dig on usa, episode 5: thoughts.

So, like, if we met up for coffee (in the morning) or a beer (in the evening), and we wanted to talk? And you haven't been watching DIG (on USA!)? I'd have to get up and leave. Not just because you wouldn't be able to understand any of what I was even talking about, but just because: helloooo! You are clearly not even remotely interested in watching good television. And I can't hang out with people who aren't into good TV. I mean, why don't you just say it out loud: you still watch American Idol and you find The Kardashians compelling. Break my heart. Go ahead. But do it quickly, and don't look back. 

I wasn't sure I'd be able to get to write this, because I'm currently in the midst of some family obligations. Fortunately, there is free wifi where I am, my child is addicted to HORRID HENRY (a really ridiculous British cartoon on Netflix that's teaching my child Brit-speak...she's calling grocery store carts "buggies," calling me "mummy," and asking where we'll go on holiday this summer ["We don't go on holiday, M, we're American; we take vacations."] [It's cool! It's fine--anglophilia runs deep in our genetics; I can tell it.], and I was able to find a couple of hours to write in peace.

Where was I? YES! DIG! (on USA.) You guys! This. Show. Is. AMAZING. Every episode gets better and more HOLY SHIT!!!! (sorry for the swear, but seriously. During every show, at some point, I say that out loud). THIS is why, from the get-go, I've said: (a) PAY ATTENTION and (b) watch the WHOLE thing. 

So here are my DIG #5 thoughts (from my notes!):

*The Essene: oh, Mr. Essene, PLEASE be a good guy. You have Avram and the baby cow now, and I will be so so so so so DISGRUNTLED with you if you hurt either of them. 

My favorite scene from this WHOLE show so far: the sweet interaction between Avram and the Croatian girl. I am in deep, deep heart with Avram. What a sweetheart. (If somebody kills Avram, I am going to weep uncontrollably.)

*Peter's chest scar. That should have been the title of this post: PETER'S CHEST SCAR. Do we ever get to find out what it's from, where he got it, why it's there? Was it an old Army wound? Or...(OR!!!!)...FROM A RITUAL?! (That's actually a very serious question: When your brain is on DIG, you consider ALL the options.)

At any rate, dearest Peter: you're cute for an emotionally tortured mess of a human, but your chest scar is gross and ropy, all stringy and fibrous-like. How'd you get that? (I'd tweet Jason Isaacs and ask him directly, because I KNOW he knows. But I also know I'd get silence or a coy response and so, nope.)(But I KNOW it's going to be part of the story. I can feel it in my bones.)

*The beginning's crazy protest scene: exciting but scary traffic jam protest. Honest to God, I JUST sat in one of these last week in Atlanta, but there were no molotov cocktails...so far--it's just a matter of time. 

I loved this scene because we got to see more of who Lynne is--she's a tough cookie, and she will haul off and crack your jaw open if you try to hurt her or her driver. Guess who I want sitting shotgun with me in my next traffic jam? 

(What were they protesting? I don't know if it even matters--the point is: don't be an American diplomat in the middle of a Middle Eastern protest that has molotov cocktails.)

*Emma's hippy friends: OMG, IT'S MY TRIBE!!! (Except...can I share with you how very vanilla I actually am? Once, I smoked pot--key word: ONCE. It was in college, I was backstage with Pantera. Lead singer Phil Anselmo and I shared a joint and had a nice chat--what a sweet guy he was, back in 1990. But I was so scared of drugs--thanks, mom and dad!--that I only took two puffs and didn't inhale, just like Bill Clinton.) (Today, I would inhale...but also, today? I would not hang out with Pantera or Phil Anselmo. Isn't THAT an interesting flip flop?) (I have more! But also part 2: I'm sorry for getting us off task and making this about me--where were we?)

*The Shofar. The peace-love-hippies had a ram's horn bong they shared with Peter, who's clearly done this before. I don't know that that'll be significant in any of the other parts of the story, but I do know that it's called a shofar, and it's blown on both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I think it comes from Abraham--he sacrificed a ram instead of Isaac, and so...now there's a ram's horn in special ceremonies. Here, in this scene, it was used for peace love and tune in/drop out. But traditionally, it's an instrument to mark important events. Or to start spiritual warfare--in the Old Testament, God tells the Israelites to blow it before fighting enemies so He'll know to come to their rescue. (I'm paraphrasing what God actually told the Israelites, of course.)

It's like a bugle, but no pitch ability, except what the blower can do with his/her breath. Jews used it to determine when a new month began--the Sanhedrin (a judicial board of rabbis) would get together in Jerusalem to decide when the new moon would begin, and the horn would be blown. The new moon signified the beginning of a new month (Rosh Chodesh), and it was a really big deal. Special prayers would be said, with a special dance at night by people praying for the new moon. For DIG, this may matter because the Essene told the cow the thing about the moon determining when her destination would be complete. So thus, the introduction of the Shofar/ram's horn in that scene. 

(and thank you, friend E! For all my Jewish tradition research background information! I'm going to convert when this is over...I'll know all the traditions, backgrounds, why's and what for's. And also I'll speak fluent Hebrew and it'll just make sense.)

*The underlying themes--there are many different subplots going on, under the overlying top story arc. YOU HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION. As a short story writer, I'm always on the look out for these; for me, in novels/short stories, I find them usually in the form of themes. And one theme here appears now to be drugs, addictions: Debbie is a former addict, Emma gets high (via video) in this episode, and...was Peter's daughter a drug addict and that's why she was so troubled? Just wondering (out loud). 

*Debbie's escape: Run, Debbie, RUN! She got away! She got AWAY! (This was almost as exciting as Toto's escape from the Wicked Witch!). I also think what Debbie said to the other cult member lady was significant: that Debbie has done things to her body and soul in the past to survive, things she thought she'd been through so God could bring her to Him. 

(Oh, Debs...I SO get you on this. It is true: Sometimes the Universe sends us through the Dark Nights of the Soul so we can better appreciate the brilliance of the daylight when we wake up.) (I'm referencing "Dark Night of the Soul" because it comes from mythologist Joseph Campbell. And Campbell's "The Hero's Journey" is sort of a theme I see running through this show, so I'd like to write about it in connection to this story, but it's too soon to do it right now.)

Nothing more to say about that, really, except that I'm waiting to find out how big a drug-addicted prostitute Debbie was. And why they'd put someone like that in charge of a future High Priest.

*The Emma-Vickie (Peter's daughter) connection. I really loved that they used Kermit the Frog's "Rainbow Connection" to bring those two characters together--so perfect. And given the druggie/hippie thing going on? Super duper perfect. (These are really good writers.)

I think the obvious thing to think is that Emma is Vickie is Emma. But that would be too easy (and maybe it is just that--super easy, they are one and the same. Sometimes the easiest way to hide something is right out in the open). But to be quite frank? I can't figure it out. I've taken notes, I've watched THREE times, and I can't figure out the connection there--Peter is Emma's father? But not. Or maybe! 

I'm going to watch some more--my suspicion is that it has something to do with what's going on with the Joshuas at the compound. That there's a connection THERE. (That compound looks cold and sterile and really science-y. Kinda clone-y. Is what I'm saying.) (It's totally cool if you disagree with me--that's what makes storytelling arguments FUN!)

*Khalid. Who got--and delivered, to his detriment and in spite of a really horrendous gun shot to the knee from that magnificent car chase--the red, final stone. (Everybody sing with Rabbi Lev: "There's no stoppin' us now! Now that we found our way!" by The Supremes.) And then? Khalid was asked to be a human sacrifice. A suicide, human sacrifice. The ultimate in "take one for the team." I am sad about Yusef. He was a cold-blooded killer for God, but he makes me think of those suicide bombers who get brainwashed into thinking they're doing work for God, but in reality they're just furthering some psycho's political, world domination agenda. Alas, poor Yusef! We knew him. He hath borne us on his back a thousand times. (that's all the Shakespeare I'll subject you to in this blog entry. I am done.)

*"He's coming." -Yusef Khalid's last words on Earth, April 2, 2015. 

I think Khalid was referring to the Messiah, because I think that's what the crazy radical group's trying to do--rebuild the Temple, bring forth the Messiah, and incite Armageddon. Not necessarily in that order.

*Lynne-Peter: at first, I was all: no Lynne! don't develop feelings for him, he's a MESS! But after re-watching, I can see: Lynne is one tough cookie. She just shut Peter DOWN. Sharp left hook to a man at the protest in the morning; sharp right hook to man in her condo in the evening. It was busy day for Lynne. (And a sad one.) (I really, really, really LIKE Lynne. I hope she's not in cahoots with anyone and makes it to the end alive.)

Anyway, Peter tried to see Lynne in the hospital, but he had a bad flashback to his daughter's morgue visit and couldn't do it. PTSD. Dammit, Peter. Get help.

What I like most is how dark the scenes can become--Peter is struggling with a lot of traumatic darkness, and it's often reflected in the cinematography. There are themes of death all over this story. This is just a really well-done show, meticulously thought out, in all areas, exquisitely produced.

*The drag queen bar--Brad's Pitt. Julie (drag queen) was Emma's friend. Do you get a sense that Peter's uncomfortable with gay people? I don't know why I keep sensing that. At any rate, if it's true, stop it, Peter! Drag queens rock (I hung out with some in college--they are hysterical and fun and awesome and really really wonderful. And they'll fix your hair and make up for you, and you will LIKE it). I'm just writing about it right now because I loved the clever name of the gay club. Oh, you writers! Go on with your clever selves.

*Professor Margrove! What a frickin' twerp. He was bedding sweet, naive Emma, totally taking advantage of his position of power over her and her naivete and youth. AND he's associated with a nefarious group of ne'er-do-wells, helping them plot the world's destruction. However. I don't think he killed Emma. But I DO think Emma was too good for him. 

*And last (but not least) Peter goes back to the dig site for a head clear in a mikvah. He notices the key symbol on the roof of the cave. He puts the puzzle piece together and then we, the audience, get to see it: The New Mexico Compound--IT'S THE KEY!!!!!! (this was my Holy Shit!!! moment for this show.) 

What a crazy (in a GOOD way) show. Written by big brains, with lots of cautionary tales for the ages, like this: 

Go west, young man (or woman). 

And doooon't take refuge with any cultists in the desert.

Here. Now that you're done reading this, go make your day happy and watch this:

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