Mike's Delayed Reaction Review-#404 (4-43), "Murder, She Snored"

MDRR #404 (4-43) - Go Gonzaga!

I Didn't Do It - Who did Kevin and the football team think they were fooling by all getting 100s on that test? DeMartino isn't stupid, he's crazy (probably because of stuff like this). The evidence points right to at least one of them. I'd say that Kevin probably did it at the urging of his teammates - it's good to have someone that can claim ignorance without automatically being called a liar to do the job. By the way, if you must cheat by stealing a test, get some of the answers wrong on purpose. It's much less suspicious (not that I would know).

Unintentional Ironies of the Week - There were two that I'd like to point out. First, was Brittany's "what's that 'A' doing on you paper?" The second was Helen's "it's a clear cut case of abuse" after she blew Daria off.

Do the Right Thing - Mack and Brittany rightly go to Kevin to try to convince him to confess. He maintains that he knows nothing and feels persecuted for being a brain. Then Miss Li overhears Daria and Jane joke about killing him. Then...

...you know <yawn>, I'm getting a bit tired, time for a <yawn> nap...

...Kevin somehow ended up in Daria's locker, dead of at least an arrow wound.

Motivated Seller - Everyone was a suspect in the case of Kevin's murder. That's probably because almost everyone had a viable motive. Jane didn't like losing her high grade that she worked so hard for. Mack never did like being called Mack Daddy and DeMartino never liked Kevin period. Brittany didn't want to be relegated to somewhere off the sidelines. But Daria turned out to be the prime suspect, despite having no specific motive (there was that little matter of the body being in her now oversized locker, though).

Oh No! - Is Trent dead? No, just sleeping.

So, Who's Done It?!?! - All of the detective work really paid off. <sigh> In dream-ality all Daria had to do was tell everyone about some radioactive dye to get some confessions. It seems that Jane poisoned Kevin, the Brittany shot him with an arrow as Mack clubbed him with, well, a club. Finally, after he was probably already dead, Barch kicked him and declared that it would be a "great day" and DeMartino strangled him before stashing the body in Daria's locker.

Subtle Clues - Each of the murderers drop some hints that they knew some of what happened to our poor QB. Jane sent her complements to the chef on the cyanide. Mack kind of lost it when asked about that Mack Daddy stuff. Brittany was a little too eager to start looking for a new boyfriend. Finally, DeMartino was quick to point fingers at Daria and Jane. All that, and the series of close-ups on the guilty parties (complete with the shady eye shifts) after Miss Li announces that she knew who did it.

...wow <yawn>, that was a great nap, and I got a lot done with my head on the keyboard. <yawn> ...

More Subtle Clues - The fact that most of this episode was one of Daria's dreams wasn't immediately obvious, at first, but in retrospect, there were several clues that stuck out like sore thumbs. First, was Daria large locker. Second, was the fact that a high school was conducting a murder investigation. Third, was the fact that people Daria knows started acting like famous TV detectives. Finally, but most importantly, I don't think they (meaning the writers) would really kill off everyone's favorite whipping boy (but I had my fingers crossed).

Paging Dr. Freud - Daria's dream can give us some insight into how she sees people and what she really thinks about them. For instance, she sees the Fashion Club as stupid, shallow social posterurs. DeMartino is seen as more overstressed and bitter, while Jake and Helen are seen as haphazard and overly motherly, respectively. However, the most interesting thing about it is the how she sees herself. The impressions that I got was that she feels she is above, or maybe even superior to, everyone else and almost always gets screwed anyway (as seen by her "execution" at the end of the dream).

Shipper tease of the Week - Another thing about Daria's dream, that deserves special consideration, is the part about Trent being dead. If I were to try to analyze this portion, I would say that she doesn't think she has or wants to have feelings for him anymore. This leads to him waking up, which tells me that she still has some feelings for him that are buried way down. The whole scene, taken together, tells me that she is trying to move on past this whole situation but that there is part of her that doesn't quite want to yet.

At first, I wasn't quite sure what I thought about this episode. But after watching it again, it grew on me and I think it's probably the best of the season so far. At this point, I guess I'm going to have to explain why I like this episode and not like Depth Takes A Holiday. There are two reasons, ultimately. First the dream was presented as part of the flow of "normal" events in Lawndale. In other words, dreams weren't even attempted to be passed off as reality. Second, the dream itself was remarkably similar to what a real dream might be like in that it took events from Daria's life and her perceptions of the people and things around her and twisted them into coherence. Even all of the references, which were many, were well placed and unobtrusive (and I know that a whole lot of them went right over my head).

Grade: A-

Daria as a Whole #1, Alter-Ego of the Week (in episode division) - I liked Daria and Jane as Magnum P.I. and the guy that helps Magnum.

Daria as a Whole #2, Actual Alter-Ego of the Week - Two words: Britney Barch.

Copyright © 2000 Mike Quinn [All Rights Reserved].

"Daria" and all related characters are © 1997-2000 MTV Networks, Inc.