Thursday, April 13, 2017

REVIEW: ABC's 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Scandal' and 'The Catch' (April 13)

Reviews for ABC's Shondaland shows from April 13:

ABC's Grey's Anatomy - Episode 13.20 "In the Air Tonight"
ABC's Scandal - Episode 6.10 "The Decision"
ABC's The Catch - Episode 2.06 "The Hard Drive"

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 - "In the Air Tonight"
Meredith and Nathan have to confront their feelings when they are stuck sitting next to each other on a plane. Written by Stacy McKee and directed by Chandra Wilson

A lot of disasters have happened on this show across thirteen seasons. There's very little that the show hasn't done. So, Meredith once again getting on a plane that experiences a bumpy ride could feel repetitive. The show has already done that story and it had a profound effect on numerous characters. Instead, this episode doesn't try to copy that. It very wisely uses that event to find a new dimension in Meredith and Nathan's relationship. As a couple, they've largely been forced together by the show. It's been sex but very little else. This season has teased them so much without actually knowing if they would be interesting as a couple. That back-and-forth and uncertainty is still a major quality of this episode. But it's also important to see both of them as badass doctors making due with what they have in a very complicated and delicate situation. I was hopeful that everything would work out for everyone involved. But the tension for the entire hour was gripping to watch. Plus, it had the successful emotion in the end with Meredith needing to embrace the fear of the unknown. Yes, Nathan is a little smug and annoying in that moment. But it does feel earned as well. Hopefully, this relationship can develop more now. A-

Scandal - "The Decision"
With the ugly truth behind Frankie's assassination revealed, a torn Olivia wonders how different her life - and the country - would be if she, Mellie and Cyrus had never rigged Fitz's election. Written by Johanna Lee and directed by Sharat Raju

This is the 100th episode of Scandal. That's a huge accomplishment for any show. The very nature of this show means that it has covered so much story and the characters are all wildly different now than how they started. This hour reflects that. It embraces all of the core themes that have been important to the show across its series run. It has very little to do with the actual story of this particular season. It basically just puts a stop to all of the new conspiracy to do a "What If?" episode. And yet, that's perfectly fine. It did make it difficult to remember what Olivia was agreeing to in the end with Fitz. But the sheer delight of most of this episode significantly made up for that. It's fun to imagine how these characters would be different if Olivia hadn't rigged an election. It allows Verna and James to come back. I really miss James. But it also allows for some truly outrageous moment as well - like Quinn as a contestant on a Bachelor-type show, Cyrus and Mellie as husband and wife, and Olivia having a fangirl moment in the White House. It's also fascinating to see the show once again focus on the Olivia-Fitz relationship without feeling like a betrayal to all the strong character work the show did last season. It's fascinating to see where the show comes down on power and love. They are difficult themes that have informed so much of this series. In the real present-day, everyone is a monster. But they are united by a constant respect for each other. A-

The Catch - "The Hard Drive"
Alice and Val reexamine the cold case that brought them together as partners. Ben and Rhys are faced with a major threat when they are told that their undercover status may have been compromised. Written by Danny Tolli and directed by Steve Robin

The show has provided many teases of Alice's backstory across two seasons now. It had to deliver on all of that eventually. This is the episode that does it but focusing on a time in her life when she was in a bad relationship and got caught up in a murder investigation. It works perfectly fine as a story. Th show probably could have pushed it further though. The three story structure of this season is starting to become a major hindrance. Alice, Ben and Margo are all in their own stories this week. Ben and Margo's are good as well. It's nice to see things get complicated with the FBI gig and Margo struggling with the new family faces at the firm. And yet, they ultimately felt like a distraction that took away from Alice's story really taking off. The show is seemingly propping Ethan up as a new love interest for Alice. She didn't know if she could trust him in the past. Keeping secrets destroyed their relationship. Val notes that he was under investigation long before the murder case came along. But Alice is simply attracted to bad boys who have seemingly changed. She understands Ethan differently by the end of this episode. Him showing up at her door is a big moment. It could have landed just a bit better though. B