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29 June 2014 @ 09:37 pm
Rewatched "Black Buddha, Part 1" (s3e01)  
Over a leisurely dinner tonight, eaten in my comfy chair before the 40" television that I purchased late last summer (replacing my 15-year-old 13"), I watched "Black Buddha, Part 1" straight through, all the way through, even the Vudu scenes, for what may be the first time in years. I'm afraid that I generally dip in and out of third season for canon references (and Urs) only; it's first season that I rewatch endlessly for sheer joy in the stories and characters. Tonight, I wavered between aching nostalgia for how good the episode seemed to me the very first time that I saw it, on the USA network, before I knew better (so to speak), and how, now, still... third season hurts. (Good golly, Mr. Parriot! Poke, poke, poke. So many lines, pokes! at your characters, at us, at yourself... if only you hadn't been the one to write/rewrite/dictate the season premiere and finale.)

That all aside, this is the very first time that I've ever seen BB1 on such a large screen, and wow! so many details of props, costuming and sets are visible at this scale! Amazing! I can distinguish individual tattoos on the Raven patrons! (Look down that woman's blouse. Is it a serpent or a dragon?) Some prompts and sets that looked entirely real on a small screen are obviously mock-ups at this size, but it only makes FK look the more like stage theater, an implication that happily emphasizes the actors' good work.

At this size, I noticed something for the very first time that probably the rest of you have known all along. Gillian Vanderburgh, the woman who plays Karen, the murdered flight attendant in BB1, is the same person who portrayed Marilyn, the murdered doctor in first-season's "Last Act." Neat! Usually, FK recycled actors between flashbacks and the present, lending weight to reincarnation constructions; it's a more select company that plays multiple roles in the same time period. ;-)

Unrelated to size, I must note one more time that it's either significant or ludicrous that the Inca questions Tracy in a language she very probably doesn't speak. (Either he meant his words for another listener, presumably Vachon, or he really wasn't interested in gaining answers, or he was operating under some misinformation or stress. Or he's an idiot.) And it's amusing through and through to my proofreading heart that they fixed that subtitle (where it originally mistranslated "evaded" as "invaded") in such a way that there's now conspicuously an extra space where the extra letter originally went.

And the ambiguities of the opening "flashback" scene struck me as keenly as ever. Not only does it so very improbably begin with Erica's doll Catherine ("Last Act"), and not only does Nick wake up from it as a nightmare (rather than experiencing it as a waking flashback), a later scene (itself a waking flashback) puts him and Claire at that very same railing when she forwardly slits her wrist and offers it to him... and he takes it. It's entirely sensible to interpret that initial scene as exactly the nightmare it appears! Constructed out of a mish-mash of memory, desire and guilt (and perhaps even conjured by the cursed statue itself if Nick's interpretation that Schanke and Cohen's deaths are the action of the curse as his wish, his cure, draws close, were considered plausible). Otherwise, to interpret that Nick indeed sank his fangs into Claire's neck and murdered her, you must not only rationalize Erica's doll, you must reject the previous canon that Nick hadn't killed in a century (cf. "Cherry Blossoms") and Nick's own interpretation of his self-imposed code (cf. "Love You to Death)... and why would you want to do that?

No, wait, you don't have to tell me! I know the answers, oh people of other factions! Honest! Go ahead and interpret all the "dark" you like! :-)

I'm just saying that it makes me, personally, very happy (and happily nostalgic) to revisit, with evidence, my preferred interpretation that Nick didn't bite Claire, and that the both utterly wretched and unwatchable and yet actually clever and under-appreciated "Outside the Lines" is the one and only can't-explain-away exception to Nick's vow to not murder a human as a vampire since he murdered Sylvaine ("Love You to Death").

~laughing at myself~

I do ♥ FK. And I ♥ being a Knightie. Even in third season. :-) I wonder whether I can fit in "The Black Buddha, Part 2" before bed?

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chelseagirlchelseagirl on June 30th, 2014 09:54 am (UTC)
Re. it looking like a play: I was at a friend's house this weekend and on her very large HDTV, everything looked like a stage set.

Funny thing was, I'd completely forgotten, our current tv is also HD. And both are Samsungs. But somehow I don't get that feeling from ours. Which is 32", so maybe size does matter?
Amy R.: Trio Vachon's Crewbrightknightie on July 3rd, 2014 03:54 pm (UTC)
Yes, I imagine that there's a size threshold for the relative perceived reality of sets on productions originally created in an era of smaller screens. I don't seem to notice it on shows filmed today, though... and I don't so much notice it on first-season FK, either (they were largely using real sites as sets, of course).
greerwatsongreerwatson on June 30th, 2014 12:18 pm (UTC)
"it's either significant or ludicrous that the Inca questions Tracy in a language she very probably doesn't speak"

Too true. But then, this is a guy who apparently feels the need to fly up in the air with a bomb that then blows him up. With his vampire strength, he could probably have thrown it that far!

(I was never tempted to be an INCArnate.)
Amy R.: Trio Vachon's Crewbrightknightie on July 3rd, 2014 03:57 pm (UTC)
The Inca does seem to me to fall short of really serving the larger story. Killing him off at the end of the premiere was taking the DK1/DK2|BB1/BB2 parallel impractically far, I think.
PJ1228pj1228 on July 1st, 2014 05:29 pm (UTC)
>No, wait, you don't have to tell me! I know the answers, oh people of other factions!<

You know me well. :) So I will indeed keep quiet.;)

~

About the recycled actress, now that you mentioned it, I'm not sure if I noticed it before. If so, it slipped my mind. Well observed!
Amy R.: Trio Vachon's Crewbrightknightie on July 3rd, 2014 04:03 pm (UTC)
;-) You play with your toys, and I'll play with mine. ;-)

My best friend is a quilter and not an FK fan (although she has watched a few episodes over the years to humor me). She asked me this week whether I might like to help her design an FK-themed quilt as a gift for myself, and then what an FK-themed color scheme should be. (Very, very generous and thoughtful of her!) Her color scheme question made me laugh, because of course that's kind of how FK fandom interactions run: we're all looking at the same pattern made of the same symbols, but in entirely different color combinations. :-)
PJ1228pj1228 on July 1st, 2014 05:32 pm (UTC)
Voodoo Black Magic
By the way, is anything known about the song that plays from the music boxes? Was it particularly written for the show? I always liked that song, but could never find a soundfile or CD or anything.
Amy R.: Trio Vachon's Crewbrightknightie on July 3rd, 2014 04:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Voodoo Black Magic
I don't know. I'm afraid that I just don't remember, although I know that people have asked the question before. Sorry!

I've always presumed that the song was not original simply because it didn't appear on the second soundtrack by Fred Mollin. I thought that if it were his, it would be on the album. Of course, Urs's song from "Hearts of Darkness" isn't on the album, either.
Amy R.: Musicbrightknightie on July 6th, 2014 09:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Voodoo Black Magic
On reflection, I suspect that the BlBu1&2 "Voodoo Black Magic" song was indeed original for FK, as were Urs's honkey-tonk HoD song, Veronica's opera song in the LNMTA flashbacks, and the one male vocal played at the Raven a few times in early third season. (And perhaps something from the "Strings" singer character, too.)

What I'm hypothesizing now is: perhaps none of those songs were Fred Mollin's to use as he liked. I believe that all of the vocals on the two FK albums (except Joanna's song from QoH) are credited to Stan Meissner rather than to Fred Mollin. What if there were copyright issues getting the others, either with Mr. Meissner, or with the assorted singers, or the USA network?

It's most unfortunate about Urs's song, even more than about the black-magic song, in my opinion. I have an old WAV file of it, but a high-quality rendition on an album would have been a treat.