Sunday, July 13, 2014

REVIEW: 'Devious Maids' - Marisol Learns Nicholas' Secret as the Powells Celebrate Their Anniversary in 'Look Back in Anger'

Lifetime's Devious Maids - Episode 2.13 "Look Back in Anger"

When Nick finally admits his secret to Marisol, she convinces him to make things right with all those involved. Carmen meets a handsome stranger who offers to help her with her music career. As Zoila waivers between Pablo and Javier, she gets some shocking news. Valentina is offered the opportunity of a lifetime. Spence and Rosie decide to tie the knot.

This has been a rough season for Devious Maids - both consistency-wise and in the ratings. Last summer it was a breakout hit as a summer guilty pleasure. Lifetime tried helping it grow by launching the second season earlier in the middle of spring but the show has never risen to the ratings it was able to get last year. Creatively, there is just so much I don't care about on Devious Maids right now. This season I've enjoyed Rosie's stuff with the Miller family and Zoila's journey post-separation and still dealing with Genevieve. June Squibb was a lot of fun for those few episodes she was on. And yet, too often it feels like the show trying to do something with everyone every single week. The Carmen-Spence friendship was a great dynamic especially during his drinking stage of the season. But I can't say she did anything meaningful this year. Moreover, the season-long stories the show wanted us to care about simply weren't as interesting as the Flora one was last year. I didn't care about Nicholas or Opal or the grand secret they were hiding. I care about Marisol but this was just a reactionary season for her. All she had to be was the sane one and react shockingly to the latest developments happening with her new family. And then, there was the kids who robbed houses of the Beverly Hills elite which got more and more laughable the more weight the show piled on top of it.

Now, I'm going to talk about romantic pairings as this season had multiple love triangles. However, they all played out exactly the same! Unlike some viewers, I don't really care about Rosie & Spence and Remi & Valentina as couples. The Powells are a lot of fun. But the other two just feel like the show forcing them on us. Do you remember that Rosie and Spence started as an affair while he was still married to Peri? Just because they made her a horrible person doesn't justify it as the right thing to do. This season put up some real obstacles for these couples simply by just introducing a new male love interest for all of them. And one by one, it was revealed that the new guys were all manipulative bad people which would only make the previous pairings seem more important and good and meant to be than ever. One story of that is fine. But three? That's just lazy plotting.

In fact, I could say that Devious Maids is always about lazy plotting. I crave for more interactions amongst the five core maids. But the creatives are more content with giving each of them their own individual stories that only rarely crossover with one another. It's fun seeing the four maids get together for lunch. It could happen a lot more. A lot of time something happens in a story and I'm left wondering why one simply doesn't go running to her group of friends to talk about it with them. For instance, why doesn't Marisol share the latest Nicholas bombshell with her friends? Oh because it's not convenient for them because Rosie is getting engaged. It's a big deal that she's turning her husband into the police and it's largely just played as a joke to lead into the act break.

It was immediately apparent what the grand twist was with Nicholas the second that Marisol opened that safe deposit box last week. If there was any uncertainty, it was quickly thrown out the window once we were reminded about Barrett in the "Previously on..." segment as well as his name being dropped several times in the Powells early interactions. It's the only natural conclusion to this story. It's the only answer available which isn't surprising or revelatory. It's still a very emotional moment watching Nicholas come clean to the Powells and their reactions. However, I'm much more interested in seeing how this effects them moving forward. They no longer are angry at each other for letting it happen. Now, they both have a new target for their anger.

The other story that the show wanted to give resolution to - somewhat - in the finale was Ty and his crew of house robbers. I've been so confused as to how the show wants us to view Ty over the season. First, he's sympathetic. He's the only one in the group who regrets Alejandro getting killed. That led to him trying to commit suicide. The show then wanted him to be sweet as a way to both heal himself and Carmen. Then, he became creepy because he got obsessed with her. That led to Ethan getting stabbed. Now, he's completely sociopathic and the show wants to write that off through a throw-away line about him being off his meds now. That's a cheap trick used to derive tension. All of this uncertain has effected how Gideon Glick has played the character. Are we really suppose to be threatened by him? He mostly just comes across as delusional - falling in love with Carmen and plotting to get rid of Valentina. In the finale, whenever he's not onscreen I completely forgot that he was still a dangling threat mostly because I never took him seriously and I was praying nothing would ever come from his delusions. But nope. Instead we get a cliffhanger ending with him opening fire at Rosie and Spence's wedding. All in the hopes of killing Valentina! That seems terribly inefficient. And leaves such a bad taste in my mouth as a conclusion to this season.

Season three hasn't been ordered by Lifetime yet. For all we know, this could be it for the show. I don't think it will be but it does remain a possibility. When it comes back, I'm curious if Lifetime will keep it in this spring position or if it will return to summer or maybe even come back even earlier! Like February or something. I don't know. The show is a guilty pleasure of mine that I shouldn't take as seriously as I did in this review. And yet, there's moments that I genuinely think are really good and I'm so disappointed every time the show doesn't take the momentum earned from those moments into creating a really great soap.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Look Back in Anger" was written by Matt Berry and directed by David Grossman.
  • Gilles Marini?!?! First of all, it's very awkward timing that he pops up here while he's in the middle of a life or death situation on Switched at Birth. But that story with Carmen was completely unnecessary here. Her getting fired by Rosie was more than enough for her and Season 3 could have opened with this call of action with her music career.
  • Spence's stint in rehab has to be the shortest completion of treatment ever, right? It's was a big issue just TWO weeks ago. Now, he's cured.
  • I'm surprised that we got very little resolution to Genevieve's kidney problem. This finale had way too little Genevieve. Maybe that could be a big story in Season 3.
  • Also, Zoila is pregnant and it's a good old-fashioned who's the baby daddy story! Javier is such a good guy. For the longest time, I've worried the show would treat that romance the same way it had been treating all of its love triangles this season. I'm glad it didn't.
  • Lastly, Rosie's husband is still alive. I'm not that interested because I'm not that into the Rosie-Spence love story but it's definitely something that will happen.