Harry's Law made a valiant effort to start 2012 off right, but "Gorilla My Dreams" wasn't the best way to achieve that goal.
Between Harry and Tommy's attempt to legally qualify a gorilla as a person, and Cassie and Adam's fervent defense of a vigilante Wonder Woman avenging the domestically abused, it was hard to see through to the bigger picture of the episode.
I mean... I have yet to determine what that bigger picture was.
It's clear that consistency in the writers' room is a luxury that Harry's Law does not enjoy. From episode to episode it seems that different characters get emphasized and increasingly more random cases become focal points.
As an Ohioan, I can appreciate that David E. Kelley and company felt it necessary to flagrantly point out the states' rather poor handling of the exotic animal escape that made national headlines last fall, but to then connect that to this heavy storyline about personhood was too much.
I never saw the Planet of the Apes movie franchise, but I can imagine that this storyline was the highlights version of that series lacking some details.
There is also the issue of Harry and Tommy's sudden attachment to Wentworth. I didn't understand it, nor was it explained to me. Suddenly Harry and Tommy developed some kind of kinship with the gorilla?!? I expected Harry to give the girl a hard time about it, but that simply wasn't the case.
Then we go from an escaped gorilla to a severely traumatized former classmate of Adam's that exacts revenge on abusive husbands and boyfriends under the guise of Wonder Woman, a psychological response to her own horrible abuse by her former husband.
While the psychology lesson embedded in this episode was enlightening, it also felt overused and sincerely forced.
I am sure this episode will get a boost in the ratings simply because it featured the Smallville-faithful fan favorite, Erica Durance. She deserves an award for playing someone who is the complete opposite of the bubble-gum happy Lois Lane. It was pretty powerful and I wished she had gotten more screen time and more background.
This felt especially necessary to make the connection between Annie Bilson and Adam, which barely made its way into the episode.
There is a severe lack of foundation taking place in this season of Harry's Law. Everything appears out of the blue, from characters to relationships. It gets exhausting to try and keep it all straight.
Harry's Law is in desperate need of storytelling and depth. It sacrifices character depth for the depth of the case message. While I recognize the prerogative of the writers of this show to turn everything into a social issue, this show cannot and should not be expected to hold its own on this premises alone.
This series is more than capable of building deep and convincing character development while still achieving its social issues agenda in the courtroom.
I just wish they would pursue this course of action before this show becomes another NBC cancellation. It is dripping with potential. I am desperate for the show to own and capitalize on it!
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C. Charles is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.