Thursday, March 1, 2018

REVIEW: CBS' 'Mom' (March 1)

Various CBS reviews for March 1, 2018:

Mom - Episode 5.13 "Pudding and a Screen Door"

In 2018, it's impossible to watch every scripted show out there. There are over 450 of them. It's even more impossible to even provide adequate coverage of some of them. Great shows slip through the cracks. Some shows take awhile to figure themselves out. So as a way for me to provide more coverage, I'll just be writing some paragraph reviews of the various shows that aired new episodes on CBS for March 1, 2018. Enjoy!

Mom - "Pudding and a Screen Door"
Directed by James Widdoes with story by Eddie Gorodetsky, Adam Chase & Susan McMartin and teleplay by Nick Bakay, Gemma Baker & Britté Anchor

This is easily the most effective and devastating episode of Mom for the season. It's such a strong episode to come back on following the brief hiatus. It really sets things up strongly for the back half of the season. The opening stretch of the season wasn't bad. It was just more broad than the show has been in the past - with the drama beats being a little too infrequent because everyone mostly had their lives together except for whatever newcomers came into the worlds of Bonnie, Christy and company. Here, it's important to see the return of Jill and the payoff to all of the hard work Christy has put into becoming a lawyer. And yes, it is incredibly lame for Jill to return looking exactly like she did before she put on all of the weight in between seasons. The show felt the need to do that because Jaime Pressly was pregnant in real life and they had just told a story about Jill not being able to have a baby. Her overeating came from a real and genuine place. For her to return now having solved most of her problems offscreen really diminishes the chances of her continuing to struggle with these issues. And yet, this retreat has also forced her to reflect on her own insecurities as well - which is actually quite good for this episode's story. She has to question if her friends love her for who she is or for her money. She does pay for a lot of things for them. And yet, it does ultimately have to come to that conclusion that they are all genuinely invested in Jill's life. But the tension amongst the core group of women is necessary for Christy to feel so isolated and alone when she gets her law school rejection letters. She has put so much work into school. The show has actively showed her in that environment. And now, it hits her and the audience hard when she gets that final rejection letter. She doesn't even have to read it out loud for the audience to understand what has happened. And in that moment, all she has for support is Adam. Yes, it's a contrived situation to get the final reaction from her. She feels like she can't talk about this with her girls because she's complained so much about school. And yet, that's the precise feeling that puts her in a situation where she desperately wants to drink again. That happens so suddenly but it still feels real and genuine. She is tempted but is pushed away by the simple gesture of Jill calling. That's the moment that lifts her spirits just enough to know it would be a mistake. It's such a wonderful moment knowing that she has her full support system in the end. The show probably could have done an interesting arc of her slipping up and drinking that shot. But it's also just as effective to see her tempted and choose not to drink. That's very rewarding too. A