Wonderfalls (2004) – Karma Chameleon, and Wound-up Penguin

Jaye (Caroline Dhavernas) gets single white femaled in Karma Chameleon. Written by Tim Minear this episode aired second, on 19 March, 2004, when it was actually the third in the narrative order.

When a fish in the bar, and a stuffed chameleon tell Jaye to help ‘get her words out’ when it comes to a visitor in town, Bianca (Sarah Drew). Stuck with her, Jaye’s attempt to help Bianca is a bumpy road when Bianca begins to assimilate and take over her life.

But is there something more going on here?

As Jaye struggles with her place in her successful family, her mother, Karen (Diana Scarwid), has a new book out and her place in the blurb is troubling, she also fights to define who she is while still being symbolic of her generation, and herself.

But Bianca isn’t making it easy. Every aspect of Jaye’s life is being taken over, Bianca has settled into her job at the Wonderfalls gift shop, she’s insinuated herself into Jaye’s family, and she’s hitting on Eric (Tyler Leitso)!

And once Jaye discovers Bianca’s secret, and finds a way to help get her words out, will she be able to reclaim her life?

I love Minear’s writing, and this episode sparkles with his dialogue, and everyone leans into the quirkiness that is becoming a defining characteristic of the show. It’s already a lot of fun, and of course, knowing how Fox treated it, well, that just makes it all the sadder knowing it’s run ends quickly.

Wound-Up Penguin was written by Liz W. Garcia and was the final episode to air. It was broadcast on 26 March, 2004.

Jaye and Eric find a woman, Katrina (Carrie Preston) living in a barrel in Eric’s restaurant and work to help her. It seems she’s an ex-nun, and she’s being pursued by Father Joe (Aidan Devine) who wants to bring her back to the convent, and help her rediscover her faith.

Jaye is advised to ‘bring her back to him,’ and consequently she believes her job this time around is to re-establish Katrina’s faith in god. So she reveals that the animals talk to her, that they tell her to do things.

After some consultation with Jaye’s brother, Aaron (Lee Pace) about a variety of religious procedures, is determined to perform a brutal, bloody exorcism on Jaye.

At the same time, Father Joe and Eric have a conversation about the guilt and pain Eric has over his failed marriage that didn’t even survive the honeymoon.

Of course, things aren’t going to go that easy for either Eric or Jaye, and there’s more going on here, plans within plans, and the voices may push Jaye in the right direction, but sometimes she doesn’t know where she’s going until she gets there.

There’s also some nice romantic chemistry developing between Jaye and Eric that is playfully brought to life.

A delightful episode, and it’s sad to think this was the last one aired. Happily, though, there’s still nine episodes to go!


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