Monday, March 23, 2020

Take Three: Dispatches from Elsewhere

Dispatches from Elsewhere: Season 1, Episode 3 “Janice” (B+)

This was another fascinating episode, one that delved into a character who initially seemed the least interesting. Covering Janice’s backstory with animation was effective, but not nearly as much as seeing her travel back into her own past with the Jejune goggles. I almost didn’t recognize the actress playing her younger self as Tara Lynne Barr from “Casual,” who delivered a tremendous amount of attitude as a hopeful dreamer who was disappointed and even a bit angry to learn that she hadn’t accomplished all that she set out to in her life. It’s hard to know what part of that was actually real, but the concept that a memory is only experienced once and then recaptured as remembering it rather than reliving it is pretty formidable. How that enabled Janice to talk to a younger version of herself isn’t clear at all, and even more impressive was the fact that, in “Inception” fashion, she was lucid enough to emerge from that space and immediately hug Octavio so that she could pickpocket him. Seeing her return home to her bedridden, apparently comatose husband excited to tell him all about her day explains why it is that she wanted so much to connect to something fun and adventurous. I don’t know who the kid was outside watching her, and we also didn’t get a Fredwynn intro for the next episode. His perspective seems even more intriguing, reading out the choreography that he had somehow discovered in his research that showed him that Jejune and Elsewhere are one and the same.

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