Thursday, May 6, 2021

REVIEW: 'Rebel' - Cruz Must Manage His Stress While Rebel and Benji Only Create More Problems for Him in 'The Right Thing'

ABC's Rebel - Episode 1.04 "The Right Thing"

As new details surrounding Sharon's cause of death are revealed, Cruz suffers a medical emergency that leads to troublesome consequences. Rebel and Grady team up against a crooked funeral homeowner. Lana meets someone from her past.

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 Rebel.

"The Right Thing" was written by Henry Robles and directed by Adam Arkin

Cruz had a panic attack. It's a direct result of all the stress Rebel frequently causes him. It also gifts him with a character quirk of having an alarm go off on his phone whenever his heart rate gets too high. The episode uses that several times in order to cut the tension and recognize the human stakes involved in all of this. He cares passionately about getting justice for his clients. He wants to help those being hurt by the Stonemore heart valve. And yet, he has his limits. He is stressed out about the finances of the firm. Rebel brings in noble work that must be done. And yet, these cases don't provide the money necessary to keep this firm running. It would be easy to blame Rebel for this stress. However, he fundamentally knows that she is right. Her passion is infectious. He cares just as much as she does. She may be a constant headache for him. She is also a friend who cares about his well-being. People are willing to make sacrifices to help this firm survive. Those are some big asks though. That fear also proves why Cassidy is the most intriguing figure on the opposite side of this case. Benji and Luke serve as stock character tropes. They are handing this case exactly how one might expect. They seek to delay everything for as long as possible. Once they are forced to comply by the judge, then they only do the bare minimum and make it a hassle for Cruz to manage. It's all about delaying this for as long as possible. That way Stonemore doesn't have to do anything to address the situation. It's all about the bottom line for this company. Mark Duncan doesn't see anything to worry about. He refuses to listen to these stories of pain caused by one of his devices. Rebel can only hear those stories though. She fights on behalf of those suffering. But Cassidy recognizes Cruz's stress as being directly related to the money. She knows that this case dragging on may inflict a ton of damage that may not even be worth it in the end. It may be more beneficial to extend an offer now. That way the lawyers involved would be incentivized to convince their clients to accept. She has that awareness. She has that because of her experience on both sides of the case. That dimension has been earned. Sure, it's awkward when Amir immediately comes back to her afterwards. That is somewhat puzzling. But it also highlights that certain characters are gaining more personality and meaning as the series develops. That's necessary in order for the show to remain entertaining as it goes along. The creative team wants this concept to prosper and grow. It needs compelling characters to do so. It is still just establishing some details in that regard though. That extends to Lana realizing that she has a husband and must now get a divorce. Too much time is given to that story for it to be completely confined to this one episode. Some complication seems likely to pop up in the future. That was clear when Sharon Lawrence first appeared as Angela in the previous episode. She is more than just someone for Grady to flirt with. In fact, she is now established as a spy for Stonemore to get as close as she can with the lawyers on the case. That may be too complicated and melodramatic. However, the show isn't hoping to come across as an accurate depiction of the law. It simply wants to highlight injustices that occur and the passion people need to display upon hearing about them. Change only happens when people are willing to take action. It has to come from a place of compassion though. Rebel lost a case. And yet, she and her family continue to provide services for the people still in pain. That matters to her. She doesn't just use these people in order to gain more fame and recognition. People are constantly idolizing her and the work that she does. She genuinely cares though. She wants to make these people's lives better. Grady believes her priorities are off. She cares about him too. This episode reveals that they can work well together when they want to. It's the first attempt at doing so after establishing a seemingly inevitable divorce. Of course, Rebel also chooses to be with Grady when Helen has just been admitted to the hospital. That too seems likely to infuse even more drama into the situation. It's still incredibly forced. However, some character moments feel informed and building to something. That's an important step towards stronger consistency in the storytelling. Plus, it doesn't distract from Katey Sagal getting to destroy things every episode. She clearly has fun with that.