Every episode of "Eli Stone
" begins with a recap narrated by good ol' Eli (Jonny Lee Miller
). The spot changes every episode, and this week Eli starts out by proclaiming his story to be something truly different. If by different, Eli means repetitive and sleep inducing, then he's absolutely right. If that is the case, "Eli Stone" is downright unique.
2 for 1
It seems like the writers decided that one controversial issue per episode was not enough, so this week we got two! Please try to contain your excitement. Having two separate cases constituted a change of pace for the series, which up until this point focused on only one storyline per episode. Did the infusion of a subplot into the narrative shake things up? Did it make the story more interesting? Flesh out any underutilized supporting characters? Read on to find out (hint: the answer isn't yes).
Eli gets his vision right at the beginning of the episode this time. He is innocently sulking in his apartment, munching on microwave popcorn and watching WE. His depressing night is thankfully interrupted by one of those pesky visions. A sickly man in a hospital gown comes out of the TV and begs our reluctant prophet to help him. Wow, only four episodes in and already the visions have been reduced to that. So much for any semblance of creativity. "Help me Eli Stone, you're my only hope." Where have we heard that one before?
What follows is a very convoluted storyline which involves Eli meeting the man from his vision. The dude happens to be one of his brother's (Matt Letscher
) patients named Jake McCann (Chris Diamantopoulos
). Poor Jake spent the past five years of his life in a coma, during which time his wife divorced him and proceeded to marry his best friend. Oh, and the two of them took over Jake's company. Their rationale? They thought he would never wake up. It's just like that movie "While You Were Sleeping
." Ok, so it's not really like that…it's actually much less interesting.
So Eli decides that the best way to get Jake his company back is to contest the annulment. That leads to a good five minutes of every major (and minor) character chastising Eli for "suing God." Because the defendant is a priest, get it? Yeah, hilarious. For some reason, Eli once again recruits Maggie (Julie Gonzalo
) to assist him, even though he hates her almost as much as the audience does. She is probably the worst on screen lawyer since Eugene Levy's
character in the 1980s film "Armed and Dangerous
." At least Eugene was entertaining.
Are we supposed to care?
The case continues, and as he gets to know Jake a little better, Eli begins to see parallels between Jake's life and his own situation with Taylor (Natasha Henstridge
). He has second thoughts about his decision to break up with her. She comes by his place to get some of her things and the two share a stilted and unconvincing heart-to-heart. They appear to make up, and she spends the night at his place! How touching.
In the end, Jake decides just to accept the cash settlement and let his wife and company go. Eli is convinced that there is something still wrong with Jake (because the visions persist) but big bro Nate says that Jake is fine. And Nate's the doc, so he knows best. Jake proceeds to drop dead. Whoops.
This leads big bro Nate into a crisis of sorts, so he gets really TV drunk and shows up at Eli's apartment. What does TV drunk mean? Basically it means that in a single scene a character constantly slips in and out of drunkenness depending on what is convenient to the plot. Gotta love how people on TV can instantly sober up, only to relapse into sloppy drunkenness seconds later.
James Avery alert!
The subplot this week was marginally more interesting, but only because we got to see Jordan (Victor Garber
) going all Jack Bristow in the courtroom. Plus, his client was played by James Avery! Unfortunately, the case itself was pretty uneventful. A hotshot black lawyer sued James Avery's character for racial discrimination. Maybe the fact that one black man was suing another was supposed to be innovative and controversial, but it really wasn't. It's been done before guys. Aside from Victor Garber and James Avery, it was painfully dull.
ABC's non-prescription sleep aid
"Eli Stone" got off to a mediocre start and things are only getting worse from there. The storylines are hackneyed, repetitive and tiresome. The characters are paper thin and the supporting cast is still way underutilized, especially Dr. Chen. It seems like James Saito
picks up a paycheck for about 30 seconds of screen time each episode. Even the musical number in this week's episode was sub par. Can't wait to see what happens next week.
What did you think about this week's episode? Love the series or hate it? Comment!
Story by Derek Krebs
Starpulse contributing writer