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'Eli Stone' Recap: George Michael Comes to Town

3/28/2008 9:03am EDT
George MichaelEli Stone (Jonny Lee Miller) has had a rough couple of weeks. He was demoted at work, broke up with Taylor (Natasha Henstridge), and effectively pushed away nearly everyone else who was close to him. Oh, and he also decided that he would have surgery to remove that pesky aneurysm, only to discover that the side effects of such a procedure could be disastrous, if not fatal. Sad times in Eli land.

Enter George Michael.

Lawyers get star struck too

George has oft-appeared in Eli's past visions, usually leading Eli to make ethical (if somewhat crazy) choices. So it is understandable that when Michael walks into Eli's office, Mr. Stone believes that he is in the midst of yet another wacky vision. That, however, is not the case.

The George Michael that visits him is not a figment of his imagination, but rather the actual flesh and blood human being. So what does George want? He wants Eli's help. So what's the case? Well, a high school girl was expelled for playing Michael's "I Want Your Sex" during an abstinence assembly. Michael saw the story and decided that he would hire a lawyer to help her out. And guess how Georgie knew to seek out Eli's assistance? If you guessed dream/vision, you'd be correct. Seems like the spiritual connection between the two men goes both ways.

Eli is joined on the case by an overzealous Jordan (Victor Garber), who conveniently forgets that he effectively cut Eli out of his life weeks before. He has a good reason for doing so, and if you guessed it is so he can work on his idol's case, then you would be correct. Yes, his hero is George Michael. Could be a lot worse. Jordan's not-too-secret obsession with the pop legend provides some humorous moments early on, and it is nice to see Victor Garber display his flair for comedy. That is something he hasn't gotten to do very often in the Jordan Wethersby role. Hopefully that will change in future episodes.

The case itself is the least interesting part of the plot. The young girl in question apparently felt the need to protest her high school's government mandated "abstinence only" sex education because it scared her peers away from using contraception. So, she decided to air her grievances by playing "I Want Your Sex" over the PA system. Seems rational.

Ethan Phillips sighting!

The one upside to the courtroom scenes is that the school principal is portrayed by none other than Ethan Phillips. It's good to see the quirky character actor, most famous for playing Neelix in "Star Trek: Voyager," back on the small screen. Come to think of it, the guest stars so far (including such favorites as James Avery, Tom Cavanagh, Phillips and of course, George Michael) have been a whole lot more interesting than the regulars. All in favor of jettisoning Chen (James Saito) and Maggie (Julie Gonzalo) in favor of Ethan Phillips and George Michael, say aye. AYE!

Boring subplot alert!

Meanwhile, Taylor and Dowd (Sam Jaeger) pair up for an uninteresting and ludicrous case of their very own. Their case involves a crotchety and selfish judge who is suffering from leukemia. He is trying to get the state to force his estranged son, whom he hasn't spoken to in 19 years, to provide him with bone marrow. As a judge, he should know better than to waste his time and money on such a fruitless endeavor. Alas, he apparently does not.

The trial scenes for this B-plot are sleep-inducing; even more so than Eli's case (although they do feature yet another awesome guest star in Clare Carey). In fact, it seems like the entire subplot exists for two distinct reasons. 1) the A-plot was running short and 2) the writers needed to find a way for Taylor and Dowd to spend some time together, thus justifying their drunken hookup later on in the episode. Mission accomplished.

Love & Humiliation

Eli might be finding love as well. Frequently absent series regular Beth (Laura Benanti) shows up and goes out to dinner with our main man Stone. The meal starts out pleasantly enough, but quickly progresses to painfully awkward when Eli labels it "a date" and Beth quickly corrects him, saying that she has actually been dating his big bro Nate (Matt Letscher) for the past two months. Whoops. Looks like big bro forgot to disclose that tidbit to little bro. Obviously, Eli is not thrilled with the humiliation, and a fight between the brothers ensues.

Fear not, loyal "Eli Stone" viewers, for the fight doesn't last long. The brothers do make up, which is good because big bro is about the only person Eli has left in his life. They almost immediately resume discussing the hazards of Eli's potential operation. A procedure that he ultimately decides to move forward with. That should be interesting. No really, it seriously should be.

Final Thought (that isn't trademarked by Jerry Springer, is it?)

"I Want Your Sex," (the episode title, not the song) featured two boring cases, and yet it still managed to be an overall satisfying hour of television. How is that, you ask? Well, perhaps it is because the series is finally beginning to delve (slightly) deeper into the characters' personal lives, and caring about characters (or at least having them approach a 3rd dimension) is always important. So bravo, "Eli Stone," and congrats for venturing into the upper echelon of the mediocre category, making that long day's journey into "decent."

What did you think of George Michael's guest appearance? Feelings about the Dowd/Taylor encounter? Happy to see Victor Garber's comedic side? We won't know unless you comment!

Story by Derek Krebs
Starpulse contributing writer

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