Tuesday, July 8, 2014

REVIEW: 'Chasing Life' - Sara Demands the Truth from April & Beth and Brenna Go to the Movies in 'The Family That Lies Together'

ABC Family's Chasing Life - Episode 1.05 "The Family That Lies Together"

Dominic takes April to a psychic for fun, but the results disturb both of them, leading Dominic to reveal a family secret. April receives an official diagnosis from George. Sara's mounting concern for April's health leads to a confrontation.

There never was going to be a perfect time for April to sit her family down and tell them that she has cancer. That just wasn't in the cards for her. Her mom forces the truth out of her because she's finally started noticing that her daughter is not acting like herself. It's painful watching Sara try to uncover and plead for the truth from everyone. And yet, it doesn't get anymore powerful than when the entire family is in the living room and April just has to come out with it. I just love that she can't even face them when she first utters the word 'leukemia.' It's a devastating moment and seeing her mom's immediate reaction to it would be so heartbreaking. She's tried to create this perfect scenario where she knows her prognosis before revealing the truth. Now, the truth is out and her prognosis is in. And yet, she still is reluctant to come to terms with what it all means for her life. She doesn't want to stop in order to deal with this. It's all her family thinks about with her and she just wants to think about anything else. That denial can be very annoying and yet it also feels human.

So, April distracts herself by hanging out with Dominic some more and actually learning more about him as well as the woman who may be her sister. She gets the first actual confirmation that Natalie Ortiz is definitely her sister. I never thought there was much of a question there. But this story really does lend itself well to this episode both because it keeps April busy while also paralleling the secrets of her father with her own. There's more to this story - and I have a pretty good idea of where it's going but I'll leave that speculation for later.

But "The Family That Lies Together" really is about a family coming together as they prepare to face a tough battle ahead of them. It's frustrating that April doesn't even want to listen to what George says they need to do as treatment. However, it's also presumptuous of Sara to just start shooting out questions. But these are character quirks that have been built up and earned. April has yet to truly face the gravity of her own situation. She does have her group and she briefly knew a guy before he lost his battle with the disease. She just needs some time to fully accept all of it. Her family doesn't initially understand and she just needs to get out of there. So, she ends up at Dominic's where she's emotional because of what just happened but through the facade of the sister bombshell. It's a moment that parallels nicely. And April gets to end the episode by herself. Yes, Dominic is laying right next to her. But he's going to sleep. She's staying up and reading her father's note books. She wants to be proactive. She should be taking her disease seriously. But right now, she just needs some small comfort from the side of her father she thought she knew.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Family That Lies Together" was written by Linda Burstyn and directed by Andy Wolk.
  • We finally get our first onscreen reunion between former Wings co-stars Steven Weber and Rebecca Schull.
  • This was actually a really great episode for Schull. She got to be funny by suggesting Sara looking through her daughter's room and then heartbreaking when she says April can't die before her and telling Sara not to push too hard.
  • It's getting really annoying that everyone's first reaction to learning April has cancer is to say "How? She's so young." News flash! Kids get cancer. Don't people watch commercials anymore?
  • Hey remember when it was a big deal that Dominic didn't want any kind of drama with April? Yeah, this is some pretty major news and yet he's very comforting for her. Maybe he could have stayed awake a bit longer at the end though.
  • Yeah, Kiernan's a dick now. And I still don't care for anything Greer-related that isn't directly related to her poorly dealing with her sister's health.
  • Speculation corner! Thomas had a one-night stand with Natalie's mother. She got pregnant and he provided for her. It was just another curve ball that life through him. However, I'm not sure what's going on between George and Sara.