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John From Cincinnati – Episode 5 (“His Visit: Day Four”)

Posted by g3tech on July 9, 2007

You ever hear the old adage about how if you show the audience the gun in act one, you better have it go off in act three? Well, David Milch apparently hasn’t. Or he scoffs at your long-held notions of narrative. Because he shows guns aplenty in this episode, and the only one that goes off is the one Kai fires into her CD player, even though it can’t stop “In Your Eyes” from playing out of it. Because you cannot kill Peter Gabriel.

So the first gun is pulled by Vietnam Joe, who waves it in direction of the VFW Hall bartender he presumes put John up to last week’s stunt with the stabbing and the not dying and the miraculously healing. But the bartender did not put John up to that stunt, which makes Joe think that there may be something a might bit other-worldly about our mysterious visitor from the Buckeye State.

The other gun belongs to Cissy, and she produces it to ward off Shaun’s mom, who was that thin, blonde-haired woman who showed up at the end of last week’s episode. Shaun’s mom is a porn star, you see, and she left Shaun on Cissy’s doorstep before hightailing it off to the San Fernando Valley — this has left Cissy understandably perturbed, so she spends most of the episode setting a new record for most screaming by a series regular in an hour-long show, eclipsing the standard set by Amy Brenneman in the second episode of Judging Amy. It is possible that I just made that record up.

Shaun’s Mom the Porn Star just wants to clap eyes on her son, and she finds an unlikely ally in Butchie, who convinces his mother that the Porn Star means no harm. Cissy finally agrees to let this mother-and-child reunion take place, though perhaps she was too hoarse from all the shouting to register any dissent. Shaun’s Mom the Porn Star also finds a very likely ally in Linc, who’s in the market for a new Gal Friday now that Cass has taken in John as a boarder.

Speaking of Cass and John, they spend the day in Balboa Park, filming what promises to be the most pretentious, meandering documentary to ever get rejected by IFC. In that sense, Cass’s movie has very in common with this episode, which squanders all the momentum and goodwill of the past few weeks with this plodding, rudderless offering.


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