'Bionic Woman': Sisterhood of the traveling bionics
I think I've been a bit too hard on Bionic Woman. It's not that this week's episode made me think, "By Jove, I've been looking at this show completely incorrectly! This is genius on par with 'Hamlet', 'Metamorphosis', and the later film work of Corbin Bernsen!" But I do think I brought a Battlestar Galactica mentality to this show, which wasn't quite fair. Had a Battlestar producer, had some Battlestar actors, and even had the Battlestar modern remake in its favor.
But Bionic is its own, very flawed beast, and while it's insanely far from perfect, there are some honest-to-goodness cool things amidst a currently mediocre show. I feel almost as if we're peeking in on a weekly workshop production of Bionic Woman, almost as if NBC is showing us an ever-evolving product and asking us for feedback. It's a show in transition, and I never root against a show trying to find its feet. Well, unless of course if that show involves Freddie Prinze Jr., in which case I bust out my magic markers and get to picket sign making.
In this week's episode, "Sisterhood," Sarah Corvis once again took center stage, with her relationship to the Berkut Group, the Anthros family, and Jaime herself coming into slightly clearer focus. Turns out that being Bionic Woman 1.0 has its drawbacks, what with the initial bionics causing her nervous system to go on the fritz unless a member of the Anthros family supplies her with a drug fix.. Watching Sarah go through withdrawal, and then shoot up, then shake like a leaf, then shoot up again, I thought two things:
- This better not end up like Trainspotting, with a bionic baby crawling on the ceiling.
- This is why I never buy the first generation of any electronic device.
Anthony Andros, founder of the Burket Group, father to the possibly duplicitous Will (more on that soon), has convinced Sarah that Jaime's bionics are the key to curing her fatal condition. The title "Sisterhood" centers around three such relationships: between Jaime and her younger sister Becca, Sarah and her younger sister (who died in a crash seemingly simulated when Sarah crashed into Will and Jaime), and Sarah and Jaime, connected through their unique biologic/electronic composition.
Sarah has been working for Anthony from the beginning (albeit through an intermediary until now), which begs the question: why did Anthony want his own son dead? Did his son ultimately sell him out? Will himself is no longer above reproach, even though he was so deadly dull in the pilot episode that they decided to write him off the show with the world's first lethal shoulder wound. Between the secret files Jaime found last week, and Sarah's assertion this week that Jaime was groomed for years as the heir apparent to the faulty first model, and you have an Anthros clan whose yearly family picnic you'd do well to avoid.
The "grooming" aspect is one I find interesting, and well worth exploring in the show. (I prefer this to "I'm going to tell Hillary Clinton you're violating my human rights, Mr. Miguel Ferrer!" or whatever stupid line they made Michelle Ryan utter tonight.) I find all this grooming especially interesting due to Becca's bit of dialogue about their great grandmother, who had a genetic disorder that nearly killed her around Jaime's age. I wonder if this particular genetic disorder is what started the work of the Berkut Group in the first place? Perhaps Sarah was just in the wrong time at the right place, with the Anthros family unable to risk the first procedure on the woman who could truly make their bionic work flourish.
But what does it mean to "make their bionic work flourish"? I'm wondering now about Antonio Pope, aka, Dr. McHomophobe-y, and his responsibility for just how Sarah turned out. When first we saw her in the pilot, she was essentially feral. And tonight, we had him encouraging Jaime to unleash her inner "animal." With Papa Anthros out of the picture, don't assume there aren't those still in the Berkut Group following his orders. Keep a close eye on him.
I think of these things, you see, because it's a lot more fun to dwell on elements such as this rather than dwell on things such as "Why in the name of Wayne Gretsky was the bratty Canadian subplot in this show?" and "Why do they insist on taking Jonas and turning him into a less drug-addled, less British version of Ozzy Osbourne?" I swear, every three minutes someone was pointing out how crotchety, how old-fashioned, how pathetically LAME Miguel Ferrer is, with him meekly replying something akin to shaking his head and muttering, "You kids and your rock and roll music!" This is completely unacceptable. I want him to say, "I'm Miguel Ferrer, damnit, and I demand respect!" Because he does, by golly.
But the Jaime/Sarah dynamic in this episode was enough for me to overcome these shortcomings, albeit barely. They are no Buffy and Faith, these two, but they don't have to be, either. They probably can't be something more than that iconic pair, but they can be something different. Sarah showing Jaime how to essentially hack herself, thus turning off the optical camera, was a small but effective gesture that bonded two women who never asked to have their bodies used against their will. It bodes well for the future and their (hopefully) complicated relationship.
Did you think this week's episode marked an improvement or more of the same? What's Anthros' true end game? And would you rather get $50 million in bionics or $170 in jeans?
For more TV reviews and analysis, check out Ryan at Boob Tube Dude.