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Reason WHILE STARZ IS BROADCASTING ONE EPISODE PER WEEK, THE WHOLE SEASON IS AVAILABLE ALREADY ON DEMAND.

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Cry And Cut

Flesh & Bone's credibility problems snowball, and speaking of little round white things, Princess is AWOL and Sarah D. Bunting is v.v. unhappy.

Flesh & Bone's penultimate episode is also a quintessential episode: a couple of interesting ideas and compelling subplots, buried underneath a pile of clichéd slo-mo with a flashback soundtrack; non-credible or tardy character development; and gothic-soap tics. The few things about "Full Dress" I enjoyed and bought into got ruined by everything I rolled my eyes at or couldn't believe.

A list of the credulity-strainers, in no particular order.

Mia's entire situation.

The diagnosis itself I won't even touch, but the idea that she's still in the hospital because of the MS and/or that she refuses to eat is absurd. First of all, we saw her chowing at Paul's party in the last episode. Second of all, if it's a nutrients issue, presumably she's getting that intravenously, and even if it takes a while to stabilize an undernourished dancer's system, it doesn't take two weeks, not in 2015. Third of all, if she's depressed because her career is over, she'd probably just...eat, no? Because her career is...over?

As much of an off-putting waste of screentime as Mia historically is, I also don't buy that nobody else from the company has come to visit her. The show tries to explain that away by saying she couldn't have visitors until then -- also not credible -- but Trey would have come. I guess I can accept that Claire would come by, but this is yet another scene in which Claire is suddenly emotionally wise and generous because it's convenient.

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To a plot that has no resonance, because it features a character I don't like who exists solely as a bitch antagonist, as well. No way does Claire know how to motivate Mia, or really do anything except look gassy and stammer; no way does Mia let her. Baby-bird this foolishness, please.

Jessica sucks this deafeningly at her job.

Jessica apparently paid her kid's tuition using ballet-company funds, then got a check from her ex-husband to cover the nut, except it bounced. That's fairly believable, and not uninteresting; Tina Benko has a nice moment in the ladies' when she has to call her ex back and eat shit to his voicemail, knowing she can't fully air him out for screwing her over financially because she needs him to make it right.

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But she's so evidently terrible at her job that it's hard to feel sorry for her. In fact, it's hard to believe she still even has the job. She doesn't seem to have noticed prior to her conversation with Daphne that the wire transfer came from some shadeballs holding company -- so she just goes ahead and calls Daphne's father to thank him in person. Why didn't Jessica do that the instant the money hit ABC's account? Or write a thank-you note, or send him a tote bag, or something that indicates she took Development 101? What's worse, she calls to dun him for more money, and as part of her patter, she mentions that they gave Daphne a promotion. I mean, I don't donate to the arts at that level, so maybe everyone really is that blunt about the quids and the quos, but I just don't think so. You don't want to sugarcoat it even a little bit? "Daphne's doing wonderfully," something vague of that sort?

I don't mind where it's going now; I'd enjoy an exploration of the compromises non-profits might have to face vis-a-vis the ickiness of certain donors morally. But please make Jessica a bit less of a high-strung stunod.

Fucking Paul.

I try not to judge the show too harshly for the latitude it gives this preening fuckwit, because artists will put up with a lot of shit to keep a prized spot, especially young artists. I'd walk away from Paul mid-sentence, chuckling, but I'm 42. I'd walk away from a lot of shit now that I'd have tolerated 20 years ago.

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That said, if Paul's such a titanic talent and powerful boss that the corps will put up with his bullshit, then he's experienced enough not to stop a tech rehearsal dead with a ten-minute rococo rant; shit all over his stagehands, who can fuck him sideways in every orifice if they want to (and have a union) (and so would the dancers, as I believe my esteemed colleague Adam Grosswirth pointed out, but whatever); and replace his lead dude three days before the performance. Not that that shit doesn't go on and that divos don't get by with that kind of hostile-work-environment thing all the time, but the problem with Flesh & Bone is that Paul is far from the only thing about the show that doesn't ring true.

Take his emotional blackmailing of Claire ("...please!"). Threatening her with how word gets around "in a small town" appears to work, temporarily at least, which is the dumbest; it's Pittsburgh, not Mayberry. Three hundred thousand people. All the major sports teams. The more baffling part is why he'd threaten Claire with exposure. If she's so talented that he's considering replacing the incumbent prima on the eve of the performance, why would he risk losing her? Wouldn't he do everything he could to insure her loyalty? Because he's boned without her. Again, it does work, at least for now, so you could argue that he knows how to bully her to get the results he wants, but even Claire In The Headlights would understand that her choices aren't ABC or Podunk. Other cities have ballet corps. Other countries have ballet corps. If she'll sass him that he needs her, she'd know that she could threaten to get an audition at Joffrey, or in London.

This is more a "the writers can't decide who Claire is or how badly damaged from scene to scene" problem than a Paul problem, but Paul still sucks. Shut up, Paul.

Kiira's perfect pedi.

Not unless she just got back from a monthlong vacation in Gel-gium. Sorry.

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Kiira's story in "Full Dress" is probably the most frustrating to me because it's got the most potential. Jasper explains for our benefit that if she shoots her foot up with...I don't even know. Lidocaine? Steroids? She can't feel it and the bone could crack, is the upshot, so as a result her rehearsal is extremely tense, and that first crack of applause from the house startled me, like OH GOD was that the bone?! It wasn't, and Irina Dvorovenko's "...phew, it wasn't" face is nice piece of work.

But then she's got flawless toenails, she's throwing away like ten pounds of Chanel makeup and going...out on top? I can infer the motivation but I still don't believe it, or know enough about the character to assess it properly. I do know that Kiira's outraged "it's YOU!" is stunningly dumb. YES, KIIRA. IT'S PAUL. DID YOU JUST START BALLETING YESTERDAY? No way does that character not know it's him who wants to replace her all along, or at the very least by the beginning of that specific scene. She's a prima, not a preemie. Get a grip, writing, Jesus.

Sure, Brian just sits in the hall in a lonely shaft of light, waiting to get yelled at.

And by the way, who took care of Robbins Sr. when Bryan went on stalkabout to New Y-- you know what, I don't care. Nothing in this family's arc bears any relationship to actual human behavior. Bye.

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NOW Ivana leaves Princess home?

I live for Ivana's tiny little Pomeranian and her tiny little hairbow. I also know theaters can get drafty with only a handful of people in the house, and having a little fox-faced puffball to snuggle just makes sense. Princess is my very favorite character! Why, show?! WHYEEEEEEEEEE??!1!

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