With just a few more episodes left in the series, Being Erica finally addressed some sticky issues regarding time travel and hinted at some of the rules of what the whole “doctor” process entails.
Despite addressing the larger mythology questions of the series, this episode had some major missteps. Being Erica has been one of my favourite shows of all time, but I feel this current season has been struggling to live up to the kind of quality I’ve seen in previous seasons in terms of character motivation and narrative cohesion.
The episode opens with a full-on, quite brazen, almost two-minute long commercial for the Ford Focus. It’s almost laughable the way in which the writers try integrating the product placement into the narrative. A salesman (actor or real Ford car salesman? I can’t even tell. So good acting I guess?) pumping up the features of the car while Erica (Erin Karpluk) and Julianne (Reagan Pasternak) sit in the front seat, feigning excitement akin to an infomercial audience. As the opening credits ran, a bitter taste left lingering in mouth. It’s one thing to have product placement peppered throughout an episode (*cough* Tetley Infusions), but this was really too much. Hey, I’m just a blogger, what do I know about how much it costs to produce a high quality TV drama? Obviously the creative team of the show would not opt for this unless it was truly necessary (one would hope), but that doesn’t mean I can’t comment on how sloppily it was tacked in there. (Suggestion: Go full out ala Wayne’s World?) Maybe the writers thought that if it opened the episode, we’d forget about it by the time it ended. (Mission: Unsuccessful) And even if it were the mighty hand of the sponsor, it doesn’t make them look very good either. It was just in poor taste all around. Any marketing students looking for a good example of poor corporate sponsorship, I think you just found your A+.
We also learn that some significant time has passed since the last episode. Erica seems to be completely over Adam (Adam Fergus) and in a full on relationship with Kai (Sebastian Pigott). Adam, meanwhile, has dropped from a starring role to cameo status. His interaction with Dr. Tom (Michael Riley) and rekindled girlfriend (Suzy Joachim), was incredibly awkward, and Dr. Tom’s decision to try and ignore the guy doesn’t make much sense. If we are to understand that Dr. Tom has the same kind of relationship with Adam as he does with Erica (and arguably all of his patients), then why the cold shoulder? Is it simply a matter of wanting to keep his professional life completely separate from his personal life? Or is he just siding with Erica? Hard to say, but I was surprised how quickly the whole Erica/Adam thing was wrapped up and pushed aside.
But the single biggest problem with this episode is the presence of Kai. What the HELL is he still doing in the past? I’m complained about this before, but seriously! Wasn’t this a huge issue throughout the entire second season? Although I’m an advocate for Erica and Kai (I think they have great chemistry etc. etc.) we’ve already established that they can’t be together! He’s from the future! I could go into all the reasons why this isn’t supposed to work, but I don’t have to since the show itself addressed all of them already. We also saw the return of Dewshane Williams’ Dr. Fred (rockin’ Kid’s hairdo from Kid ‘n Play) who promptly breaks another cardinal rule by telling Erica not only that she’s going to die in the next nine years, but how it’s going to happen (A bomb goes off at Union Station). I’ve been watching a lot of time-travel shows, but no matter what the rules are I’m pretty sure this screams out bad idea from every possible angle. I thought this time-travel therapy wasn’t about altering your future, but finding more about yourself and understanding what makes a regret, a regret. I’m just speechless over this revelation.
Of course, Erica starts dictating her present because she knows what happens in the future. I mean, who wouldn’t? Because her clock is ticking, she considers selling out to her enemy at “The Rock”, Scott Galvin (Jefferson Brown) – the poster boy for one-dimensional characters – for a $1M payout. This prompts a visit from “future Dr. Erica”.
And how do we know this is future Erica? By her horrendous Bearskin haircut. Apparently slapping on a bad wig is the universal symbol for showing an older version a character. But that’s besides the point. This is where we finally get some “answers” to questions about the time-travelling rules of the show. Taking her out into a mystical corridor of doors (similar to the one Dr. Tom showed her in the season two finale) Future Erica tells Present Erica that each door represents a possible future. Based on the choices made, a new door and hence, new possible world is achieved. So now that Erica knows that she’s been slated to die in 2019, she now survives it because she can avoid it. New door created. And apparently that’s all Erica needs to hear to make her life hunky-dory again. She approaches Julianne the next day and wants to open a fiction department in their company rather than selling out. And scene. We could have used a freeze-frame high-five here.
That’s all we get? Colour me disappointed.
We do, however, get a glimpse into the fate of Dr. Tom. Future Erica pays him a quick visit before she goes back to wherever it is she’s from. Before saying goodbye (literally), Dr. Tom suggests that they must still be seeing one another in the future. Future Erica gives a clear and distinct “Good. Bye.” as she holds back tears when leaving his office. Dr. Spoonfeed says that it’s clear Dr. Tom doesn’t exist in her future. Dr. Naadiah’s (Joanne Vannicola) visit confirms this as Dr. Tom laments about being unable to tell his new girlfriend about his time travelling powers.
And this is where I realized that I don’t even care what happens to Dr. Tom. The lessons of the past, the show’s entire foundation, has just been thrown out the window thanks to this episode. And it isn’t for the sake of closure either. In fact, I have no idea what it’s for the sake of, and frankly, I’m just passively watching at this point.
That has to be one of the worst things that could happen: my reaction toward I show I really love has turned into complete indifference. Despite resonant moments here and there (and yes, they are still there) it just isn’t enough to overcome the downright laziness of everything. At this point, I’d almost be happy if the show continued the way it has in the past and end without a drop of closure. At least we’d get some interesting, thought-provoking television. I fear that with the series finale looming, it’s just easier for the showrunners to ignore the lessons of the past and slap on an ending for the sake finishing as neatly as possible.
The theme of this episode was “Stop allowing your future to dictate your present.” If only the series could follow its own advice.
- Sam (Joanna Douglas) had her baby. To induce the labour, we got some okay comic relief from Lenin (Brandon Jay McLaren).
- Dr. Tom did manage to cut Erica some slack, but at the most inappropriate time. After learning how and when she’s going to die, all Tom can say to her is – “You’ll have to figure this one out on your own.” All because he doesn’t know how to tell Amanda what he does. Yep. For commentary, see above.
- I’m giving out MVP awards to Morgan Kelly (Brent) and Reagan Pasternak (Julianne). Three episodes in a row of amazing supporting performances.
- Despite my issues with Kai, I sure do love hearing Sebastian Pigott sing.
- Is a pun ever an excuse for bad grammar? (See episode title)