I’ve seen The Lawful Lazarus several times in the past year, and each time I’ve concluded that it isn’t one of my favorite episodes, even though I haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly why. But I expect I’ll continue to watch it when it comes around, because there’s a lot of Andy and a fairly good amount of Hamilton. Season 6 generally is really good about giving them a lot of screentime, which makes it awesome for me. As long as they don’t seem out-of-character (and they don’t, here), their presence makes even mediocre episodes worth watching, for me.
I think I finally figured out what really bothers me about this episode, though. I’ve never really liked Jill Garson and haven’t ever quite figured out why Trevor Harris thinks she should be the guardian of his children. Okay, so she’s more normal than the rest of that dysfunctional family, true. But that doesn’t necessarily mean she should be raising the kids, either. In my opinion, all things considered, if Trevor didn’t feel that he could raise his kids, they should have been turned over to someone outside of the family entirely.
Trevor skipped out on his wealthy, invalid wife Barbara ten years ago, because the marriage just wasn’t working and he felt more like a piece of property than a husband. He doesn’t regret leaving her, but he does regret hurting the children. He returns to find her dying and the kids no longer in her cousin Jill’s care. At Jill’s request, they’ve been turned over to Uncle Edgar, whose love Barbara has never doubted. Trevor is alarmed, having seen that Edgar is not a fit person to care for the children. He spends much of the episode (before his arrest for Edgar’s murder) trying desperately to arrange things so that Jill will get custody of them again. He knows she loves them, he tells Perry.
Here’s another thing I don’t understand. Why isn’t more made of the fact that Jill herself requested Edgar to take them? Why doesn’t Perry point out to Trevor that regardless of whether Jill loves them, she deliberately gave them up? Why aren’t questions asked about why she did that until the case goes to court? Am I missing a scene where this goes on? (I know I’m missing something. Dratted edits!) Although I imagine that even if asked, Jill doesn’t tell the truth until they get to court. And boy, when the story comes out, is it a doozy.
As I understand it, Jill is aware that her brother was involved in something criminal, even though she doesn’t know what it was. And she knows that their uncle Edgar is blackmailing them, threatening to send her brother to prison unless she turns guardianship of the children over to Edgar. So she does.
… Which basically means that Jill is helping her brother elude justice, even though she knows he’s guilty of something, and she’s turned the children over to a blackmailer (who has an alcoholic wife).
Alright, sure, so she loves her brother and doesn’t want him to go to prison. But those children were placed in her care and she should be thinking of their well-being first and foremost. Her brother is a legal adult and has been for years, while those children are so young and innocent. And does she really think it’s a good idea to turn little kids over to someone who’s capable of blackmailing his own family members to get what he wants? Not to mention exposing them to an environment where his wife drinks to excess?
(There’s also the issue that Edgar is unfaithful to his poor wife, but that’s one thing I don’t think Jill knew.)
Honestly, if I was Trevor Harris, I’d be pretty upset once all of that comes out. How can Jill even be trusted to do what’s best for the kids when she’s proven that she puts her brother ahead of them (and when her brother is guilty, no less)?
And why in the world isn’t Jill charged with anything? It seems she’s just allowed to have the kids at the end, no strings attached. I suppose it’s because her brother committed a crime in the family business and the police don’t have authority to make an arrest if no one presses charges, but still.
Seriously, what a mixed-up family.
I’m also not crazy about how Trevor doesn’t even want to see his kids until he feels he can prove himself. He’s been away ten years, building up a business (if I remember right), so he hasn’t been bumming around. What he needs to focus on is his family. And how is he going to start proving himself to his kids if he continues to stay out of their lives altogether? He needs to ease himself back into their lives gradually, of course, but just speaking to them for a moment would be a good start.
In the end, I’m left scratching my head. It just seems like there’s a lot of bizarre writing where the guest-stars are concerned. I don’t get it.
I see the writer was someone named True Boardman. The only other Perry episode he wrote was The Ancient Romeo, another installment that I really don’t like. It’s also filled with strange behavior among the oneshot characters, and female characters that I find largely exasperating at best and irritating at worst.
However, I want to give Mr. Boardman his proper due. I may not care much for what he did with the guest-stars in either of those episodes, but as far as writing for the main cast, he did just fine. I’m thrilled with all the screentime he gave to Andy in The Lawful Lazarus. Sergeant Brice got a few lines in too, which always makes me happy. And Andy and everyone else sound quite in-character in both of Mr. Boardman’s episodes.
The only thing that has raised my eyebrow among the main cast every time is where Perry is insistent on seeing the prints made up from the infrared film, even asking if he’ll need a court order to see them. Seems he should have known that if Hamilton wasn’t planning to bring them out, there might be a reason other than what Perry seems to think it is. It goes to further show that the people representing the state aren’t the only ones making wild accusations and insinuations at times!
That other post I was contemplating on Thursday morning is something I think I’ll turn into a series of posts for October, wherein I examine each of the four paranormal-themed episodes as well as The Dodging Domino, the latter of which takes place at Halloween. I realize I already gave The Fatal Fetish a post, but this one would be to specifically highlight the seemingly paranormal aspects rather than the whole plot. I love Halloween—it’s my second-favorite holiday—and I’d love to celebrate, Perry-style.
I’m also writing a Halloween story that was originally going to be in one piece, but it’s getting too long for that. I’ll start separating it into chapters and begin posting it in October.