Apr 2, 2009

Wildfire: I do not understand why I like this season so much.

2.9: Breakdown

So, how wrong do you think this episode can get? All sorts of potentially awful things could happen in an episode titled "Breakdown," but first let's focus on the best thing first: Gary Stevens getting advice from Ashleigh!

Yes, really. Because Ashleigh is riding Townsend Panther against Wonder in this upcoming race, Whitebrook has enlisted the super powers of jockey Gary Stevens, only he is called Augie and he is somehow not as great as suddenly hot jockey Ashleigh (I don't understand how she's considered "hot" but I guess this is probable because she's only raced in stakes, which in itself is implausible). Because Wonder is annoying, she is not going as well under Augie as she does under Ashleigh, but Ian thinks this is a good thing (Wonder should get used to the rigors of the real world!) while Jean acts surly about Ashleigh picking Dani's horse over Wonder. Ashleigh, naturally, has said nothing about why she's riding Panther in the first place.

Moving on to the Panther/Dani/Mike dynamic, Panther has a stone bruise! Mike is considering scratching, but Dani insists that she still wants to run, so Mike works up some horse healing magic and Panther is okay to race all of a sudden. Mike still looks sick about it, and naturally he doesn't tell Ashleigh about his doubts.

Now to Brad, who is now in serious financial distress. He's got bills and an eviction notice to handle, so how lucky it is for him to have Bobby show up out of nowhere, eager to right his past wrongs and be friends again. Brad immediately launches this bet on the race at Bobby, telling him he'll use his club as collateral. Brad will bet on Panther and Ashleigh, Bobby on Wonder and Gary Stevens (clearly the better bet, but then we the viewers have inside knowledge and LOGIC on our side). Bobby acts hurt and says he just wanted to go get a beer. Man, Brad, why did you have to hurt the bookie's feelings like that? Well, Bobby eventually takes the bet anyway, and now to the race!

New silks for everyone! Whitebrook is now in pale purple, and Townsend Acres is in yellow. So, I realize that they probably just scroll through race footage and snag what race they want to use, changing silks up accordingly, but this is annoying me. The race plays out as expected: Ashleigh and Panther eat dirt. Wonder tears a chunk out of her hoof, has to leap over Ashleigh, and maybe comes in second or something. In any event, the race footage they used shows both horses losing by a massive margin anyway. Wonder will be okay, but Panther has broken his canon bone.

Dani immediately blames Ashleigh, Ashleigh and Mike blame themselves, then everyone has an awkward moment with Bobby as he comes to claim his club and tries to be super nice, but sort of awesomely fails. ("I didn't want to shoot you, Mike! I was in a really bad place at the time!")

So there's an inquiry, and Ashleigh is called in to "testify" about the race. She is told that if she is held accountable for the breakdown, she will have her license "revoked" for maybe a year. I laughed out loud at this. I think the only way a jockey can get their license revoked is if they blatantly fix a race or decide they'd like to get smashed before the race and then cause a massive wreck. Amusingly, they actually go to what looks like a courtroom and Ashleigh has a fit in front of the panel of whoevers, indicating that she's a horse story main character! She and Wonder have gone through so much and she was worried something was wrong with her and why can't they understand her turmoil? Maybe it was totally her fault because she looked back! (Note: in the race, she's too busy falling to look back.) She is sure her license will be revoked, but it isn't. She still feels guilty, but she shouldn't. Mike tells her so, because he knows the truth! Panther was drugged!

I guess you can have slight levels of bute in a horse's system depending on what state you're racing in, and Panther had a legal amount of bute in his. Mike is shocked by this development and rushes to Dani so he can quit in an outrage. Dani becomes suitably angry about this, because like hell she gave Panther the bute. So she goes to Clay, accuses him, and he says, "Ha ha! You're right!" But he's too busy getting drunk, avoiding phone calls, and muttering about his potentially serious financial problems to care much about Panther. Dani will just have to care by herself!

Then Brad's car is impounded, he is also evicted, so he walks to Whitebrook and sleeps with Ashleigh in Wonder's stall. On separate cots, which totally disappointed me. They spend the night pretending to sleep and taking turns staring at each other through Wonder's legs.

So I liked this episode. I have liked mostly all of the season two episodes so far. Although I could really do without the Ashleigh/Chad romance, because it's not interesting and clearly a ploy to make Brad jealous and emo. It is not pleasing.

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