Friday, April 4, 2008

Episode Titles: So Few Words, So Much Possibility

I read spoilers for every show I watch, and while there’s occasionally a motherlode of details, being a spoiler whore usually requires a penchant for hyperanalyzing tiny fragments of episodes.

Like titles.

A title can often tell us a lot about an episode, and as we become more and more familiar with a series, we can often glean even more from a title. For instance, when Grey’s Anatomy titled a recent episode “Let the Truth Sting,” we could pretty much assume that it would include Callie finding out about George and Izzie’s affair. (For the record, it did.)

Three series I love love love (or have loved loved loved) have episodes entitled “Lockdown.” Each of these episodes have included an important shipper moment for their respective couples.

ER’s “Lockdown” (referring to smallpox quarantine at County General) was Carter and Abby’s first kiss.

The West Wing’s “Lockdown” (a biological contaminant hits the White House, requiring a lockdown of the offices) had CJ Cregg call Donna out on her relationship with Josh. Donna ended up deciding to go to Gaza.

Lost’s “Lockdown” (Locke trapped under the hatch door!) includes Jack winning the medicine from Sawyer in poker. Kate and I both found this extremely hot, and it seems like Jack and Kate were headed for some tent-sharing before the food supply drop interrupted their moment in the jungle.

“Lockdown” implies that somebody’s going to get trapped in a confined space, and we all know what that means. Elevators, jail cells, ATM vestibules...lockdowns make for good comedy and good conversation. For romantically interested parties, lockdowns often give them the opportunity to start long-awaited discussions and (perhaps) kisses.

So today when I got online and found two new titles for my two favorite shows, both of which will air on May 1, I was super-jazzed and in whoa speculation mode.

Lost’s May 1 episode is called “Something Nice Back Home.” It seems like it will be Jack-centric and includes John Terry as Christian Shephard, so while we might assume it’s a flashbacker, we shouldn’t jump to any conclusions. In fact, there was a report a few days ago that Jack’s Ford Bronco was spotted, a vehicle we have so far seen only in flashforwards. It seems like this could give us some answers.

The title also seems to imply flashforward. It’s also, you know, pretty fluffy comparatively for Jack-centric episodes, whose previous episodes have included “Stranger in a Strange Land” and “All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues.” Could this involve Kate? Definitely. There’s a significant gap of time between Kate’s trial and their meeting at the airport in “Through the Looking Glass.” When Jack calls Kate on the phone in “Through the Looking Glass,” he tells her, “Hello? It's me. Whoa whoa, wait, don't, don't hang up, please. I know what you said, I just. I just need to see ya, please? Yeah, yeah out at the airport. You know where. Thank you.”

So hopefully in this episode we’ll get a piece of their story that includes why Kate would “know where.” It implies that they’ve done it before—that they used the airport lot to have secret conversations (or secret sex!) for a period of time.

You know, of course there’s that part of me that wants to think that the “Something Nice Back Home” is Kate. I had to say it.

Last week, when I heard that the April 24 episode of The Office was called “Night Out,” I speculated that it could contain a special date for Jim and Pam culminating in a proposal. Since then, a few things have changed.

First of all, the official synopsis for the episode came out: “Michael and Dwight decide to surprise Ryan in New York for a night of clubbing and meet his friends. Meanwhile, the Scranton branch is upset when they find out they have to come in on a Saturday for Ryan’s website project. Jim’s plan to save them has unexpected results.”

Yeah, so, the “Night Out” seems to be about this Michael/Dwight/Ryan A-story. But the B-story still has whoa Jam potential, especially this “unexpected results” business.

The title of the May 1 episode came out today: “Did I Stutter?” This title varies greatly from the typical format of Office episode titles, which are usually flat-out descriptions of the general episode activities or conflicts. “Night Out,” “Casino Night,” “The Deposition.” This one is the first that includes a personal pronoun and begs me to speculate...

Jim: “Pam, will you marry me?”
Pam: “Wha...what?”
Jim: “Did I stutter?”

My Jam engagement speculation has only been fueled further by John Krasinski himself, who told USA Today, “A lot of logical things are coming up for them—big decisions. If I waited that long for a girl, I’d probably be close to giving her a ring. So we’ll see what the writers come up with.”

This is exciting! We haven’t had a real live engagement!watch for years. Seriously, I’m wracking my brain. It would have been season four of Alias, which was...2005? Three years, people! None of my ships have taken that step in three years!

Let Hand!Watch ’08 (Part Deux) commence immediately!

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