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Chasing Life - The Ghost In You - Review: “Tree Of Hope”



Love and loss have been the theme of the past few episodes. The loss has never been harder felt than it was in this episode as all the characters had to struggle to come to terms with the loss of Leo. It wasn’t just the characters though, as the fans too needed to mourn the loss of a beloved character. It was a nice way for the show to say goodbye to Leo and a respectful way to send Scott Michael Foster out on a high note. This episode was heartbreaking and inspiring all at the same time and will forever be remembered as Leo’s final goodbye. Come along with me as we see what each character dealt with this week in the wake of the tragic moment that ended the last episode.

April lost Leo, the love of her life, and took it out on just about everyone who tried to help her. Dominic especially got it hard when he came to visit her. She secluded herself away in her room and coped by talking to fantasy dream Leo. He was definitely the Leo of her imagination because the real Leo would have been dragging her out of that room kicking and screaming as he forced her to live life. Of course, ultimately, that is what he did by leaving behind that scavenger hunt for his beloved.

This was not an easy episode for April as she struggled to grapple with the raw emotion and pain of losing Leo. She came to life once Beth got her into the hunt and it gave her the drive she needed to work through all the pain. Each clue sparked another ray of life in her and provided the driving force for her to keep going. That second to last clue on the rooftop was always going to be the hardest for her. That was a place Leo often brought her and a place special to them both. Once they reached the roof I thought it would be the final clue, but I’m glad it played out the way it did. Beth, and even Dominic, were able to support her during that tough moment, but I’m glad she stopped then. The destination left within the final clue was always meant to be found by her and her alone. By going to this spot alone it has become a spot she now only shares with him and a place she can hopefully find solace in.

That final destination allowed her to find some level of peace after losing Leo. It let her know the place she had in his life and the peace he had found in the end because of their love. She was his world and he was hers. They were the perfect couple who found each other in the most impossible of circumstances. Their love will be remembered by every character who knew them and by every fan who watched their love develop and blossom. Leo will be missed, but he will never be forgotten and the impact he made on everyone will be forever remembered. He was a good guy who had a bright future. He leaves behind a big legacy for those who loved him to carry on.

The episode provided a journey that took April from overwhelming grief to new hope. The ending provided a new beginning for April that involves her following her dreams the way Leo would have wanted her too. His journey may be over, but as long as April is alive his legacy is burning as bright as ever. April has a lot of choices to make now and the decisions she makes will forever determine what her own legacy will be.

Beth is so loyally faithful to April and stands by her during the painful loss of Leo. It was nice to see the episode show Natalie and her stand together to clean up April and Leo’s apartment and support April during this difficult time. They have become good friends and I hope we get more scenes of them together in future episodes. To top things off her budding relationship with Josh got George into a hard to get meeting and may have just given April access to a much needed drug trial. The only misstep she made in this whole episode was calling Dominic to join them on the scavenger hunt. I’m sure there were tons of other people she could have called to help them. I think Natalie would have been able to obtain and handle the tools well enough to retrieve that one clue. Plus it would have been nice to see Natalie get to share this emotional journey with them. Honestly, I would have been happier with almost anyone else showing up to help them besides Dominic. Given it was her only misstep I can’t really hold it against her that much, because she was trying to juggle a lot of things this week.

Chief amongst her juggling act was her own emotions. When she started off telling us she hadn’t even cried yet over Leo I knew it was only a matter of time before she had a breakdown. The only question was what the catalyst would be. The broken nail induced breakdown was beautifully played by Aisha and provided a nice tender moment between Dominic and Beth. It was the only moment where I felt Dominic really belonged on their little journey.

Brenna had a great respect for Leo and losing him on top of everything else going on was a harsh blow for her. She obviously wanted to help April and find a way to ease her pain, but the loss of her husband is a pain that will not soon leave April. After her breakdown in the hospital on the wedding day it’s obvious she just wants the universe to let April find some joy and happiness. Losing Leo was the complete opposite of that and hit her harder than I think she expected it would.

I’m glad Finn was there to give her a nice distraction from all the misery. She’s got a gift for being the rock for others and I like that Finn picked up on that and invited her to be his coach to help distract her. It was a great message the show delivered by showing Finn’s tenacity and drive to get up and keep going every time he fell down. He may not be the best romantic match for Brenna, but he has been a great person for her have in her life during this hard time. I’m sure in the not so distant future we’ll see this couple make an official declaration. For now I’m just enjoying their friendship while still holding out hope that Greer will decide to move back and fight for Brenna. I know, it’s a pipedream, but I’m going to keep hoping for the unlikely until I’m told it’s absolutely not ever going to happen. I just really enjoyed the way Greer and Brenna balanced each other and had such an easy chemistry. Stranger things have happened on television, so I’m refusing g to give up hope just yet.

Dominic will never be able to replace Leo in April’s heart or the hearts of the fans, but at least this week he supported April as a friend and she needs all the friends she can get right now. With that said, I also think Beth made a very erroneous error in calling him to join them at the park. Sure, he was nice to April and he was respectful, but I was kind of unhappy that the writers are already finding ways to force him back into her life. The previews for next week didn’t reassure me much either, but I’m hoping this is just a temporary push on Dominic and the show will back off going into the last bit of the season. If fans are ever going to be able to accept April with Dominic in the future then the show needs to let it happen organically over a much longer time frame. Even then there will still be some fans that resist anyone else with April. The show may even be better off introducing a few new love interests before bringing things back around to April and Dominic being together. A rush hookup will do the show no favors.

George continues to be incredibly supportive of April and even Sara. I don’t think his feelings for Sara ever truly went away and never will. He has Mae in his life right now, but if any relationship is going to happen before the end of the season I hope it is the one between George and Sara. They’ve never been able to get their timing right, but they have undeniable chemistry. I was glad he was smart enough to not argue with Sara when she insisted she come with him to the drug trial meeting. Carver women are notoriously strong willed and determined and saying no to her would not have ended well for him.

Natalie gave us our first big insight into her feelings regarding her dad. It was nice to hear her talk about him and get into the loss she felt over losing him even though she was always his second choice secret daughter. No matter the emotional issues he inflicted on her he was still her father and she still loves him. It may have taken over two decades, but she finally got to be a part of her family. She’s been welcomed by her sisters and she’s developed a fun relationship with Sara and Emma despite not sharing of blood with them. She is a Carver by birth and will always have a place in the Carver family. Sure, it took some time and a lot of effort to find her place, but she did and her family will always support her as she has been faithfully supporting them since her permanent move to Boston.

Sara may not be able to take away April’s pain or make the cancer go away, but that won’t stop her from fighting for April even if it means forcing George to take her along for the drug trial meeting. I knew she couldn’t sit there silently the whole time and I’m glad I was right. Her intervention at the end sparked Josh and George into action and gave April a new avenue of hope. Now, once she gets April sorted out she needs to sort out her quite obvious feelings for George. These two will make a great couple if they can just get things right on the next go around. Sara needs to be open about their relationship and support George’s career if they are going to make another go of it. I don’t know if they will, but I sure hope they do. Sara lights up whenever George is around her and they complement each other so nicely.

This was a good episode and a necessary one, but maybe not the best one of the season. Granted, after the wedding episode I highly doubt any episode this season will top that one. The episode served its purpose and gave April a much needed avenue to deal with her overwhelming grief. It also setup hope for April’s future via the new drug trial they are trying to get her into. The future is looking brighter for April after this episode and hopefully she’ll keep fighting her way forward.

This is where we say goodbye to Leo and by virtue Scott Michael Foster. I know his final departure comes with the exit of many of his fans, but for those on the fence I hope you stick around with us to watch the journeys of April, her friends, and her family continue. As I said last week I too have left shows because of the untimely end of a favorite character, so if you are leaving I wish you well and hope we’ll cross paths on another television show soon. I made my pitch last week, so if you’re sticking around and planning to continue watching then leave your pitch in the comments section for why others thinking of quitting the show should keep watching. We’ve all left shows because of the loss of a beloved character, but make your pitch for why people should move past this loss and stay with the show. Who knows, maybe your pitch will sway one or two people to keep watching.

The MVP of this episode has to go to Aisha Dee who brilliantly showed Beth’s struggle to walk a fragile emotional line in order to support April. The episode asked a lot from her and she delivered on every front. The breakdown scene where Beth finally gave into her emotions was powerful and emotionally charged. Aisha is reliable and always delivers what the show asks of her, but she gave even more of herself for this episode and it showed. Her performance was impactful and powerful while not being overdone. This was a great episode for Aisha to show how broad her acting range is and to show the phenomenal control she has over her performance.

Tune into ABC Family Monday at 9/8c to watch April continue to cope with Leo’s painful loss.

Hit the comments with your thoughts about the episode and where the characters go from here.

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 (lostvideo.net) which is still operating under the management of the very capable and skilled group she turned it over to.
You can email her at aimee@spoilertv.com.
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