Thursday, March 23, 2017

REVIEW: ABC's 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Scandal' and 'The Catch' (March 23)

Reviews for ABC's Shondaland shows from March 23:

ABC's Grey's Anatomy - Episode 13.17 "Till I Hear It From You"
ABC's Scandal - Episode 6.07 "A Traitor Among Us"
ABC's The Catch - Episode 2.03 "The Dining Hall"

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 - "Till I Hear It From You"
Diane Pierce returns to Grey Sloan, but Maggie is still in the dark as to why she's really there. Owen and Amelia hash out their problems as they work a trauma case together. Bailey tries to mend her relationship with Richard. Written by Austin Guzman and directed by Kevin McKidd

Maggie's mom not telling her she has cancer was a plot development that wasn't all that necessary. It was a way to drag the story out and keep it intense. And yet, Maggie's reaction to learning the truth is devastating. The silence is powerful. The camera zooming in as she reacts to the truth is subtle and strong. It really works. Sure, it also felt inevitable that the cancer was worse than it appeared. However, I'm now really interested in where this story goes next. Elsewhere, the love story of two elderly doctors admitted to the hospital is lovely and moving. It's inspiring to see that they have lasted for so long together and just want more time. It doesn't ultimately help any of the show's couples clarify what they want. Ben and Bailey have a really nice moment but Amelia and Owen are still fighting while DeLuca just admits that he loves Jo to Stephanie. Of course, Meredith also finally says yes to a date with Nathan. It's great that she made him work for it. They still feel like a couple that the show is forcing to be together though. It's not clear yet if they would actually be interesting as a couple. But the potential is still there and worth exploring for the remainder of the season. B+

Scandal - "A Traitor Among Us"
After discovering new information about the assassination of Frankie Vargas, Olivia makes a shocking decision and asks Huck to complete one of the most difficult tasks yet. Written by Alison Schapker and directed by Tom Verica

This season feels like Scandal repeating plots it has already told previously and much better. A president has already been shot and a girlfriend of Huck's was in on it. This episode is at least aware of that fact. Honestly, I'll admit to having completely forgotten about Becky - even though the second season was overall strong. So much plot has happened since then that it was easy to forget. Reminding the audience now set up expectations that the show wouldn't do the same twist yet again. It made Huck more suspicious as he tried to understand what was happening. His inner monster came out yet again. But it's also because of his history that he lets his guard down. Jennifer is quickly killed and he is shot as well. This has been a pretty lethal season so far. I'm not sure if Huck will actually die. If he doesn't, Meg may have some actual feelings for him. But overall, this episode was frustrating as well because the audience knew more information than Olivia. That's never a good idea. Her meeting with Jake and Jennifer didn't really do much. It wasn't even seen on screen. Instead, this hour just builds to Olivia learning everything the audience saw last week. It's nice to see her in the wrong. But it grows frustrating and tiring as well. B-

The Catch - "The Dining Hall"
Alice discovers some hard truths about her brother Tommy. Val is forced to dig into her past in order to help with his case. Relationships are tested as Margot and the AVI team have to navigate their current realities. Ben and Rhys' latest con may turn out to be a little too risky. Written by David Heminson and directed by Jann Turner

It really does feel like The Catch is just randomly pairing characters this season. It feels uncertain and experimental - hoping that something will stick and help define the season. It should be devastating that Alice turns Tommy over to the cops after learning that he was actually working for the cartel. Instead, it hardly lands because the show just wants to move through plot as quickly as possible. It's hard to feel invested because Tommy has had one foot out the door for the entire season. It does create an interesting and intense situation at the end of the hour with Alice and Ben both vying for the $3 million in Rhys' trunk. But Ben's story is still largely in exposition mode and the twist that the son of the diplomat is the true criminal wasn't all that great or compelling. And lastly, are the characters at AVI just going to be casually working with Margot all season? It continues to be so weird that those lines of communication are so open. It's fun when Margot is mocking Danny and Sophie who come to help with her problems instead of Alice and Val. But the hookup between Margot and Danny just makes no sense whatsoever. C+