Monday, November 4, 2019

REVIEW: 'All Rise' - Lola's Mother Visits the Courthouse to Testify in Mark and Emily's Trial in 'Uncommon Women and Mothers'

CBS' All Rise - Episode 1.07 "Uncommon Women and Mothers"

Mark and Emily go head to head in court for the first time, and things get awkward when Mark must cross-examine Lola's mother, Roxy, when she's called as a character witness in the case for a homeless youth charged with felony vandalism.

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.

"Uncommon Women and Mothers" was written by Sunil Nayar and directed by Paul McCrane

Lola doesn't preside over a trial in this episode. That's a first for the season so far. The show has been somewhat rigid with its structure. It has tried to experiment a bit more in recent episodes. That has been to its collective benefit as well because it shows that there is so much more than happens in the courthouse. It's more than every case being taken to trial and a judge having to make these crucial decisions about the defendant's fate. It's a much trickier process that always requires the people in charge to project a sense of fairness and overall respect for the law. Lola is nervous because of her mother's presence in the courthouse for the first time. The two of them have long debated the proper way to fix a broken system. It's a conversation happening throughout the world at large in so many sectors as well. Is it better to join and be the change the system desperately needs? Or is it more important to stay on the outside and speak out loudly to ensure the concerns are heard and appreciated? Both arguments have their value. Lola believes that she is making a significant difference in the lives of those who come into her courtroom. However, she is still new to the bench. There are certain standards and practices that are more commonplace to her new colleagues when she raises some legitimate concerns. She is upset with Benner for the first time because she signs a warrant behind her back. That's all it takes for a detective to get the go ahead to raid a house when the owners aren't home. Lola wasn't sure that the proper procedures were being followed. She wanted to ensure that the rights of every person involved were being respected. It comes across as Lola not having trust in the system because everything does work out in the end. It shows just how strong the connections have to be between law enforcement and the judicial system. That can be terrifying to people who are constantly abused by the system and all of its enablers. There are far too many people who aren't represented or feel judged fairly within this process. Lola wants to believe she's making a different. She may not be though. Outside of her courtroom, the same system continues to operate. Emily and Mark are very good at their respective jobs. They are the ones who face off in the courtroom in this hour. It's not the first time they have been involved in the same case from different perspectives. It just may be the first contentious one. Roxy is called as a character witness who is ultimately held in contempt because she refuses to answer a question. She believes she is taking a stand only for it to be doing more harm than what her actual answer would do. In the end, Emily speaks passionately on behalf of her client. She rails against a system that wishes to criminalize being homeless. Mark does so as well. He slaps back at Thomas when he talks about the need to send a message that it's not okay for the homeless to take to violence in order to fight an unjust world. Mark understands because he was living out of a car for a time as well. Again, his personal drama with his father is a little more melodramatic and familiar than some of the other dynamics of the season. It's hard to feel much of anything when he talks about his traumatic past. It's instead more rewarding to be with Lola or Emily as they talk about forging their identities and the pressure that comes from needing to have everything figured out right now. That doesn't have to be true. It's okay to be a work in progress. That's the mentality everyone wants to have at the moment. It's just a little awkward especially when it comes to Mark seeing his dad again and Lola being named leader for earthquake response despite Sherri and Sara competing for the honor. But it's also incredibly important for a broadcast network show to talk about gender identity and normalizing those who are non-binary. Emily's explanation and how the grammar isn't too complicated is a short but insightful way to talk about the subject.