In the season 2 premiere of Chasing Life, “A View from the Ledge,” April suffers a health setback, Leo’s parents throw April and Leo an engagement party, a fellow cancer patient offers April some unsolicited advice and Sara tries to adjust to April’s new outlook.
Things pick up pretty much where they left off in the holiday special. April is unemployed, undergoing her second round of chemo, and she’s newly engaged to Leo. The first person to learn about the happy couple’s big news is Dominic, who comes to visit April in the hospital. He spots a piece of orange hazardous waste tape wrapped snugly around her ring finger. Dominic doesn’t do a very convincing job of acting happy to hear the news.
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Home Sweet Home
Skip forward a month, April arrives home after her treatment. April and Leo plan to tie the knot before her bone marrow transplant, but not everybody is excited about their impending nuptials. Emma is a tad concerned that her granddaughter is behaving a bit impetuously. Emma points out to Sara that April has only known Leo for six months, four of which he was in a coma.
Sara argues that the engagement is bringing April happiness and hope, two weapons integral to April’s battle against cancer. Sara is confident that level-headed April will re-emerge and call the whole thing off.
After consummating their engagement on April’s bedroom floor, Leo presents April with a gorgeous and huge ring. He tells her that his parents want to throw them an engagement party ASAP. April says that for the first time in a long time, she feels like the luckiest girl in the world.
Live Like You’re Dying
April meets up with Danny, who remains incredibly grateful for April sacrificing her own spot at the Post to secure his. But April’s dreams of being a big-time journalist are only temporarily on hold. She wants Danny to spread the word that she’s a free agent, and after her transplant, she’s hopping back into the saddle as soon as she can.
April is going to be sidelined for longer than she intended. Dr. Hamburg informs April that the chemotherapy didn’t work, and she’s not in remission. This means no transplant. She can be monitored as an outpatient until they figure out what to do next.
April is sufficiently freaked-out. Her best option appears to be a clinical trial, but without that transplant, her prognosis isn’t good. Leave it to Leo to put a positive spin on things, or at least as positive as is humanly possible when you’ve just been told you’re more than likely going to die of cancer.
Leo takes her up to the roof and urges April to voice her deepest, darkest fear: she’s afraid she’s going to die. Leo says that everybody is going to die and at least April has time to get ready. “Most healthy people spend their lives being scared and inert,” he tells her. His whole pep talk can basically be boiled down to “Carpe diem.” So April’s new attitude is to live her life like she knows she’s going to die.
Brenna’s Big Decision
Brenna is still in constant contact with Greer, but even though she expected school to suck without her girlfriend, things are going well for Brenna. She’s joined the film club, has a very enthusiastic and seemingly harmless stalker, and Natalie’s been making good on her promise to April to do the best she can to be a fill-in big sister.
Brenna’s also prepping for her big stem cell donation. April wants to know if Brenna’s scared, but Brenna’s biggest concern isn’t the procedure itself as much as the outcome. Dr. Hamburg has asked Brenna if she wants updates on how things go with the recipient, and while Brenna would love to get some good news for a change, she’s worried how she’ll react if the transplant is a flop.
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April, who hasn’t seen Dominic since telling him about her engagement, stops by his apartment. She tells him she doesn’t want to lose him from her life, especially since they no longer have work keeping them linked. April says she misses him and their friendship, even though she suspects he might regret having ever asked her out in the first place. Dominic assures her that isn’t the case, and the two agree that they want to remain in each other’s lives.
Their friendly hug is interrupted by Natalie, who is still seeing Dominic. April tells her half-sister that she’s off the hook as far as a transplant goes since the cancer kicked chemo’s ass this go-round.
Natalie decides that since neither she nor April have anywhere to be, they should kick it together. They go for a walk, and April complains incessantly about her career roadblock. Since she’s not going back into the hospital anytime soon, April is putting even more pressure on herself when it comes to work. April admits she’s not great at downtime.
And so begins April’s evolution from regimented, Type A girl to free spirit. Natalie assure April how easy it is to go with the flow and not give a damn what anyone else thinks. Natalie points out that most people are way too self-involved and wrapped up in their own drama to care what’s going on around them. Everyone is on their phones or in their heads, distracted from all the fun they could be having. Natalie urges April to cut loose and dance to the beat of her own drum — or, rather, guys drumming in the park, which she does.
A New Cancer Patient on the Block
April stops in for a pick-me-up blood transfusion and comes across a fellow cancer patient, Vanessa (Krysta Rodriguez). Vanessa decides that the two might as well get to know each other, but when she asks April to tell her about herself, April goes on a rambling monologue that focuses on her work. Vanessa interrupts and says she asked about April, not her job. “Who are you?”
April is flustered by the question, and when she fails to come up with one sentence to describe herself outside the confines of her work or her illness, she buries her nose in her computer.
Cancer Kids Will Be Cancer Kids
Sara meets Bruce and Catherine Hendrie for lunch to discuss Leo and April’s engagement. Sara asks the Hendries if Leo’s given them any insight into what prompted his spontaneous proposal. Sara isn’t happy to hear that Leo’s parents are kind of viewing the union as a dying girl’s last wish kind of deal. Leo has proven himself to be his own Make-A-Wish foundation.
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New Job, Old Feelings
Danny has a connection at an Internet news media company called Sitegeist and hooks April up with an interview. It’s a big step down from the hard-hitting news that April did at the Post, but the purveyor of fluff is willing to take April on, warts and all.
April, Leo, Dominic, Natalie, Beth, Beth’s latest boy toy and Danny all go out to celebrate April’s new job. They rent a big limo, complete with stripper pole. Things get weird pretty quickly when April and Dominic wind up reminiscing about their first date. Leo, feeling threatened, brings up the time he and April stole a car, to which Dominic responds that Leo likes to steal things. Ouch.
At film club, Brenna meets Margo (Aurora Perrineau), an Emerson College grad who majored in film. She’s interning at Brenna’s school, and the two look to be on track to becoming fast friends. Margo even offers to help Brenna with a special surprise gift she’s putting together for April and Leo’s engagement party.
April has another run-in with Vanessa. April’s still defensive from their last meeting and tells Vanessa that she’s a person who puts great value on her career and doesn’t apologize for it. Vanessa explains that she used to be an EMT, and she’d saved many lives, but then she got cervical cancer and decided it was time to start being selfish. Vanessa has visited every state in the United States and 19 countries. Vanessa says that what people do for a living equals the sum total of one line in their obituaries and that’s it.
Vanessa’s monologue really hits home with April, and she immediately goes and gets herself fired from her brand-new job. April tells Beth that she’s never traveled or developed any hobbies or interests. April says that’s one of her biggest regrets, and she wants to do something about it before it’s too late.
At Leo and April’s engagement party, Natalie can’t help but notice Leo’s longing looks at the bride-to-be. Someone else noticing some behavior they don’t like is Sara. After finding out that April lost her job and has no intention of looking for another one anytime soon, Sara pulls her daughter aside. Sara thinks April is giving up. April swears to her mom that she doesn’t want to die; she just wants to live her life differently, and April wants her mom on board with her new life plan.
After the party, April accuses Dominic of still being in love with April. Dominic tries to reassure Natalie that she’s off the mark by saying April’s getting married. Wrong answer, guy. You were supposed to say you aren’t in love with the girl with cancer, so Natalie gives Dom his walking papers.
After he leaves, Natalie starts going through some of her dad’s belongings from storage that Sara passed on to her. Natalie comes across a manuscript by Thomas Carver that insinuates his death may not have been an accident after all.
Chasing Life airs Mondays at 9pm on ABC Family.
(Image courtesy of ABC Family)