It’s about time for a Random Carusometer, I think. This time, it’s the turn of Eli Stone, which only scored a three on The Carusometer for its third-episode verdict. It’s done a bit better this time.
Three episodes ago, I accused Eli Stone of bottling it. The show was very wishy washy in its commitment to Eli’s ‘miracles’, only went for soft targets and seemed purely to want to be the male Ally McBeal.
There were a few signs it was picking up though. The show was reforming.
Now at episode six, things are definitely better. Eli is now at risk of being disbarred for malpractice after breaking into song and dance during one of his trials. His fiancée is now his ex-fiancée since he’s decided to spare her the risk of being married to a guy likely to drop dead of a brain aneurysm at a moment’s notice. He’s asked his brother to falsify a medical form for him so that he can’t be fired from his law firm.
There have also been a few changes in the supporting cast. As well as the perky but rubbish idealistic young lawyer, we now have a new arrival – a black lawyer so trendy he has an afro. Ooh. The stiffs in suits who previously were just there to sing and dance for Eli have revealed themselves to have personalities of their own. And the ex-, who has switched from evil bitch mode in the pilot to world’s most supportive former girlfriend, now works at Eli’s firm – that’s the one her daddy owns.
Episode six was actually quite touching though. To save his brother from having to perjure himself, Eli finally comes clean about having a brain defect; he narrowly avoids being disbarred and now has to have a physical every few months to make sure he’s still capable of being a lawyer – yes, this isn’t a comedy aneurysm any more. He does this at the behest of one of his visions, which, with a bit of help from his good friend the acupuncturist, also reveals that his father once confessed to him that he could see the future – a subtly different thing from having visions because it turns out that daddy knew the acupuncturist and after helping him set up shop all those years ago, told him to help Eli in his moment of need.
This turns out to be now, because although the law firm isn’t firing him, they’re not letting him have an assistant (woo hoo! The irritating one will have less to do!) or office space any more. What goes around comes around, the acupuncturist gives Eli a place to work from and the visions are vindicated. No doubt, following daddy-in-law’s Justice-esque appeal to the media, people will come looking for Eli of their own accord next week.
As you can see, the producers seem to have been slowly changing the format to something more plausible over the last few weeks, moving at their own pace rather than in the space of an episode or two for the sake of convention. The singing and dancing is still irritating – to me at least, since I’m allergic to musicals – although it’s amusing to see Victor Garber and the like being dubbed. And it managed to surprise me a few times as well: perky lawyer is angry with Eli for having an aneurysm since it means he’s starting good deeds because he’s worried about the afterlife, not because he’s suddenly realised that doing bad things is wrong; Eli going public was unexpected; and his discoveries that his father’s erratic behaviour wasn’t through alcoholism but was through a condition similar to Eli’s and self-sacrifice are poignant.
It’s a little cloying and too musical, but it turns out that Eli Stone has a brain as well as a heart. Not too much of one, but enough that you won’t be beating your television with a shoe, every episode (at least, not after the first one). Plus it’s worth tuning in just to marvel at Jonny Lee Miller’s American accent. Much better than that Hugh Laurie’s.