VGHS: S02E04 (2013)

I’m starting to find the opening scenes of VGHS to be very stilted. I understand there is a need to get the major plot line for that episode out as soon as possible, but it is really lacking the engagement. Somewhere between the gun fights and action, to the attempt of storytelling interest in the characters are lacking.

And I’ve spoken about this before. It really falls into the notion of “I’m not really sure where this series is heading”. There is a continual lack of need to root for a character, a need for me to return each episode (apart from paying money for it and reviewing it), and most importantly a feeling of immersion into the world of VGHS. The longer the series goes on, and I know we’re only up to season 2, the more I feel we are falling into the Scrubs season 9 period. The moment that Chuck and Sarah (from the television show Chuck) actually got together, when we realised that How I Met Your Mother was dragging on well beyond belief, or like that time we all imagined Indiana Jones found aliens (like that ever will happen!). I’m really in a rut of immersion with this season and hopefully the ending of this episode holds some promise.

But back to the episode in itself, there were parts that were great and others that were a complete miss. I’m loving the drift scenes – even in the kindergarten setting. Ethan Newberry is absolutely hilarious, while Ted (played by Jimmy Wong) is perfect at playing the child. “I stole Soda Pop for you guys, I beat The Duchess. And all my friends have one and I want one!” guy had me beside myself. Anything I see in their presence is like the cast and crew were actually having fun. It emits out of the scenes. But not only that, but the visuals match the setting. It looks like a kids show, it is prop filled, the shots are inviting and not intimidating. It feels natural.

This is opposed to the blowing up of the bomb disarming (around 3:14 of the episode) where an extra wide angle is used to frame Brian (played by Josh Blaylock). Contrary, the following shots of him are tighter, but when Jumpin’ Jack (played by Joey Scoma) makes his arm movements in detest of Brian the shot that follows is wide and out of sync. It’s jarring, and easily fixed. The editors and directors would have known about this yet no one fixed it.

It is as if everything that doesn’t have the main characters in the frame is seamless, but the ones which don’t are more rough. Granted that the ratio to each main-to-sub actor on screen time is drastically different, I would have thought the execution would be top level.

What I can’t get enough from this episode is the soundtrack. Excellent.

The drift “fun times”, the comedy with bomb diffusing, and general suspense builds (not to mention the magical montage of Shane Pizza – played by Chase Williamson). The feeling it brought to this episode over previous ones allowed me to continue and enjoy it.