Monday, October 7, 2019

REVIEW: 'All Rise' - Lola Presides Over a Cyber Crime Case While Luke Is Racially Profiled in 'Sweet Bird of Truth'

CBS' All Rise - Episode 1.03 "Sweet Bird of Truth"

Lola immerses herself in the world of online gaming when she presides over her first trial concerning cyber-crimes, after two friends go head-to-head over a deleted avatar and all the assets associated with it. Mark discovers life without Lola in the DA's office is going to be lonelier than he thought. Luke is set to be honored at the annual Valor Awards for his heroism.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of CBS' All Rise.

"Sweet Bird of Truth" was written by Sunil Nayar & Iturri Sosa and directed by Anthony Hemingway

Not every element of a show needs to gel in the early going - especially when it's a new show on a broadcast network. They often take time to really get into the swing of things even though the audience will largely have a short attention span and pass just as soon as something doesn't work for them. That makes it all the more jarring when one episode features two stories executed in phenomenally different ways. Everything this show does to address issues of race continues to be strong and central to the proceedings. However, the show also makes it clear that it wants to do more. That's when it runs into trouble because it doesn't totally know how to tell this cyber-crime story. That concept may be fitting of the judicial system because these kinds of crimes are still being learned and processed. Lola is completely in the dark about what this game even is. She does her best to make the witness as comfortable as she can to offer competent and compelling testimony. But that mostly serves to underline the point that the people who embrace online games do so because they don't have lives outside in the real world. That's way too simplistic. It's the only amount of depth this show is willing to offer in this particular story though. Lola notes that these friends and former roommates need a good therapy session not criminal charges. And yet, the case is being played out in her courtroom. She has a responsibility to deliver justice for those who break the laws as defined by the United States of America. She does her best to be informed about the issues. At the end of the day though, this presents as an extremely broad case that highlights how the show wants to be funny and amusing. It's just not the right blend for this particular story especially with everything else going on in this world. It also highlights how the show is falling into a pattern. Every episode is now expected to have a trial of some kind in Lola's courtroom where Emily serves as the public defender to a client Lola has empathy towards. Meanwhile, Mark will be off leading his own story that features him trying to get justice as a prosecutor who wants to make a difference during his time in this office. The good fight is so important to him. He has to remain passionate about helping the less fortunate even though Lola is no longer by his side fighting alongside him. That's the routine he has long known. Of course, they are still heavily in each other's lives. It's refreshing that the show isn't trying to suggest some kind of romantic tension between them. Lola's husband, Robin, is seen for the first time here. Mark's girlfriend, Ria, is as well. These characters are capable of having relationships throughout this world without it disrupting their friendship at all. Sure, the audience can still get all the requisite romantic tension from Emily and Luke. They are the ones being forced into that somewhat familiar dynamic. It's meaningful though when the show deals with the aftermath of Luke being racially profiled. He can't simply go back to work and put on the badge like it's no big deal. This shakes him and he feels like he can only talk about it with people who look like him. He has friends at the courthouse who want to celebrate him though. That is an inspiring moment at the end with the medal ceremony. It may be a little too sentimental and simplistic though. And yet, these characters are willing to fight passionately for the justice they perceive to be necessary. That's what Mark achieves even though his witness doesn't want to step foot in the courtroom. He still gets justice though. That proves that it just takes the right kind of action. It can just sometimes be hard to decipher what is good and what is bad in these complicated and tricky legal situations. The show also has to figure out the proper way to tell stories so that it doesn't fall into a familiar and expected pattern.