"Antisocial Climber" seemed a bit familiar, didn't it? Now, that's
not necessarily a bad thing, as there are several established traditions
on the show. Ms. Li uses a school activity to try to get publicity
for the school. Daria gets forced into an activity (school or not)
by Helen, Helen and Jake work on their marriage; these are established
story bites. We've seen them before, we'll see them again. As long
as they don't start rewriting scripts with minor changes in background,
this isn't a problem.
What was a problem with this episode was that they were tied together
badly. A school event, Helen bribes Daria into it, okay. But, look
again. Why does Helen spend fifty bucks here? So she and Jake can
have the house to themselves for the weekend. So why do they then
drop ninety and change on a cabin in the woods? If they're not going
to be home there was no reason to force Daria out except to set up
the story. Why did they go out to the cabin instead of stay home?
To set up the "rescue" scene. Not good.
The whole Fashion Club subplot was a bit of a wet firecracker. Quinn
gets kicked out... for a few minutes, then she bribes her way back
in, effortlessly using her excess accessories to climb right over
Sandi's personal feelings for her. Tiffany got a nice line, but this
whole subplot was a bit of a no-go.
Helen and Jake work on their marriage... again. This is going to keep
happening because it really isn't going well. They don't seem to be
able to communicate at all, and if they didn't get those occasional
flashes of lust and weren't totally absorbed by their careers it's
hard to see them sticking together. This was definitely the best handled
Kevin getting left behind didn't work very well, either. It was done
right with Sandi in "The Daria Hunter," but that sort of ending should
probably have been left there. There really should have been a headcount
done, and Ms. Li is enough of a hardnose to make sure it happened,
especially considering her doing one midway through the hike. I can
understand why Mr. DeMartino would send Kevin out on that mission
(a nice chance to "lose" his worst student), but why would Kevin leave
Mack? The teachers were all pretty much their usual selves, although
Mr. DeMartino sitting down to a nice game of charades was a bit hard
to credit. He's shown before (and again here) that he still feels
some sense of duty to students when he's out on a field trip.
As for the students in general, my gods, have none of them ever been
camping? You'd think some of them would have at least brought their
own canteen and a few Snickers bars or something. Daria at least should
have been smart (and cynical) enough to not trust the teachers getting
it right, and she's had to save an expedition before. Of course, she'd
also be smart not to tell everyone about them, but she and Jane could
have had a snack while they wandered.
Which brings up the Dark Duo. I did say I'd be disappointed if "Partner's
Complaint" was the end of their fight, and it does look to be, and
I am. Does this really rate no more resolution than a joke about M&Ms?
Passing over the last two episodes like this really isn't a good thing.
There was far too much build up that never really seemed to hit a
Still, Daria and Jane were mostly back to their old selves, which
is a plus. Daria's line about being stuck with a choice between her
classmates and a blizzard is just Classic Daria, and almost all their
comments were quite refreshingly a return to first season (and the
look on Jane's face when she asks Daria about her feet... ah, priceless).
However, the earlier line about how should have thought it through
was true. Splitting her bribe with Jane I could see, but the whole
thing? Where's the profit in that? If the episode had focused more
on their wisecracks and held together a bit better, it would have
been pretty good. As it is, they just manage to save the episode from
the lower tier and keep in the decent category.