Roxie Torcoletti -
Kat Gardener -
Jaime Ray Newman
Joanna Frankel -
Darryl Van Horne -
Penny Higgins -
Mia Torcoletti -
Raymond Gardener –
Will St David -
Bun Waverley -
OTHER DEVILISH SHOWS
OTHER ODD PLACES
In the sleepy little town of Eastwick, a place that thrives on its history of legends and ghost stories, three women find coins that they toss into the town fountain. Shortly thereafter, the very rich and very good looking Darryl Van Horne arrives in town and starts upsetting all their lives.
EASTWICK is based on the John Updike novel The Witches of Eastwick and has the not inconsiderable shadow of the 1987 film starring Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jack Nicholson to climb out from under. It makes a good start with the casting of the three leading ladies. Rebecca Romijn (without the blue paint of Mystique in the X-MEN films) is gorgeous, but also manages to capture the flaky nature of earthy artist Roxie who has money worries, but is also knocking off a very young man, much to the chagrin of her teenage daughter. Jaime Ray Newman (season 3 of EUREKA has the innate strength and will that makes it immediately obvious that she couldn’t live with her abusive husband, making the arc of her story all the more believable. Lindsay Price is way too good looking to come across as the mousey, low-esteem journalist because it’s obvious that she is going to bloom, but she does that immediately and then manages to keep the character believable despite the looks.
Supporting Lindsay Price is Sara Rue whose impersonation of Rosie O’Donnell in SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE is uncanny and Matt (KYLE XY) Dallas is Roxie’s buff squeeze. One slight casting hiccup comes in the shape of Veronica Cartwright whose presence in the original film causes some confusion over whether this is an adaptation, sequel or what.
The script is witty enough to get by on, though a little short on depth, and has some surprising twists, such as Roxie’s daughter nearly getting raped, the well water that acts like booze, lightning strikes and Roxie slapping Van Horne immediately after kissing him for no discernable reason.
The set up is intriguing enough for now and it will be interesting to see how the show develops the themes.Top
Joanna, with the reluctant help of Penny digs into the truth about Darryl and learns some surprising things about a hidden history in Eastwick. Roxie wants to protect Mia from the kid that molested her, but finds that her own reputation gets in the way, not to mention the dreams she is having about the new lodger above her shop killing her. Kat girds her loins and actually asks her husband for a divorce only to find that the lightning strike has changed him.
Now that the characters have been introduced, the show gets down to the job of spinning the stories. It is Joanna’s digging into Darryl’s history that is the main focus of this episode and it provides most of the fun (not to mention a little moment of peril). Lindsay Price and Sara Rue make a good comic duo.
Roxie’s run in with the creep who assaulted her daughter provides a bit more depth than might have been expected with her own free-loving lifestyle proving to be a problem. This plot strand also provides the abrupt and surprising cliffhanger moment.
By contrast, Kat’s marital problems are dull. As for the lodger, those dreams provide a little bit of a plot arc to look forwards to.
EASTWICK is still a long way from unmissable, but it is proving to be a solidly entertaining fantasy show so far.Top
Roxie is being haunted by the ghost of the boy who attempted to assault her daughter and who freakishly died in a fashion she had wished for only hours before. Following his lightning strike mishap, Raymond appears to have changed enough for Kat to give him another second chance. Joanna, meanwhile, is on the trail of a story behind Darryl Van Horne’s new brewery development, but finds that it leads to a whole different scandal.
There’s more than a whiff of AMERICAN GOTHIC about the manner in which Darryl manipulates Joanna into doing his dirty work for her, though she seems not to notice, or mind, too much. In fact, it is the scene in which she and Penny arrive at a Chinese tea shop and ask for tea that is the absolute highlight of this episode and the funniest scene that the show has come up with.
Kat’s relationship with her husband is less annoying than in the last episode and comes up with a couple of twists and the most overt evidence of the women’s powers to date, but it is the situation surrounding the aftermath of the sex attacker’s death that is meant to drive the plot. Dealing with grief, albeit in a shallow fashion, it is the dramatic centrepiece, but is overshadowed by Joanna’s comedy outing.Top
Kat calls in Darryl’s pet lawyer to savage her husband following his deliberately making her believe that he had kidnapped their children, but he is equally bothered by the irritating skin complaint that has appeared the day after the three women drunkenly cast a spell from an old book that Roxie stole from the room of the man living above her shop, the man her visions tell her will try to kill her. Joanna is distracted from her investigations into Darryl by the sudden appearance of the man who left her at the altar.
This episode loses its focus on central storylines and rambles about a bit, looking for something to latch onto. Kat’s divorce storyline is nothing short of tedious whilst Joanna’s one is unbelievable.
That said, it is rarely less than entertaining and contains a twist in potential relationships for Jamie, the man in the room upstairs, and Bun the old lady under supernatural attack.
But the real twist comes in the last few seconds of the final shot and it’s totally worth waiting for. Ah, Penny.Top
Everyone so often, a combination of astral phenomena combine over the town of Eastwick to give the moon the appearance of being three times its normal size and the effect on the townsfolk is extreme. Joanna writes a suspect front page expose of Darryl, Roxie is put in prison for public indecency and Kat becomes a fiery nightclub singer, literally bringing the house down.
This is a total sidebar to the main plot arcs that are running through EASTWICK, but we can forgive all of that because it is just so much fun. The cause of it all may be as silly as the similar themed Band Candy in BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, but the script is just as witty and the cast throw caution to the wind with abandon, clearly having as much fun as the characters.
Kat is the main protagonist and her desire is to do a FABULOUS BAKER BOYS moment by lying on a piano and singing. Jaime Ray Newman makes for a very credible threat to the memory of Michelle Pfeiffer doing just that by being sensational to say the least. That she then goes on to kiss the man Joanna's after is pure soap opera, but by this point nobody cares.
The double act of Joanna and Penny continues to be a highlight, especially in light of Penny's moon-enchanted revelation.Top
Every year, the people of Eastwick have a giant bonfire of coffins which symbolise the burning of their own personal demons. Roxie's demon is a vision of the funeral of a friend killed by a statue whilst Joanna is kidnapped by the priest whose reputation her story destroyed and is placed inside one of the coffins.
EASTWICK slips a bit into soap opera territory as Joanna and Kat fight over the man that Joanna's been after and Kat kissed last time out. Things change dramatically, however, when Joanna is kidnapped and Roxie has the vision of the funeral. All these storylines come together in a tense climax as the bonfire is lit. The solution is obvious before it finally gets around to happening, but it's all very slick and well put together.
There are hints of the true natures of the men involved in the plot, especially as Darryl visits the memory-free Bun, but the script isn't quite as sharp as Mooning & Crooning's.
Nice twist in the tail, though.Top
Roxie gets the news of Chad’s death, but not before she has a dream of him telling her to ‘follow the signs’. Joanna is trying to recreate the circumstances that led to her moment of telekinesis, but is dogged by the man who has taken her place on the paper. Kat faces up to the truth about her powers when she reunites two old ‘friends’ Eleanor and Bun who prove to know a good deal more about Daryll Van Horne and Kat’s powers than they are willing to answer.
If Eleanor were capable of answering any one of Kat’s straight questions about her powers with a straight answer then this episode would be a good deal shorter than it actually is. Their conversation is a very frustrating one as it is one of those scripted moments when everything should be revealed, but characters manage to talk around the issue in a way that never happens in real life. It’s artificial and feels it, even if it does contain the image of Bun being stabbed by a couple of knitting needles and a whole stream of ants coming out of her. If you have an issue with ants then this is an episode to steer clear of.
Joanna’s story is the more fun, but is equally frustrating as it never goes anywhere at all, never looks likely to go anywhere at all and is really does a chance for some quickfire patter that sounds good, is occasionally witty and achieves nothing.
Roxie’s story is the focus of the episode, featuring as it does the aftermath of the death of Chad, but since we have no idea what the ‘signs’ are, where they are coming from or leading to any more than Roxie does then there is no tension built up around the quest at all.
Three lacklustre stories that combine into an average show that has much more promise than this filler material, it does at least have some hints about the background to Daryll’s last visit to the town of Eastwick.Top
Chad's death has opened up Roxie emotionally and she is pouring her grief into her painting. Daryll organises a party to show off her work to the New York glitterati, a party that will end with them having sex if Roxie's dream is to be believed. Jamie, Daryll's British enemy and Roxie's flatmate (sort of) has an altogether more fatal sort of pillow action in mind.
Van Horne throws a party and the three main women, plus supporting girl, use this as an excuse to act like idiots. For a show that is based on girl power, these women come off like neurotic messes every last one of them, which is both surprising and depressing.
Apart from their tangled personal lives, there is nothing here that advances any story in any great direction and that makes this episode the least interesting to date.Top
With Jamie’s attempt to kill Darryl Van Horne leaving his gallery owner guest critically ill, Darryl turns to Kat for help saving her. Forced to finally face her healing power and her ability to control the weather, she admits it to the other women who then reveal their own special gifts. Just in time, as well, as it will take the special gifts of all three of them to save Roxie’s daughter when she falls through thin ice on a frozen lake.
Hurrah, the girls have finally got around to admitting that they have special abilities and powers. It’s only taken them nine episodes after all. Actually, this episode isn’t really about them at all. There is the usual soapy stuff about how their lives are going, not least Joanna’s continuing professional crises and her burgeoning hate/hate relationship with her replacement on the newspaper, Max Brody and the incident at the lake whose only presence is really there to make the girls use their powers together for the first time, but it is the stuff involving Bun, Eleanor and Jamie that is the interesting stuff.
Bun and Eleanor’s history with Darryl, their knowledge of his evil nature and their manipulation of Jamie through his thirst for knowledge about his mother and need to avenge her by killing Darryl is teasing stuff and all the more fascinating for it, making it more compelling than the main stories that this storyline is supporting. It helps that Bun and Eleanor are played by old hands Veronica Cartwright and Cybill Shepherd who have decided that it’s all a bit of a pantomime, but the scene in which Darryl threatens Bun is really quite chilling. Certainly, it is the story of these two old broads and Darryl that we’d really like to be following.Top
Kat goes all out with her newly controllable healing powers, saving lives and easing pain for everyone at the hospital. What she doesn’t count on is the toll that this will take on her, leaving her weak, sick and with constant nosebleeds. Joanna finally signs up with Max to break the story behind the murder of the woman who was Jamie’s mother and finds that it leads them into mortal peril at some unexpected hands. Roxie, meanwhile, sets up a dinner for three to allow Jamie to introduce himself to Darryl, his father. Jamie, however, has a darker plan that will require Roxie to either kill Darryl or die herself.
This could easily have acted as the series finale since it leaves everyone on a knife edge cliffhanger. Darryl is bleeding to death on Roxie’s floor, Roxie’s in the hands of a psychopath, Joanna and Max have been poisoned and Kat is in danger of drowning in her own bathtub. Wow, now that’s the way to end and episode.
There is more action in this one episode than in the rest of the series put together. The plotlines come together all at once (except for Kat who seems to be on an entirely parallel storyline) and there’s no doubt that the audience is left needing to find out what happens next, something of a first for the show.Top
Kat is saved from the bath by her ex-husband and goes to Eleanor to find out some information as to why healing people is killing her. Whilst she is there, Eleanor tries to get her to drink the same tea that is killing Joanna and Max in the cellar. Will Kat find a way to locate and save Joanna so that they can both ride off to help Roxie who is being buried alive by Jamie?
The cliffhangers that were set up in Tea and Psychopathy are all resolved pretty quickly. Kat doesn't drown because she's a witch and witches are immune to drowning - hence all the ducking chairs that were used back in the day. The poison that Eleanor has used on Max and Joanna must be the slowest acting poison in the history of the world and their escape is pretty much played for laughs as Joanna makes deathbed confessions to Max that she later regrets and Kat consistently fails to drink the tea. The brief exchange of powers between Eleanor and Kat is pretty tasty though, however short. Roxie's fate is also drawn out as she tries to persuade Jamie that she doesn't have to die, all the time seeing her vision coming true in front of her.
On the whole, this isn't as much fun as it was set up to be.Top
The three girls have kept their distance and given up their powers since they killed Jamie, but strange things continue to happen. Whilst Joanna tries to console Penny over the loss of Jamie, she is unaware that Max is working for persons unknown and who is the handsome stranger that has just moved in to the house opposite Kat? These questions are forgotten when the mortally wounded Darryl breezes back into their lives as if nothing had happened and takes his relationship with Kat to the next level.
This a strange episode. All of the main storylines seem to have been resolved somewhat and then a whole slew of new ones are introduced without any sense of continuity. In fact, by the final shot there is a very real sense that the story might have found itself some sort of ending point as the three women and Darryl find themselves in a domestic situation not unlike that of the characters in the original film. It's almost as though the writers were tying up enough loose ends so that if the show was cancelled (it was) then it could stand on its own, but put in enough new strands to continue on if the opportunity presented itself.Top
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