The bonding with his dad was so well-done, throughout the first forty minutes or so, still I had a slight feeling that the dad had more to do with it than he was saying. I was thinking he did the shooting or was involved in it, shot himself, but the bonding was so well-done, so genuine that I instead started to think that the twist would be that it was Sam's actions with Vic that put him in the position where he had to leave during Sam's 4th birthday party somehow. Boy, was I wrong!
First of all, the realization that it was Annie that Vic was attacking was one thing. Then that he was responsible completely for kidnapping the baby, shooting the other guys, allowing himself to be shot. Basically, he set the whole damn thing up. But then we find out that he actually *killed* Annie and that's why he ran, which was bad enough. And still it got worse, as Sam is still believing that there is good in this man, truly believing he won't kill him, the son-of-a-bitch shot him TWICE! Head-butting him and leaving him to die.
Dayum! I was not expecting that. I didn't watch the original LoM beyond the first episode, so I have no idea if it played out this way, but since I hadn't watched it, I was blown away. I was NOT expecting this angle at all, it's so un-American-television-like (which leads me to believe that, yeah, this one skews closely to the original). Just wow.
And the acting! Jason O'Mara was wonderful, per usual, but Dean Winters -- someone I'm quite familiar with, but I'm not the guy's biggest fan -- was outstanding. I mean, absolutely stellar performance. He laid on the layer of sleazy charm just slightly enough that it was easy to buy the heart of gold under the sleaze and then slowly revealed Vic to fully be just plain sleaze. Excellent, excellent performance. Jennifer Ferrin as Rose Tyler (and, no, I never get tired of the name, hee!) is doing fabulous work as well, but I'm not surprised. I loved her on As the World Turns and she hasn't disappointed here yet.
As for the other regulars, no one other than O'Mara got to do much except for Gretchen Mol and she was lovely. I think that's the best word that describes her performance overall to me: Lovely. She doesn't wow me or blow me away, but there's a grace and a sweet charm to her Annie. Alas, I still am not feeling her and Sam, which is really a shame because that final scene between them should have been a heart-melting, rewind-worthy, this is what supercouples are made of moment and it just ... wasn't. Ah well, they're sweet, if not electric.
Finally, that last scene. What the hell was that? I felt like suddenly I was being dropped into the middle of a suspenseful horror film (but in a good way). It was creepy and scary and ahhhhh! I couldn't believe it ended where it did and then we find out no new episodes for two whole months!!!!! AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!! Hopefully, the move to Wednesdays behind Lost will help the show because it's too good to just wither away.
Oh, about the preview: Was that Windy looking in the mirror as Sam stepped out of the shower or some new chick? Oh, pretty please, I hope it was Windy! I slo-moed it, but still couldn't really tell it's been so long since we've seen her. I'm not sure because while she had long, brown hair, it wasn't as fluffy as Windy's normally is. Hmm, going to IMDB to see if Tanya Fischer is listed in any upcoming episodes.
ETA: Damnit, I don't see her in anything beyond the three episodes she's already been in, but that doesn't mean anything, I guess since she wasn't listed for any episodes beyond her first after that one aired. ::Shrugs::