After last week's so-so episode. CSI: New York stepped back up to a level of storytelling I have come to expect with last night's installment, "Holding Cell."
One of the best things about this week was getting a bit more of Mack. I love the way he firmly plants his feet when dealing with outside investigative forces stepping onto his turf.
His swift action when he sees possible compromising elements, and his handling of Hector Vargas, the visiting CSI from Barcelona, was reflective of all the leadership qualities that make Mack such a brilliant main character.
As soon as he found out that the CSI was related to the victim he kept Hector from being involved in the processing of evidence, but he also showed proper respect and courtesy by keeping Hector in the loop, even after Hector hadn't been completely forthcoming.
Guest star Jsu Garcia's turn as Hector Vargas, the visiting CSI, helped bring an emotional connection to the story. His character was not as honest with Mack as he should have been, but the reveal of his family's past helped to shed some light on his reticence and his initial inability to accept Mack's first conclusion that his nephew's death was not a homicide.
Karina Lombard, one of my favorite actresses, had a small appearance as the victim's mother. She did not have a lot of screen time and had very few lines, but her presence helped to add another layer of emotion to the story. She's also an actress who can say more with a mere glance than even dialogue can convey.
It was hard for me to accept Natalia's even agreeing to assist her boyfriend's suicide. The soul crushing explanation she gives to Mack at the end hit home for me, and yet it's still very difficult for me to believe that anyone would knowingly allow a depressed individual to even have a chance to go through with a suicide.
The character claimed she changed her mind about going along with the cover-up, but it's strange that she wouldn't call the police to help ensure she could have stopped him.
There is never anything overt in an episode, but I feel like Jo Danville is slowly becoming Super Jo. In tonight's episode she just happened to have been in Spain and knew enough Spanish to inform Mack that Hector was the victim's uncle. It's a slight thing, but slight things very much like this seem to keep cropping up.
Jo Danville has the potential to be a good character, but there are more layers always being added to make her seem perfect. I know that sometimes the good guys in a series are total boy scouts, or in this case girl scouts, but even Mack has flaws which keep his character balanced. Jo's character will suffer from over perfection if some more flaws are not revealed soon to make the character a complete and real person.
Hopefully, the rest of the season will contain more episodes with great stories like this, and even dare to wow the audience and this reviewer in ways that surpass expectations.
Spiritual Warriors, the film has bittersweet memories for me. Maybe, all the touring with SW was to help myself erase the fact that J-R fell in 2004. The Wayshower was my process of letting go and trusting the Spirit to know more than what my limited mind knows. After last year’s Living in Grace I asked J-R if we could work on the next film and he gave it a green light. J-R and I finished the script in a year.
Rick Ojeda our warrior Producer and I drove up to Helper, Utah not far from where J-R was born. We met with J-R’s nephew Senator David Hinkins. He gave us a grand tour of J-R’s dynastic family: where they were born and where they died, coal mining camps from the 40’s, and then we came upon a little town called Helper; named after the main locomotive train that helped the rest train climb steep hills. (I’ve done the tour many times before because of previous family reunions).
This time I wanted movie stars to play the bigger roles in the new film, The Wayshower. Especially the role of J-R’s father. I remember asking J-R to help and I heard, “Just ask for what you want”. I did. I asked Eric Roberts and he said yes. I asked Peter Stormare from the film ‘Fargo’, and he too said yes. That set the tone for the graceful beginnings of The Wayshower. Our good friend Laurie Lerner then came on board as Producer, and we also invited on board Zoë Golightly and Kelley Raleigh to become the pillars of our production as Production coordinators, and away we went.
David Hinkins found for us most of the film locations but not until he introduced me to a hero of the film, Willie Ellington the local genius, who helped us find anything we needed to complete our film. We needed many things to look authentic to the 1940’s-1950’s and even the 1960’s. We relied on locals to support us. Rick and I scouted the trip in February. In preparation mode, we found where the Production offices would be and where we the crew would live very economically. We met a wonderful couple called Marilou and David Dornan. They are the local artists that own the Helper Eatery called “Balance Rock” cafe. They owned the Old Helper Hotel which once was a brothel back in the days of liquor and gambling. Helper was the stop for loading the coal and shipping it in and out to the nation. A “Las Vegas” for the local miners and help. Now the town is a young-untapped “Sundance”. Marilou and David have contributed in influencing the town of Helper in becoming the location for Art Festivals.
We experienced locals opening up and participating in the film. I want to say, “Hollywood comes to Helper”, but we are not Hollywood. We are J-R’s crew. We are Spiritual Warriors. We went back to where J-R got all his rich teachings — his father and his mother. All the seminars that I have heard visually came to life for me in the film, while filming and walking around meeting people that knew J-R and knew Delile. Some that have lived a long time also confessed they knew Parley Hinkins, J-R’s father.
Filming commenced and the unraveling began. The first week was all period pieces. We began filming J-R as a young boy. I was reliving, (Hollywood style) J-R’s childhood. I re-visited and filmed in the forests where he and his father may have hunted. We filmed in Sunnydale/Sunnyside, Helper, Spring Canyon, Huntington and Price Utah. We even filmed in Moab, by Goblin Valley State Park. Man this is God’s country. People like Louise Hamilton and Charlie Hamilton became our family along with Iona and Steve Workman who really helped with furniture from the old days. Tony Basso let us use his cars for J-R’s picture car. Even J-R came to visit and boy was that something. Elda and Delile Hinkins were almost at the set everyday. When J-R went home I began to miss him, but whenever I saw Delile or David Hinkins it was like J-R’s energy was flowing through them to me to comfort me and the film.
I want to thank: Utah’s Film Commission; everyone in Price and Helper, Utah; Helper Mayor Dean Armstrong; Price Mayor Joe L. Piccolo. Thank you. Helper’s Police department thanks so much. I thank God we made this film for J-R.
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