Jul 29, 2009

Wildfire: Today we bring this freak show to an end.

3.13: So Long Pardner

The Good:

+ Hey, look! Jean/Ian interaction that seems to indicate actual attraction! Well, at least they're planting the seed now instead of springing it on us halfway through season four. (+1)

+ Awesomely enough, Mike goes and buys a horse during his family farm's financial crisis. Even more awesomely, Jean completely flips out and Mike doesn't get it at all. Mike, your denseness is truly amazing. (+1)

+ Initially, I thought this match race would occur at the actual racetrack Omar owns and runs pretty much out of the blue. How naive of me! Naturally it wouldn't be at the racetrack. It would be a ten mile cross country adventure over rocky terrain "with no rules" and a two million dollar winner takes all purse at stake. This actually doesn't shock me that much. What does shock me is Mike's hesitancy about it, his ultimate refusal to go along with it, and my being in complete agreement. This feels wrong. So, so wrong. (+4)

+ Townsend family bonding! Clay and Dani have a moment about how she is substituting grief and anger. Dani looks like she wants to throw something at him and hug him at the same time. Clay is all hardcore awesome with the parenting skills. This is why I love the Townsends, you guys. (+5)

+ At the match race event, of course Omar brings a silver case filled with cash with him. Of course he does. (+2)

+ When Ashleigh rides up to Jean after the match race and hands her the case, Jean tosses the money in the dirt. This receives five points despite being totally predictable (+5). It's the look on Ashleigh's face that I will always cherish. (+10)

+ Even better, Ian decides to take Wonder to Townsend Acres because being far from Ashleigh and Whitebrook Farm is obviously in the best interest of her welfare. (+10)

+ California Racing Board rolls up and charges Whitebrook with a crime. Ah, this is like major stress relief after being so frustrated with these people for so long. (+5)

+ Ashleigh takes the fall for Whitebrook, as well she should because she kind of, you know, took the horse without telling anyone and raced the horse illegally and it is totally her fault and she deserves her suspension. I am thrilled to bits! To bits, I say! (+10)

+ Jean kicks Ashleigh off the farm. Ashleigh is doomed to hitchhike the California highway system for the remainder of the episode. (+3)

The Good: 56

The Bad:

- The episode starts out with Mike and Ashleigh in bed, which I found squicky. (-5)

- THE MATCH RACE, OMG. Yes, this is Wildfire. I am surprised this didn't involve riding through hoops of fire. But, come on. Really? Really? On top of which, there is no reason for Dani to really be interested in running Townsend Prince in this thing. They try to set this up as if she has to so Omar will fund her "special projects," of which we know nothing other than one of them is very probably a hotel, to which I have to say when the fuck has she ever been interested in anything other than Townsend Acres? The race itself never should have gotten past the ridiculous concept stage, and there was a lot of stretching to make it work. (-10)

- Want to keep your failing ranch so your miserable son can suck harder at management? Sell some worthless land! At least, this is Mike's idea. What is 25 acres of rocky, forested land they can't use? Shockingly, I'm kind of again on Mike's side here. Sell the damn land. It's kind of better than selling all your horses, Jean. I'm going to have to subtract points because I'm tired of agreeing with Mike in this episode. (-3)

- Oh, good. Ashleigh's reason to go with the match race is because she is tired of Jean and Mike fighting because it reminds her of her mother. This is a really weird line of thought. I'm going to subtract a point because I'm getting tired of her constantly drawing parallels. I understand that you're traumatized, Ashleigh. It's time to get over it. (-1)

- "A mile and a quarter really isn't her best distance." I admit that I laughed loudly at this. (-1)

- So, Ashleigh wants to risk Wonder's life on this race why? Dani and Mike both back out of the race, leaving Brad to surreptitiously sneak in Townsend Prince because he has issues and Ashleigh to sneak Wonder in because she also has issues. And she is willing to whore herself and her horse out at various stages in this series, so it sort of makes sense to a certain degree. Still, it seems outside of her character to totally disregard the danger to the horse she claims to put before everything as she hides behind her "we can do anything" speech. Her character really took a nosedive this year. No wonder she wound up with Mike. Ugh. (-10)

- Dani is forced to take the fall for Brad's decision to run Townsend Prince in this stupid race, and her license is revoked, and Brad is forced to take her place in the farm. Something I'm not all too sure he even wanted in the first place. His motivation to go ahead with this match race is not so clean cut. Mainly, it seems like he does it because he wants to beat Ashleigh and gain more responsibility with the farm...somehow. I'm not sure how that was supposed to work. (-1)

- Jean sells the horses at the very end of the episode and Mike's first response to his mother, as she sits there broken and crying, is: "You sold the horses without asking me?" To which she should have responded, "Oh, fuck you." But she doesn't say that, because he is her son and she is required to love him. That poor, poor woman. (-5)

The Bad: 36

56 - 36 = 20

1. Fairy Tale Endings: 16
2. The Feud: 4
3. Moving On: 10
4. Close to Home: 42
5. Love vs. Work: 20
6. Kiss Kiss: 16
7. Push Me/Pull You: -20
8. The Goodbye: -3
9. Heartless: 40
10. Diplomacy: 29
11. You Can't Count on Me: 21
12. Picking Sides: 0
13. So Long Pardner: 20
Total: 195

I don't know what that number signifies! Oh well.

My final thoughts on this season seem to revolve around Ashleigh's total destruction. I believe this was intentional, given Ian telling her in this episode that she's basically no better than the convict everyone else thought she was. Normally, I have no problems with dragging Ashleigh's character down to a manageable level. I actually quite like the idea of someone knocking her over and then kicking her while she's down (particularly in Thoroughbred fandom, which anyone who knows me can probably testify to). I love it when she's down. Love, love, love! The thing is, this show goes about it the wrong way. Sure, she does everything in the name of saving her adoptive family and Whitebrook, and that's admirable, but she's doing it in a way that makes her character unsympathetic. I wanted to see her destroyed at the end of this season. And...the show came through on that end. Thank you, show! I guess you got what you were aiming for? Well, whatever.

Oh, here's a question for you jumping fanatics out there. Is it possible to cut three strides before an oxer? Please let me know, because I pondered this for a while after Samantha said it with enough zeal to make it sound suspiciously impossible.


Anonymous said...

What's meant by "cut three strides"? If it's what I'm guessing--put three fewer strides into the line than it was measured for--then. Um. No. That would be suicidal, unless the line was long enough to not actually be a related distance at all, in which case the striding is meaningless.

Anonymous said...

I was so glad that Ashleigh got the kick in the ass she'd had coming to her all season.

Mara said...

I haven't a clue about the actual context, as it was mentioned in passing. I just sort of imagined the most insane scenario and chose that one, which wound up sounding pretty damn suicidal to me. I just wanted a second opinion. Thanks!