Now it’s been a while since I’ve done an episode review, so forgive me if I’ve forgotten a few important points. With my life taken over by teaching, there’s been less time to write. However, this feels like a perfect opportunity to mention the educational debate of skills versus content. Is it more important for students to learn HOW to do something, or learn ABOUT something. As humans we typically do both. Take Jane Doe for example, she can fire a pistol with amazing accuracy and kick some major ass, which will come in handy throughout the 24-esque escapades that I’m sure we’ll see a lot of, but she has no content. She doesn’t know her name or where she came from, or why she’s covered in tattoos.
The only one who can seemingly see the whole picture at this point is the guy I like to call “Creepy Beard Man”… but I’m getting ahead of myself. What’s interesting about Jane Doe, aside from her bad-assery is that I’m not entirely convinced what is and isn’t “procedural” or skill based memory, versus content or “identity” based memory. Take for example her polygraph. She kept her cool on questions of identity (her names, her mother’s name etc.) but when asked about her potential work with terrorist groups she got testy and didn’t continue the exam. It’s possible that her refusal to answer questions about being associated with a terrorist group is more of a latent procedural memory, and less of her understandably growing frustration in a lack of content related memories.
Now I may be paranoid, but from what I’ve seen this show only has one solid hero, and while Jane Doe is the protagonist, our hero is Kurt Weller. What’s my proof? The show took the phrase “save the cat” to a whole new level having Weller’s first act on screen help save helpless women (oh, and I’ll get back to the “helpless women” theme) and an infant from a weak but deadly man. Weller has no reason to be dishonest, and so far he’s got the straightest moral compass on the show. Mayfair on the other hand, is not so honest considering that her name is one of the only non-redacted items in file, referenced in Doe’s tattoos.
As a complete side note, as noble as Weller seems, and as intriguing as Jane Doe is, my favorite character is the doctor, he just has a straight forward likability, and I loved how he made Jane feel empowered by being able to make a choice about coffee vs. tea (TEAM COFFEE FOR THE WIN!).
Creepy Beard Man though… he falls into a category all his own. He’s on a mission, clearly. What’s less clear is whether or not it will be a compelling one.
The last thing I want in a show with a strong plot is a weak villain.
Finally, hitting on strength and weakness, I found the scenes with weak women, from an analytical point of view, to be well juxtaposed with Jane Doe, a damsel in distress… with a set of spectacular distress-defeating skills. I also found it interesting that the two men we saw hurting women (the one in Weller’s first scene and the guy who owned the apartment building the suspect lived in) could easily be described as weak, at least in comparison to Weller, a man of physical strength, and so far strength of character. The message being sent is if women are abused it’s by weak men, not strong ones (again, I said I found this analytically interesting… in reality not so much… but I don’t want to forget my point).
I have a feeling we’ll see this theme carry through at least during the first season, where the show will probably want to highlight the fact that a hero like Weller will almost never have to rescue Jane Doe, regardless of her gaps in memory.
Hopefully the season stays as strong as the premiere, and if anything romantic happens between Kurt Weller and Jane Doe, I hope the writers at least wait until season two (because I’m already assuming the show will last), because I feel like any blossoming love would slow down the momentum of solving Jane’s mystery amnesia, appearance and ass-kickery!
What were your thoughts on the premiere? Let me know in the comments!