They toned down the New Age sap (slightly), underplayed the set-jawed lip-quivering that constitutes Jennifer Love Hewitt’s central performance (slightly), amped up the menace of Wide-Brimmed Hat Man and they dropped a plane on Aisha Tyler. That last bit was bad on the level that I like Aisha Tyler more than anybody else on the show, but good on the level that it’s always a bit gutsy to drop a plane on your second-billed star.
Although that finale ended with Wide-Brimmed Hat Man sneaking up behind Tyler’s Andrea and whispering "She’s mine," Friday’s (Sept. 22) second season premiere begins at least a few hours later. Ghost Whisperer fans (yes, there are handfuls) are sure to wonder how that tense scene resolved itself. My hunch? Hewitt’s Melinda stared at WBHM with a clenched jaw, quivered her lip, shed a single tear and murmured, "Go into the light, Andrea!!!!" because a full 50 percent of the dialogue in every episode seems to be Melinda advocating on behalf of the light. We get it. The light is Love.
Anyway, Melinda’s having nightmares in the premiere and she’s still seeing Andrea wandering around, which makes me hope that Tyler held out for a huge guest-starring fee in exchange for having an airplane crashed on her head. Andrea is miserable and she utters the name "Romano." Is she referring to her kinship with Dr. Romano on ER, who had a helicopter dropped on him? Or is she referring to WBHM?
In search of answers, Melinda seeks out Jay Mohr, or at least an unconvincing food-obsessed college professor who looks like Jay Mohr. He’s an expert on the occult and supernatural as it pertains to contemporary psychology, which means he’s a skeptic. Because he’s a skeptic, he’s treated as a mindless cad who uses lots of sarcasm as a defense mechanism. He’s there to explain mumbo jumbo about light spirits and dark spirits, but because he’s Jay Mohr, he’s really there for a few one-liners and to give the history of the WBHM (I’d spoil his identity here, but Ghost Whisperer fans scare me). He’s got a few dramatic moments that Jay Mohr isn’t capable of handling, but since he shares them with the equally emotionally clumsy Hewitt, it’s hard to notice.
The gist of the episode, surprisingly, is dedicated to Melinda’s attempts to get Andrea to go into the light and to convince her that the WBHM is evil and that the light is good. Like most Ghost Whisperer episodes, it ends with a three-way, tear-filled dialogue with Melinda, a ghost and a living loved one in which everybody stares off into space and seeks closure and viewers pound their heads against walls yelling, "Go into the light already! Haven’t you heard? It’s Love!"
Alas, not all of the characters go into the light and the episode leaves many fruitful avenues open for the season. The WBHM can be expected to play a regular role and Mohr’s professor will recur as well. There’s also some guy named Kyle, who spends the first half of the episode googling Melinda and announces "She and I, we have some unfinished business."
I hope it involves urging people to go into the light.