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Mistresses - Surprise - Review : "There is No Surprise More Magical Than the Surprise of Being Loved"

2.12 - "Surprise"
Written by Rina Mimoun
Directed by Michael Grossman
Reviewed by Gavin Hetherington

Wow, the penultimate episode of the show's second season already. I can't quite believe it. This time next week I'll be posting my review for the season (possibly series) finale of Mistresses. I don't know about you guys, but this season has flown over! If you haven't seen some of the staff at SpoilerTV, including myself, do the Ice Bucket Challenges for ALS, check out the post here.

Season Guide

  • Season 2 Episode Guide
    2.01 - "Rebuild" (June 2, 2014)
    2.02 - "Boundaries" (June 9, 2014)
    2.03 - "Open House" (June 16, 2014)
    2.04 - "Friends With Benefits" (June 23, 2014)
    2.05 - "Playing With Fire" (June 30, 2014)
    2.06 - "What Do You Really Want" (July 7, 2014)
    2.07 - "Why Do Fools Fall In Love?" (July 14, 2014)
    2.08 - "An Affair to Surrender" (July 21, 2014)
    2.09 - "Coming Clean" (August 4, 2014)
    2.10 - "Charades" (August 11, 2014)
    2.11 - "Choices" (August 18, 2014)
    2.12 - "Surprise" (August 25, 2014)
    2.13 - "'Til Death Do Us Apart" (September 1, 2014)

Character Guide

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'Surprise' Recap

The episode begins with Ben (Brian Hallisay), having knocked on Karen's door at the end of the last episode, asking Karen if he can go inside her apartment. Karen asks how he found out where she lived and Ben reveals he wasted time tracking down her fake alias. Karen allows Ben to go inside her apartment. He tells her the bartender remember her and helped him track her down, and reveals he wouldn't have done so if it wasn't important. Ben tells her that he's sick, that's he unsure how long he has had it or who gave him it, and recommends Karen to go see her doctor. At April's, she contemplates disposing the phone that was sent to her from Paul the previous episode. April sees the FBI van outside and gives them the phone, telling them only one number is programmed in it. She asks if they're done, but they tell her they will be in touch.

At a Bakery, Savi is waiting for Joss, who is late to turn up. Savi says the engagement party next weekend is like the dress rehearsal for the actual wedding, giving them an opportunity to iron out the kinks and taste free cake. Savi reveals three more people RSVP'd, and Joss hoped one of them would be their mother, but Savi says she hasn't replied. Joss says she can spend more time with Eleanor, Scott's mother. Joss invites Savi to a dinner the next day but Savi reveals she has a date with Zack. Joss gives Savi her blessing. Savi questions whether she should start dating at 40. The last guy Savi dated was Harry having skipped the dating part with Dom. Savi reveals dating Harry felt easy, and the first time they ever kissed was on a surf board. Harry was trying to teach Savi how to do the "pop-up thing". Savi and Joss "toast" to a life of surprises and free cake.

When walking to Harry's, Joss sees Harry naked through the window and is shocked, dropping her coffee and laptop. She also sees Greta and walks away. Joss tells April about what she saw, including the twig and berries, and tells April it was more than average. Karen walks in and tells the girls that the man she slept with tested HIV-positive. Joss asks if it was Jacob, but Karen reveals a different man to Joss's surprise. Joss realises that Karen and April have shared a secret, and Joss compares it to the time they watched Scandal without her. Karen reveals she went through a phase before she and Jacob got together, and April tells Joss that Karen was having anonymous sex. Karen says she was safe but there's always a chance. Karen begins to break down, thinking it's the universe's way of punishing her. Joss calms her down and offers a referal to a clinic with fast results, but Karen remains with her own doctor. April can't go with Karen because she has to go to the FBI office.

At the FBI office, Agent Adam tells April the phone she received was purchased in Ohio, but they can't conclude that as the phone hasn't been used yet. They want April to keep Paul on the line long enough for Agent Gordon to pinpoint Paul's exact location. They only need around 30 seconds, and they suggest keeping the conversation light, but April says that will alert Paul that something is up. April would only phone him in emergency so they suggest faking a health issue with her daughter, Lily. April understands and takes the phone. Before April can phone Paul, she asks the FBI what will happen to him once they pinpoint his location. Agent Adam tells her they'll bring him in to testify in the case and then provide him with a new identity. April phones him but she is given a message that he will phone her in 48 hours.

At the restaurant, Joss and Harry are at a table. Harry gets a message from Greta telling them that she will be there soon. Joss reveals she knows Harry is sleeping with Greta and wants details, but Harry ignores her. Harry says it's none of her business. Joss says she is fine with it but Harry doesn't care what she thinks. Greta arrives. At April's, Lucy asks why her mother seems upset. Lucy asks if she misses Daniel. April lets Lucy go to the Taco trip with her friends the next day and April has made all of the arrangements. Lucy thanks her mother. Savi and Zack are on their date. They seem nervous and Zack talks about his new job - restoring old bikes. Zack tries to make Savi talk about her lawyer job. Savi reveals she was obsessed with the television show "L.A. Law" which Zack didn't know about.

At Karen's doctors, Karen is about to be questioned about the HIV development. Karen reveals she usually faints after drawing blood, but the doctor wants her to answer questions first. When asked if she has had unprotected vaginal or oral sex, Karen thinks she might have though isn't 100 percent sure. Karen reveals one time she was very drunk and thinks she used a condom but she wasn't sure. When asked if she has slept with men who sleeps with men, Karen reveals she doesn't know, and that she doesn't know some of the men she slept with. When asked if she has had sex with anybody tested HIV-positive, Karen reveals she doesn't feel well and has to go. At April's, Daniel knocks on the door. She lets him in and he reveals Agent Gordon will be due in an hour and makes sure it's okay for him to set up his equipment. Daniel wants to talk but April just wants everything to be over. When Daniel says he understands, April snaps and says he doesn't as he doesn't realise how much he hurt her. April asks where Paul will be going for Lucy's sake, but April realises they're not sending him anywhere. Daniel says they gave him the opportunity to do the right things months before but he didn't take it. April defends Paul but Daniel says protecting Paul isn't FBI priority, they just want to catch a bad guy. April says to Daniel "what if you're the bad guy?"

While out shopping, Joss is with Eleanor. Joss apologises for cancelling the night before, but Eleanor tells her never to apologise for having a career. Joss mentions Harry and Eleanor wonders who he is. Joss explains their relationship and that she got him the job at Wunderbar, and tries to talk to Eleanor about him some more but Eleanor seems disconnected. Eleanor wonders if Scott is like Harry, but Joss says Scott is all squishy and open, but continues talking about Harry. Eleanor asks if this is something she needs to worry about as she is talking an awful lot about another man before marrying her son. Joss apologises and Eleanor responds "you should be" while covering up Joss's cleavage. Zack phones Savi while she is in the office to thank her for a nice night and wonders if they should do it again, but Savi says she has a big case that will take up most of her time in the coming weeks. Zack says he's an idiot, that he didn't even want to pick that restaurant and the jacket he borrowed from his brother. Savi says she doesn't think she's ready to date yet, and Zack thinks she wouldn't think that if he wasn't a stiff as last night wasn't him. Savi noticed it didn't seem like him, but she went out with him because she does like him. Zack asks for one more chance and he'll take Savi to his favourite spot in Los Angeles, and Savi agrees. She will have to go after a meeting, so Zack will text her the details.

At April's, the FBI begin setting up their equipment. Daniel asks if April is okay, but she isn't. Just then, Lucy walks in after forgetting her iPod and sees Daniel. She asks what is going on and Daniel gives her a hug, acting normal. Lucy thinks the reason she could go on the trip is so April and Daniel could get back together. Lucy has to go and tells the person who did the bad thing to apologise so they can get back together. Lucy leaves, and the FBI heard everything from the top of the stairs. At Harry's, Scott visits and Harry allows him to come in. Scott says he needs help with getting Joss an engagement gift. Harry suggests getting something personal rather than flashy, which is why Scott wants his insight as he's known Joss since she was a kid. Harry says nothing comes to mind but he'll have a think about it. Scott is about to leave when Harry says a record player. Harry reveals Joss's father died when Joss was young so she never had a chance to know him, but he left her a stack of records. As they're her only connection to her father, Harry thinks she has never played those records. Scott says it's a little small though he loves the idea, so he thinks of getting Joss a Jukebox with all of the songs pre-programmed into it.

Joss tells Karen about her future mother-in-law and their shopping trip. Joss thinks Eleanor over-reacted, though Karen is baffled that Joss talked about another man all that time in front of Scott's mother. Joss says it was Harry she talked about, not just another man. Karen asks what happened between Joss and Harry, but Joss wants to know about the results. Karen reveals she couldn't go through with the test because of all of those questions. Karen questions whether she was safe with Ben. Karen thinks it's possible, and Karen needs to know if she can handle it. She's not prepared for it. Joss reveals she was absolutely sure she was going to test positive one time and she went to the beach one time to make her feel small to help her cope. Karen says she hates the beach and the two hug it out.

Zack has taken Savi to a bar where his brother used to wait tables back in high school and knows the owner. Savi loves it and a waitress reveals Zack must really like her as she has never heard a thank you from him. With a live band playing, the lead singer spots Zack and tells him to come up to sing. Savi encourages him and he kisses her as he gets up on stage. He begins to sing and Savi enjoys the performance. Dom is at the office when April comes in. April says she is here to see Dom. She needs his help. After the date, Savi notices her car is missing. It has been towed and Zack says he will drive her to the towing place. Savi doesn't want to go on his bike and says she will just take a cab. Zack tries to persuade her to go on his bike, but she seems scared. She finally agrees and he drives slowly for her. He then speeds up but Savi wants him to stop. He doesn't listen at first but eventually they stop. Savi is terrified and they argue. Zack apologises and phones her a cab.

At Harry's, Greta is in his bed. She's upset because a Vogue photographer has a clash with her restaurant opening, so Harry suggests moving the opening, but Greta doesn't want to ruin the momentum they've been building. Harry suggests the following weekend as Greta is leaving the week after, and Greta asks if he thinks he's ready. Harry is confident and Greta shows Harry how grateful she is and they begin to kiss. Karen visits a church during a congregation and a woman asks if she can help Karen. Karen reveals she has never been there before but her friend April is a member. The woman reveals herself as Ella and she knows April and her daughter Lucy. Ella offers Karen a prayer book but Karen says she already knows all of the words. Ella asks if she is a devout Catholic, and Karen reveals her parents were and they used to go to church all of the time but she hasn't been in many years. Ella asks why and Karen begins to cry, revealing she doesn't know if she believes in God anymore. But she needs something bigger than herself, and Ella says she doesn't have to believe in God to believe. A choir is singing from the back. April is folding clothes when the phone rings with the FBI present. She picks up and it's Paul. Paul asks if Lucy is okay but April reveals the FBI are after him and he hangs up. She gives the phone back to Adam, who seems angry. He arrests April and takes her back to headquarters where Dom is waiting - acting as her lawyer.

Harry is in the restaurant kitchen showing the other chefs how to cook something when Joss comes in, telling him that Greta has moved the soft opening up. Harry reveals he suggested it as it would be better than moving it to weeks after. Joss reveals her engagement party is on the same day, which Harry forgot. Harry says they'll move the opening to Friday night, trying to say it's not a big deal but Joss says it's a huge deal. She says Scott has family members flying in for it, but she wonders how Harry could forget, which upset her the most. Joss says she made Harry's life her priority the past year and now Harry is just dumping her, but Harry says she is over-reacting. He says everything is always about her and he apologises for forgetting her party. He thinks the wedding is never going to happen anyway. Joss asks him to take it back, but he says she barely knows Scott, wondering if she's just marrying him because he's rich and that he won't lose the restaurant over her first marriage, citing it as ridiculous. Joss says Savi was right about Harry, that he's mean as a snake. She brings back what happened between Savi and Harry when they found out they couldn't get pregnant, but Joss defended Harry then but realises it was Harry that ruined the marriage, and that now he is sleeping with Greta, he will ruin the restaurant too. She says he will be fired before they open and she won't be there to fight for him. Joss leaves.

At Savi's, Zack knocks on her back door. She lets him inside as Zack wants to apologise for what happened. He doesn't want her to hate him, respecting their friendship. Savi apologises for last night also, saying it wasn't his fault, but Zack says she was scared. Savi corrects him and says she was terrified, believing she was going to die but this time she could see it happening. She had a moment where her life flashed before her eyes, but she also had a moment of clarity. She had been second-guessing everything the past few months but last night she felt something real and true. Zack asks what it was. Paul is sitting in a motel room when a man comes inside. Paul says he will do anything and the man takes Paul away. The man who takes him away has a gun tucked away in his belt.

At Scott's, Joss walks in when Scott reveals his surprise for her. He makes her close her eyes and plays a record. Joss seems emotional and Scott says he wants to play the song at the wedding as it would be like Joss's dad was with them. Scott says he loves her and they begin to dance. He thanks her for marrying him, and she says thank you for asking. Karen is at the doctor's getting her blood taken. The FBI are at the office with April and Dom. Savi is home staring out of the window. Joss and Scott are still dancing and Joss seems happy.

'Surprise' Review

Excuse me while I wipe a couple of tears from my eyes. Thank you. Man, that was a pretty intense rollercoaster of emotion, all the way through the episode! You can tell the season is coming to an end (possible end of the series altogether unfortunately), and all this episode did was make me want a third season even more. This episode proved I have an emotional attachment with these characters. Sometimes it's hard for me to relate with characters of certain shows, but fortunately for Mistresses, I totally feel invested. I mean, I've always liked the characters and the show, but after this episode, I realised I'm attached to their story. I want to know what happens next. I want to know that they're going to be okay. If ABC decide to cancel this show, then heads will roll.

First of all, I love the episode title, "Surprise". It holds many connotations. It can be either good or bad. This episode displayed both sides of surprise.

Savi wasn't very much involved with the other women in this episode, only really sharing a scene with Joss in an early part of the episode. I thought, compared to what Karen was going through, that Savi's scenes were the light side of the episode to balance out the heavy storylines, but it kind of escalated as the episode progressed. I knew, during the dinner date between Savi and Zack that it was awkward. I mean, I do have a fondness for Zack, I think he's cute. But after seeing this episode, I think the pair of them work better as just friends without the romantic potential. It's a shame too because they had such good chemistry when they really start to have fun. The scene with Zack singing and Savi cheering him on was totally great to watch. Then Zack had to ruin it by driving too fast on the bike. I know he was just trying to make the night more special for Savi and maybe thought she would love it, but it had the reverse effect. It terrified her, and that kind of put the nail in the coffin for Zack. I never thought they would be a serious couple so it would take something like that to bury any romantic potential they might have had. I seriously want to know what Savi thought was real and true, and my guess is she realises she needs to be with Dom.

April's story was more than just beating around the bush this episode with the whole FBI thing. We actually went somewhere with it. I do like the April and Daniel pairing, I truly believe he wants what is best for her and he has feelings for her, but I don't think April should let him off easy. I'm glad they didn't have the big reunion this episode, they can save that for the finale. Let him stew. The scene with Lucy and Daniel and April altogether was pretty nice, they would make such a great family together, and then having the FBI at the top of the stairs was kind of creepy. I was so proud of April for telling Paul the truth down the phone. The FBI have been screwing April around since the beginning (I really do not like Agent Adam), so for April to defend herself by refusing to give up Paul was so smart of her. She's going to pay for it now, and the scene with her arrest with the choir singing was so well done, I loved it! I am glad Dom is helping April though, I know she's in safe hands now so I'm not too worried, but I do hope everything sorts itself out in the end. I have a feeling Paul is going to die.

Joss almost stole the show in this episode for me. She had some of the best one-liners when talking with Savi about Harry, and she was great at providing the support for Karen. Even though Joss can seem very silly and immature, she has moments where she simply shines and breaks that stereotype people may have of her. She is smart. I also had a pretty creepy vibe from Eleanor, Scott's mother, when she was like "you should be" when Joss apologises for talking about Harry. I think that's an omen. I think the family are crazier than they seem - they just try too hard to be too perfect. I can see Joss and Eleanor butting heads in the finale. Eleanor is the mother hen so it's understandable she wants what is best for Scott, but she's also just as suffocating as Scott can be sometimes. And while I mention Scott, when he visited Harry and Harry told him the story of Joss's father, and Scott said "it's a little small" and thinks of getting a Jukebox instead, I thought that was so insensitive. I mean, he did end up getting Joss the record player (which I hope he will credit Harry for), but something tells me Scott isn't one-hundred percent in this relationship either, that he seems a little selfish and that he can buy Joss anything and she won't have to do anything. I know they sorted that problem out last episode with the whole independance thing, but some cheetahs do not change their spots. Also, when Harry and Joss were arguing in the kitchen, Joss was totally right, but I wanted Harry to just shut up, say he loved her and then kissed her. I think he told her the marriage wouldn't work on purpose. I think he's trying to push her away so she will stay with Scott and live happily ever after with him. He only said the wedding wouldn't happen so Joss would be more determined to prove him wrong. He did say some mean things and I do hope he didn't really mean them and that they work things out in the finale. Joss and Scott dancing was so nice though. I really felt for Joss when he mentioned playing the song at the wedding so it felt like her father was with them. Serious tears from me there.

But the real winner of this episode, for me personally, was Karen. Watching Karen's face when Ben told her he was sick was really heartbreaking. Then when she told Joss and April about it too was so touching, to see her friends support her like that, I actually did cry at that. It felt pretty personal to me, I could relate to Karen. Last year around April, I went on a few dates with a guy I liked at the time. We slept together, and then a couple of dates later we decided to call it quits as we felt there was little chemistry and we parted on good terms. Then in October, he messaged me to tell me he was HIV-positive, that he wasn't sure when he got it but he had slept with a few guys after me. We were safe, but I was like Karen, there was a chance and I got so panicked and emotional. Fortunately, I'm HIV-negative but there was a couple of days when I felt so totally devastated and scared, and unlike Karen I didn't really have anybody to talk to about it. That's why it was so touching to me that April and Joss were there for Karen when she revealed her condition and worries. I could understand Karen leaving the Doctor's office. What I truly loved about this episode though, was the scene Karen had at the church. It was such a raw, emotional moment for her as she reveals she has lost faith in God. I'm not religious, but I can understand where she is coming from. Being so lost in the world and feeling so small and unimportant can make you question everything. It was just the moment of clarity Karen needed by visiting the church and seeing the choir in the background singing. That was a beautiful moment and I can't wait to see where Karen goes to next. She's being brave compared to how I was during my HIV scare last year, so I admire her totally and completely through her ordeal. She has shown how strong she is as a character, and so she stole the show from Joss this episode.

Gavin's Rating: 8.5 out of 10. The episode was emotional and had so much progression leading to next week's finale. A definite improvement over the last episode.

Funny Quote of the Episode: Savi - "He was trying to teach me how to do that pop-up thing. I never actually popped up." Joss - "I bet he did."

Inspirational Quote of the Episode: Joss - "This thing, perspective, the idea that everything that we're going through, it's not really as big as we think it is. It all seems so important until it doesn't."

Best Moment: Karen's scene in the church with the choir singing, mixed in with April's arrest.

Character of the Episode: Karen.

What did you guys think of the episode? Are the storylines heading to next week's finale interesting enough to lead into one explosive ending? Did Savi realise she belongs with Dom? Will Harry admit his feelings to Joss? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to watch the season finale of Mistresses, airing Monday September 1st on ABC at 10.00PM!

About the Author - Gavin Hetherington
Award-winning author of 'Abyssal Sanctuary: Remnants of the Damned'. Gavin joined SpoilerTV on August 9, 2014 and will be reviewing 2 Broke Girls, Mistresses, Orange is the New Black and Salem in the 2014-15 season. Gavin's favourite shows include Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Scandal and much more. You can contact Gavin at gavin@spoilertv.com.
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