Monday, August 7, 2017

REVIEW: 'People of Earth' - Gerry Returns to StarCrossed as a Changed Person in 'Gerry's Return'

TBS' People of Earth - Episode 2.03 "Gerry's Return"

Gerry returns to Earth but Yvonne has a rule about not dating other experiencers, putting their romantic relationship in jeopardy. Gerry returns to StarCrossed, excited to be a full-fledged member. Father Doug and Chelsea go on their first real date - secretly and in another town. Ozzie and Agent Foster make contact with Jonathan Walsh.

Gerry has always been a fascinating character on People of Earth because he was the one person in the group who actually wanted to get abducted by aliens. He actively sought them and tried to be in the right place at the right time in order to be taken. It never worked out for him. He enjoyed his time at StarCrossed but was incredibly obsessed with the prospect of getting abducted. It was only after he stopped trying and the group disbanded that it finally happened. The first season closed with him being beamed up just as Ozzie and Gina learned that everyone else in StarCrossed have been abducted many times over the course of their lives. His story this season has been very entertaining as well. He wanted to be just like everyone else in the group. He wanted to be told that he was special by aliens. And now, his experience is completely different than the rest of theirs simply because the space ship was under new management. He was able to walk freely around the ship and form actually friendships with the aliens. Those interactions have led to some of the funniest moments this season so far. Of course, it was unsustainable for the long haul. Gerry had to return to Earth eventually. And now, he has. The show is once again highlighting how his experience is different than everyone else's.

It's not surprising at all that Gerry has no memory of his abduction. The aliens still have the mind wiping technology to make the humans forget that this traumatic experience has happened to them. The members of StarCrossed know the warning signs to be aware of though. They know that the aliens all largely implant the same cover memories which include deers somehow. Last week's episode ended with Eric the Cube saying he prefers a different method. And now, the show is revealing just how different that really is while still offering some familiarity as well. Largely, it's just fun to see play out. StarCrossed is more than willing to accept that Gerry has finally been abducted. He may feel less than simply because of the knowledge that everyone else has been abducted multiple times. It makes him jealous once more which is a comfortable position in the narrative structure of the show for him. But now, he presents himself as the latest window into the inner workings of the aliens. What the group learns about his experience will inform them of what's going on in the ship out in space. They've only scratched the surface of information so far. They are still only dealing with cover memories. But it's a very exciting time for all of them.

It's an exciting time for the audience as well because we go into the story of this episode having way more information than the characters do. We've actually seen what's been happening to Gerry on the space ship. It's not some big mystery to us. We're just waiting to see how Eric's probe of Gerry's brain is different than the way Jeff and Don do it. The cover memory still has a deer in it. But now, it's just the logo of a trucking company and a mounted head in a cabin in the woods. When Gerry digs into this memory, he still sees Jeff and Don but the interpretation of the characters is vastly different. There is layers to this sequence. Gerry sees Jeff as a completely different person. It allows the show to have Ken Hall appear as a human while still making it clear that it is truly Jeff. He's wearing a disguise that allows him to blend into this memory and make it seem believable. Don stands in contrast to that. Gerry sees Don as the wife of the helpful trucker who brings him nachos. But the audience sees him exactly the same as he's always been. He's still Don. He's not made up to look like a woman in order to deceit Gerry. This makes it seem that the memory fabrication won't hold under intense scrutiny for much longer. Plus, the story soon gets distracted by other ambitions as well.

Gerry and Yvonne's romance was an important subplot throughout the first season. It seemed a little random at first but had a very sweet and loving center to it. They wanted this relationship to work despite the aliens that seemed destined to get in their way. It was significant enough that they were both missing each other in the four days that they were apart. Yvonne was the only person in StarCrossed who was actually worried about where Gerry was. Her expedition to find him didn't lead to any meaningful clues. Meanwhile, he was distracted on the space ship because he kept thinking about Yvonne and wanting to get back to her. And now, the two of them have reunited. Their relationship is different now considering Gerry is an experiencer as well. But there is still the sweet and loving nature of their relationship. Of course, it is now out in the open for everyone to know about. When Gerry is under hypnosis, he talks on and on about having sex with Yvonne. He clearly missed her and thought about her a ton. But it's more important that this is an embarrassing moment for Yvonne as she didn't want the rest of the group to find out like this. It gets in the way of them truly exploring what happened between Gerry and the aliens. It's still quite amusing to watch. Plus, it doesn't get in the way of the two of them reuniting as a couple.

Yvonne may have a rule against dating any other experiencers but she still wants to be with Gerry. That was easy last season when he wasn't actually abducted by aliens. He was just in the group because he wanted to be close to the experience. And now that he has actually had the experience, Yvonne wants to be there for him guiding him back into this human existence. It's a meaningful journey that is still nice to watch. At first, it seems like the no-dating rule of Yvonne's is bound to get in the way of the two simply being happy together. But after everything that happens in the group, Yvonne is willing to admit that she no longer wants the rule to be true because she wants to be with Gerry. She is willing to gamble on love. That's what she wanted to say to him at the diner when he got abducted. She was mad at him for standing her up. She's still mad about that even though he had no control over it. She never wants to be stood up again. But the two of them still sleep with each other once more. And yet, the situation is very precarious as well because of that final tease with Gerry. The new memories aren't the only thing that Eric has altered in his handling of the human subject. Eric the Cube also happens to be proficient in emailing and is able to secretly keep in contact with Gerry. That could be a valuable form of communication between human and alien over the course of the season. However, it mostly just confirms that Gerry may not have full control over his actions. At a certain point in time, he's been ordered to activate. That's an ominous tease for the future. One that promises to tear StarCrossed and everything Gerry loves apart. That's so brutal. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "Gerry's Return" was written by Aaron Shure and directed by Ian Fitzgibbon.
  • Once again, Ozzie finds himself getting close to Jonathan Walsh finally delivering the answers he seeks only for a last minute complication to pull them away. It's proving to be a very familiar pattern this season. Sooner or later, the show will need them to talk with each other. The season can only withhold this information for so long before it becomes annoying.
  • Walsh only bails on his planned meeting with Ozzie because the reptilian assassin has arrived in Beacon. Officer Glimmer warns him about it only after he told the killer where Walsh was because he has crippling gambling debts. That's fun. It's even more hilarious to watch him fake a heart attack in order to avoid getting killed as well. Glimmer can be very smart when he wants to be.
  • There is definitely some kind of sexual tension going on between Ozzie and Agent Foster, right? Or am I just reading into that because they are spending a ton of time together and are being very witty and sarcastic about each other's remarks? It's definitely an amusing pattern - largely because Foster is growing more and more frustrated by the absurdities of this town.
  • Agent Foster is also seen on a website for finding birth parents. It's just a tease of a future story for now. But it seems like something that will prove to be quite fundamental to the audience's understanding of the character. She's an excellent agent for the FBI but she still can't find the one thing she wants more than anything else in the world: her parents.
  • Nancy has fully been rebuilt. The finger in the vacuum cleaner doesn't turn out to be a major problem at all. Agent Foster isn't able to do anything with it. It is able to crawl back to its host and be reconnected. That's important. So is the fact that when Nancy is being fully rebooted she comes back as a proud feminist who no longer needs Walsh doing anything for her.
  • Father Doug and Chelsea go out on their first official date. It's another really charming and sweet dynamic. It largely just proves that they really can't go anywhere without getting noticed. That means that they need to face the unusual perception of their relationship and do things the right way moving forward. 
  • Agent Foster: "Is this normal for you guys? Just sitting in a circle in church and talking about sex?"