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SEASON 2


ELI STONE
Season 1

Sci Fi

Eli Stone Artwork  ABC Studios


  1. Pilot
  2. Freedom
  3. Father Figure
  4. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
  5. One More Time
  6. Something to Save
  7. Heal the Pain
  8. Praying for Time
  9. I Want Your Sex
  10. Heartbeat
  11. Patience
  12. Waiting for that Day
  13. Soul Free



Eli Stone -
Johnny Lee Miller

Jordan Wethersby -
Victor Garber

Taylor Wethersby -
Natasha Henstridge

Patti -
Loretta Devine

Frank Chen -
James Saito

Maggie Dekker -
Julie Gonzalo

Matt Dowd -
Sam Jaeger

Nathan Stone -
Matt Letscher


OTHER ELI STONE SEASONS
Season 2


OTHER VISIONARIES
Medium
Ghost Whisper
Haunted





Pilot

Eli Stone is a very successful corporate lawyer with a gorgeous girlfriend, lots of money and a great future ahead of him. When he starts hearing music that isn't there and seeing George Michael singing on his coffee table, he suspects that something might be wrong. That something might be the aneurysm that lies deep in the heart of his brain or it might be something more divine in nature, according to his secretary's accupunturist anyway. Taking on the case of an old girlfriend whose son's autism might have been caused by one of Eli's firm's clients seems to be the only way to stop the music.

Once upon a time, hotshot lawyers would discover the error of their ways through something as mundane as a midlife crisis. Now it's surreal musical numbers and visions. This is probably because of shows like THIRTYSOMETHING and ALLY McBEAL, both of which this show shares DNA with. Fortunately, it also shares a lot of wit and charm with those other shows as well.

Part of that is down to Johnny Lee Miller, who is appealing enough as the troubled lawyer and who certainly has the comic timing that the part needs, though when it comes to the innate sincerity that he ought to be showing in his summing up in the case of autistic boy vs huge corporation he really doesn't come across. Neither does Natasha Henstridge as his girlfriend Taylor, but then she has a part where she dumps him in the office where he is told that he could die at any minute. There is excellent support from Loretta Devine in the unoriginal role of Eli's secretary and James Saito as a very unconventional accupuncturist.

The frivolous nature of the show might put a lot of people off, but the script is light and witty and whilst the plot if not very surprising some of the incidentals are. Go with it and there are lots of smiles to be had.

Written by Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim
Directed by Ken Olin

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Freedom

Visions of a boy's church choir and a cropdusting biplane lead Eli to the case of an immigrant family who have not only been made infertile by the insecticide on the fields where they work, but who now might get thrown out of the country as there is a problem with their naturalisation.

Everyone, Eli himself included, is trying to come to terms with his strange, new behaviour and he is trying to limit the number of people who know about it, which immediately leads to problems with trust and openness that have a bearing on the case upon which he is working.

This episode is a step down from the Pilot with the plot being more contrived and obvious. Fortunately, there is a wonderful pastiche of the cropdusting scene from NORTH BY NORTHWEST and a big production number in the office (George Michaels' Freedom following on from Faith last time around) to keep things moving.

The nature of the cases that Eli has taken in the first two episodes are far too close for comfort and there is a fear that this could become repetitive, but the fringe benefits still outweigh that at the moment.

Written by Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim
Directed by Michael Schultz

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Father Figure

Eli sees visions of a world war II battle that lead him to the case of a female officer serving in Iraq who is fighting for custody of her son and the discharge from the army that will bring after his school grades have suffered and there was a 911 emergency call from the house.

There's not a lot of fun in this episode of ELI STONE. The tone takes a dive for the serious, which fits the subject matter, but doesn't make good on the promise of the first two episodes that promised a lightness of touch that is almost totally absent here. There are a couple of good dialogue exchanges between the engaged couple on opposite sides of the case, but apart from that this is pure, serious drama.

It doesn't quite work either. The court case storyline is fine, but the flashback to an event from Eli's past that he seems to have completely forgotten is completely unbelievable - not the content of the flashback, but the fact that he could have repressed that one, significant memory when he seemed to have remembered everything else.

Written by Alex Taub and Brett Mahoney
Directed by Christopher Misiano

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Wake me Up Before You Go Go

Eli takes on the case of a man who has been in a coma for five years during which time his wife married his best friend and built his company into a large corporation. At the same time, his boss is taking on the case of a black man accused of racial discrimination against black men.

ELI STONE isn't just about Eli Stone, as is made plain in this episode with the racial discrimination case that has absolutely nothing to do with him. It's just like every other legal show at this point, smooth and polished enough but with absolutely nothing new to say for itself.

To be honest, it hasn't got anything new to say in the case that Eli is handling either, that being familiar to anyone who has ever watched any other legal drama. Fortunately, the performances are top notch and the script does still have enough zing in it to get by. The big production number is fun and the twist is that it's a chorus line of the same person.

Surprisingly, it's in the relationship between Eli and his girlfriend Taylor that the show displays the most depth. Theirs is a tough situation all around and both actors are handling it admirably, again surprisingly in the case of Natasha Henstridge.

Written by Courtney Kemp Agboh and Wendy Mericle
Directed by David Petrarca

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One More Time

An old case comes back to haunt Eli as he is required to retry a case he won when he was working for the forces of big business in which a faulty car led to one man being confined to a wheelchair. Taylor, meanwhile, comes to work for the firm in order to be closer to Eli and gets embroiled in a battle over custody of an unborn child between an estranged lesbian couple.

This is an almost straight legal drama with very little of the fantastic in it. There's a gospel choir (we've already had one of those though) showing up in court leading to Stone facing disbarment, and a men's room that leads to a Hawaii beach, but this is really just about the case.

The dialogue is still snappy, but not as funny as it was and the performances are still polished, but we were hoping for a bit more. Still, Loretta Devine gets to shine as Patti even when she's not singing.

Written by Leila Gerstein and Steve Lichtman
Directed by Ron Underwood

Top

Something to Save

Eli has to go up in front of the court in a disbarment hearing that could see him lose his licence to practice law. The signature on his health assessment form could cost his brother his licence to practice medicine. The only way out is to announce his condition to the world and fight for his rights under disability laws. Whatever happens, his life is about to change drastically.

Apart from the occasional rainstorm inside and a burst of Credence Clearwater Revival, this is a rather fine drama that has nothing to do with the supernatural at all, at least not until the very last scene. When the story is focussing on Eli and his case then it's very enjoyable with good performances and the sharp, polished dialogue that we have so very quickly come to appreciate in the show, but the side case about a baseball player who has killed another player on the field is merely an annoying distraction.

Now that Eli's condition is out in the public domain it is to be hoped that he can get back to the vision and deserving case structure that the show was based, so very briefly, on.

As for that last scene, well it gives some meaning and some heart to the slightly empty, but oh so polished product it concludes.

Written by Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim
Directed by Michael Schultz

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Heal the Pain

There's a fire-breathing dragon living in Eli's wardrobe and it's telling him that the has to take on the case of a young boy whose mother was killed by the negligence of the anaesthetist when she went in for surgery. This means, however, that he is going to have to sue the hospital where his brother works.

Fire breathing dragons in closets, now this is the stuff that we signed up for. There is also a nice set up where Eli must not speak in court and so has to coach the untried Maggie through her first real case in front of the bench. The performances are all top notch, but the running side plot of the baseball player up for murder is just plain distracting and irritating.

The performances are very nice and the relationship between Eli and Maggie is starting to come on.

Written by Moira Walley and Alex Taub
Directed by Sandy Smolan

Top

Praying for Time

There's a big developer wanting to redevelop Patti's old neighbourhood and the city is willing to force through the eviction of the residents for him. Eli sees the neighbourhood destroyed in an earthquake and knows that he has to side with Taylor and risk alienating Patti in order to save the residents' lives.

Highlight of the episode is Natasha Henstridge and Julie Gonzalo serenading Johnny Lee Millar as the building around them falls apart in an earthquake. It's dramatic, sexy, funny and very tuneful all at the same time. It does not, however, overshadow the drama that is going on around it as Eli comes close to losing everyone that he cares about as he fights for a cause that nobody believes in.

The annoying case of the ball player finally comes to an end and doesn't add anything more to the mix, as it hasn't for the whole time that it has been running. Fortunately, everything else compensates for it.

Written by Brett Mahoney and Courtney Kemp Agboh
Directed by David Petrarca

Top

I Want Your Sex

Eli is feeling a little lost without either Patti or Maggie around, but his life becomes a little more full when George Michael walks into his life, this time for real. He wants Eli to get a teenager reinstated at school after she was thrown out for playing the title song in an assembly supposed to be about abstinence.

The most breathtaking thing about this episode is just how unconvincing George Michael is at playing himself. To call his performance wooden is to insult trees and having him surrounded by a cast of such naturals only serves to underline just how bad he is. His case is also not helped by the fact that he is involved in a story about the rights and wrongs of sex education. Considering his record on sex and the law it might have been better picking another subject.

The supporting case of Taylor and Matt Dowd trying to convince a man to save his estranged father through a series of painful bone marrow transplants is merely filler, much like the rest of the episode.

Written by Wendy Mericle and Leila Gerstein
Directed by Christopher Misiano

Top

Heartbeat

Eli finds his latest case coming close to home as it concerns his brother being sued for medical misconduct at the same time that he is trying to find a surgeon to operate on the aneurysm in his brain. On top of that, he is finding life complicated by the return of Maggie and Patti and the fact that Taylor slept with Matt Dowd.

Bouncing back from the disappointment of I Want Your Sex, ELI STONE delivers an episode of both power and heart. It's not sentimentality that is at the forefront here, but honest sentiment. When Eli finally gets to flashback to the moment of his father's death and gets his chance to say goodbye then the only dry eyes in the house will belong to the terminally unemotional and the dead.

Great writing deserves great performances and both Johnny Lee Miller and Matt Letscher come up with the goods. They are so convincing it is hard to believe that they're not really brothers.

The secondary story of internet dating gone bad is an embarrassment by comparison.

Written by Andrew Kreisberg and Steve Lichtman
Directed by Vincent Misiano

Top

Patience

Eli has a vision of the future in which a black man is addressing a mass rally of worshipping people. That man turns out to be an inmate in an overcrowding prison where the prisoners are routinely brutalised. He sets out to bring a suit on behalf of all the prisoners to get better conditions and parole hearings. Taylor, meanwhile, takes on the case of homosexual chimpanzees separated by the zoo.

Forget the law in this episode, what really interests is the relationship between Eli and Maggie. Johnny Lee Miller and Julie Gonzalo have great chemistry, but the vision of the future gives it some real edge. We just cannot wait to see where this is going to go. By comparison, the Taylor/Matt Dowd situation is just a ridiculous sidebar that doesn't manage to raise the laughs that it is intended for. Unless you have a thing for chimps that is.

Written by Alex Taub and Brett Mahoney
Directed by Perry Lang

Top

Waiting for that Day

Eli has a vision of Maggie's fiance being killed when the Golden Gate Bridge is destroyed in an earthquake. Since his last tangle with an earthquake vision led to the eviction of many people from their homes and Patti's anger, Eli is unwilling to tell anyone, at least until he discovers a scientist whose machinery is saying the same thing. Taking on a case to force the city to shut the bridge will bring him into direct opposition with a senior partner trying to oust Jordan Wethersby and possibly provide her with the evidence she needs to succeed.

Another fine episode of this fine drama series. John Billingsley (Dr Phlox in STAR TREK ENTERPRISE guests as the scientist that no-one will believe, but this is down to the regular cast and the continued excellence of the writers. The cut and thrust of the legal arguments is compelling whilst the humanity of Eli's preparations for surgery and his tangled relationships with everyone else is touching whilst avoiding oversentimentality.

The cast continue to excel and the tension as to whether or not Eli's earthquake will come to pass this time is very real.

Written by Oscar Balderrama and Anna Beth Chao
Directed by David Petrarca

Top

Soul Free

Eli takes on the case of a man fighting for the right not to take medical aid for his terminal cancer following a 'conversation' with God. Since Eli is about to undergo surgery, the case has special meaning for him. Or perhaps he has already undergone surgery and this is his mind's way of deciding whether to live or to die himself.

Following last week's satisfying episode that had all the feel of a season finale we come to the more intimate real season finale. Messing around with the format, mixing 'reality' with 'Eli's inner story' in a way that really doesn't tell which is real and which is not in order to deliver an emotional punch to the always quality drama.

Admittedly, having the case of the cancer sufferer as a counterpoint to Eli's story is about as subtle as an earthquake in the Bay area, but the human drama is as warm, witty, quirky and full of life as ever. In the wrong hands this could have been mawkish and overly sentimental, but here it is touching and powerful.

Written by Courtney Kemp Agboh and Andrew Kreisberg
Directed by Michael Lange

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