Continuing my thoughts on the second season of the late, lamented Once and Again:
Episode 3, "I Can't Stand Up (For Falling Down)"
This could so easily have been a tired, cliche-ridden "been there-done that" kind of episode--teenager rebels by joining a band and parents freak. Instead, this Eli-centric episode managed to make the same tired material fresh, simply by looking at the elements honestly. The balance parents must strike between honoring their children's independence and still providing guidance and control is a tough one, and this episode limned it out for us wonderfully.
Episode 4, "Feast or Famine"
A Thanksgiving episode, with the mixed families gathering at Lily's. The arrival of Rick's mother (a wonderful Barbara Barrie) puts the spotlight on Rick, and again I'm struck by how well Campbell inhabits the character. The writers get in some very evocative wordless moments as well--particularly a well-timed bit with Lily putting Rick at the head of the table and Rick and Aaron (Lily's mentally ill brother) trading glances over the import of such a move. The episode also introduces, very nicely and without melodrama, the issue of Jessie's eating disorder, which will become a major pot thread through the season. The moment between Rick and Jessie when he tries, and fails miserable, to address the issue with her is a marvel of writing.