Review(s): Being Erica, Episodes 6, 7, 8

I wanted to freeze Erica saying "Shazam!" after taking Julianne to her apartment, but that was impossible.

Why is this coffee being poured so hard that most of it is flying away?

I’ve been busy lately, so I fell behind on my Being Erica reviews. Apologies, readers. Instead of writing each one up individually, I want to talk about these as a group of episodes that have really responded to my problems with this season. They’ve all explored the mythology of the doctors and how Erica’s journey to become one is going to affect her life, which is the most interesting aspect of the show, and simultaneously the one that sets it apart from other shows about people having and ending relationships, friendships, etc. More after the break.

“If I Could Turn Back Time” deals with giving Erica almost-free reign with time travel/manipulating time and space powers. The structure reminds me of the Buffy episode “Earshot,” wherein she develops the ability to hear people’s thoughts. Brief summary: starts off using it for comedy (some choice quotes here), then over the course of the episode shows the way that having abilities and abusing them can hurt the people around you.

This is essentially what happens in “If I Could Turn Back Time,” which ends with Adam breaking up with Erica again, because she messed with his life, abusing her power. It’s a necessary lesson to teach when training people to be magic time traveling therapists, and the more Being Erica shows of that intriguing journey from patient to doctor, the better. Also, Adam was boring (in further comparison to Buffy, Adam on that show also was boring).

This episode shows the downside not only of abusing one’s powers, but also of being a Doctor. We see it two episodes later, in “Please, Please Tell Me Know” (or is it “…Now”? IMDB and other sites have it as Know, but seems awfully typo-ish), when Dr. Tom is out with his newest ladyfriend and runs into Adam. Unable to tell her what he does, Dr. Tom is risking alienating Amanda for a second time. The same thing could happen to Erica, and is foreshadowed by Erica revealing her desire to tell Julianne, or anyone, for that matter, about her secret double life as a time traveler.

Awkward

Purposefully captured extremely awkward look

Let’s move on now to discussing “Being Ethan” and “Please, Please Tell Me Know” (ugh). “Being Ethan” focuses on Erica’s past, and the latter on her future (and a visit from Future Dr. Erica, who has weird Future hair!). Ethan is not a character that I like. I never understood why he and Erica were such good friends, while her connection with her other friends, completely absent this season, was always easy to understand. Regardless, this episode didn’t work as well as the other two in this trilogy of doctor-learning. It went back to the structure of the early episodes, where Erica helps someone, and everything turns out super-happy, because a couple chats with Erica make Ethan see the error of his ways and go back to his girlfriend.

It did feature Erica air-strangling Emmett, which was gold, but the rest of the episode played out predictably, and I don’t have much else to say on the subject.

Grrrr, Karpluk angry!

Grrrr, Karpluk angry!

“Please, Please Tell Me Know” took a different turn, abandoning any kind of typical episode structure for full-out wackiness. We learn some really confusing things about timelines, revisit the “Erica dies in the future” plot to good effect, and see more of Brent and Julianne’s blossoming love. I enjoyed the episode focusing on another element of how doctor-training/being involved in time travel can affect your life. Erica thinks she knows when she will die, and panics, causing trouble at work and in her personal life. It was disconcerting, though, that this is only affecting Erica now. She’s known about it for a while, so it seems artificial she is only reacting negatively to it now. In any case, that plot winds down in this episode, so it’s likely the last we’ll hear of Erica-dies-in-the-future for now.

Future Erica comes out of left field, as I think most new elements of doctor training have. It’s thrust upon Erica with little explanation, just like when she first started the therapy, entered group therapy, and then finally told she was being trained. This works for the show; dwelling too long on the full-on craziness of multiple timelines for too long would likely drag down the show, just as when Lost really took the time to answer questions, the answers were never as fun as the questions.

There was no new episode this week, so let’s hope next week continues the mostly-solid streak of these three episodes.

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