Thursday, March 16, 2017

REVIEW: ABC's 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Scandal' and 'The Catch' (March 16)

Reviews for ABC's Shondaland shows from March 16:

ABC's Grey's Anatomy - Episode 13.16 "Who Is He (And What Is He To You)?"
ABC's Scandal - Episode 6.06 "Extinction"
ABC's The Catch - Episode 2.02 "The Hammer"

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. TGIT is back on ABC. 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 expect full reviews for premieres and finales. If ABC 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.

Grey's Anatomy - "Who Is He (And What Is He To You)?"
Jackson and April travel to Montana in order to perform a complicated surgery on a young patient, but Jackson's mind is elsewhere, and April is forced to step up and get him back on track. Written by Elizabeth R. Finch and directed by Kevin McKidd

In its later seasons, the best episodes of Grey's Anatomy have been the standalone hours. Episodes that just focus on a small handful of characters as they deal with a complicated situation. It's a nice way to condense down and focus on what's really important. So, this hour is pretty great compared to what's happening back at Grey Sloan Memorial. The pressure of being an Avery has always weighed heavily down on Jackson. That's always been a key part of his character. But now, he is becoming so angry because of everything that has happened as of late. He seems frustrated and flustered a lot of the time. Yes, he's able to help this young girl speak again. But the medical case of this hour is pretty tertiary. Jackson's relationships with April and his father are the big stories. It's always better to see Jackson and April getting along than when they are fighting. It's nice that one of them points out they are better as a couple on the road than at home. With his father, it's good to finally get some clarity on who this man is. He seems happy after renouncing his Avery name. That's a happiness that Jackson may be envious of but that doesn't make this man a good father or grandfather. Telling him that is still a victory. But will any of this fix how Jackson is doing moving forward? It's unclear. B+

Scandal - "Extinction"
Rowan is caught by surprise when someone from his past resurfaces. Olivia has to make a life-changing decision about the campaign. Flashbacks reveal exactly what happened the night of Francisco Vargas' assassination. Written by Chris Van Dusen and directed by Tony Goldwyn

It would have been impossible for the show to drag out the mystery of who shot Frankie Vargas over a whole season. Six episodes seems like enough time to tell a complicated story while opening the door to even more complications and uncertainties. Plus, it's great to get confirmation that everyone's first guess in Papa Pope was ultimately correct. It's just the motivation behind the action that is truly surprising and leads to a pretty remarkable episode for the season. Sure, the hour essentially creates this whole new relationship for him just to kill her off in the end. And yet, that's necessary too. It shows how Papa Pope could be manipulated by this new organization into doing what they want. In past seasons, that never would have happened. But now, he seems like a changed man. He can still get stuff done. It's brutal to watch as it's revealed he was the one who truly killed Frankie. It's shocking when he's the one who ultimately kills Sandra. But again, his connection to Olivia still creates an opening for these people to strike. So, it's a new Papa Pope this season. One who may be on a tragic trajectory towards death as well. It should be fascinating to see how all of this new information impacts the story as the season gets back to what Olivia, Jake and Jennifer are doing at that cabin. B

The Catch - "The Hammer"
The AVI team takes on a difficult and unlikely client being hunted by a sharpshooting assassin. Alice struggles to keep Tommy out of trouble. Rhys and Ben are tempted by old tricks. Written by Jim Campolongo and directed by John Stuart Scott

It's completely ridiculous that Alice takes on Margo as a client. There is no reason for the two of them to team up and trust each other. That's simply not earned. It's weird that Margo is able to just take a couple of days off from running her criminal operation just to investigate who wants her dead. It feels like too neat of an investigation too. Alice and her team don't dig deep into Margo's business. They don't learn anything that will help them take her down when they inevitably have to do so. That's weird and makes this story feel too separated. It's simply just moving some pieces around. Meanwhile, Ben's story is largely just more exposition. It's establishing the bond he and Rhys have with Agent Diaz. It's still a tense relationship made more complicated by the job they have to do - which isn't all that exciting though the three of them do have some playful banner. And finally, it's becoming difficult to care about the Danny-Sophie-Tommy love triangle. Sophie almost gets shot and the immediate aftermath is about playing into the romance. That's just odd. Meanwhile, Tommy is still proving himself not to be trusted. He's not below reaching out to Rhys to help steal the money and escape - even as the stakes of that story keep increasing. C+