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The Listener – Johnny Rotten and confusing storylines


Sebastian’s back Guest-clacking for us again, after sharing his thoughts about The Listener’s second episode with us last time.

OK, I’m the first to admit it — this episode was confusing, to say the least. First of all, I didn’t really know who Johnny Rotten was so that pop culture reference fell flat for me. Also, it was more than annoying that it took the show more than half of the episode to reveal at least a little bit about why on earth said Johnny Rotten hobo-guy visited the girl in the locked room without actually letting her out, or helping her or whatever. To say I was annoyed when I first saw this episode is an understatement.

On top of that, Oz trying to help Toby resulted in him getting the third degree from George Ryder, his and Toby’s boss. What a douche that guy is. It’s kind of funny when you literally see Oz starting to sweat in Ryder’s presence but honestly, if you had to imagine working under that guy … at least for me that would be hell on earth.

But let’s focus on the positive aspects — Toby is trying to rekindle things with Olivia. He’s also working more and more with Charlie (the cop lady in case you were wondering). And even though Toby puts a little bit too much on the line when trying to get the location of the girl out of Johnny Rotten, basically dragging victim after victim into the ER seems to be reason enough for Olivia. And Charlie seems to only care about results and lets everything else slide now, instead of suspecting Toby of theft or other things.

As promised, there were also more flashbacks to Toby’s past. It seems he has a sibling and his mother made Toby run away when the usual “bad people” came to get the kids from her. Ray (Toby’s psychiatrist/doctor) isn’t too happy about Toby remembering. It’s the usual shtick about people with paranormal abilities, I know. There’s a secret they want to find out more about, they change, they start investigating, they hurt the people around them… you could say that you’ve seen this all before — and you’d be right — but what makes The Listener interesting in this is the character interaction of which we’ll get a lot more.

As long as NBC keeps the show on the air. The ratings aren’t that good (while still above Dollhouse numbers) but if you don’t like the show after episode six you have my permission to drop it. Things aren’t that interesting right now because Toby’s still trying to find his role in life, his purpose, and the show merely reflects that. It’s what makes it feel as if something was off, which it actually is since Toby hasn’t found his way yet. But he will, trust me, and with him the other people in his life. Oz being the first.

And remember, there’s nothing else on anyway, right?

Photo Credit: NBC

3 Responses to “The Listener – Johnny Rotten and confusing storylines”

June 20, 2009 at 6:04 PM

I’m really enjoying the Listener. But, I am not a fan of the Olivia-Toby hookup. They remind me too much of reall life couples that don’t work together, but can’t stop getting together. I know that’s their purpose , but it doesn’t stop me from wishing they’d break up permanently. Also, if Toby really wants to stay with O, he could open up to her without letting her in on the secret. For instance, when he saw Johnny Rotten, he could’ve just told her why he was running off from the cafe. Also, at the hospital, when she directly asked him if he thought JR was involved in the kidnapping, he could’ve admitted it, but he didn’t.

It reminds me a bit of Smallville season 1 with Toby rushing off without telling Lana and Oz serving as his Pete Ross. However, I felt letting Oz know happened too soon. They could’ve eked out more humor and I thought he only knew Oz for a year or so.

On a side note, I like that they admit it’s in Toronto and Toby’s background reminds me of another 90s NBC TV show, The Pretender.

June 21, 2009 at 6:15 PM

I understand what you mean. It all seems a little bit off but I think it’s because Toby’s just not a good liar and with that he’s just like me – or at least the adult me. He just doesn’t WANT to lie to his friends/peers to protect himself. He’s more open than the usual paranormally gifted person.

You rightfully pointed out this might also be the reason why he didn’t get along with Olivia in the past – he simply didn’t tell instead of telling a lie. I don’t really like it either but with him now easing into his role/purpose more and more, things will change for all of the characters on the show. Like I said there will be character development on this show, at least as much as you can do on a 13 episode first season.

This isn’t the “bestest” show on TV, it doesn’t get close to something like “Journeyman”, I know that, but I still think it’s a really entertaining show and it’s the perfect show for a summer run on NBC if you ask me. Cable’s premiering “The Closer” and “Burn Notice” et cetera, I simply hope that the audience is not abandoning “regular” networks just because summer now seems to have become the time of cable networks.

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