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'Eli Stone' Recap: Atonement Ain't Easy

February 29th, 2008 9:28am EST
Eli StoneThe episode begins with a standard "previously on Eli Stone" recap as opposed to the creative, Eli-narrated openings from weeks prior. Too bad, those were pretty much the only interesting component of the show. So anyway, after the generic recap, things start off with Eli (Jonny Lee Miller) and Maggie (Julie Gonzalo) in Hawaii. It doesn't appear to be a very pleasant trip as it takes less than a minute for Maggie to start being obnoxiously annoying. It's going to be a long hour.

After a brief opening scene, the clever writers insert a little time jump, and we go back three days. Eli discovers that a case he had worked five years ago has been reopened. He is reassigned to the case, yet feels conflicted. It was a case argued by the 'Old Eli' and 'New Eli' doesn't particularly approve. Unfortunately, he has no choice but to accept it. But hey, at least he doesn't have to do it alone. Maggie tags along for no particular reason.

Eli vs. Eli

The case concerns a man who was paralyzed after his SUV flipped over. Old Eli successfully defended the car manufacturer five years before, but the case has been reopened for a reason that was not made entirely clear. Eli obviously has misgivings about representing the car company, and Maggie disapproves, but he still goes forward with the case.

So are there any visions this week? You bet. Eli starts seeing surfers and beaches wherever he goes. The surfers lead him into the men's room on two separate occasions. Wait, Eli is led into a public bathroom by half naked men? Seems like George Michael is behind the visions after all. Eli then seeks council with Chen (James Saito), who offers nothing more than a few fortune cookie words of encouragement. Thirty seconds well spent. It's official - James Saito has the easiest job on network TV.

The tension between Old Eli and New Eli continues to build throughout most of the episode, and for a time it looks like Old Eli will win. But that is before the elaborate dance number of the week, this time featuring sassy assistant Patti (Loretta Devine). The spirited performance of George Michael's "One More Try" leads Eli to deduce that Patti knows the whereabouts of a missing witness, who the SUV manufacturer paid to disappear five years before. He departs at once for Hawaii (hmm, guess that's what the visions were trying to tell him). Once again, Maggie tags along. Joy.

Nice reference

In Hawaii, Eli and Maggie locate the witness and record their conversation with him. He admits that the car company covered up reports regarding safety concerns about the SUVs and then bribed him to disappear. The scene in Hawaii also manages to provide the best moment in the episode. After Maggie boasts about her sleuthing abilities, Eli sarcastically refers to her as "Veronica Mars." It was a well deserved shout-out to the dearly beloved series, made all the more relevant because Gonzalo was a regular on "Veronica Mars" last season.

In the end, Eli and Maggie force their client to settle. Case closed. But all is not joyous for New Eli. He is summoned into Jordan's (Victor Garber) office at the end of the episode and informed that the car manufacturer has filed a grievance against him (he sort of had a vision in the courtroom). The client is claiming incompetence. That charge, compiled with documentation of Eli's other recently strange behavior, means that disbarment proceedings are on going to soon follow.

Another subplot!

In keeping with the precedent set in the previous episode, viewers are treated to another minimally entertaining subplot. This time, it involves Dowd (Sam Jaeger) taking a case involving parental rights in a dissolved lesbian relationship. It's amazing that Dowd is actually getting more than two lines in an episode. Wait, who is Dowd again? It doesn't really matter. It's admirable that the writers of "Eli Stone" are finally trying to legitimize the supporting cast, but at this point there just don't seem to be enough viewers left who actually care.

This was probably the best episode yet, despite the lack of both George Michael and Tom Cavanagh. The writers are actually attempting to give most of the cast something to do (except for James Saito of course) and both cases were slightly less straightforward this time around. Still, the series is far from polished (or even good for that matter) and the sheer number of overwhelmingly positive reviews that it has received is astounding. Aside from a few talented actors (who are wasted), "Eli Stone" still seems to have very little to offer.

Anyone out there still watching "Eli Stone?" If so, what do you think?

Story by Derek Krebs
Starpulse contributing writer