Saturday, July 22, 2017
"Cold Case" Comes Up With An Almost Classic, In Its Seventh Season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Looking at the show, retrospectively, it was apparent the show was winding down. Like 'SVU,' only handled better, "Cold Case" started delving into the personal dramas of some of its lead characters, and they even brought on a tough, officious FBI gal, named Diane Yates, who reminded me of when Sharon Stone appeared on 'SVU.'
However, with the two parter, "The Last Drive-In," and "Bullet," the show delivered what was to be its final burst of glory. This was a brilliant amalgamation of "The Last Picture Show," John Steinbeck's "East Of Eden," Bogdanovich's earlier film, "Targets," and the famous Texas sniper, Charles Joseph Whitman.
Let's start with the title, which echoes Bogdanovich's 1971 film. William Shepard owns and loves this drive-in, as he does movies, However, he is a vet with serious PTSD, and really does nothing about it. His mantra is "Nobody Cares." He feels society has done him wrong, though he does suffer from poor business acumen, and feels his drive-in is a last ditch effort to maintain a world he has seen enough change in, and wants to preserve something of what he feels is truly good.
I get it. I loved drive-ins as a child, and so much of what I loved then has vanished. People are forced out of jobs they would rather not leave, because the generation replacing them does not want to be reminded that eventually they will be, too, nor do they care about the knowledge such folks can offer to the workplace. I get it.
As early as 1980, a series of killings begin, and the "Cold Case" team, with FBI agent Diane Yates, who has a personal stake in this not yet known.
The first victim, Barry Jensen, was killed, in front of his girl friend, at the drive-in's annual showing of the 1955 classic, "East Of Eden." By the time of the ending of this installment, I knew who the real killer was--Bill Shepard's son, Paul, now almost 45, and whose murder career, at the drive-in, began when he was sixteen.
Now, Paul was irrational; I grant you that. But I sort of get him. His mother died when he was young, and father and son were left to fend for themselves. Here is where the "East Of Eden" aspect comes in. Cal Trask grew up feeling his father Aron, did not love him. Paul's father is so overcome, mentally, he cannot really give Paul what he needs. He passes on his love of movies to him, a good thing, but also the mantra that "Nobody cares," which will backfire on Paul, later. Just before the first murder, William Shepard commits suicide, by gun fire, and Paul finds the body. Already traumatized by his upbringing, the kid is sent over the edge. The father leaves a note, once again citing those who have done him wrong. Shortly after that, Paul goes to the drive-in, and things explode.
The drive-in which has fallen on hard times, but Paul will not give up, is showing "East Of Eden." At the film, are a young boy named Barry Jensen, and a girl who will grow up to be Diane Yates. You might say her career got its start here.
Barry goes to the concessions stand to get some drinks and food. He crosses paths with Paul, who derides him for missing the artistry of the movie--and he is right! The two get into something of a physical fight, with Barry, not knowing what it will trigger, uttering the words, "Nobody cares." If that had been me, I would have just decked him, but Paul walks out, defeated. Later, he comes back, as a sniper; cue in Charles Joseph Whitman, and "Targets," and shoots Barry dead. Barry deserved to be decked for being stupid, but not killed. Paul, were he smart, should have split that small-minded burg, while he had the chance.
In the present day, twenty seven years later, agent Ryan Cavanugh, who is working with Lily on the case, discover, with Diane Yates, the decomposed body of William Shepard in the basement of the cabin he owned, and Paul still uses. Paul now runs a video/DVD store, and, with streaming, Netflix, and whatever, he is in the same position as his father--the world is just moving too fast for him. I get it. As Cavanugh says, the closer offspring of suicides get to the age their parent was when the deed was done, things can get dicey. And this is where Paul is at. After laying low, running a business, marrying a woman who loves him, and wanting to start a family, to atone for what he felt he missed, the otherwise good hearted Paul goes psycho, after an interval of twenty-seven years, killing not only those who did his father wrong--though the guy who made snide remarks about the store and movies deserved it, and Paul did not touch his sweet dog!!!!--but those who did him wrong, like the
fertility clinic worker who offered Paul no hope of being able to conceive a child. With his father's mantra of "Nobody cares" understandably ringing in his ears, Paul goes on a rampage. He is almost taken down by Diane Yates, who has her own psycho moment when she wants vengeance for Barry.
But, in a surprising turn for this show, a serial killer is taken alive.
J.B. Blanc gave a moving performance as Paul Shepard, and, while his deeds were inexcusable, the world did do him in, in a way, with his poor upbringing (abuse) leading to violence (animal hunting) resulting in a serial killer. I get his feelings; what Paul needed, that both he and his father did not get, was a more constructive way of releasing them. Paul was on the right track with a loving wife, but he needed more than even she could give. He needed professional help.
Which is why the creators, I believe let him live. There are also two ghosts seen--Diane sees Barry, and Paul sees his father, happy his son has been apprehended, may get some peace, and brings the whole "East Of Eden" thing to a close.
A last blaze of glory for "Cold Case," and one I could relate to.
I may not be a serial killer, but I will say---
Don't denigrate us artistic types. We don't deserve it.
As for what the denigrators deserved, well I handled things the old fashioned way.
I let Time do its work. It always does.