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Chasing Life – The Domino Effect – Recap & Review: “Girls Night Out”

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April turns to Dominic to get advice about writing her novel. He offers to hook her up with his agent. April is grateful and goes to hug him, but instead he gives her a fist bump. This unusual action seems to catch April’s attention, but she isn’t quite sure what to make of it.

They do have this great friendship, but her chemistry with Leo is far superior in terms of relationship chemistry. There is a lot of speculation running around about Leo’s future. If the theories, of which I share, turn out to be true then I think April is in for some very hard times in the not so distant future. It would be good for her to have Dominic in her life as a friend, but I do hope they are respectful of the whole situation. While I hope the rumors are wrong I have a strong feeling they are true and heartache is nearing for us all.

After her odd encounter with Dominic, April is at Beth’s place. Beth informs April that it is time for that all important moment for a bride, the planning of her Bachelorette party. While April and Beth would both love male strippers, April wants to be able to incorporate her mom and grandma into the festivities. Brenna will be sitting out April’s party due to the age issue. Beth wants April’s party to be twenty-one plus and she has already cleared the plan with Brenna.

The friendship April and Beth have is one of my favorites ever portrayed on television. They have had their ups and downs, but they always come through for one another and are always present to support each other. I also think that it is good for Beth to take on this responsibility and let Brenna take a step back from all the wedding stuff for one night. With everything going on in Brenna’s life she too deserves a night off.

At the Carver house, Brenna seems to be annoyed at being excluded from the party until Ford is revealed to be in the room with her. It turns out Brenna is really excited about getting a night off to just be a teenager and hang with her friends. At some point off screen Brenna and Finn have become kind of friends, but Brenna is having an issue with Finn because when she looks at him all she sees is cancer.

Ford needs to be utilized more then she is because she gives Brenna a great sounding board and is a great balance to her. The scenes these two have are some of my favorites. While their friendship may not be in Beth and April territory, yet, Ford has a proven track record of what she is willing to do for Brenna. I’m glad Brenna is making a new friend in Finn, but I also wish it wasn’t so obvious that he is being setup as her next love interest. I do wonder if the bone marrow revelation will do anything to change things when they find out how truly blood bonded they are.

April is trying to get Brenna to remember what may have happened in their dad’s last year. Unfortunately she can’t remember anything out of the ordinary. When Sara comes in mid conversation April and Brenna are forced to reveal the existence of the manuscript to her. Sara has no interest in diving back into her husband’s past and just wants to spend time with both her girls at home. Sara gives a moving speech that leads both Brenna and April to tears. The moving moment is brought to an end by a commotion from upstairs and the three women go to check out what is going on. We finally got to meet Sam (Walter Addison), Emma’s boyfriend, just in time for her to dump him.

I actually expected them to keep the book a secret from Sara until after the wedding, so the fact that it happened now was a little surprising. The timing of it worked out really well though as the moment flowed well into the overall story of the episode. I did get the impression from Sara’s reaction that she may know more about some of her husband’s secrets then she is letting on to her daughters. It will be interesting to see what secrets are ultimately revealed as they delve more into his final year. The emotional moment between Sara and her girls was beautifully played by all three actresses. Mary Page Keller pours so much maternal love into her scenes with Italia Ricci and Haley Ramm that you can easily imagine her as their mom. These characters have come a long way since we first met them last season. I said last week that I hoped we’d get to meet Emma’s mystery boyfriend, but that was far too short of an introduction to him. It will be interesting to see if he and Emma can reconcile and the part he will play in supporting her throughout the trials and tribulations to come. Emma is a rock for the family and she deserves to have someone on her side that she too can rely on.

April finally gets to meet with Nina (Rachel Holmes), Dominic’s agent, and she seems quite interested in April because of her Carver family pedigree. April proposes several ideas and the first two are shot down, but when April mentions a story with a futuristic setting the agent gets excited. She thinks April may be onto something, but it’ll also likely be two or three years before the book can get on shelves, and that would be if April was working on it full time. The disappointment on April’s face is palpable.

Given April’s uncertain future I can understand why the time frame freaks her out. While she seemed excited to have the agent genuinely interested in her I don’t believe that this is the kind of novel she dreamed of writing. It wasn’t even her first option when she pitched her ideas to Nina. She’s got a gift and she should be able to use that gift to write what her heart desires, not what some agent assumes people will buy. With her father’s connections she can surely find someone that will let her write what she wants to write.

Leo and Frankie (Amber Stevens West ), Leo’s best friend, listen to April freaking out about the book and its topic. Frankie is Leo’s best man, except she is a gorgeous woman, and she already gets along great with April. They also need a new band to play at their wedding since the other one had to cancel on them.

Was I the only one surprised when Frankie showed up after never being mentioned before? Don’t get me wrong, I really like her and the way Amber is playing her, but for someone who seems so important to Leo I’m surprised we’ve never heard of her before. However, now that we have met her I hope she sticks around because I enjoy the dynamic she has with both Leo and April. If Leo had thought things through he should have realized that they were going to gang up on him and outnumber him.

At school Brenna watches Finn have to turn down a party invite because he can’t be around germs. Brenna chats with Finn and they bond over cancer. She invites him over and since the house is sterilized because of April he’ll be safe at her house. He seems genuinely happy about being able to hang out with someone outside of his house and accepts the invitation.

I can’t emphasize enough how much better these two are as friends and not a couple. I know Haley has basically confirmed through interviews that Finn is Brenna’s next love interest, but I do hope it will be a short lived coupling. With that said I do think that it is nice that Brenna is trying to include him in normal activities even if it has to take place in her sterilized house.

Frankie watches Leo try on tuxedos and seems quite impressed with him. While she accepted his invitation to be his best (wo)man she is angry with him, because he sent her an email about having cancer, instead of calling her or telling her in person, then never replied back to her ever again. He then gets a much deserved punch in the arm for shutting her out and he apologizes to her for the years he was a jerk to her. She is a really good friend and supports him despite the way he treated her.

I’m actually quite glad they had Leo’s best friend be a woman. While we learn in this episode that they once dated, if you can even call it dating in middle school, there is no awkwardness between them. She not only accepts April, but has already bonded with her best friends soon to be wife. The fact that she jumped on a plane to support him after the way he shut her out shows how pure and true their friendship was and still is.

April shows up at Dominic’s new house and he gives her some great literary advice relating to her earlier meeting with Nina. Their interaction is as awkward as it was at the start of the episode, but after hearing about April’s band dilemma he tells her about a band that he knows that may be willing to do it. He feels that if he can’t give her much more help with her book he can at least help her get a good band for her wedding.

Dominic is trying so hard to not cross the friends’ line, but his feelings for April are visible every time they share a scene together. It is nice of him to offer to help April, but surely he had to realize he was trespassing on Leo’s territory by making the offer. His heart was in the right place, but he would have been best off just leaving things alone.

When Leo gets home April tells him that Dominic has a connection that may be able to help them secure a band for the wedding. Frankie is thrilled, but Leo is obviously annoyed given the history April and Dominic have. He tries to create reasons for why Dominic shouldn’t be involved, but Frankie and April team up against him. Finally, outnumbered, he has to cave in and he agrees to go with Frankie to the show to check out the band with Dominic.

I feel like at this point someone should have clued in Frankie to the history Dominic has with April. I don’t think it would have changed her opinion though. Frankie realizes that she and Leo alone can’t get April the quality of band she wants, so she’ll utilize whatever help she can to help ensure her friend and April have the best of the best at their wedding. In Leo’s defense, I don’t think Dominic should have gotten involved in all this wedding stuff. I can completely understand where Leo is coming from in his frustrations.

April is celebrating with her mom, grandma, Natalie, Beth, Meg, and Vanessa. Emma reveals that when April was younger she had vowed to marry Leo, well Leonardo DiCaprio, but it still counts. Beth points out that sometimes fictional character crushes are better than the actors themselves. Sara embarrasses April and her mom by confessing that she had a crush on the character Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything. After watching that movie she and Thomas went home and had a very nice…dinner. Everyone knows what Sara meant to say and April is mortified.

I’m so glad they decided to include Meg and Vanessa in this party too. They are more than just cancer buddies for April, they are her friends. Vanessa speaks her mind and is brutally honest, but that is the type of friend I think April needs in her life right now. The whole scene was fun and a nice change of pace from all the drama that normally surrounds April. She needed this night of careless fun.

Leo and Frankie are at the concert and, because Frankie knows Leo all too well, she asks if Dominic and April have history. Leo finally confesses and Frankie calls him out on his jealousy. Before she can tease him about it further Dominic approaches them. He introduces himself to Frankie, and offers to introduce them to the band, so they can inquire about them playing at the wedding. When Dominic leaves to get them another round of drinks, Leo again becomes defensive regarding Dominic's involvement but Frankie talks some sense into him. She points out that Leo won and since Dominic and April are friends he’s going to have to suck it up and learn to deal with Dominic being in April’s life.

Frankie is exactly the kind of character we’ve needed to see Leo interact with for a long time. She is basically the female version of Leo and very possibly the only person that can talk some sense into him. I still don’t think Dominic interjecting himself into wedding plans was a good idea, but Frankie is right and the guy is just trying to do something nice. Given the history these two men have I don’t predict any friendship between them will last to awfully long.

Finn is hanging out with Brenna and Ford. Ford is questioning him about if he can make out with anyone. Brenna acts all cancer protective and Finn isn’t okay with that, so he tries to excuse himself. When he confronts Brenna about the invitation she confesses that she invited him to join them because she felt bad for him. This strikes a chord with him and he turns back to the kitchen and asks Ford if she wants to make out with him. Since she has no filter she is completely onboard with that plan. Brenna knows the consequences of germs and cancer patients and is rightfully freaking out about the situation.

I’m glad the show included Ford in on this teen night in because with her no filter style she gives every scene she is in a little extra jolt of fun. Dylan Gelua has amazing comedic timing that makes almost every line she says stick and the viewer can’t help but laugh or smile. In a show with such tough subject matter the lighter moments are crucial to keeping the show from going into completely depressing territory. Brenna knows what April went through and she just wants to give Finn a fun night. Yes, it started out because she felt bad for him, but is that really a bad thing? Over the last year and a half she has grown up a lot and was just trying to do right by someone in a tough position. She’s sort of in the same position as Dominic tonight; they are both trying to do good things, but are failing slightly in the execution. They both may have been better off not getting involved in the lives of others, but it does make for great drama.

April is hanging out with Vanessa at her party. Vanessa is being on her best behavior, and when they go get a drink the conversation turns a bit depressing. Vanessa points out that given the few years, or weeks, they have left whenever one of them says “I do” it really is for life. They’ll likely not live long enough to have to face down divorce or other marital issues. That fact hits April hard and when it looks like the party is ending April invites the ladies to join her at a strip club. Sara looks uncertain, but Emma and the other ladies are totally onboard.

Like I said earlier, Vanessa is a friend that April needs in her life right now. She is like a more depressing version of Ford, in that she is brutally honest and without a filter. What she says is true, when April says “I do” it will be for life. Somehow April had managed to not think about that, so being forced to think about it and deal with it brought out April’s wild side. If this is really it for her then she is going to have the time of her life. April is a character that tends to try and detour around the harsh realities of life and she needs people that aren’t going to sugar coat things for her. What she is going through is harsh and it sucks, but she can’t experience the beautiful things without accepting some of the reality surrounding her situation.

At the strip club the ladies take in a firefighting strip show. April is excited about the strip club, but Beth is concerned that they brought Emma and Sara with them. Beth tries her best to talk some sense into April, but since April can’t count on a future she wants her last night as a single lady to be “legendary”. Beth sees April’s point and goes to track down some singles for her to use.

I must admit that it is a bit weird to bring your mom and grandma to a strip club, but Sara and Emma are pretty cool ladies, so why not? Beth knows these women and while I can see her concern about Sara I think Emma fits right in with the strip club scene. Emma was once a young single woman and I have a feeling she was quite the wild one.

Natalie tries to pull Sara into the action, but Sara thinks she should just go home instead. Sara doesn’t think a strip club is her scene, but Natalie is on a mission to prove her wrong. As soon as Natalie walks away a stripper walks up to Sara. At that Sara runs off to find protection with Natalie.

This episode is a fun adventure on the way to the wedding. Most of this episode is designed to not take things to seriously. There are serious moments, and heartwarming moments, but the majority of this episode is meant to be fun. This scene is at the top of my list of most favorite scene from this episode. Natalie was way underused last week, so I was thrilled to see her get to have some interactions this week with Sara. I’ll admit I wasn’t a big Natalie fan when she was first introduced, but through great writing and skillful performances by Jessica Meraz she has become one of my favorite characters. I’m glad they’ve given her more to do this year and I hope they continue to throw more things her way as the show continues.

At the concert, Dominic gives them the good news that the band is willing to perform at the wedding. Even more surprising is that Dominic and Leo seem to be getting along with Frankie supervising them. They bond over April’s neurotic behavior and that leads to a conversation about Leo’s Bachelor party. Frankie decides that she’s going to throw him one on the spot. While Dominic may not be someone Leo really considers a friend Frankie is on a mission and she won’t be stopped, so the three of them embark on Bachelor party shenanigans.

Props to Leo and Dominic for being able to put their differences aside, briefly, for a common cause, but no long term fan of the show expected this to last. Frankie may have thought she was doing a good thing, but all she did was add fuel to a fire that has been smoldering for a long time. Get two men, who love the same woman, together in one room with alcohol and no good will ever come from that scenario. At least no one can ever say she didn’t try.

Finn is about to make out with Ford, but Brenna tries to stop them. Brenna tells Finn that Ford isn’t exactly the cleanest person ever. He still wants to kiss her so that he can have a normal teenager experience, but at the last second he realizes he can’t take the risk. This gives Brenna an idea for Finn to live vicariously through her. Brenna’s plan is for her and Ford to kiss. Ford believes this was Brenna’s plan the whole time, but she seems into the idea of kissing her best friend, so for Finn’s entertainment they do just that.

This scene, oh this scene, is one that launched a lot of conversations on the internet. I’ve said from the beginning that I don’t want Brenna to end up with a guy, especially Finn, but that as a bisexual character it was almost inevitable. I would wholeheartedly support a Ford and Brenna relationship and I would cheer if Greer came to get Brenna back, but I’m much less enthusiastic about the Finn thing. I believe that television needs more bisexual characters to represent an underrepresented group and to do that characters like Brenna have to be shown as capable of loving without gender discrimination. Does it make it easier for those that want Brenna with someone else? No, it doesn’t, but it is an important social topic and that is something Chasing Life does exceptionally well. Haley Ramm has confirmed in a few interviews that Brenna and Finn will hookup. What we don’t know is how long it will last or what kind of relationship they’ll have. Can Brenna deal with April’s cancer at home and dating someone with cancer? Is that too much for one young person to handle? Brenna isn’t your typical teenager, so I’m sure she can handle it, but she is young and hopefully Finn won’t be her last relationship. I believe the show is taking on an important topic and for that I will do my best to watch, and review, without prejudice. With that said, I am also counting down the days until Greer returns or Ford realizes she’s in love with Brenna and decides to fight for her. The former seems likely while the latter will likely only live on in fan fiction, but one can hope.

Natalie drags Sara back into a private dance room. She is about to get a lap dance and when she tries to bolt Natalie again intervenes and gets Sara to open up to the experience. Once the show starts she seems to really get into it.

Natalie is good for the other Carver ladies. She has gotten April to open up to life and its joys and now she’s added Sara to her list of conquests. I think Natalie and Sara need to have more scenes together because their stuff was brilliant tonight.

The ladies are watching a strip show and when the guys get down to just their underwear the others point out that April is a bride to be and she is pulled up on stage. When she gets to touchy with the guys she ends up on the wrong side of strip club security. When Emma tries to defend her granddaughter they both end up in jail together.

The whole party aspect of this episode was meant to be fun and enjoyable to watch and the show more than succeeded in that. I enjoyed watching April get up close and personal with the strippers. More than that I enjoyed watching Italia Ricci just let loose and have fun with that scene. Far too often the script calls for her to keep April in check and in control, but in those moments when she can let loose Italia just lights up the screen with the joy and life she infuses into April. Yeah, so, April got arrested, but at least we all had fun watching what caused her arrest.

April is resting in the jail cell when Emma comes back in to reveal that Sara is working to bail them out. They share a nice moment where Emma reveals why she broke up with Sam, which is because he wants to travel and Emma wants to spend time with April. After making a brilliant argument April convinces her grandma that she needs to go and travel with Sam. Just because April is sick doesn’t mean the lives of everyone around her need to stop. April knows that her grandma deserves to be happy and in love too. After that decision is made now April has to make her own decision and decide exactly what kind of book she wants to write. Before she can decide they are let go and both women happily leave jail behind them.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll keep saying it, Emma is the best grandma on television ever. She is a true example of what a grandma is and what grandparents in general mean to us. They love unconditionally and are willing to put their own needs aside for their grandkids. It is a love that may even prevail over parental love, which in and of itself is extraordinarily powerful. Rebecca and Italia poured their hearts into that scene and it showed through their every word and action. For all the fun and joyous moments this episode had this was in fact the best way they could have brought the evening to an end.

At Leo’s party, Dominic and Leo agree that Christian Bale is the best Batman while Frankie does not agree with them. With alcohol involved the two guys seem to still be getting along. Leo calls Dominic harmless and he starts going off on how he thought Dominic would sweep in and steal April away. Frankie tries to change the topic, but is unsuccessful. When Dominic confesses that he wants April back Leo punches him. He tries to leave with Frankie and he gets sucker punched in the gut by Dominic. Frankie helps Leo up and after he apologizes for going off on Dominic, she tells him the punch was justified.

This was not a great moment for Dominic. Here Leo was trying to learn to trust Dominic and trying to welcome him into his life and then he goes and throws that at Leo. To be perfectly honest I cheered when Leo slugged Dominic. That was a real jerk move on Dominic’s part. Then he went and sucker punched Leo and along with that punch went a good portion of the respect many fans had for him. I know emotions were charged, but April is committed to Leo and Dominic needs to get over that. If something happens to Leo the show made it really hard for Dominic to be paired back up with her. The amount of damage control that is required to redeem Dominic is astronomical after this scene.

The next morning the family reconvenes and April tells Leo about her jail experience. Emma enjoyed her jail adventure with April and it helped her make a decision about Sam and she takes Sara aside to tell her of her plans. Leo quips that Brenna missed out on an interesting night and Brenna believes he did too. Oh, if they each only knew.

If Emma leaves the family for any amount of time it will leave a massive hole in the Carver family home, but Emma deserves to be able to live her life too. I just hope that the show realizes that they can’t keep Emma away for long, because this family, and the show, needs her larger than life personality. Leo and Brenna may not have been involved in the main party, but they both got into plenty of awkward situations all on their own.

April takes a story outline to Nina about a memoir of her life. She makes a very compelling argument, but Nina can’t take on the project with April. She may only get to tell one story and she wants that to be her own story. She has quite a compelling one, but Nina still can’t agree to work with her on the project.

Nina will regret not teaming up with April on this story. April has quite a complicated and interesting life and I know I would go out and get any book she wrote. I think this book is going to be a great way to delve more into April’s inner workings and tie her story closer to that of her dad’s. What secrets will come out in April’s writing?

At school Finn is bragging about his night with the girls. Brenna sees what he is doing and helps him sell the story. They then bond over neutropenic chips and how they are so bad they end up being good.

And let the Finn and Brenna romance begin. I’m interested to see how this plays out and what the future holds for these two. I do wonder how Brenna will feel about him when she realizes he was the recipient of her bone marrow.

April calls Dominic to tell him about the book situation and he tells her that he wants her to let him read the book as she writes it. She thanks him for his support and wants to take him out for lunch to talk about the book, but he declines and makes excuses to not see her. The episode ends with April pondering things as she looks up at Dominic’s apartment.

Dominic made the right decision by trying to distance himself from April for a bit. It is the first good decision he made this entire episode. I know that in all likelihood circumstances will bring them back together, but I hope the show takes the time to do the necessary damage control on Dominic first.

This was a bit of a filler episode, but it still delivered some interesting and necessary character moments. Dominic would have been better off sitting out this episode because it did him no favors. The show seems to have become uncertain of what to do with him since the season started, so maybe this whole debacle will actually work in his favor as they work to redeem him.

The MVP of this episode was Rebecca Schull for her heartfelt scenes with Italia and her hilarious quips. She brings heart and humor to her every scene and this show would not be the same without her. I hope Emma can get back together with Sam so we can watch Rebecca portray Emma in a relationship. Something tells me Emma in a relationship would be comedic gold.

Next week brings the much anticipated Leo and April wedding. Tune in to ABC Family on Monday at 9pm to witness the happy couple finally unite in marriage.

About the Author - Aimee Hicks
Aimee works for a local newspaper and has a BA in Broadcasting and Cinema. She has been a TV lover since before she really understood what TV was. She has a long list of shows that she loves to watch and can be found on twitter (@ahicks83) live tweeting about each new episode whenever she can. A list of her favorite shows includes (but is not limited to) the following: 12 Monkeys, Orphan Black, Outlander, Chasing Life, Scorpion, The 100, The Night Shift, Bitten, Black Sails, 2 Broke Girls, Arrow, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Continuum, Lost Girl, Faking It, Falling Skies, Finding Carter, Once Upon A Time, Orange Is The New Black, Switched At Birth, The Fosters, The Flash, The Originals, Teen Wolf, Under The Dome, & Z Nation. The upcoming shows she is most excited about are: Supergirl, Dark Matter, UnReal, Blindspot, Lucifer, Legends of Tomorrow, Stitchers, Recovery Road, Shadowhunters, Quantico, Code Black, Heartbreaker, and Chicago Med. She has a large and passionate dislike of ""reality"" TV, especially ""reality"" dating shows, but has a weakness for Americas Got Talent and So You Think You Can Dance. But those two don't really count as ""reality"" shows, at least that's how she justifies those guilty pleasures. She was the original creator and co-founder of LOST Video Island ( which is still operating under the management of the very capable and skilled group she turned it over to.
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