Tuesday, February 28, 2006

TV REVIEW: Medium: "Sweet Child O'Mine"

With the winter Olympics done, Medium returned to the NBC schedule last night with a solid, if not inspired episode, "Sweet Child O'Mine." This was the first time I watched the series and felt I had a good sense of where the story was headed, and what the resolution would be. And, I turned out to be right.

Which is a shame, because this is a fun, well-written, splendidly-acted series that I've admired up until now. Last night's segment just felt a tad...rote.

Here's the story: Our favorite psychic, Allison DuBois awakes from a bad dream about the baby she and Joe lost (in a miscarriage) fifteen years earlier. She dreams of him as a fifteen-year old boy, named Brian. Disturbed, she gets out of bed early and heads to the Coffee Palace, only to find out that the store manager, Kristin Morehouse, has been brutally murdered. All signs point back to a fifteen year old boy who - you guessed it - is a dead ringer for Brian in Allison's dream. Only here he's Jessie Andrews, son of a single mother and obstetrician. His shoe prints are found in the victim's blood at the coffee shop, but - feeling ilke a protective mom - Allison follows the twists and the turns in the case in hopes of proving the boy's innocence.

The solution to the mystery in this episode of Medium, penned by Moira Kirland and directed by Perry Lang, is one that avid series watchers will spot from a mile away. That said, I still enjoyed how the episode (and indeed, many installments) deal with Allison's ongoing crisis. Sometimes - as is the case here - her emotions as a mother and as a human being conflict with her duties as a law enforcement official. The decision she makes in this episode is the right one, though it costs her on a personal level. There's what the law demands, and what "feels" right, but as an officer on the prosecutor's team, she must follow the law.

Medium's "B" plot, about Bridget adopting a sick, twelve year old dog named Angus was also touching, and it gave Joe something to do in the episode besides obsess over Allison, but even this family crisis felt a little routine. Yes, it was sweet and diverting (and I'm a sucker for stories about dogs and cats..), but I felt like the series had been on this terrain before.

Medium's been a great series so far. I haven't felt that persistent "hardening of the arteries" yet, that moment where the formula is so cemented that everybody appears to be flying on automatic pilot, on a pre-programmed, pre-ordained course. This less-than-brilliant episode was hopefully just an anomaly. Let's hope next week's episode is better...

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