Saturday, February 25, 2017

REVIEW: 'The Fosters,' 'The 100' and 'Grey's Anatomy' (February 20-24)

Some brief reviews for various dramas from February 20-24:

Freeform's The Fosters - Episode 4.14 "Doors and Windows"
The CW's The 100 - Episode 4.04 "A Lie Guarded"
ABC's Grey's Anatomy - Episode 13.14 "Back Where You Belong"

Due to the demands of Peak TV, it is becoming more and more difficult for this website to devote the time to full length episodic reviews. And yet, there are still thoughts to be had about the ongoing adventures on a number of series. So I thought it would be good to still write down a couple of brief thoughts about each episode on a weekly basis. Of course, you can still probably expect full reviews for premieres and finales. If the networks should make screeners available, those episodes would get detailed analysis as well. But for now, this will be the way to continue to provide content for these shows while also being a lighter workload for me.

The Fosters - "Doors and Windows"
Mariana starts seeing a therapist to deal with the trauma of Nick's actions. While Jesus struggles with physical therapy, Brandon realizes that music might be a good way to help get through to him. Callie's biological father, Robert, brings in his highly paid attorneys to handle Callie's case, which causes a conflict with Stef and Lena. Written by Constance M. Burge and directed by Susan Flannery

A lot of complicated stories have been happening on The Fosters as of late. This hour seems to be an end to some of those complications. That largely feels the case with Callie and her legal woes. She discovers that Trey Johnson has an alibi to the murder. Plus, her new lawyers are able to pay off the victims of the hit-and-run. So now, the only thing of importance to her is her senior project and romantic angst between AJ and Aaron. That's less exciting but perhaps it will move her in a new and more interesting direction. It's great that Lena and Stef have to step up and make the decision for her because she is still making too many reckless mistakes. It's nice to see them recognize their own failings as well. Yes, the kids have all been terrible and lied to them. But now, they have to figure out how to move on as a family again. And lastly, Jesus' recovery has been a fascinating main story. Yes, it becomes a little melodramatic with Emma revealing that she's pregnant. And yet, it gets a new and inspired energy to it as well by having Brandon be a main character in it. He's the one Emma can talk to. And he's the one taking Jesus to therapy to give the moms a break. Sure, I don't know about this new music program - especially with the female instructor. But it seems like he is stepping up and being responsible for himself and his siblings. That's a step in the right direction. B

The 100 - "A Lie Guarded"
Continued struggles with leadership and trust in Arkadia and Polis take violent turns while Abby leads a team to a distant location hoping to find answers. Written by Kim Shumway and directed by Ian Samoil

It feels like this season of The 100 is once again focusing on surface-level tension instead of examining the moral implications of the characters' actions. That was a major problem in Season 3. And now, it seems like the show is just hurtling towards an inevitable plot and hitting the same story beats over and over again. This season has already told a story about Clarke lying to her people having major consequences. And yet, that's her story once more here. Plus, the resolution here feels like a cheat because Jaha is able to come in with a solution that makes everything go back to normal. That feels weird and not earned at all - considering the episode starts with everyone laughing at Jaha. Elsewhere, it's really manipulative of the show to make the audience believe that Octavia has died. The hour plays it completely straight with a long battle sequence that ends with the swelling of the music and a fall down a hundred foot cliff with a major stab wound. That's followed by Roan and Echo telling Bellamy and Kane, who have some significant reactions. Plus, it's just ridiculous that Octavia (and her horse) are able to survive all of that. I'm glad she's alive. I can accept ridiculous things when they happen to characters I enjoy. It's just a cheap trick that could be seen as very frustrating. C+

Grey's Anatomy - "Back Where You Belong"
Alex returns to the hospital and discovers a lot has changed since he left. Jo has to make a difficult decision on a case. Arizona tries to distance herself from Eliza. Written by Jen Klein and directed by Oliver Bokelberg

The two medical cases at the center of this episode are really strong and bring out interesting emotions and reactions from the cast. Plus, they focus on two characters who could use the added depth at the moment - Nathan and Jo. For his entire run on the show, Nathan has been presented as an obstacle for Owen or the center of an awkward love triangle with Maggie and Meredith (which hasn't been important for a long time). Here, it was nice to see a different aspect of him. One where he is still hopeful that his fiancée will be discovered one day. He sees the impossible family reunion happen with his case - even though they'll face a long road to recovery together. Elsewhere, it's fascinating to see Jo have the strength to stand up to an abusive husband. It's predictable that the kid would eventually need his kidney. But Jo gets a strong moment in telling him to do the right thing by donating anonymously. That shows that she's much stronger than she thinks - and probably sets her up for confronting her ex sometime in the near future. Meanwhile, it's hard to especially care about the sit down between Bailey and Meredith to fix the feud over Eliza. It's just uplifting that Meredith will be returning to the hospital in next week's episode. Even Richard is starting to realize that this war has gone on for too long. Of course, Eliza still needs more depth. There's only so much a kiss with Arizona can do. B+