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Route 66: 1x19 An Absence of Tears 1/3
Route 66

LA traffic!  The bane of Tod's existence.  Goes to show that for every one of us, even after almost being murdered on numerous occasions, to have experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows of the human condition, it is an intractable aspect of our nature to whinge about congestion in the downtown core.

A couple who has just been married drives by, honking, and Tod honks in return. 

Buz says it could be worse.  They could be hung up like that newly-married couple, "at a time like that". 

Tod says the two of them will never have to worry about that.  Heh, lampshading homoerotic subtext before it was properly in.  This show really was progressive.

While Tod and Buz are in traffic, we head to a gas station where some impatient men are having their car serviced.

Creep 1 gets out and acts generally sleazy with the service attendant.

The newly-married people pull in. The woman, who is blind, wants to make a phone call.  His name is Jack, her's is Donna.

She reminds her husband "No help!"

The suspicious car men continue to be suspicious.  Creep 1 moseys over to the cash register.

Creep 2 eyes him eying the cash register.

The newly-married Donna fetches her assistance dog from the car and heads to the phone booth. 

Polk? Poke? looks like he wants to have his way with the cash register.

The gas station attendant notices, and gives Polk/Poke an earful.

As he leaves, the attendant pulls a gun.

Whoops!  Polk/Poke has one, too.

Jack gets out of the car to confront the gunman, or to protect his wife, or something!

Creep 2 then tells Polk that he started it, so he has to finish it!

Bang!  Now Jack is an ex-newly-married man.  The creeps don't shoot the woman, though, because she's blind and clearly not a threat to them.

"Oh, Jack.  It looks like Stirling Silliphant has confused this show with Naked City.  You had to die because the script got tossed in the wrong bin.  Tragic."

A police detective escorts Donna, Donna's friend, and Rex the dog out of the police station.

Donna goes all Longstreet and asks about the type and caliber of gun used in the shooting. 

Donna says that the detective has a good voice!  Full of sympathy and pity. 

"I'm going to find the men who killed my husband."  The police love it when civilians get involved!

And Donna's friend looks aghast.

Buz, meanwhile, is having another creepy all-girls party.

One of the bodies devoid of personality with little fuzzy felt graduation caps on her sweater shouts that "He just turned off Sunset."  Buz makes all the girls hide.

Tod pulls up irritably and Buz is there to greet him.

Tod asks what the bus is doing parked by the tennis courts, and generally sounds like he's having an awful day.

Look at his wee look of pure irritation!  He says it's because the computer is smarter than he is.  He would like to forget the business course and just get back on the road. 

Buz wants to stay because they've got this great mansion to live in, free of charge. 

They go inside and Tod continues to act like a grumpy old man.  Because he is.  He was apparently just quiet about it in those first handful of episodes.  Tod continues to complain about how he doesn't want to celebrate his birthday, and how he doesn't see why anyone does.   He who was living is now dead, we who are living are now dying, with a little patience. 

Buz says he'll pour the drinks today!

Tod then notices the female hands helping Buz serve the drinks and remembers why most of us live: sex. 

Ah ha!

Another creepy "Just us two guys and all these girls" party commences.  Are these the same girls?

Tod comes over to complain that he does not cha-cha.

Buz is so tired of Tod's whining that he has purchased him vouchers for a set of cha-cha dance lessons.  Yeah, Happy Birthday, Tod.  Doesn't he look pleased?  Maybe he could re-gift them to Fergie the Incredibly Acquiescent Night Watchman. 

Tod staggers in drunk to his cha-cha lesson. Have some class, man.  He bumbles around humorously.

Rex the dog is annoyed.

And so is the secretary of the Cha-Cha Academy.

It turns out the cha-cha instructor is Donna.  Her husband was just murdered, and she's back at work teaching portly, desperate men how to cha-cha.  That's, like, dedication.

Tod decides he needs to get him some of that!

And he's far too drunk to wait his turn.

He ends up "hilariously" tripping himself and Donna.

Rex the dog goes on the alert.  Are seeing-eye dogs usually trained to defend their owners?  Genuine question.

Tod still thinks it's all hilarious, until Donna asks for some assistance. 

Tod has the amazing ability to stop being drunk the moment he has broken social codes.

He realizes she's blind, and stares at her like it's the saddest thing ever.  That's Tod's problem, not any ideological fault with the show, I think.  Donna has a positive self-image and independence.  Tod gaping at her like she's this pitiable figure and he can't imagine anything else more horrifying is, presumably, going to be addressed as condescension, that is, a character flaw. 

Tod slinks out of the cha-cha academy and then waits on the street for Donna.  That's not creepy! Donna says he doesn't need to apologize, since he just had too much to drink!

Tod is amazed that she recognized him.  She says that she never forgets a voice, and everyone's voices are as unique as fingerprints.  I bet Rob Brydon could confuse her though.

Tod does his "I apologize so much because I'm so ashamed" schtick again, last seen when he was apologizing for being an utter ass in "Fly Away Home". 

Tod then describes how he feels, in detail.  I think he thinks going on about it will demonstrate that he's truly contrite and leave the other party with no choice but to forgive him fully and immediately.  I also suspect he would get angry if someone said they accepted his apology but couldn't excuse his behavior.  Oh, Tod.  I love your concealed-but-definitely-there darkness.

This is Rudy, another second-tier character in tonight's episode.  He's a small-time underworld figure.  Small-time underworld figures are always shown getting massages.  Ever noticed that?  I guess it's the easiest way to demonstrate that they've got influence and ill-gotten gains.  Donna's day job is sleuthing, so she's come to visit Rudy.

Rudy says Donna looks great.  Rudy then takes the dog and her purse and puts them down.  I wonder if tying the dog up will have narrative consequences!  He also wants to take Donna's coat, but she's resistant!

Donna enlists Rudy to try to find out the names of the people responsible for her husband's death.

Her eyes are distracting.  Here's the thing about blind people: their eyes move.  If they've been blind since birth, they may not be able to voluntarily control their eyes, but Donna states that her accident was two years ago.  She would still be looking toward people when they spoke and most blind people do, actually, make an effort to face people who are speaking to them.  I guess on television they figure the "stare straight ahead" thing is "less upsetting" than involuntary eye movements or twitches.  It's probably to do with the infantile othering and demonization of people with facial or muscle tics.

Next Part: 
An Absence of Tears 2/3

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Love your snarky recap. Just watched this episode on MeTV tonight.

There was one glaring homoerotic near miss which you didn't mention. When Tod is surprised for his birthday and all the girls appear, he methodically goes around in a circle kissing each girl on the lips. Until the next person in the circle is - Buz! There is a not-insignificant pause before Tod moves on to kiss the girl next to Buz behind the bar, and Buz says "This one is mine."

But still - that pause! Was it scripted? Or an in joke? Did Milner know Maharis was gay?

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