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Chasing Life - Ready Or Not - Review: “Hope For The Future”



The title of the episode says it all, whether we are ready or not this season of Chasing Life is rapidly winding down to its end. This has been an emotional season and this episode was no exception to that, but it did have a drastically lighter mood than recent episodes. That’s not to say it didn’t have an emotional core, because it did, but that foray into lightness helped provide an episode very reminiscent of Season 1.

The core of the episode was centered on April’s desperate attempt to get her book in the hands of a local book publisher called, Book Smart. Her competition however ended up being her frenemy from college, Ellie Pratt (Amanda Walsh), who is using her skin cancer “scare” as a way to market her book. After she stole some wording April said at their lunch and posted it online I saw absolutely no reason why April shouldn’t have pulled a Brenna and book slapped Ellie right out of Boston. Kudos to April for not doing just that the next time they saw each other as she expressed more restraint than I think most of us would have.

Calvin (Nick Nicotera) has proven to be a great partner for April, but they are both new to the business of book publishing so they are going through the growing pains together. The best of those growing pains was when Raquel leaked a chapter of April’s book. First off let me just say that I’m so happy they’ve found a way to bring Raquel back into the story narrative. She always has ulterior motives, but for the most part, April being let go aside, has done things to help April. It is usually in a backhanded not obviously helpful kind of way, but she has played a big part in a lot of the more defining moments of April’s life. Without her and the obstacles she set in front of April there is a fairly good chance Leo and April would have never met and that would have been awful. Even the fallout from Raquel’s latest backhanded attempt at helping April turned out to be the thing that got April her book deal with Book Smart. The panic after Raquel released a chapter of April’s book was brilliant when Calvin showed up at April and Beth’s apartment all flustered and did absolutely nothing to comfort April. I absolutely loved the nervous energy Italia and Nick infused into April and Calvin as both characters had to deal with nerve-wracking and unknown territory. It was a stressful moment with an underlying level of comedic genius. Where has Calvin been all this time? I hate that we and April are only getting to meet him as the season draws to an end. He has been a great addition to April’s story and an integral part in helping her get her book into the right hands. Yes, he blundered more than a few things, but it’s the thought that counts.

Calvin is to April what William is to Sara. Where have these two men been? They are both great male counterparts to two strong Carver women and even better that neither of them is setup as a romantic interest. Men and women can be just friends with no romantic interest and I love to see that portrayed. That dynamic has become increasingly underused as every time a new male character interacts with a single female character they are expected to hook up. William was also a much needed character and if the show moves forward with more episodes I hope he’ll be around in Sara’s life more often. It was really nice to see him keep pushing Sara to compete in her 10k race and was right there with her family cheering her on.

The battle of wills William and Beth had going on tonight was genius. It could have easily just been a vehicle to infuse some more sarcasm into the episode, but what it did instead was push Beth’s story to another level. William’s constant sarcastic remarks, especially towards the dress Beth made for Brenna, forced her to evaluate her hopes and dreams for her clothing line. Sure, she did jump into it without much of a plan, but like Josh told her sometimes you can’t plan things and just have to jump in and hope the landing is somewhat soft. It was a great message to deliver to the main demographic of the show and getting to witness characters in real life situations fighting for their hopes and dreams in a realistic way is always a beautiful thing to watch. It did cause some tension for Beth and Josh, between the hostile but hilarious dinner at the Carver’s house with William and being accused of providing incorrect career advice to Beth it was only a matter of time before Josh had his feel of the drama. Josh is a good guy though and he took everything in stride and left Beth to think over what he said and even left her with a tender parting kiss on her forehead. The true test for Josh is going to be when he finds out that he may be a father as Beth’s pregnancy test indicates she is pregnant. He seems like a good guy that will take responsibility and be there for Beth and the baby, but this show is a drama series so only time will tell.

Speaking of the men in the lives of these characters, Brenna goes to the Junior Ball dance and after party with Finn and some teenage shenanigans occurred. Finn was not a favorite character of mine when he was introduced, but he has started to grow on me. With that said I hope the show sticks around long enough for Greer to come back and win her girl back. Until that day Finn has proved a great friend and supporter of Brenna through some very trying times, so I support their growing relationship. Finn so desperately wants to be a normal teenager and you can’t help but feel for him and everything he’s been through. The realization that Finn thinks cilantro tastes like soap after his transplant and Brenna’s revelation that it has always tasted like soap to her seems to indicate that the show may make the transplant revelation at some point in the season finale. I hope they do because I really want to see how each character reacts to finding out. It was nice to see both of these characters get to act like teenagers for one night. They went to an unapproved party and had a secretive makeout session. Given all the drama going on in both of their lives they deserved this night of teenage angst.

Dominic got stuck in more than a few awkward situations this week. First he got scared out of his mind when April faked a seizure to get into the event where the Book Smart publisher was. That probably took a few years off his life and terrified the poor guy. He was right in that April should have at least given him a heads up before pulling off an amazing acting job of a medical emergency. Secondly he got stuck being Ellie’s date for the night so April could get to the publisher first. Thirdly, and he wasn’t even present for this one, Danny revealed his feeling for April to April. No wonder the guy is thinking about starting fresh in a new town. Boston is definitely full of drama and intense emotion for him. It is telling of the kind of man he’s become that he’d rather leave the city then put April in the awkward position of realizing his feelings for her. Something tells me he will not be happy when he finds out Danny spilled that major secret to April of all people. While I was one of the many fans worried about Dominic’s place in April’s life after Leo’s passing I’m pleasantly surprised with the direction the show is taking this duo. Who knows what the future holds for them as friends or as a couple, but I have a feeling the season finale will give us some much needed answers to that topic. The promo seems to indicate that they will be very near couple status by the end of the episode.

Several big reveals closed out the episode. First being Beth’s pregnancy and her fear over that. Secondly it’s revealed that Natalie’s mom has been shopping the finished book she somehow acquired. I can’t help but wonder how Natalie will react to finding out and I really hope she’s not involved in it at all. It was nice to find out that April named her book Chasing Life in honor of her dad’s final book. The title clearly meant a lot to Thomas and it has an equally powerful meaning to his daughter. I really hope Natalie will make a trip back to Boston before the season ends and will not be accompanying the cops seen in the promo. She needs to settle things with her sisters and reveal the ending of the book to them…and us. They’ve certainly setup two very interesting stories to build on in the future.

This episode was very reminiscent of the lighter tone taken in early Season 1 and it was a much needed change. All of the lighter moments beautifully accented the more dramatic moments. A perfect emotional balance was found for the first time since Leo’s death and it made for a very enjoyable episode. It was a great episode to precede the season finale and the acting was spot on throughout. I hope we’ll get some more episodes like this one as the series progresses. Hopefully the series will continue and seeing as the season finale is being billed as the Fall Finale it does give me a certain amount of hope that we’ll get more episodes.

The MVP of this episode has to go to Aisha Dee again. They have given Beth some great and emotional storylines this season and Aisha has nailed every crazy emotional thing they’ve thrown at her. None more so than the reveal of Beth’s pregnancy in which Aisha made every viewer feel for Beth through her uncanny ability to transcend her character’s emotion through the screen and into the homes of fans. The look of fear and overwhelming emotion in her eyes as she took Beth through the pregnancy revelation to April was expertly portrayed. With this storyline in her hands I can’t wait to see what other great emotional moments she gets to bring to life as she takes Beth through the journey of telling Josh and coming to accept it herself. I’m glad she was trusted with this story and can’t wait to see what the future holds for Beth.

In the season finale Dominic confronts April about his feelings for her. Cops show up at the Carver house where George is back in town. April confronts her mortality and declares that the fight is on for her life as she wages war against her cancer. It promises to be an emotional and powerful end to the season, so be sure to tune in Monday at 9/8c on ABC Family as we say goodbye to the emotional Fall Season of Chasing Life.

Hit the comments with your thoughts. Should April and Dominic get back together in the season finale? How will Josh react to Beth’s big news? Can Brenna and Finn’s relationship sustain the revelation that she is his donor? Will Natalie spill George’s big secret leading him to be arrested in the finale? Will the final copy of Thomas Carver’s final book ever be seen by the 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.
You can email her at aimee@spoilertv.com.
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