Saturday, December 15, 2012

Royal Pains - 4.15 - Off-Season Greetings - Preview

Off-Season Greetings airs Sunday night at 9/8 C on USA Network.

Sleigh bells ring o'er the Hamptons.
MacGyver cures and wedding plannin'.
Divya's a mess,
There's returning guests,
And Evan and Paige are couple paragons.

It's been 3 months since the events of the midseason finale and things are coming together for Evan and Paige's wedding, thanks to Evan's Groomzilla routine. Marissa's lawyer assures Hank that they can remain in the guest house but Hank has lingering issues over the explosion and seems to suffer a panic attack while visiting the scene of the crime. Meanwhile Divya is not over Rafa - AT ALL - which leads her to make some shocking choices. In many ways, Off-Season Greetings reminds me of a 25 Days of Christmas movie and I mean that in the very best way. Even a cold-hearted grump like myself can get swept up in the awww-worthy moments and I dare you to listen to Paige's speech without your heart growing 3 sizes. Add to that plenty of twists and you've got a finely paced episode that fits the season.

I went into this episode spoiler-free so the biggest surprise to me was the many flashbacks. A good portion of the episode is devoted to the time right before Hank's wedding got called off told from both brothers' viewpoints. It demonstrates the tension between the brothers back then, highlighting how much closer they are now. That's a change I can really get behind. Family and tradition are the underlying themes of the episode. So is making up for past mistakes. Two new characters, Winnie and Owen, help drive those themes home and both are good additions. A few previous characters pop up too including Jill and Ken with his new girlfriend Barbie. There's also a slight retcon to why the brothers came to the Hamptons to begin with that ties to the previous episode.

In typical Royal Pains fashion there are several medical mysteries, including a final surprise patient, and Hank uses his MacGyver skills within the first 5 minutes. What that man can do with Christmas lights and a candy cane! Hank Med should publish a book on how to use household items to create your own miracles. It would be far superior to Eddie's new book, which he tries to hawk throughout the episode. Meanwhile Evan and Paige make every other couple in America look like lazy, uncommunicative, unsupportive louses. Have they even spoken a cross word to each other in the last 1.5 years? Their relationship is particularly touching in this episode and provides much of the heart. As things steadily come apart for the wedding due to a heavy winter storm, they get closer through the power of positive thinking.

Off-Season Greetings airs Sunday night at 9/8 C on USA Network.

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