Tuesday, August 12, 2014

REVIEW: 'Chasing Life' - April's Treatment Takes Its Toil as She Finally Has to Fight for Her Life in 'Finding Chemo'

ABC Family's Chasing Life - Episode 1.10 "Finding Chemo"

April begins her month-long hospital stay with mixed emotions. Her resolve to fight starts to wane as her treatments take a toll. Not sure she can be cooped up in the hospital for much longer, April begins to panic. With her family by her side, April makes a surprising outreach to someone who may be the only person who can help her.

Well, that was a brutal summer finale for Chasing Life. It highlighted the seven day round of chemo April underwent to first attack her cancer. She's spent this whole season talking about fighting it and surviving it to enjoy life. And then, when it comes for the actual battle, it is so much harder than she ever expected. Chemo is knocking her out but she's not willing to give up. Sure, there was the moment when she was ready to quit, to get out of the hospital and away with Leo. But she's so strong. She won't beat cancer out there in the world. She needs to be here in order to best experience the rest of her life. That sucks but it does give her perspective.

April needs to be focusing on herself and getting better. She can have some nice distractions to keep her from thinking about the side effects of her treatment. But she has so much more to deal with that only adds to the pressure she's already feeling in this situation. Dominic flies him to be there for here - and in the precise moment where she needs that sympathetic ear to listen to her, she calls Leo instead. Those two have a bond that was sexual once but has largely been about being there for each other and making sure the other one fights. Leo has been at peace with his decision not to let the doctors operate on his brain tumor. But he's not willing to let April just quit because it's hard.

And yet, Dominic could have been that person for her. But April kept wanting him as the perfect boyfriend for after she gets healthy. She doesn't want him right now to deal with all this harsh and ugly stuff. They just got together and she wanted to maintain that perfectness for as long as possible. It was the wrong way to handle the situation but at least she's willing to admit to it. Knowing what she knows now, she would have done everything differently. She made mistakes and now she's forced to own up to them to the last person who found out she was sick. But the additional drama with Leo may be the straw that breaks the camel's back between April and Dominic. Leo truly believes April has a future with Dominic but Dominic isn't ready to get past all of this drama. That's unfortunate even though right now, I ship April and Leo more.

Lastly, there's the cliffhanger. April spots Leo's parents at the hospital and she gets a voicemail from him that he needs to tell her something. Now that means he's either on his deathbed or he has changed his mind and is going through with the surgery. I'm inclined to the latter because that voicemail didn't sound like something he would say if he was on his deathbed. If that was the last time he could have talked to April, there would have been more urgency and passion in his voice. As is, it sounds like he has news to share to a friend. That news of course being that he could possible live for awhile now which I'll support because we could always need more Leo. It's a little odd to make that moment the last beat for the summer finale - don't worry 11 more episodes are coming early next year. So much of this show has been about April's journey as she is battling cancer. This beat makes it about the love triangle which is definitely a prominent part of this episode. But it would have perhaps been a bit more uplifting if the hour had ended with April getting that renewed energy to fight this disease.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Finding Chemo" was written by Susanna Fogel & Joni Lefkowitz and directed by Michael Grossman.
  • I don't think the Brenna stuff has been done especially well but I do think her stuff with Greer has been decent and watchable. And now, that bond may be taken away because of their little trip in Florida. That was powerful watching the conversation go from being about Brenna and being at risk for being kidnapped to Sara knowing about Natalie.
  • But Brenna is also not a match for the bone marrow transplant which just further fuels into my prediction that Natalie will be the one who has to donate to save April's life.
  • Also, George wants there to be something between him and Sara. Sure, it's awkward as they both address but it's what he's feeling.
  • Yes Beth, April faked having cancer just to get all this attention. Loved that joke.
  • Opening the hour with the girls embracing what it was like to be outside was such a strong callback to Jackson.
  • Still don't like the frequency of people mentioning how young they are but have cancer.
  • I cried three times and I'm not afraid to admit that - April and Leo's chat in the chapel, Sara saying she has two perfect daughters and April's final dream of her dad.