Continuing with its semi-frustrating tradition, not much really happens in this episode of Chasing Life.
April prepares for chemo while Brenna must make a choice between her lovers.
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The show has moved at snail speed, drawing out April's diagnosis to her chemo treatment (which is next episode). Some of this drama is earned, like when April barks at Brenna that she has cancer or when Beth breaks down crying in this episode. At other times, the drama is uncomfortable and forced, like any subplot dealing with Sarah's caregiver crisis. And the remainder of the time, it's just been bad. Brenna-level bad.
I know that next week's episode is probably going to be really good as April finally starts her chemo treatment, but this week's episode is purely filler. Actually, I'd argue that almost every episode of this season is filler. Filler being that it sets up the pieces for another episode.
That said, I'm kind of surprised with just how much I care about April. I have since the pilot, but I now care about her even when she's being irrational and stubborn about people at work knowing her illness. For all of this show's faults -- and there are many -- April Carver is a moderately complex character. A lot of that is wrapped up in her illness (maybe like 55%), but April makes plenty of mistakes. She is stubborn, judgmental, fiercely protective, ambitious and kind. No one has to say she's beautiful all the time for her to have self-worth, even if she is in a love triangle. She makes her own decisions over her body because it's her decision to make.
It's just so refreshing to see a female POV show and to see a lead with so many freaking flaws. April is so flawed. She'd have to be to sustain nine episodes before she gets treatment for her cancer. That makes her kind of amazing.
Brenna is Not the Worst, For Once
My distaste for Brenna is pretty clear, but for once, I don't mind her antics. Do I wish that they could have established Brenna in any other way than being the one with all the love interests? Yes. Because I see now that this is why I detest her and her attitude so much; Brenna does not exist outside of her love interests. It's why Brenna is at her best around April, the best character on the show.
But at least now Brenna isn't insufferable, even with a boyfriend and a girlfriend. Brenna finally tells Kieran that she has vague feelings for someone else. A girl someone named Greer. Brenna doesn't want to put labels on sexuality, relationships or commitments. She asks to date both of them, and he accepts. This is oddly progressive for any show, but since this decision was made in the first 10 minutes, you know it won't last long.
And it doesn't.
Sarah, clueless mother, wants to meet the very special Greer at a family dinner, but it's Brenna's friend Ford who causes all the problems because of how perfect Greer is and because Brenna hasn't told her best friend. I really love this actress actually; she feels like a real rebel teenager.
Since Greer's parents are AWOL, Sarah invites Greer to stay over. Then promptly catches her daughter macking with another girl in her room with the door shut. No, no. That is like a very basic rule at anyone's house.
Sarah always wants to talk about things, which is an annoying trait of being a therapist. Sarah asks questions to understand, but not judge. Hold on a second -- Sarah may be a giving and good parent. Yes, I can confirm that Sarah is being supportive, and making Brenna uncomfortable.
Ford approaches Brenna at school. Greer is super nice to Ford. Everyone hates Greer, but how can you? It's difficult. I hate the pivot thing.
After April's egg extraction procedure, all anyone wants to do is party. Just kidding, though Sarah offers to have a party for her pre-chemo treatment.
All April wants to do, though, is go to the Hendrie candidate debate for work, but also to see Leo. They haven't talked since their hookup, and April's worried. At the event, April tries to talk to Leo, but he's being interviewed. I have never watched live, so I don't get to see the hashtags ABC Family tries to push on us, but they couldn't have come up with anything better than #AprilandLeo?
Behind the scenes in the press room, Raquel asks about her leave of absence, but April brushes it off. She's too busy focusing on Leo having a mini-stroke or something. His words sound like garble, which is a side effect of having brain tumors. The ambulance comes for him. Hendrie must come from a theater family, since he is urged to go on with the debate; however, he must stop it to see his kid. He shakes the politician's hand and walks out. Kids, no matter how much you and your parent do not get along, I bet they would do exactly what he just did.
When the ambulance comes, though, Beth freaks out that something is wrong with April. She sobs in the bathroom, confiding in lurker and the-ever-awkward Raquel about her sick friend. Kudos to Aisha Dee (Beth) for producing waterworks and some misty tears in my mostly dry tear ducts.
April goes to the hospital to see Leo, who is trending on Twitter for his interview malfunction. They have a classic fight: live or die. April is mad at Leo for not trying to fight for his life, but Leo ponders how this is any of April's business. Leo wants April out of his life if she's on a mission to save his life; April will stay out of his life if he won't fight.
Again, April is very harsh toward people who don't share her worldview. It's one of the things I love about her because she's so stubborn and rigid and so naive. April hasn't been through chemo yet and hasn't begun to fight. Leo has done all of these things, but he wants to spend his last days living, not fighting. April is harsh and unflattering.
April returns to work to find that everyone knows she is sick. She should appreciate her Cancer perks! Beth confesses to spilling to Raquel without knowing it was her as April freaks out. Beth rightly points out that she works with reporters who would figure it out, but April's too upset to appreciate her cancer perks. She does appreciate how Raquel treats her the same regardless of Raquel being sick. I also like how it's implied that Raquel didn't tell anyone, but that the reporters found out. Otherwise, why wouldn't April blow up at Raquel for telling anyone? If you read into this, then you can read that Raquel didn't tell anyone April's secret. And that's pretty cool.
Party Like a Cancer Star
The whole cast makes decorations for April's cancer party. Things aren't about April that much at the party -- despite some cool gifts for her hospital stay -- because it's more about #BrennasChoice. It must be a reverse Sophie's choice; whoever ends up with her gets their soul sucked instead (just kidding; Brenna isn't that bad lately!).
Ford is pissed at Brenna for hanging out with Greer and not telling her things, Kieran can't deal with being the other lover and Greer also doesn't want to be second string. It's made all the better when Ford takes Kieran to make out upstairs, since Kieran and Brenna aren't exclusive. Also, the actress who plays Ford looks like she's about to burst out laughing the entire time, so Brenna's Choice is rather hilarious.
On a somber note, we listen to April narrate her piece about Hendrie walking out. She tells the whole world she has cancer and that she sympathizes with Mr. Hendrie's decision. April's all ready for chemo and I'm very sad all of a sudden. Because even though I know she won't die, I really want April to live.
-- Guess what I remembered: Dominic is the last to know. Like the absolute last person to know about April's cancer. Literally. He reads it on his tablet somewhere in Europe/a backlot in LA.
-- Uncle George and Sarah share a kiss and awkward moment. I kind of love Sarah's reaction to how bizarre it was.
-- April's pants (the ones she wears walking outside with Beth) are a crime against humanity or something. I generally like her clothes, but just burn it.
-- Cute cancer gifts! Beth fits April with a bald cap. And the grandma bakes pot brownies for April. Which is very cute.
-- The chemo episode looks like the best episode yet. Dominic has come back.
-- Also, screw the If I Stay
trailer. I was nearly in tears after like 10 seconds. It's such a lame story because we know how it ends. She chooses life, let's be real. April is chasing life. It wouldn't be a premise if they didn't chase life. It'd just be depressing.
airs Tuesdays at 9pm on ABC Family.
(Image courtesy of ABC Family)