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September 21, 2014

'Life Unexpected' - 'Turtle Undefeated'

by Hemal Jhaveri, posted Feb 16th 2010 2:32AM
Life Unexpected (S01E05) So, after last week's excess of "after school special" moments, we get a wonderfully funny, balanced and mature episode this time around. As Lux struggles to fit in with the kids at her new school, Cate struggles with her status as a stern mom, rather then the fun-loving radio host.

And Baze? Well, Baze struggles with his relationship with Lux, with his own father and how to drum up interest in a three-legged turtle. Despite its meandering nature, the episode was a nice rumination on the complicated relationship we all have with our parents that doesn't disappear with age.

One of my favorite things about this show continues to be the relationship between Baze and Lux. Rather then fall into the conventional pattern of tension between Dad and daughter, there's a very nice back and forth in maturity that really draws me in.

Baze's reaction to Lux's party was absolutely spot on. And it totally subverted my expectations for where I thought the episode was going. After Cate's spiel at the start of the show, lamenting about maturity and her now 'no-fun' status as a parent, I expected the show to follow a more conventional plot arc, and have her be the one busting up Lux's party.

Baze's 'Oh hell no' when he saw the kids drinking beer was a very welcome surprise and it allowed Baze to show that yes, at times, he can be the grown up. This was a huge growth episode for Baze, and about time too. We've seen a lot of Cate and her reactions to parenthood. At times, I've thought it was a bit too one-sided.

After this episode, we have more of a look at Baze and how he's changing. It was satisfying to see him take charge and clear the party in seconds flat. And on the flip side, it's Lux who gives him insight into his own father during the heart to heart. There's a wonderful back and forth in this that feels fresh.

Lux meanwhile continues to navigate that tricky terrain between her old life, the one of a neglected foster kid, and her new one, the one that looks like it came from an Abercrombie and Fitch ad. And it's a tough situation that doesn't look like it's going to get easier anytime soon. The high school kids are frivolous and spiteful, but it's clear that all any teenager wants to do is belong, and Lux is no different. That's what makes it so hard to watch. You kinda want to yell that she's so much better than that! That she doesn't need friends like this! But, of course, kids never listen.

All the various plots of the episode dovetailed perfectly at the end. The final two scenes reminded me that the show can do touching, without making it sappy. Cate and Lux chatting on the sofa, and Baze sharing a drink with his Dad were perfect, sweet family moments. My heart is warming to Baze's dad.

So, we didn't see a lot of Ryan this time around, and I kind of liked it. Ryan's purpose flits in and out for me. While he's a good foil to Baze, there has to be more depth than what we've seen so far, and he needs a purpose of his own. Right now, he revolves around Cate, and that makes him boring.

Special shout-out of this episode goes to Bolt, the three-legged turtle that could. Never give up on the underdog. A nice lesson for all of us to remember.

What did you readers think? Is Lux's boyfriend headed for bad things? Are we going to see Math get a date anytime soon? And how did you like the evolution of Baze and his father's relationship?

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Gina

Lux's boyfriend is headed for jail. He really resents the family she has now. He showed it by having her get in the car with him when he stole it. If she gets arrested it could ruin having Cate and Baze take care of her and she could wind up back in foster care where he wants her. She is starting to pull away from the rest of the gang and he is not happy with it.

I was proud of Baze when he came in and saw the party. Great kicka$$ Dad moment! I would have reacted the exact same way. He is starting to realize what the rest of us parents already know. You are not your child's friend you are their parent. It really doesn't matter if they like you as long as you are doing what is in their best interests. Cate on the other hand went from being a parent to trying to be a friend. Never a good idea.

I was glad that Baze and his dad got to spend some time together without all the old problems coming up. In what seems like a reversal of my previous argument, Baze and his father can and should actually become friends. Baze is a grownup now and while it seems to his father that he still needs parental supervision his father should let go and let him sink or swim on his own. Once they are out of the nest you can still see things that they are doing wrong and want to step in and take over but as a parent I don't think you should. Unless it involves drugs or the like. That is something Baze's dad needs to work on.

I don't think Ryan is going to last. When he walked into the bar and saw Cate and Baze holding hands he looked very hurt. I think the engagement will be called off soon. He is going to make Cate make a choice and she still has some feelings for Baze. Granted mostly annoyance but I think there is still some high school crush and a little lust mixed in.

February 16 2010 at 11:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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