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Episodes Guide

Originally posted as individual reviews at the now defunct Tales of the South Seas Bulletin Board. I have plans to revise the guide to include quotes, just have to find the time. So leaving as originally written for now.

1) pilot, Paradise Regained

What I liked about this episode:

  • Will Snow in longer hair again (or before – well you know what I mean).
  • Our introduction to David Grief “Down main Sail!”
  • The gorgeous, breathtaking scenery.
  • Those opening credits!
  • Our introduction to Isabelle Reed – so proud and defiant in those chains.
  • Will Snow’s bathtub scene – well, this is a family board so enough said.
  • David & Isabelle’s first kiss – HOT! HOT! HOT!
How telling is it that we first see the character of Isabelle with David rather than Lavinia? After her “you never smelt better” comment to Morlais when David glanced in her direction… WOW! Now I realize being an M/R shipper that I was a teensy bit predisposed to liking David & Isabelle as a couple. No offense meant to Rowena King who played Lavinia, but she and Will Snow didn’t have any chemistry onscreen. Whereas Will and Rachel have that indefinable spark that just jumps off the screen. Still, the first time I watched the series I tried very hard to like David with Lavinia. Not knowing much of anything about the show, I figured he and Lavinia were a couple the entire time. I reasoned this was a different show with different characters and I wasn’t going to let TLW influence or color my opinions. And all in all I do feel I stuck by that edict. So I want to make it clear that I do not dislike the character of Lavinia. I just don’t feel she was right for Captain Grief.

Having said that, the first exchange between David and Isabelle had sparks flying all over that beach! Her shy little smile, his tilt of the head just so. Their attraction was self-evident. As for their second scene in the jail, well Isabelle could never be accused of lacking self-confidence. And as I said above, that first kiss was a doozey!

I also very much liked Rene Naufahu’s portrayal of Mauriri Lepau. I liked his constant quibbling with David and that Mauriri was always the one saying “I told you so” or “If you’d only listened to me”. From their first moment onscreen, I felt the depth of David and Mauriri’s friendship and partnership and think the relationship was well played by both actors.

What I didn’t like:

  • The one dimensional quality of Lt. Mauriri’s character. This has nothing to do with Adrian Wright’s performance. In fact, if the show had gone a second season, I’m sure his character would have been more fully developed. We had glimpses of the inner Lieutenant, but other than that he pretty much stayed the same throughout the series.
  • Mean Kurt – although if anyone deserved to be married to SWSNBN Kurt did. (Just for future reference SWSNBN stands for she who shall not be named – you all know whom I mean).
  • The first scene with Harry Pankburn – my thought was “oh no a Malone wanna be”
Last Words: I love that, even if the treasure map was a fake, Isabelle outsmarted both David and Kurt. As Kurt said to David, “It’s not your day Grief. Not mine either.” And the last scene with David chugging the liquor Isabelle sent, despite Mauriri’s words of caution.

Overall: What a great beginning!

2) The Devil's Pearl

What I liked about this episode:

  • Isabelle’s little smile when she realizes its David on the beach, even though she stays hidden in the foliage.
  • That we learn more about David’s past.
  • That we learn more about Lavinia’s past.
  • Those opening credits!
  • The motorcycle salesman “It’s faster than a horse and you don’t have to clean up after it.”
  • The look of absolute bafflement on Mauriri’s face when David buys it.
  • The look of giddiness on Mauriri’s face after he and David go for a spin.
  • Shirtless David scene :D
  • Mauriri’s response to David’s question “You tasted island dirt at 30 miles an hour.”
  • David and Mauriri, CSI detectives!
If Mauriri was really so intent that David belonged with Lavinia, why did he constantly tease David by referring to Isabelle as his girlfriend? And why, when David tried to talk to Lavinia on the beach, did Mauriri stop him? IMHO, deep down Mauriri knew David belonged with Isabelle.

I really like that they didn’t dumb down Lavinia just because of her beliefs. I found the cultural debate between her and Mauriri very interesting. And Rene’s performance in the scene, as a man caught between two worlds, was very good.

Also, I loved that Mauriri had such a devious streak! :D First he steals the rudder off Van Gelt’s ship. Then he copies Isabelle’s wire trick.

What I didn’t like:

  • Isabelle leaving the wire behind at her “crime scene”. I just don’t think someone as smart as she is wouldn’t have taken the evidence with her. I mean it’s not like she didn’t haul the wire there in the first place.
  • Ok, I realize from Lavinia’s point of view that Isabelle was flirting with her man, but I think Lavinia’s rudeness upon meeting Isabelle was overdone.
Last Words: I love that David chose kissing Isabelle as the only way to distract the soldier. And his quiet little “I do” when she said “I thought you liked me”. He waited until she was out of ear shot before muttering it though :(

Overall: A good episode. We got to know the characters a little more and learned Colin was friends with everyone.

3) The Locket

What I liked about this episode:

  • The jump off the cliff.
  • Paul Cabot, French Naval Inspector.
  • That David & Colin fundamentally believed in Isabelle’s innocence despite all of the evidence against her.
  • Dr. Tano & Dr. Richardson of the Institute of Tropical Medicine :)
  • Will Snow in glasses – yum :D
  • Those opening credits!
  • David – “Doesn’t it bother you? You know being right all the time?” Mauriri – “Around you I get used to it” (ROFL)
Rachel Blakely was brilliant in this episode. She gave such a strong performance in all of the prison scenes both on Matavai and Makemo. Isabelle was prideful yet scared and often times seemed to be genuinely amused. The scene where Colin comes to visit was particularly good. When she tells him she gave up praying a long time ago you really get the sense that she’s been through a lot in her life and an understanding of why she acts the way she does. She’s also very good in the scene where she’s being smacked around, though I am glad we didn’t have to see her being whipped.

The whole rescue scenario was very well done. Mauriri made a very convincing doctor :D :D The scene where David sees Isabelle at the Penal Colony and tells her the plan was so moving. The way Isabelle just collapses against him when she recognizes him and the way she says “I can’t believe you came” show that she was close to her breaking point. Then the next morning on The Rattler, she’s back to her little schemes. Rachel performance was spot-on through it all. And I love when she told David “You’ll never be over it” referring to his infatuation with her.

Finally, the scene when she exits the courthouse after her conviction has been overturned was subtle, but powerful. She just stand on the steps, takes a deep breath, and smiles. Well done, Ms. Blakely ;)

What I didn’t like:

  • Morlais look of glee when Isabelle was brought in.
  • The fact that Lavinia was still clinging to David, even though she knew it was over between them.
In Lavinia’s scenes with both David and Colin, I got the sense that she had never been truly in love with David. She was in love with the man she wanted David to be. Yet, she doesn’t want to admit to herself that she’s wasted the past five years of her life waiting for him to change. Never once does she act as if her heart has been broken. She’s angry that David had Isabelle’s picture in the locket, but that seems to be more hurt pride than anything else.

Last Words: There were good lines summing up Morlais character (Isabelle - “Gloating over other peoples misfortune makes you the man you are.”) As well as Isabelle’s character (Colin to Lavinia – “She’s very much her own woman. An adventurer. She doesn’t suffer fools.”)

David tells Isabelle he’s going to try and make an honest woman out of her. Doesn’t that phrase usually imply marriage? ;) :D ;)

Overall: One of the best episodes. A nice resolution to Isabelle’s criminal status. And I love the look of bewilderment on David’s face when she announces she’s staying.

4) Lessons for a Warrior

What I liked about this episode:

  • We finally meet Clare.
  • We meet Jameson Jackson McGonnigal aka Cannibal Jack.
  • Those opening credits!
  • The sense of community in the last scene on the beach.
I loved Clare and Jack’s scenes together. When she goes to the shack to meet him and he spits on his door hinges (LOL). Then, once her realizes who she is, the way he dashes about the room trying to straighten up (ROFL). It had plenty of comical elements, yet was still very poignant. He looks so sad when she storms off. I think Kimberly Joseph and Brian Vriends had a definite spark of chemistry and it’s a shame the writers didn’t explore it.

What I didn’t like:

  • Morlais narrow-mindedness.
  • NO Isabelle!
The main story regarding the priest was unimpressive. The secondary plot about the islanders trying to maintain their traditions while still keeping up with the times was much more intriguing.

Last Words: We finally get to see more of Mauriri’s wife, Leani. IMHO I would have liked to see more of her throughout the series. We never really get to know her much at all.

Overall: A so-so episode redeemed by the introduction of Clare and Jack.

5) Trent in Love

What I liked about this episode:

  • Isabelle’s back :D
  • David & Isabelle flirting at the market.
  • Jack & Clare’s dinner date.
  • Those opening credits!
  • Isabelle’s “I’m through with men” speech.
I loved the scenes of Jack getting ready for his date with Clare. See Jack fix his door. See Jack clean. See Jack shave. When she finally got there he behaved like a nervous schoolboy. Loved the fact that he only had one chair (LOL). And I loved his little “Whew!” when she liked his soup. The conversation regarding his nickname was very well acted. Brian Vriends didn’t “overact” the scene the way others may have.

I also liked the introduction of Tahura. She showed real strength of character. And the conversations about family and religion between her and Colin were well written. Not sure I believe the dear Reverend would have jumped into bed with her without the benefit of marriage though.

What I didn’t like:

  • The way Clare just sat there while Jack had to beat up the two guys. I realize she was in shock, but come on! Clare is definitely a Damsel-In-Distress-and-Need-a-White-Knight-to-Rescue-Me type of girl.
  • Why is it only Mauriri is seen fixing The Rattler. Doesn’t David ever do manual labor?
Last Words: Poor Jack. He’s so obviously smitten and Clare just gives him the brush-off.

And poor Isabelle. She’s no better at picking her men than David is at picking his women. You’d think they get the hint that they belong with each other :D

Overall: I liked this episode. The dinner date scene with Clare and Jack and the last scene with Isabelle and David at the bar are two of my favorites.

6) The Fiery Messiah

What I liked about this episode:

  • It’s the first time we Isabelle at her stables.
  • Some depth of character in Lt. Morlais, finally!
  • Those opening credits!
  • Clare and Isabelle’s friendship.
  • The teamwork of David, Mauriri, and Isabelle.
Colin really came into his own in this episode. Mark Lee did a good job with all of the speeches and sermons he had to give.

This is the first episode in which we see the real Isabelle. Not the lying, scheming Isabelle, but the true woman. I really liked the scenes at the stables in which she’s giving Clare advice, but not telling her what to do.

This is also the only episode in which I had a sense of why David and Lavinia were a couple for so long.

It’s the first time the writer’s gave some dimension to the character of Lt. Morlais and Adrian Wright sure ran with it. His speech to David about this being his town, too, was probably his best scene in the series.

And Clare wasn’t such a Damsel-in-Distress.

What I didn’t like:

  • False Messiah dude – creepy
  • “If they were truly committed the seed would take root.” How many ways can I say “eww” and “ick”
Last Words: I loved the scene in Isabelle’s stables where she and Mauriri are insulting each other. Even though they were throwing some real zingers back and forth, you can tell they’re becoming friends in spite of themselves. And there was a real sense of David, Mauriri, and Isabelle working together. Their scenes together are what I like to imagine the second season would have been like. Constantly bickering amongst themselves, but working together. And the last scene between David and Isabelle is a really good one.

Overall: This was a very dark episode. But it was well-acted and well-written, despite some rather cheesy dialogue. I liked all the shades of gray between the Islanders and the settlers. Prejudice has no easy solution and I like that the writers didn’t make the situation too black and white. With all of the character development that took place, I’d have to say it contains some of my favorite scenes.

7) Blackbirding

What I liked about this episode:

  • Isabelle, kicking butt and taking names! :D :D :D.
  • Those opening credits!
  • Lt. Morlais calling Isabelle “Confounded woman!” (LOL)
  • David as “good cop”.
  • Mauriri & Isabelle as “bad and worse cops” (LOL) (LOL).
  • David, Isabelle and Morlais = the pop up dolls!
It was nice to see Clare finally emerge as an independent woman. In this episode she charms Lavinia, gives advice to Colin, and orders Jack around.

David can run, but he can’t hide forever from his feeling for Isabelle - WEG. They are so in evidence this episode. The way he would’ve torn down the cage with his bare hands to get her out, the concern in his voice when he asks Mauriri if she’s asleep, the amusement he gets watching her fight, and the way he immediately went to her defense when she questioned if she was cut out for trading in the South Seas. He’s not ready to admit it to himself, but he’s falling hard for her (if not already a goner :D :D :D)

What I didn’t like:

  • That the Tonga Chief never apologized to Isabelle :(
  • Tahura leaving.
  • The way most of the white settlers walked out of the church. Hadn’t we made more progress than this by the end of “The Fiery Messiah?” :(
That water torture seen with Isabelle still makes me cringe! [Should have asked Rachel about this one on the board. I doubt she’s forgotten filming it. Cést la vie, hindsight and all that.]

David’s rejection of Isabelle is a scene that plays on so many levels. By the look on Isabelle’s face when he says he’s involved with Lavinia she knows he’s lying to himself about his feeling for her (Isabelle). In the long run it’s for the best that they didn’t make love, but it was still satisfying when Isabelle slapped him. ;)

Last Words: Isabelle, Mauriri, and David again displayed a lot of teamwork in this episode. I love the scene on The Rattler the morning after when Isabelle goes to stand on the other side of the deck (LOL)

Overall: An excellent episode.

8) The Rabblerouser

What I liked about this episode:

  • We see Mauriri again as “bad cop”.
  • We finally see David doing his share of the manual labor in not one – but two! – scenes ;)
  • Those opening credits!
It was nice that the writer’s didn’t really take sides in the union issue. Lots of legitimate questions were raised regarding workers rights and business owners’ rights. Debate followed.

Henry Blanchard was portrayed as a multi-dimensional character. In the scenes after Sarah is kidnapped, he vows to go ahead with the rally. They show him having serious doubts, but he was committed to the cause. I believe he would have given the rally even if Sarah had not been rescued.

Despite the last scene with the bathtub, there isn’t much sense of connection between David and Lavinia. Then again, except for one or two scenes in the episodes up to now there’s never been a real sense of connection between the two of them.

What I didn’t like:

  • That David and Sarah weren’t honest about knowing each other at Lavinia’s luncheon.
  • Lavinia does a lot of whining, which seems out of character.
  • No Isabelle!
Last Words: Idealism is often a good thing. Despite what he told Henry, we know David does believe there are causes worth dying for.

Overall: An interesting episode. Would’ve benefited from Isabelle’s presence though.

9) Isabelle's Brother

What I liked about this episode:

  • Peter McCauley as William Reed :D
  • Those opening credits!
  • Mauriri beating David at poker :)
  • We lean more about Isabelle’s past.
  • The game of tag on horseback.
  • That David enlists Jack’s help.
  • That Lt. Morlais’ obsession with rules and regulations finally works for our heroes and not against them.
  • Isabelle’s line “Are there any two people in Tahiti who don’t know each other?”
When I watched this episode the first time I had no idea Peter was in it. It was such a delightful surprise. Even if Rachel and Peter look absolutely noting alike, I think they played siblings very well.

David again does something very nice for Isabelle, again going above and beyond the call of duty to reunite her with her long lost brother. Yet, all the while still insisting they are not involved ;)

I loved their whole conversation on the beach while Isabelle is checking out the horses. She actually forgot her little tale of Mrs. Potter’s Riding Academy (LOL) And when David catches her in the lie he is not the least bit angry, but rather bemused by it. She says so much with her line about not believing in fairy tales. And then when she’s finally reunited with William and starts racing with him, you got the sense they’d played the game a thousand times when she was a little girl. “Are you my knight in shining armor…”

What I didn’t like:

  • That guard eating William’s dinner in front of him. That was just cruel!
  • Lavinia’s whole ultimatum scene with David.
  • Lavinia then telling Isabelle off while Isabelle just stands there not saying anything – It was just too out of character for Isabelle :(
I think the breakup between David and Lavinia was a long time coming. I just don’t think it was handled as well as it could have been by the writers. Deciding all of a sudden to have Lavinia issuing ultimatums to David was too pat. It did an injustice to both characters. It also seemed to put all of the blame on David, instead of having them decide mutually to part ways. In their last scene, David’s casual “You know I love you” is half-hearted at best.

Clare is getting very good at eavesdropping in the bar, but couldn’t we have had her and Jack in the same scene even once?

Last Words: Did you notice that after Lavinia bailed the trio out of jail and they walk out that David is walking next to Isabelle and not Lavinia?

Overall: A very enjoyable episode because of Isabelle and William. In the scenes with Isabelle, David, and Mauriri, they seem to simply be having so much FUN. Even Lt. Morlais gets in on the act :D

The rest hopefully soon!

10) The Boxer Rebellion
11) The Statue
12) Fool's Gold
13) The Assassin
14) The Outlaws
15) Fatal Shore
16) Fast Company
17) The Eye of Tangaroa
18) Rock of Ages
19) Grief and Lepers
20) The Compass and the Killer
21) The Tender Trap
22) The End of Jenny

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