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December 19, 2014

'Life Unexpected' - 'Crisis Unaverted' Recap

by Hemal Jhaveri, posted Mar 2nd 2010 11:20AM
Life Unexpected (S01E07) Perhaps this episode should have been called 'Comeuppance Received'? Tensions between Cate, Ryan and Baze boiled over and for once, Cate is the one who messed up royally. I've said before that it's been hard for me to connect with Cate and see past her grating Type-A exterior. But even I winced at the epic dumping she got from Eric. It was deserved, but brutal.

And Cate's early attempt to whitewash her whole affair looked even more petty in wake of the serious drama Lux was going through with Tasha. The kid had a tough time this episode, and sadly, only Baze was really there for her in the end.

We had a lot going on this week -- lots of drama, some sweet moments and a lot of yelling. I'm a fan of yelling, so it felt like one of the stronger episodes of the series.

This was an episode in which very few people got away with their bad behavior. And if they did, it was only for a short time. In the first few episodes, it was Baze's irresponsible attitude that lead him to not having shared physical custody of Lux. Similarly, Cate's callous treatment of Ryan and her lashing out at Baze really came due in two key scenes.

The scene between Cate and Baze, where Baze refuses to be the "chump gorilla" and really lays into her showed Baze getting a back bone. Cate was left a bit astounded that someone would dare challenge her like that. Both actors did a nice job selling the scene, moving from annoyed to pissed in believable degrees.

Similarly, it was well past time for Ryan to man up and demand more from Cate's behavior. For us to really be able to respect the character, he had to leave Cate after her confession that she slept with Baze (twice). As much as I cringed watching Cate beg, she was clearly in the wrong here. I thought Ryan leaving was perfectly articulated as well -- she's done nothing but push him away and he's been patient for so long. Cheating was a deal-breaker. Also, props for Baze for being a stand-up dude and not being the one to tell Ryan. Baze may be a bit of an idiot, but he's not mean-spirited.

I was rooting hard for Lux to not cave to peer pressure and follow Tasha into the store to shoplift, and I'm glad she didn't. She's a good, strong kid. And, funny enough, Baze isn't even capable of resisting Jamie's pressure to stand up for Ryan. It's a nice parallel between Lux and Baze that reiterates a motif we've seen before -- often it's Lux who's more mature. We're also reminded that not everyone gets a happy ending. Tasha has been dealt a pretty rough hand. It's a reminder that the foster system isn't perfect, that moms can often be terrible people and life isn't fair. I do hope we see a happy ending for Tasha at some point though.

Despite the fact that Britt Roberston hasn't really nailed the fake crying, that last scene between Lux and Baze was very sweet. Baze is growing up and I love the fact that he tries so hard to do something for the sake of Lux's happiness. Cate's reaction, understandably, is to say no when Lux asks her. I didn't mind her saying no, I just mind the kind of cold way she treated Lux.

So, here's my big complaint/question to you guys ... why is the dynamic between Baze and Lux working so well, but the Cate/Lux relationship feels totally off? Is it the writing? Is it just that Cate always has to play bad cop? Or perhaps the chemistry between the actors? I can't really figure it out, but leave your thoughts in the comments please.

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Glenda

I believe they feel off because they have lot of issues to solve. Lux tries but she is not comfortable with Cate, and whenever she can she is mean with her (Come one, she was happy while telling her she moved with Baze, when Cate had lost Ryan 3 minutes ago and Lux could see her face) Lux has no empathy towards Cate. But they never talked about the past; and cate is also walking through glass with Lux. The only opportunity I watched Cate sincere and relaxed with Lux is when she told her "no" to Tasha.
And also Cate is not used to people living with her. That was crystal clear in the pilot. She is making an effort. The only person she is herself with is Baze.
With Baze as bitchy as she is, she is comfortable

March 05 2010 at 11:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brandon

The CW has made a bad mistake with this show. They put it on the same time as House, HIMYM and Chuck. Very, very bad idea.

March 04 2010 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rick

I shouldn't like this show, but my wife forced me to as it's her Gilmore Girls replacement, but I do actually. My problem with it is more that I don't buy Cate and Baze being old enough to have a 16 year old. There playing slightly older than they are, and Britt is 3 years older than Lux's is supposed to be, so the actual 12 year age difference looks closer than that. It's probably because I remember Shiri Appleby from Roswell, and she looks barely older and her voice still seems like a young girl.

I have to say this is a much better Parenthood, than the actual Parenthood remake. Too bad I have to bittorrent it since there is no CW HD station in Cincinnati.

March 03 2010 at 7:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Takayo

This was my favorite episode of the series so far. I think the thing that is weird about Cate and Lux's relationship is that it's nothing like the one of this show's heavily compared to predecessor, Gilmore Girls (God that was a bad sentence). The awkwardness is more realistic, but less enjoyable.

I just hate that the CW moved this show to the 8:00 PM slot. I'm already having a hard time keeping up with Chuck and House MD in the one time slot.

March 02 2010 at 6:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Telechimp

Baze is the good guy with no responsibilities to this point; we'll see how well he does the first time he has to tell her 'No' on something major.

In terms of the the dynamics of the Cate/Lux relationship, i think its a realistic representation... it might feel off because Shiri Appleby was a huge miscast on this pretty terrific show. On paper, Cate is a character who does stupid things, but you still have a degree of empathy for her. Appleby's abrasive performance seems forced, artificial. In her hands, Cate is virtually unlikable. I find I have no feelings at all for the character, and that's fairly dangerous for the pivotal role in the show.

March 02 2010 at 1:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Telechimp's comment
sarah

i agree. i think Cate and Lux's relationship is very realistic of mother & daughter, especially one that is thrown together after 16 years.

March 02 2010 at 2:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Glenda

I disagree completely.
Shiri Appleby is doing a terrific job!
I'm completely amazed by her good performance, and I was never a fan of her.

March 05 2010 at 11:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gina

I think part of it is that Baze really doesn't judge Lux or try to make her fit the role he see's for her like Cate. Cate is such a perfectionist that she has to be the perfect mother and therefore Lux should be the perfect daughter and things never work like that. Because of the way Cate is she sets herself of for failure with Lux. Granted she is usually able to fix it in the end but this was just one two many. Baze didn't ask questions, didn't judge just helped his daughter when she asked. I am sure that if it was something bad or dangerous he would have said no. But to give Tasha a home and make his daughter like him and respect him and see him as a father he said yes.

March 02 2010 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ari

I like Cate and Lux's relationship. I like that it's awkward. They just met, Cate isn't a naturally maternal person but she's trying, and they're mother-daughter they will inevitably always have conflict. I think it's great that Lux has an easy relationship with Baze and that we get to see her relationship develop with Cate. It's more realistic to me.

NOW CW HAS TO QUICKLY RENEW UL & OTH SO I CAN RELAX!

March 02 2010 at 12:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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