Back when Michael Ausiello first broke the news that Jim (David Conrad) would die on Ghost Whisperer, the response was a resounding Noooooooooo. Ditto for when I blogged about his actual death. Since then, we (and Melinda, played by Jennifer Love Hewitt) have seen Ghost Jim step into another man’s body because he didn’t want to cross over and leave his wife. That accident victim, Sam, has amnesia, and Sim (what we shall call Sam-Jim) doesn’t remember Melinda — though he feels a strong, unexplained attraction to her. After weeks of watching Sim deal with the complicated family he isn’t close to (convenient!) and an ex (Teri Polo) that almost pulled him away from Melinda, he and Melinda are officially dating. On Friday’s episode, they shared their first kiss (below). So the question is, are you still mourning Jim’s passing, or have you begun to warm to this storyline?
From a ratings standpoint, the answer would appear to be the latter: The first five episodes of the season averaged 9.5 million viewers, while Jim’s death and the eight episodes that have followed have averaged 10.9 million (an increase of 14 percent). Producers wanted to show us Melinda and Jim falling in love, and I’m enjoying it more now that they’ve stopped showing Sam’s body so much. (Sim only looks like Conrad to viewers.) But I still wish they’d just planned a half-season flashback so it was our Jim we were seeing. We all know what it meant for Melinda to finally find him, someone who believed her gift and supported it. That’s the story I want to hear. Even though Sim, who doesn’t yet know that Melinda sees dead people, will have a similar experience, it’s not THE experience. You could argue that Melinda will be even more desperate now that she’s had that kind of love and lost it — and that’s why I’m tuning in each week — but again, it’s just not quite as satisfying as it could have been.