Notes from a couch.
After some surgery yesterday morning, I’m facing down a week of couchbound recovery. (The surgery was very minor, thankfully, and it went really well; I’m totally fine, other than cornering the market on wooziness.) This means a bye week for the podcast, and a few days away from Slack, email, and client calls…but it also means a fair bit of reading, watching, and rest.
On the reading front, I’ve a few good books lined up for later in the week, when my head’s a bit clearer. Last week, I finally started winding my way through Jeremy Bushnell’s The Insides, which I’m enjoying so far. It’s still early pages yet, so I’m not quite sure yet where the plot’s going. But I can say I’m enjoying the heady mix of genres, which Bushnell artfully mashes together: it’s an urban fantasy set, among other places, in a modern-day New York City, but one flavored with dashes of Scandinavian noir. (Makes for a nice follow-on from Liz Hand’s Cass Neary novels, I’ll say that much.) And after Bushnell, I’m looking forward to diving into Sharon Smith’s Subterranean Fire. A dear friend has been raving about it, and I can see why: a book about the American labor movement’s response to widespread federal corruption, graft, and isolationism feels…timely.
But right now, my mushbrain’s better primed for lighter, screen-oriented fare. My on-again, off-again Netflix membership continues apace—I’m on Team Chappy—but watching old episodes of The X-Files has been a balm. The earlier seasons have always been my favorites, and in rewatching these early episodes, it’s incredibly rewarding to see the creative team slowly find their footing, and figure out exactly what the show’s going to be. And I think they find that footing once Gillian Anderson’s character, Scully, is allowed to develop into something so much more than a foil for David Duchovny’s Mulder. A great example of that is “Irresistible,” one of my favorite episodes from that period. Not to say that it’s an easy episode to watch: it features some problematic, distressing scenes, as the “monster of the week” is a serial killer targeting women. What’s more, it doesn’t reverse the show’s lazy, reflexive impulse to damsel Scully. But with all of that, Anderson’s performance is nuanced, moving, and for me, provides one of the show’s highlights. The A.V. Club’s review captures this well, and reminded me why I’ve always felt Anderson is the show’s true bedrock.
Sleeping this week has been a bit rough to date, so I’ve been forcing myself to stay awake really late, and pass out from exhaustion. To that end, starting Legion late last night was either a brilliant move, or a terrible one. The first four episodes were pretty engrossing, visually and structurally, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where things go from here.