Friday, March 19, 2021

REVIEW: 'Station 19' - Carina Leans on Maya for Support While Jack Interacts with a Cult Leader in 'Learning to Fly'

ABC's Station 19 - Episode 4.07 "Learning to Fly"

The Station 19 crew is called to a cult gathering where they find their leader, Brother John, dancing on the roof and claiming he can fly. Meanwhile, Travis gets a surprise visit from his father, and Dean makes a difficult decision that could affect his career trajectory.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides 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 ABC's Station 19.

"Learning to Fly" was written by Michael Medico and directed by Sam Forman

Carina wants to scream. She can't do it though. It's the precise thing she needs in order to let out all of the emotions building up inside her following her brother's death. DeLuca died as a result of the injuries he sustained during the Station 19 portion of a crossover event with Grey's Anatomy. That tragedy reverberates across both shows as well. Here, it's largely contained to one significant story with Carina. However, it impacts Ben as well. These two characters don't lean on each other. Instead, the show approaches their grief in different ways. Ben needs to work. He needs something to focus on after losing people during the pandemic. Meanwhile, Carina spirals because she can't feel comfortable. She can only accept a certain amount of crying. And yet, she still has so much that needs to be let out as well. Maya is a valuable support system too. She is willing to carry all of this burden. She leads with compassion and empathy. She handles practical matters. She knows when space is necessary. She knows when to be a bit more firm. This episode highlights the strength of their overall relationship. It was previously in a somewhat tense place. This season though they have largely remained solid. Sure, they've had growing pains as a result of moving in during the pandemic. That has strengthened their bond now. Carina needs this relationship. It's still devastating when she learns that her father was already told about DeLuca's death. He didn't reach out to her. He didn't see how his other child was doing. It's infuriating. Carina finally does get the release of screaming in the end as well. It's a visceral experience for her. One that Maya allows her the space to express. Elsewhere, the show makes the stirring connection between the current pandemic and the devastation that defined the gay community during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. In that story as well, Ben just has to listen and be a respectful ally. It's emotional because the parallels are so striking. It's also about the vibrancy of human connection and finding ways to cope even when the most harrowing tragedies occur. Ben provides his medical expertise to a man in need. He is of service to his community. He also has a way to express his grief while sharing in the collective loss of this moment. Again, it's the show expressing itself in varied ways that highlight the different stories and difficulties at this moment in time. Meanwhile, Miller remains steadfast in his belief that his lawsuit is necessary in order to facilitate change in the system. He has long been told that working up the ladder from within will make a difference. That may only make him part of the problem though. He has to find a way to work with the police. When he is in the uniform, he can do so. He doesn't have to be happy about it. It doesn't interfere with his job. He is very mature in that regard. He still feels the pressure to appease others and alleviate them of the guilt they feel in this lingering moment. He can't do that. Nor should he have to. He simply receives more support once he explains himself to the family around him. All of these stories are quite effective. However, the show gets bogged down with the core emergency regarding a cult. Part of that pertains to Jack's story just not being as interesting or engaging as the other things that are happening right now. It also feels the pressure to spell out over and over again his emotional turmoil. It has to be so obvious and explained to him in order for some meaningful action to occur. The show is working too hard to make all of this connect. That isn't a problem elsewhere. That writing doesn't have to be done and concern an entire main story in order to connect with the other ongoing developments of this world. With Jack, it is forced. It's obvious that he has a connection with Inara. He has formed this family outside of work. It's just simple in comparison to what's going on elsewhere. Yes, his struggles with love have been well documented. But the entire main plot is once again driven by that fact and removes all nuance from the situation. That amounts to John Ales playing the same one note that started as annoying and only intensified as the story went along. That ultimately drags down the episode overall.