Oh, my beloved show! How I’ve missed you!
A red lit stage hosts a writhing armada of dancers dressed in red, with everyone but Jasmine wearing a stiff crimson tunic with even stiffer shoulder pads. Clearly the queen, Jasmine stands in the center in a pretty, girly frock with a straight neckline and spaghetti straps. There’s a sort of futuristic fantasy look to it that makes me think of Chinese opera at the same time – the exaggerated shapes, maybe. Midway through the dancers pull off the strange red clothes to reveal shorts and tanks in a variety of neutral shades, draped and natural and free; Jasmine no longer directs their movements from on high, but dances with them. Is this the end of monarchy, in time to celebrate the baby prince’s birth? The music is “New World” The Irrepressibles, and the piece was choreographed by Stacey Tookey and Peter Chu.
E: In a dark night made darker by a momentary electrical failure, someone places a body in the center of the Bridge of the Americas. Half of the body is in El Paso Texas, half in Juarez Mexico. Two detectives meet – cordial, weary Marco Ruiz and frosty, awkward Sonya Cross. After a few strange moments (including a fight over an ambulance Cross doesn’t want to contaminate her crime scene and Ruiz allows through so that the horse shopping American inside can reach a hospital before this heart attack kills him), Ruiz graciously allows Cross control of the case. The deceased is quickly identified as an American judge, and Ruiz’s got too many bodies of his own, he says; Cross is desperate to solidify her authority before the FBI show up. It all seems moderately straightforward until the American pathologists start moving the body back to the morgue, and find that it has actually been cut in half.
And when the coroner quickly determines that the torso and legs belong to two different women – the American judge and a young Latina – the story becomes more complicated still. Pitiless Cross, whose carries out even the minutest action with a white knuckle intensity, wakes Ruiz up with a phone call in the middle of the night; can he identify the body for her? Could he be missing half a corpse? His response horrifies; 250 young girls have been murdered in Juarez in the last year, many found in pieces. He has an abundance of mutilated bodies that no one cares about, whose cases no one follows.
And because he’s a good man, a man weary of the corruption around him and the terrors he hasn’t been able to counteract, Ruiz crosses the bridge to help Cross find the killer.
E: Hey, guess what? They listened! Not to me, because my words I’m sure came far after they made the decision to abandon the format change, but generally to fans and bloggers and the social media outcry over Carlos and Brittany’s brutal ouster at the beginning of last week’s show. No more dancers will be forced to perform after being eliminated! Excellent!
Instead, they’re placed in jeopardy at the start of the show, and by the end it’s incredibly obvious who’s going home. Is that breaking the news more gently? Is that better? Maybe. At any rate it couldn’t be worse…
C: Ever since this project was announced after the secret 12-day filming process wrapped, people I know have been going pretty much crazy. Joss Whedon, considered by some a god? Doing Shakespeare’s finest comedy? With Nathan Fillion and the rest of Whedon’s repertory players? Ermagherd!
E: Does it even admit of a doubt that I swooned? And once they released that stylish trailer? Smelling salts, please!
E: What kind of sadist decided that would be a good idea, eliminating contestants at the top of the show and then making them dance? What a ridiculously horrible thing to do; it started us off on a down note and tainted everything that came later. FOX, you know this is mostly your fault. Give them a results show! Seriously. What’re you showing that can’t wait? Nothing.
Now, if you can get past that ghastly downer of an opening, there was a lot to enjoy about this week’s show. I’m sorry I took so long to bring my thoughts to you! Combine a national holiday with school vacation and a heat wave and you get an E who rarely visits her computer. I’ll try to be as speedy and pithy as possible.
Let’s start with the actual opener.
M: As we move into July, we get another wave of would-be blockbusters coming to theaters. Invariably, the movies that studios think will be the biggest winners open right around the Fourth of July holiday, when everyone is off from school, hot, and looking for things to do. The rest of the month meters out a few more hopefuls, but generally ones that in the eyes of their studios have too many potential flaws to be released in May, June, or on the 4th.
C: Giving you plenty of time to see your favorites a second or third time, they hope.
E: There’s also a surprisingly good selection of indie comedies popping up between the tent-pole offerings. This month I’m more interested in them then the would-be blockbusters!
M: However, this year’s August slate looks far more promising than most years… but we’ll get to that in about a month. For now, let’s start with the holiday week openings, as they look to be good!