Thursday, May 13, 2021

REVIEW: 'Rebel' - Rebel Grows Desperate in Trying to Find the Money to Pay for Helen's Life-Saving Surgery in 'Heart Burned'

ABC's Rebel - Episode 1.05 "Heart Burned"

Rebel goes to great lengths to help save Helen's life after being denied her surgery and continues to push Cruz to negotiate the recall and study of the heart valve. Cassidy and Lana try to help Luke when his personal life jeopardizes his career and reputation. Cruz gets close to someone new.

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.

"Heart Burned" was written by Evangeline Ordaz and directed by Allison Liddi-Brown

Rebel is an incredibly influential figure. People recognize her wherever she goes. She fights against injustice. She combats a system that is set up for the privileged to get away with whatever they want. She genuinely cares about helping those abused by this system. She has written books in the hopes of inspiring others. And yet, Helen needs the surgery to remove the Stonemore valve and the hospital won't sign off on the life-saving procedure unless she pays part of her bill upfront. That highlights a desperation on Rebel's part. The season wants to have an engaging conversation about money. It motivates so much. Cassidy believes that Cruz will convince the people in the class action suit to accept the settlement offer because his firm is going broke. He isn't allowed to sway his clients one way or the other. However, everyone operates with the understanding that he can convince the clients to do whatever he thinks is best. They ultimately settle on no deal. That comes from Helen getting the surgery. Everyone is filled with hope that her defective valve can be studied. The battle to get the surgery is grueling for Rebel. She exhausts all of her options. Her crusades don't always deliver money to the firm. That's never a priority for her. Doing the right thing is her moral compass. She doesn't do this for the money. She is willing to forego pay in order to continue this fight against Stonemore. Not everyone can operate like that for a long time. They need that revenue stream in order to survive in this brutal world. It signals who is worthy of saving and whose life can be discarded. Rebel is fighting for Helen. Maddie needs her mom. She goes into labor. She delivers a child who isn't going to survive outside the womb for very long. It's tragic. Rebel hopes to give this family some hope. That comes from the valve and being able to study it. Rebel just has to find the money to pay for the surgery. Ziggy offers up her college fund. She is being incredibly generous because she too feels passionate. She feels motivated to fight the system and its many abuses. She now aspires to be a lawyer. It's a confession that surprises her parents. It's an understandable impulse though. She doesn't understand how some actions can be legal. Her family is entangled on every side of this case though. They each have their own motivations. They each believe they are serving their clients well. Rebel leads with compassion. Benji protects corporate interests. Rebel knows that he too can convince people of what he wants to do. Mark Duncan refuses to pull the valve from the market. He won't even agree to a temporary hold to study it. He has worked his life for this revolutionary product. He won't admit that something is wrong with it. Something poisonous is happening though. Misha sees that firsthand in the operating room. And yet, Duncan is so adamant about covering up this crime that he has Angela infiltrate Cruz's life in order to spy on him for this case. It's all a deception. Cruz is in a vulnerable state. He is opening up to the possibility of love again. Rebel encourages that. Of course, her doubts afterwards don't seem earned. It's mostly just to show Rebel spiraling and unsure of herself. That's a new dynamic that hasn't been seen so far. It takes others to reign her in and focus on what she can do. She eventually finds a solution. All of this still doesn't amount to a victory. The side for justice is always operating with one hand tied behind its back because the corporate interests have the power and influence to destroy any evidence no matter where it is. It's seemingly impossible for Angela to get the valve. She does though. That impact will be huge. It will also reveal that Rebel is up against someone who knows she can't be allowed to prevail and is willing to take drastic actions to keep it that way. That's daunting. Meanwhile, Cassidy and Lana are busy in a story meant to add more character dimension to Luke. It doesn't really work at all. It's basically a broad characterization paired with an ex-girlfriend who operates with no subtlety whatsoever. It makes more sense that Cassidy takes up the case because she wants to set a precedent for the next victim of revenge porn. It's disingenuous to try to say that she and Luke are friends. The narrative forces that dynamic still. It potentially adds tension considering she is solid with Amir once more. It's all a little unnecessary and distracting. That shows that the storytelling isn't quite operating at full strength and conviction just yet. However, the show is running out of time to prove that every element is necessary and building to something more rewarding than it currently seems.