Friday, December 14, 2012


Episode 9: The Things We Do For Love
By: Carlos Uribe

90210 is a show about wealthy kids who do business and go to college in the zip. Or something.

Spoilers Ahoy!

It's true that everything was predictable in this episode of 90210. Once the series revealed that Vanessa was predictably alive, it was obvious that she's the one who has been trying to blackmail Liam. When Liam's security guard got a tattoo of him, it was obvious that she was going to do something like kidnap and hold him hostage. These are all obvious plot threads that the show set up. Just because I could see everything happening a mile away didn't mean that it wasn't exciting to actually watch. The audience should have been ahead of every plot turn but it was still entertaining to see them unfold. This does mean there was no legitimate twist when at least oen should have presented itself. The cliff-hanger ending of Liam being held hostage in the basement of the Offshore while Vanessa and Annie are arguing on top him carried enough narrative momentum to make me want to watch the rest of the plot unfold. Do I expect to be surprised? Not really. The show tends to telegraph it's twists because it's terrible at foreshadowing but that doesn't mean see the plot unfold is going to be dull. 90210 is kind of like the friend who states the same old jokes every single time but manages to stay funny regardless. Actually, I don't think anyone has a friend like that. So imagine if you had a friend who didn't have any new material but kept landing the punchlines to the jokes he does have.

Annie wasn't just helping Liam with his Vanessa problem but she's predictably failing in her current relationship with Riley. She's going to try and be a writer now and she wants to go to Scotland for a writing program. This creates conflict with Riley because she decides to go away for a long time without taking him into considering. Kind of like when Liam decided to go fishing instead of college without involving Annie in his decision-making. Riley is angry because he thinks that the reason she didn't invite him is because of his wheelchair. It's a conflict that felt like it was generated because Annie needs to have relationship issues. Since the series hopefully knows that Annie's writing career is not going to make for interesting drama, that generally leaves her current romance with Riley as the only source of conflict. It's just a pity that Riley is so defined by his wheelchair that he automatically blames it on all the problems that come up between the two of them. So much so that Riley decides to have an experimental surgery that might lead to his death just so that he can be normal and be with Annie. That seems to kind of defeat the whole purpose of his character and every single thing that he stands for but the desire does make sense. He might act like his wheelchair doesn't matter but it practically defines his entire existence as a character. It very much matters.

Annie might be having relationship problems but her brother is starting a relationship. He very rapidly gets over his break-up with Adrianna as he starts to think of the girl from group therapy as something more than a friend. You remember her right? The girl whose father had crashed his truck into Dixon's car. It really is like the Jasper situation all over again except in reverse. Anyways, Dixon feels guilty that the girl doesn't know the truth about Dixon's accident and he waits until the end of the episode to tell her. Her reaction is to kiss him. This isn't a bad plot but it does really feel like the show doesn't know what to do with Dixon so it decided to retread an old plot from the second season. The only difference is that his new love interest is a lot prettier and more interesting than Jasper ever was. She's probably just as crazy since this secret turned her on or something. It should come as no surprise that on the mid-season finale of 90210, this was the least interesting plotline of them all.

Do you know what was far more interesting? Silver's baby drama! It was also pretty predictable. Shane obviously has problems with Teddy singing away fatherhood of the baby. So much so that he actually threatens to take this to court. His argument is that Teddy and he plan to have kids one day and they don't want a half-brother out there in the world that these kids won't know. Teddy's motivation is he doesn't want to be an absent father. Silver isn't sold on the idea because she was raised in a split family which made her feel like she didn't really have one. She wants the child's life to be stable and not have to worry about the child visiting Teddy and Shane in Washington D.C. Is it all very predictable? Sure, but the complicated mess is still fun to watch.

Talking about predictable and fun, that also includes Naomi's plot. Max has lost his job and he's trying to figure out what to do next professionally. Alex makes a return to try and get Max to start a new business with him. Naomi isn't too happy with Alex being back in their lives so she tries to find a way to get Max back into his company. That push leads her to discover that it was Alex who had gotten the CEO hired on the promise that she would fire Max. The series then decides to make the receal that Alex is in love with Max. A reveal that the promos had kind-of ruined. Considering that this is a major plot point, I'm not sure it was something that the marketing should have given away. Anyways, the episode ends with Max going to Iceland as he tries to figure out what to do next. This might all be very predictable but it's still fun.

The Things We Do For Love bring 90210 back to the barely entertaining quality level that this season has been able to largely reach. It still has large problems: it's obvious and barely tolerable writing is a major one. Now that the show is able to entertain me on a semi-consistent basis then maybe it can start on throwing in some plot twists that I won't see coming. It did make me excited to see the next episode so it did it's job: I'm definably can't wait to see how all of this predictably resolves itself.

Other Notes:

Why doesn't Annie look at a writing program closer than home? There's literally writing programs across the United States and internationally in places that people would be exicted to actually go. I understand having a once-in-a-life opportunity to study in Italy but Scotland feels like the writers just spun a globe and went with it. No offense to Scotland. I'm sure it's a very lovely country, but it feels very random as a choice.

What makes even less sense is why Max's gaming convention is in Iceland? Are there actual major gaming conventions in Iceland? No, I'm seriously asking because otherwise it really does feel like the writers were picking random spots.

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