Tuesday, November 19, 2019

REVIEW: 'All Rise' - Lola Tries to Protect a Young Girl Asked to Testify in Her Courtroom in 'Maricela and the Desert'

CBS' All Rise - Episode 1.08 "Maricela and the Desert"

Lola and Emily find themselves on opposing sides when the key witness in a murder trial is the victim's 11-year-old daughter. When Mark's key witness in a case winds up in a Vegas jail, Luke accompanies Mark on a road trip to the desert to bring the witness back to testify.

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.

"Maricela and the Desert" was written by Mellori Velasquez and directed by Sheelin Cheksey

A father and daughter simply want to be reunited. It's painful that they have to be kept apart for months. And yet, it could influence the jury into believing Felix is innocent of murder simply because he is a good father. The hour overwhelmingly makes that case though. He is more concerned with what happens to Mari than his own well-being. There is a huge mystery about what has happened to her mother. She is presumed dead but her body has never been recovered. Her husband is on trial for murder. But all it takes is Emily putting forward an alternate theory that ultimately turns out to be true when the detective actually investigates. It shows how this case bucks the norm of the boyfriend or husband always being responsible. Instead, it was the next door neighbor who supplied drugs and then covered up the accidental overdose. That is just as devastating. But it also means this family unit gets to reunite. That is a moment of catharsis. It's what everyone clearly wanted to happen. And yet, Lola was bound by the responsibilities of the law to keep everything fair for everyone involved. That just ran the risk of doing a great deal of harm to an 11-year-old girl. Lola has to get creative. The solution may be a little too cute. It can't cover up the pain of testifying in her father's murder trial. That reality still sinks in and causes so many outbursts from Felix. It gets to the point where Lola feels that she has to kick the defendant out of his own trial. That's absolutely absurd. She knows that as well. It's a decision she already sees as being reversed on appeal. It's just the only way she believes things can remain fair and impartial. Emily's client has shown an unwillingness to comply with the system. That is evident throughout this family unit. Mari is constantly escaping her guardian to explore this building. It means she overhears things she isn't suppose to hear. That makes her terrified about what might happen. She wants to hope that her mother will return home. That's not something that is going to happen though. Everyone operates with certainty that she is dead. That is ultimately proven to be true. But it's more meaningful when Lola reaches out to Mari in the hopes of keeping her comfortable and feeling as if she is respected in this courtroom. That is her responsibility as a judge. Again, it may all come across as incredibly forced. It plays to the heartstrings of the audience in the hopes of moving them into seeing this case a certain way. In the beginning, Emily didn't know if her client was guilty or innocent. She found a way to believe his innocence and fought passionately for him. That may outline how the show operates with an underlying sense of respect amongst its main characters. It also shows that everyone basically has access to Lola's judge chambers whenever they want. It's not really a sacred area for her to conduct official business on the job. It's simply a private space that is hers to control even though many people have access to it. Elsewhere, Mark and Luke travel to Las Vegas to pick up a witness whose testimony is vitally important to Mark's latest case. It's a story that is completely half-baked. Lola warns Luke to keep a close eye on Mark because he can lose control in this city. However, the show doesn't put forth much of an effort to explain the temptation. Instead, it just becomes a convenient excuse when things don't go his way for a moment. It plays for the levity of the situation while also presenting a complete mishandling of judicial proceedings. It makes it seem as if the law in Las Vegas functions in a much more dangerous way that is determined entirely around gambling. There is substance to Luke exploring which side of the law he wants to fight for after passing the bar. However, this is mostly just a way to bring two characters together for a story and struggling to know what to do with each of them. That's incredibly disappointing with time probably being better spent elsewhere.