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Chasing Life - The Last W & As Long As We Both Shall Live - Double Review: “Everlasting Love”



These were very hard episodes to review and not because of the quality, but because of how it all played out. Both episodes were beautifully written, superbly acted, and brilliantly crafted. What is truly hard to digest is the ending of As Long As We Both Shall Live. The writing has been on the wall for quite some time and most of the fandom has known this painful moment was coming. That does not make this any easier to witness, but it happened and now just like April we will have to live with it and deal with Leo’s devastating death. The main focus of this review will be to look at the journey April and Leo went on in these two episode. I’ll address the other characters, but I think these two deserve the bulk of this review. So join me as we jointly accept Leo’s fate and find a way to move on past it.

Since the moment Leo was introduced the sparks between him and April were flying. Even when April was with Dominic it was evident she was falling for Leo. They balanced easy other in such a beautiful way that the fans, just like April, couldn’t help but fall for Leo and this couple. Now, as we prepare to say goodbye to Leo, let us remember the beautiful relationship these two shared. Leo taught April how to live and April gave Leo a reason to live. He thought he was fulfilling her dream by asking her to marry him, but in the end it was April who gave Leo his dream come true and fulfilled his final wish. As Leo stated, this wasn’t a marriage of pity, but a marriage of the purest kind of love. He wanted her to be his wife and he didn’t care for how long that was. This marriage was as much his dream come true as it was hers.

Before we face the painful ending of this love story let me address their beautiful wedding. Yes, they had some bumps in the road, but they finally made it to their wedding day. I was glad to see that Leo owned up to his fight with Dominic. He accepted his part in it and acknowledged that he should have told April about what happened. The secret put Frankie in a really awkward position and I actually enjoyed the argument these two got in over the whole situation. It showed how much Frankie values Leo as a friend and showed the inevitable nerves April was dealing with. The fact Leo rushed to see April after hearing about the fight showed that he puts her first and foremost in his life. He knew that he had to set things right before they got married. He also knew that they were both going to have a lot of things to figure out when it came to marriage, but he was ready and willing to tackle those things as long as April was by his side.

Speaking of the wedding, it never felt right to me that they were planning on a big church wedding. I know April wanted the whole wedding experience, but I always imagined them having a small intimate wedding with just their family and very closest friends. When April passed out I sincerely thought the show was going to put off the wedding, so I was glad when they all rallied to put on the hospital wedding. April was breaking down and overwhelmed with the wedding and her medical setback, and Leo being Leo, knew exactly what she needed. One way or another he was going to call April his wife and with some help he made that happen. I think, when April looks back on this day, she’ll only remember how happy Leo was to be marrying her regardless of the venue.

They did get to enjoy some loving days as a married couple and they were actually finding a really nice balance to their life together. Even despite their little fight about the future and kids they were still in a good place. I like to believe that had Leo lived April would have come back around to the idea of having kids. I think these two would have made extraordinary parents. Leo worshiped April and would have done anything for her as he showed time and time again. It wasn’t just April though, yes he gave her the best stuff, but he also strived to do good for others too. He understood what it meant to be terminal and he wanted to give others the chance to fulfill their final wishes while still having dignity and enjoying life. I believe April will strive to make the camp he dreamed of a reality. Leo was an extraordinary man and he will be remembered for how passionately he loved and how generous he was. All the former bad boy stuff will be lost to history and replaced by all the good he did.

Italia Ricci broke hearts with the scene where April discovered Leo was dead. It was a powerful scene that was so full of emotion that it almost became too hard to watch. April lost the love of her life and fans lost a favorite character. We will all mourn right along with April on Monday as she says goodbye to Leo and fans of the show say goodbye to Scott Michael Foster. He brought heart to a character that could have easily been a one dimensional bad boy. He made us all fall in love with Leo’s kindness and generosity. Scott Michael Foster, you will be missed on Chasing Life, but I wish you the best of luck in all your future projects.

Brenna wanted to make sure April had an amazing wedding and when April collapsed it had a major impact on her. More than anything she just wants her sister health or at the very least in remission. The fact that there have been so many setbacks has really scared her for the life of the sister she loves so dearly. Haley Ramm delivered a beautiful performance as she took Brenna through an emotional cascade in the hospital waiting room once the reality of everything hit her. That must have been a tough scene to play and she did it faultlessly and poured her heart into Brenna’s worry.

To contrast the seriousness of that story she has her budding relationship with Finn. As much as I want to see Brenna back with Greer I do understand the importance of this story. Once they brought in the LGBT club I knew the show was aiming to deliver a message and not just throwing her with Finn for the hell of it. Brenna is a bisexual character and as such, for however long the show runs, she will likely bounce between partners of both sexes. She is able to fall in love with the person without discrimination of gender. All she wants is to be with someone she can connect with and who can give her back as much love as she gives them. Greer and Brenna had that and I hope for Brenna’s sake that she can find that same balance with Finn or whomever she is with.

The reality of the world we live in is that equality is a struggle. Throughout the history of this country, and this world, minority groups have always had to fight for their right to be equal. Unfortunately it is a struggle that is likely to continue until the end of time. Right now we’re in a spot in this country where LGBT equality is being hard fought, and rightfully so. This year alone many countries have taken the monumental step to allow same sex marriage. Transsexual actors and actresses are finally being given the recognition their talent deserves and being embraced by fans and the media. The fight for complete equality is far from over, but it is finally getting the coverage it deserves. Bisexuality, however, is less widely discussed as it gets lost in the overarching umbrella of the equality fight. For that reason it is important for a show like this to show its bisexual character as being capable of having healthy and stable relationships with partners of either sex. Bisexuals are as deserving of recognition as any other partition of the LGBT community.

I still believe Greer is the best match we’ve seen for Brenna yet, but seeing where the show is taking Brenna’s story I am slowly coming around to support the Finn relationship. I don’t think he is her endgame, but given the importance of this topic I do applaud the show for tackling this story. I liked watching Brenna stand up to the ironic exclusion the other members of the LGBT club were trying to enforce on her. She stood her ground and made sure they understood that she was no different than them in regards to her capacity to love. I look forward to seeing where they take her story in the coming episodes.

Sara would do anything for her daughters. Sure, she struggled with the Leo and April marriage at first, but she supported her daughter completely on her wedding day. She was terrified when April collapsed and I’m glad George was there to support her in this time of uncertainty.

The relationship she has with George still remains as complicated as ever. It is abundantly obvious to fans that Sara still has deep rooted feelings for George, but they just can’t get their timing right. I did enjoy the scene where Brenna was finally told the secret about her mom and uncle dating. If Thomas turns out to have actually been a spy, which would be hilarious by the way, then the Carver family would officially be Game of Thrones worthy.

Sara is trying to let George have his relationship with Mae (Tamlyn Tomita), but you can tell that she is struggling seeing him with someone else. I especially enjoyed when William allowed Sara to use him as a fake boyfriend to try and show George that she has moved on too. I’m glad William wasn’t a one and done character because I really think Sara is in need of some platonic friends. William has definitely filled that void for Sara and I hope he continues to stick around because the way things are going Sara is going to need a friend to lean on to help her find a way to get April through the heartache ahead.

Beth has been a loyal friend to April and she was as supportive as ever on her wedding day. I like that she was willing take on Frankie if April wanted her too. I know April can hold her own, but I would have liked to see a best friend showdown in the hallways after the Frankie and April confrontation. I think both of them would have ferociously defended their best friends.

I felt bad for Gabe throughout the wedding episode. He was way more into Beth than she was to him. Yes, she liked him, but she really was just using him to make Graham jealous. I wasn’t surprised when Gabe figured it out and ended things and I was even less surprised when Beth hooked up with Graham. The wedding episode seemed like a closure episode for Beth, which hopefully means she is poised to finally move on into a more steady relationship in the episodes to come. We may have even gotten to witness the start of that relationship.

Beth has been through several mismatched relationships and when Josh (Ben Lewis) first appeared I thought he was poised to join that list. Until they finally had a serious conversation and they seemed to really click. Given his ties to Pharkas I predict that he may be sticking around for a bit. I like the chemistry Aisha and Ben brought to their characters, so I really hope Josh will stick as a serious long term boyfriend for Beth. Gabe had potential as a good match, but circumstances worked against them. I think Beth may have learned a lesson about honesty from the blunder, so here is to hoping she doesn’t do anything to sabotage this relationship. While the pairing of Graham and Beth provided for some great humor I don’t think they are an endgame pairing. It is time for Beth to get to have a serious and well matched relationship.

Dominic wasn’t going to attend April’s wedding until he thought better of it. I know they are friends and he was just trying to support her, but I’m kind of glad things played out the way they did because I don’t know that he would have been able to not make a scene at the wedding. That would not have helped repair his image after the debacle of the bachelor party. The moment he shared with April in the hospital was nice, but I wish he had owned up, like Leo did, to the factors behind their fight. By this point I think even April can see that he still loves her, but he lost his chance with her and April made that very clear.

With Leo gone April is deserving of sufficient time to mourn him. I hope the show doesn’t put her with Dominic anytime soon. I’m sure it’ll happen at some point before the season closes out, but the show would be doing a disservice to the epic love of April and Leo if they let April move on to soon. I also hope Dominic has the self respect to realize that April needs friends right now more than another relationship. He has a place in her life, but for now that place needs to remain as just friends.

Emma and Lynn will always clash, but it is because of the love they both share for their granddaughters. It is true that Emma gets to spend the most time with the girls and they are closer with her. What Lynn doesn’t realize is that the girls love her too even if they don’t get to see her as often. It was lovely to see both women come together to support Brenna. For all their differences the one thing that leads to their fights is also the thing that bonds them the most which is the unwavering love for their grandchildren.

It was fitting that Emma was the one to ultimately marry April and Leo. She has been present from the first early days of their relationship and helped give them both a dream come true by making the wedding happen. I missed her in the following episode, but after the loss of Leo I’m sure she’ll jet home to support her granddaughter. I hope she sticks around too because the Carver house isn’t quite as exciting without her there.

Natalie finally got to spend some time with her grandmother and it didn’t go so well at first. After a lifetime of missed memories I think she expected more from her, but alas all she got was inquires about April, so I can see where Natalie was frustrated with her grandma. I’m glad that they were finally able to find something to bond over, even if it was the fact that they are both habitually the second choice. These two have more in common than either one seems willing to admit.

What surprised me about her in the wedding episode was how surprisingly cordial she was towards Dominic when he showed up at the hospital. While the snarky Natalie still exists being in Boston with her newfound family has certainly made her more compassionate. She knew Dominic needed a moment to clear the air with April and she helped give them both that much needed encounter.

It was nice to see how supportive Natalie was on April’s wedding day. For all the differences they had in the beginning they have come to care for, and dare I even say love, one another. They are sisters and while nothing can make up for the time they lost together they will fight to remain strong as a family. Jessica Meraz has constantly impressed me in every episode she’s in and this one was no exception. She knows how to portray Natalie’s snark without closing her off from the audience. She has a talent for acting and has exceptional command over her character and those things always make her performance pop off of the screen.

George returned home to support April on her wedding day. He worked so long to repair his strained relationships with the Carver women that there was no way he would miss this momentous moment in April’s life. The rift started with Thomas and upon learning about the manuscript Natalie found he seemed to clam up and got a bit defensive in his honor. When he set to destroying the manuscript that was a pretty solid confirmation that he knows more than he is letting on and I have a feeling that the revelation of the secrets he’s keeping for Thomas could cause some major turmoil for the Carver family. I look forward to learning more about that story, but I have a feeling it’ll be on the backburner for awhile given that the family now has other more pressing and heartbreaking things to deal with. I did enjoy the council he provided to April and he certainly has a place in the Carver home. Much like I hope Emma will come home to help April through this hard time I hope George sticks around. The family will need him now more than ever.

These were great episodes that brought the whole array of emotion from joy to indescribable heartache. I even feel safe declaring them the best episodes of the season if not the series. April has a rough road ahead and I think the heavy emotional weight that ended the last episode will continue on for several episodes to come. These two episodes beautifully captured the relationships this show has expertly crafted and perfectly setup the show to start tying up some loose ends in the back half of the season.

Leo will be missed and he is leaving behind a hole in this show that may never be able to be filled. I look forward to seeing how the show moves forward. I’ve read that some fans are ready to abandon the show after Leo’s death, and I too have stopped watching shows after the loss of a favorite character so I can’t blame or fault anyone that lives true to their threats to leave, but I do hope that those of you threatening to stop watching will at least give it another episode or two. Give the show a chance to show us its long term plan before abandoning it on assumptions that Dominic will be thrust in to fill Leo’s spot. I think the writers of this show are smarter than that. However, I do predict before the season is over Dominic will be with April. I know that is hard to accept right now, but the show needs its viewers and hopefully there are other characters whose journeys you still want to watch.

The MVP of these episodes is a tie between Italia Ricci and Scott Michael Foster. They gave these episodes their all and showed the passionate love their characters shared. I will miss seeing them share the screen every week.

During the wedding episode April was wearing a Stand Up To Cancer shirt. During our lives we will all know someone who has fought cancer or who is actively and bravely fighting some form of cancer. Show your support by going to StandUp2Cancer.org to see how you can contribute to the initiative and help promote awareness for cancer research.

Tune in to ABC Family at 9/8c on Monday to watch the fallout of Leo’s untimely end.

Hit the comments with you Leo memorials and your thoughts on what comes next for April and the entire Carver family.

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.
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