Oh, Jane Elliot. I would give you all the awards — ALL OF THEM — if it was in my power to do so. Because you can take a character as bombastic and caustic and just plain unpleasant as Tracy Quartermaine and still manage to imbue her with enough vulnerability and heartbreak and quiet dignity that all I want to do is give her a hug and sit her down on the couch with a tub of ice cream to cry about how much men suck.
ANNA: He’s probably at your house right now, waiting for you
TRACY: He is probably at my house, waiting for me. Trying to figure out how to smooth things over, make it right. So he can keep me as backup in case things don’t work out with you. I’m sure he’ll give you a full report when he gets back, tell you all about my humiliation.
ANNA: Oh, come on. There’s nothing humiliating about having feelings for someone.
TRACY: Really? How about someone who scams you into a fraudulent marriage, repeatedly raids your bank account, cheats on you at will. Leaves, on a whim. All the while, making you believe that there’s something real… only to dump you as soon as somebody younger and edgier comes along.
ANNA: [voice breaking] Come on…
TRACY: You are so wrong. So wrong. There’s enough humiliation there to last for a lifetime.
So, that was totally brutal, right?
I mean, I was wincing and doing that thing where you throw your hands out and shout at the tv and try to talk the fictional people out of what they’re doing the whole time Tracy was smugly lecturing Anna, so certain that she was right about Luke. But that was nothing. Nothing! Compared to the devastating resignation in her voice after she finally realized how completely her pride had been wounded this time.
Oh, Tracy. Oh, my heart. Lulu’s right. There are better men. And you deserve one. (Seriously, that litany of all the ways Luke has done her wrong made me want to hate him all over again, no matter how likeable he’s been lately. Nobody puts Tracy in a corner! Nobody!)
Not to be outdone, Finola Hughes played Anna’s discomfort and genuine pain at seeing all this perfectly. I may hate Anna and Luke together, and hate seeing Tracy lose again, but I do love the chance to watch these two play together. And I love that we’re getting a serious love triangle (quadrangle? Does Heather count?) involving the over 50 set.
Speaking of Anna and things that I loved, it probably goes without saying that I find the idea of her and Padilla teaming up to turn the tables on Johnny to be pretty damn awesome. Two ladies! In charge of things! Having brains and integrity!
(Plus, maybe Padilla’s previously pointless back story will actually get interesting? It’s kind of amazing how much I’ve warmed up to her since her debut as the most stilted and unbelievable cop ever. I’m not saying I need to see her on a front-burner plot anytime soon, but she’s really turned into someone with potential to be a solid background character.)
Partners and ladies getting business done for the win!
Likewise, Sam and Spinelli’s easy camaraderie as they brainstormed on possible Heather/Todd connections really worked for me. I didn’t want to punch Spinelli in the face! Not even once! (Also, you can tell me that Roger Howarth and Bradford Anderson were not having a great time playing off of each other, but I will not believe you.) And the choice to give poor Kelly Monaco a break from all the tears and rage was a wise one. It’s much more entertaining to see Sam back in proactive, professional mode, and satisfying to know she’s on the trail of the truth about her baby — even if she doesn’t know it yet.
And finally, my very favorite lady of all continues to be a supportive friend to Jason. I know that she could be harsher with him, and I really wish that a cop’s ex-wife would get to display even a little hint of disapproval or just plain dismay at the thought of the local mob enforcer casually ordering the crap beaten out of an officer for daring to be friends with his wife…
… but this is one of those places where the show’s morality and mine — all other improvements aside — are probably never going to match up. And after all of the times when Liz has cried on Jason’s shoulder and received unconditional, non-judgmental support over the years, it does make sense to me that she would see he was hurting and try to give that back to him.
Also, her date dress is really pretty. I just wish we’d gotten to see what happened with Ewen after Jason left.
(Although at the pace this show is moving lately, we may still be on the same night? Dear, Carlivati: I love a lot of what you’re doing, but the three week long days have got to speed up a bit. It’s getting confusing. And at this rate, they’ll be celebrating the 4th of July while we’re doing Christmas in the real world.)