'Medium' recap: A shade shady

After a somewhat ho-hum start to its sixth season — and a move to a new night and network (Fridays on CBS) — Medium has gotten back on stride, and last night’s “The Future’s So Bright” found the procedurals-are-better-with-psychics drama back at its creepy, inventive best. The episode followed Patricia Arquette’s Allison after she borrowed a pair of sunglasses from the department’s lost-and-found drawer to deal with a sudden sensitivity to light — and discovered every person she encountered had a number floating over his or her head that corresponded to the number of days that person had left to live. (If correct, looks like Devalos has just under 33 years left, while Scanlon’s got 42 years to complete his bucket list.) But talk about moral conundrums! How do you avoid slipping on the shades and checking the lifeline of your husband, your children, yourself? And should you? I loved the scene where Allison stood facing the bathroom mirror, grappling with turning Pandora’s predictor on herself.

Luckily, the magic accessory did more than offer ultimate expiration dates. Turns out the sunglases belonged to a deceased, midlevel drug dealer caught between turning on his employers, or getting an upper-body massage with a power sander. (Allison dreamed it all, natch.) You kind of knew there had to be a crooked cop in the mix — why else were the shades at the police department to begin with? — but the whole showdown at Scanlon’s apartment was nonetheless played out with as much tension as you can hope to get when you know deep down a major character isn’t actually going to be bumped off. That final scene where Allison warned the bad-guy detective — ominous “1” floating over his head — that his life was in danger provided sweet closure. “Don’t lose any sleep worrying about me,” he smirked, and suddenly the numbers over everyone in the hallway dropped to the floor, signaling the unavenged victim would soon be looking down on sweet, street-style justice. And fret not…I’m sure the Lunesta butterfly was hovering over Casa DuBois that night.

Bonus points go to this episode for using underrated actors from three series I once watched with religious fervor — Rick Gonzalez from Reaper as the dealer, The X Files‘ Mitch Pileggi as Joe’s new, new-agey boss, and Central Park West‘s Tom Verica (yes, I said CPW…don’t judge) as the shady detective. Pileggi’s screentime was all too brief, but the good news is he’s looking hotter than ever the writers appear to be setting the stage for a story arc where he’ll reignite some power into Joe’s solar-technology dreams. And when Joe’s happy and thriving, we’re all happy and thriving, no? Plus, dude is overdue for some career luck.

What did you think of last night’s Medium? How have you felt about its sixth season overall? And are you looking into the future and seeing a seventh? Sound off in the comments below. And to get all my pop-culture musings, follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak.

Comments (43 total) Add your comment
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  • Little DD

    Didn’t catch the show last night, but now I wish I had. Great show, great cast. Love the kids and her interaction with the family. And love her cop family. Long may she dream.

  • CB

    Good show last night. Loved the idea of the numbers on the head.

  • Garry

    You could have said “American Dreams” Tom Verica, too. That show was more successful (and better) than “Central Park West.”

    Anyway, this was another compelling episode of an excellent and under-rated series.

    • jenn

      That’s what I was going to say! CPW?! Try American Dreams! Duh! I never saw how the glasses ended up in the Lost and Found, though. Are we just to assume that since they were left in his car he got rid of them by bringing them into work?

  • Jose

    I think Mediuim is the best show on t.v. Too bad I havn’t seen it since the sixth season premiere.

  • Mikie

    There has been some interesting weird stuff happening, like the gimmick last night. My biggest beef is that it now seems like a foregone conclusion that the puzzle will be solved by the end of the episode through Allison’s successive dreams. I recall when her dreams were more abstract, without said predictibility.

    • Mikie

      BTW as a huge Reaper fan I was pleased to see Rick again, though it was a bit odd to see him in a dramatic role. He was very funny on Reaper….hmmm how about a crossoverish episode were Allison deals with the devil and has to recruit Sam, Sock, and Ben to assist…?

      • seattle_girl

        I’m there – EXCELLENT idea! From your mouth to CBS’ ears….

  • Jane

    Watching this season hasn’t been bad, but yeah, it hasn’t had the same cleverness and innovation that they did back on CBS. I think it’s because the writer’s have had to accommodate some CBS conventions (ie: when the drug dealer was running away, I thought to myself, “this looks like a CBS chase scene” with long running shots, unlike an NBC chases scene that has quicker editing techniques.) Now I think they are starting to settle in and become awesome. Of course the best thing about the show is the normality. I love how Allison is still trying to heal from her stroke, how Joe’s work problems are because his boss is a control freak rather than just being silly and eccentric like they’d do on other shows, and how the Allison and Joe aren’t svelte supermodels, but look like everyday people. This show always amazes me and I’m so grateful CBS kept them on the air.

    • Q

      It hasn’t been bad, but it’s not as good as it was. So you’re saying that this season has been *sunglasses* medium quality?

  • seattle_girl

    Oh Slezak, just when I think I can’t love you anymore, you start recapping one of my fave shows AND I find out we’re mutual members of the “get Mitch Pileggi a regular TV gig” club. I thought I was the only person who finds him one of the hottest bald men ever…

    • medium well

      seattle_girl you have great taste
      mitch pileggi

      was extra happy to see him last nite

      • jrm

        me three!!!

    • Ana Maria

      …you’re not the only one; I thought he looked smoking hot…

  • Wickeddoll

    Any of the female characters on Supernatural – they have the shelf life of lettuce.


  • Kit

    Such an underrated show. Joe is a great character, and done with such marvelous expression, exasperation, and oppositional wonder with his science background vs Allison’s abilities. Each of the daughters is interesting individually, and Scanlon is a great grey-dark figure. When you need some assurance, he’s offset by Davalos. I too miss Allison’s dreams being less evident/proscriptive, and being far more abstract, but it’s ok. It’s still good television.

  • janie

    love this show and so glad it was picked up by CBS, this shows that they have the smarts.
    Each actor works well off the others … fantastic.

  • Jesse

    So glad that Medium is back. That sinking ship NBC cut off its nose to spite its own face by letting this one go. NBC’s loss is CBS’s gain!

  • Jon

    The show is actually quite good. The writers are pretty creative and still manage to surprise you. The thing that gets so annoying is that Allison is right ALL THE TIME and yet her husband and Scanlon constantly doubt her with a mocking tone. At what point would a PO’d Allison scream, “Yeah, it’s so crazy, because it’s not like I solve every case I’m involve with, my dreams directing us around every corner!”? If you can get over this annoyance — which the writers indulge in shamelessly — it’s an entertaining show.

    • jrm

      Couldn’t agree more. We are always waiting for one of them to instead say, “Yeah, you’re probably right. You usually are.”
      At our house, whenever one of them doubts her, we are always saying to the tv, “What is this? The first time you’ve worked with her?”
      I do, however, love the show and don’t let it get to me. And we laugh whenever we say it.

    • Zlost

      Every once in a while, her dreams lead her in the wrong direction, but it’s usually because she took them to mean something different. But yes, I agree. Why do you insist on doubting her?

    • Melinda65

      I know, and completely agree. However, once in a while someone will say, “We need more proof than just a dream, so now that you’ve steered us this way, we’ll go looking for some.” But for the most part, when people start getting all skeptical on her, we can only roll our eyes. Yet we love the show and it’s one that we watch every week.

  • TG

    I think this season has been really strong. Love the show and the cast. It’s one of the most consistently all around well done shows on tv.

  • leo

    Loved it.
    I would have wanted to wear those glasses around my family but not myself. And it could send me into insanity to see a low number on any of them so I’ll just be glad that this is a TV show and I’ll never have to tempt my pandoras box!

  • Efren

    I agree with the consensus. This is still a great show. Each and every individual character is great. The moments I love the most are those at the breakfast table, not only do they ring true,they are hilarious.

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