'Chasing Life' Recap: Flirting with Death
'Chasing Life' Recap: Flirting with Death
Emily E. Steck
Emily E. Steck
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Chasing Life picks up from last week's disastrous episode to bring an episode that delivers on April's vulnerability and concerns with chemotherapy.

That's more like it.

Sure, this episode wasn't perfect, nor was it really good, but it's finally clear where things are going. For a show about Chasing Life, it really hasn't chased anything but borrowed time -- and that was before April's confirmed diagnosis. How many episodes was it going to take to see April tell her family she has cancer? Or say the words to herself? I get that Chasing Life didn't want to get backed into a corner void of any drama, but waiting so long (plus the execution of the Cancer Intervention) did not fair well. 

Luckily, it looks like Chasing Life is finally living up to its title. April confronts her fears, fesses up to them even, and takes a risk or two. Sure, the risk is sort of stealing a car, but hey, cancer perks. The only thing it's really in danger of is becoming The Fault in Our Stars for adults. And that's not that bad of a thing. In some non-John Green hating circles, it's a very good thing. 

As the episode begins, we see a single shot of a sky, at a very low angle. Cops are on the scene. April gives her name. A title card says...


Dominic and April are in bed, watching one another sleep, being cute together and -- hold on -- Dominic has chest hair! This is a rare sighting on television, folks. I feel like I just saw a documentary of a man in the wild. (No, but seriously -- men aren't allowed to have body hair on TV. Not even on Teen Wolf.) Besides this landmark event, nothing else happens except some confusing talk about the night before. I guess it was a contractual scene to check in with Dominic? 

Back at casa de Carver, Sarah has stayed up all night worrying about April. April knows she needs to start treatment, and gives herself a moment to cry that she doesn't want to die. This is the April I like best, the one who gives in a little bit, but only for a moment. Otherwise, you sense that she'd just break down. April is such a tough woman that it can be almost a little frustrating with how she has dealt with everything, but a little vulnerability goes a long way. 

Speaking of being vulnerable, let's head on over to support group. A woman offers a story about how her partner can't deal with her cancer. I guess that's why Dominic was there? Still unsure. It's April's time to share how she feels she is losing a little more every day. Hair, breath, food. She can't stand feeling weak. Leo walks in during this speech, and because these two will one day hook up, he's hooked into the complicated life of April Carver. 


At April's next appointment, George refers her treatment to an AML specialist when Sarah isn't asking a thousand questions about April's health. April's first round of chemo is induction therapy. April doesn't want to feel anxious about knowing everything, electing to learn as it comes, which doesn't sound like April (but necessary for the plot?). Sarah is one of those moms who reads an article on the Internet and thinks she has an MD. What's scarier? She actually has some kind of medical license as a counselor. 

After April runs (well, as much as she can) to work, Sarah and George pow wow about April's health. This is where it gets super gray, ethically speaking. George recites some of the side effects of chemo, but the "changes to her fertility" catches Sarah's ear. Sarah begs George not to tell April because April won't go through with her chemotherapy. Again: Sarah is the worst patient's mother. Technically, George doesn't tell April yet because she asked to hold off on the information, but again, gray area. It's just Sarah who withholds the fertility info from April. 

Dominic takes April to a food crawl. But April has lost all of her appetite. Graham is back, eavesdropping on April throwing up and makes it all about him instead of April's "pregnancy." I guess this is here to give clues to Dominic about April's cancer? Again, I'm at a loss. 

Cancer Date

At work, April has been personally requested for a one-on-one interview with the Hendrie campaign, per Leo's request. Bruce Hendrie shoots a campaign video with Leo and Bruce. Leo makes it into a big joke. For health care issues. I mean, it's the show poking fun at the millionaire politicians who can pay out of pocket for health care issues, and I am kind of in love with the show for it. I'm also a little in love with April for asking tough questions to Hendrie.

After showing off to April, Leo bails on the shoot and talks about how free his life was in Paris. When he got sick, he had to move back home. Kinda like Sarah's micromanagement over April. Leo lets it slip -- not that it is a secret -- that chemo can cause infertility. 

Because of this micromanagement, April is ready to do something fun, but stupid. Like get on the back of a motorcycle. Listen, if you are trying to survive cancer, maybe getting on the back of a motorcycle is a bad idea. They go to a car dealership to test-drive a fancy car, full of speeding. April decides to drive, despite being an uptight felon now.

And then, Leo kisses April, very quickly on the lips. A SHIP IS BORN. Like you don't ship this hot mess, car wreck, ticking time bomb of a relationship. But for real? Don't you want the cancer grown-ups to have a little romance? 

The cops arrive -- they did technically steal a car -- and Leo has a seizure. It's his POV of the tree that was teased in the teaser. April visits Leo in the hospital, noting how that seizure was pretty convenient. Even the writers note their petty contrivances! But then, Leo goes full-on Augustus Waters by announcing he's terminal (and also maybe wants a relationship/fling) and teasing his own death on the roof. NOOOOOO. 

Okay, I get that Leo is a mirror image of what April is afraid of and that the writers use Leo's experience with cancer to comment on April's emotional state. I ain't stupid. I'm just sad because Leo seems like he had a life outside of April, you know? Like a solid life of existing outside of the main lead, which the current love interest does not (but Dominic has the chest hair working for him!). It's doubly sad because my love for Scott Michael Foster will even make me watch Once Upon a Time again. That's love. 

Anyway, April returns home to Sarah cleaning like a maniac, getting the house free of germs because April cannot get even sicker. This is an appropriate reaction to cancer, but April is still pretty pissed about Sarah's micromanagement. But April goes crazy once she learns Sarah tried to hide the chemo/no kid side effects. Finally, April expresses some autonomy over her body to hold off chemo so she can see a fertility specialist. Sarah will just deal. 

First: hallelujah! Second: hallelujah. Third: hallelujah. April holding off chemo is probably just a terrible decision, but it's a terrible decision she made. This is a show I can get behind.  

Other Thoughts

  • I have decided not to fight Brenna's storylines and just relegate it to here. Brenna has a "boyfriend" she isn't that into anymore. She's really into Greer, despite the girl's preppiness, friendly demeanor and kick-ass style. Greer has a party which Brenna and Kieran and Amy make very uncomfortable by making fools of themselves. 
  • I would like more storylines of the Boston Post, please. Preferably with Danny and Dominic.

Chasing Life airs Tuesdays at 9pm on ABC Family.

(Image courtesy of ABC Family)