Mark Watches ‘Wonderfalls’: Episode 4 – Wound-up Penguin

In the fourth episode of Wonderfalls, Jaye and Eric help an ex-nun navigate her lost faith. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Wonderfalls.

Each of these episodes has been fantastic in their own right. I’M SO HAPPY WITH THIS.

  • As a former Catholic, this episode speaks directly to my heart. I have things I despise about the Church and things I adore about it. Like I said in the video, aside from a stereotypically mean nun who constantly made me feel terrible and was openly racist, the sisters I knew through my church were THE BEST PEOPLE. That is something I miss about being Catholic, especially because these women were so sympathetic towards what I was struggling with. They knew it was hard to keep your faith, and they didn’t shame me for having questions and wanting to understand the Church more. At the same time, I was outed and then ostracized by people in the Church, and it’ll always leave me with a negative feeling about being Catholic.
  • So there’s definitely a part of me that appreciates how tenderly the show treats Katrina’s monologue about cheese. It reminded me of Mary’s marzipan story from The Amber Spyglass, which was my favorite chapter in that trilogy. Doubt is a hell of a thing, and it’s ultimately a big part of my own realization that I was an atheist. Well, yes, there were LOTS OF EXTERNAL FACTORS, TOO. Oh god, now I can’t stop thinking about the play/movie Doubt, which is GUT-WRENCHING FOREVER.
  • The serious tone to this episode is not overpowering, though, and “Wound-up Penguin” is VERY FUNNY and it’s QUITE PLEASING and did you know that just this week, I found out that folks from across the big pond known as the Atlantic Ocean use the world “quite” differently than we do? I apologize, then, for confusing the hell out of all my readers who think I am adding the worst descriptive qualifier to my sentences. I’LL BE MORE WARY OF IT.
  • Like Dead Like Me, I feel as if Wonderfalls pokes fun at the idea of divine intervention. While the last show dealt with death and the afterlife and the inherent bureaucracy present in such a system, this show is tackling the idea that it’s downright confusing to communicate directly with humanity in the way that the creatures do here. They’re vague! Sure, they end up being right, but it seems like it’s only in hindsight that these messages make any real sense. “Bring her back to him” applied to at least three different scenarios, and the actual truth was so far from Jaye’s mind that there was no way she knew what she was doing. More so than the three previous episodes, the good deed in “Wound-up Penguin” was completely hidden from Jaye’s perspective for the entirety of the story. It was only when she found out that she’d brought Father Joe back to his daughter that she knew what she’d done. Isn’t that… well, inefficient? But I had the same complaint about Dead Like Me, and I’m sensing a pattern here. If there’s a higher power at work, they don’t seem to intercede in any useful way. They’re detached and distant by design, and that alone is kind of fascinating to me.
  • Which then just makes me wonder what the hell I’m getting into with Pushing Daisies. It’s clearly not a show about people using a hot-air balloon to travel to alternate universes, which is a story that I need to write ASAP since no one can tell me what show I am describing. Is this a pattern with all Bryan Fuller shows? It’s like casual, realistic fantasy. And I really like it!
  • So, let’s talk some more about “Wound-up Penguin”! The show makes up for the lack of Tracie Thoms by giving us LOTS OF LEE PACE BEING DRAMATIC ABOUT RELIGION. Holy shit, that triple-cut sequence with the Tyler family, Eric, and Katrina is FUCKING BRILLIANT. Oh my god, this episode reminded me that Presbyterians think Catholics are doing it wrong. Aaron looked like he was telling ghost stories over the campfire. And then there’s Eric, who has a surprisingly touching conversation with Father Joe about loss and guilt. I’m gad that this episode addressed how personally Eric interpreted this situation, explaining why he reacted so strongly to Katrina being “forced” to go back home. I was in a perpetual state of transition for nearly a decade of my life, so I’ve been in Eric’s shoes, both from not knowing where my home is, and feeling guilt for leaving a relationship that wasn’t good for me.
  • And there I go, doing exactly what Eric did in this episode. PROJECT EVERYWHERE.
  • But that stuff is fun! It makes writing about this show and others rewarding for me, and Wonderfalls has managed to be personal and hilarious at the same time. AND THERE WAS A DIY EXORCISM. I ACCIDENTALLY CALLED IT.
  • Bless this show.

The video commission for this episode is now archived on MarkDoesStuff.com for just $0.99!

Mark Links Stuff

– The Mark Does Stuff Summer Tour is happening soon! Check out the posted dates, suggest new ones, help bring me to YOUR TOWN.
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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