

This episode…well, it just had too much going on. Sure, the ghosts were creepy, with the shadowy eyes and the demony ghosts with the yellow eyes (By the way, did anyone tell the writers what the eyes were going to look like? Because she kep describing them as “hollow”–not scary and yellow.). Clearly the costume team knows the way to a viewer’s attention, though the writers do not.

Honestly, I didn’t follow the episode. Ok, sure. I was cooking a fantastic dinner at the time, but there was a lot going on. We had the demony side of the bloody, hospitalized man. We had his father, the ghost. And his…sister? Oh, and then also his father accidentally killed his wife, aka, the mother.

Which takes us all the way back to the hospitalized patient in question, who blacks out. The final discovery is that he’s got insomnia, so it’s not things he’s doing things in his sleep. He’s blacking out because he can’t sleep.

Now, of course, he doesn’t know all this until the last five minutes. Until then, he breaks the heart of his girlfriend and tries to kill himself. Which was very tense-filled for a minute, but once we spend five minutes discussing the patient between Melinda and Jim, we lost all the anxiety of the moment. I mean, how long was he really standing there with his toes hanging off the edge of the building?

It just took a lot of effort to follow. It’s not that it was hard; it just had a lot of side roads that I didn’t want to take.

Oh, and the whole multiple Melindas part? That was way too The Grudge in my opinion. Sigh.

Now with Dollhouse gone, this IS my Friday night. Anyone have any other suggestions?

Perhaps I’m just being too harsh on this episode. I welcome your opinions. Prove me wrong! Oh, and what do you think of Ned being part of the team pretty much full-time now? I was surprised to see how involved he’s been, since before, college took him out of a lot of episodes beyond a phone call or haunted girlfriend.

Ghost Whisperer: Let me tell you ’bout a boy named Ned…

GHOST WHISPERER: 5.11 “Dead Air”
GHOST WHISPERER: 5.12 “Blessings in Disguise”

You might have noticed that I didn’t write anything about last week’s episode. Honestly, I didn’t know what to say. The episode seemed a bit roundabout and nonsensical. I didn’t really like it.

Plus, they made Ned into a really big douche.

And what about Ned? We have two very Ned-centric episodes here. Is he really that big of a character? Do fans really miss him that much?

If I may say my two sense, methinks the masterminds behind Ghost Whisperer are trying to draw in a younger viewership. Why else the time investment in Ned, who always has been more of  a side character anyway? Less focus on Melinda and Eli (thank god), and more on the youth. Even bring in some pretty young faces that the viewers can identify with.

But I’m sure many of you would argue that two episodes really isn’t enough to claim a shift in ideal viewers, but what about the music? Last week’s episode certainly was a focus on Coldplay (good choice). But as far as haunting songs go that someone could drown to, I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen it. There are much more haunting songs that were done around the ’40s and ’50s that could have had a much harder effect.

And this week? Well, Missy Higgins sure made a grand appearance–well, at least her voice did. She was the musician behind Katie’s ballet dances, and honestly, she’s a voice that younger audiences want to hear! To give a better inclination, I first heard Missy Higgins–that particular song, actually–on One Tree Hill. Could Ghost Whisperer be upping its music budget to open itself up for a wider viewership?

Quite possibly. But at least in this episode, it worked. I actually liked watching the budding relationship between Ned and Katie (ok, so her name is Rachel, but she went by Katie the majority of the episode, so we’ll just stick with that). I’m surprised I was so invested. I actually really want to see Katie back for another episode.

As for the ghost? Well, I’m not sure what to think about that one. I did appreciate the reveal, that the ghost was dead upon impact, which is why Dave left him there. It was a rather straight-forward question of why the ghost was  haunting, but it was ok.

The brother’s story, though. What was that about? Just to be a foil against Ned’s relationship? It makes no sense as to why Melinda would be having these unrelated visions. It seemed unnecessary. I was invested without it. In fact, it seemed to be there more to throw us off the case of the real ghost, which seemed annoying to me. For a while there, I thought the girlfriend was dead. Is it wrong to be disappointed that she wasn’t? At least then it would have a point.

Anyway, intrigued to see what happens in weeks to come. If we’ll fall back into the habitual Melinda and Eli-focused episodes, or whether Ned will be in more central roles. If anything, let’s just hope he stays away from the ballet.

That was weird.

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’!