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Chesapeake Shores - Deals Undone - Review: “Family Time”



With every passing episode of Chesapeake Shores, I remain surprised that they still haven’t gone over to the side of overly dramatic. Even in this episode, they walked an extremely fine line and just as I thought they were about to cross it they found a way to double back and stay firmly on the right side of realistic. These writers are super geniuses, that’s the only explanation. They have drama, that’s a must in this sort of show, but it’s always realistic drama and never over dramatized. I’ve yet to figure out how they pull this off yet keep the story organically moving forward. These writers deserve major kudos because they are doing some brilliant work. Let’s be clear, the show isn’t revolutionary or groundbreaking, but it is true to the lives we all live and that alone earns it much deserved kudos.

A lot happened in this episode which seemingly perfectly sets up the season finale. Several stories seem to find their resolution, but this penultimate episode left just enough open ended to fully fill the season finale. One example of that was the resolution of the Department Of Justice case against Wes and Abby. Thanks to some brilliant tactics by Connor he got his sister and ex-brother-in-law out of hot water. No matter what people think about Connor, and despite his sometimes childlike antics, he has a big heart and will do what he has to in order to help his siblings. Connor is one great big overgrown child in the mass majority of his scenes, but when he was going head to head with the DOJ agent he was poised in a way we have yet to see from him prior to this moment. Yes, he wanted to win, and therefore one could argue that his helping came from a selfish place, but the reality is that he didn't have to help. He didn't have to put himself on the line to help them, yet he did. He knew the stakes including that fact that his nieces could have feasibly lost both of their parents to jail and he fought for the people he loved. Even in the process, he took a big risk since he isn’t officially a lawyer yet. He is a love or hate character, but in this episode I loved him. Andrew Francis is in an awkward position to play this polarizing character and yet he always nails each and every moment. When Connor needs to be an annoying little brother Francis nails it then when he needs to be a poised man fighting for his family Francis flips a switch and allows Connor to be the man his family needs him to be. He has his fingers firmly on Connor’s pulse allowing him to have a fundamental understanding of the character that always shines through in his performances. His acting this season deserves praise even if his character can at times be annoying.

While Connor was busy working his magic the rest of the family was busy trying to keep things from falling apart without Gran Nell around to keep them all in line. We got a tiny glimpse into what the family must have been like right after the divorce with Abby taking on a very commanding motherly role and the other O’Brien siblings squabbling. After the chaos in the early part of the episode, it was no wonder why they all took off running out of town the first chance they got. This is a family that is full of love for one another, but they struggle to be on the same page with each other. A big step back in progress happened when Mick became obsessed with his work again. From the bits of conversations we were made privy to it seems like some business deal in Boston may be going south with a real risk of bankrupting Mick. He has an immense love for his granddaughters, so the fact that this whole situation caused him to snap at them helped to convey the severity of what was going on. While Mick is in a bad professional position right now it at least finally gave him the push he needed to ask Megan to stay. Granted he won’t be at the house while she’s there, but at least she’ll have more time to potentially start to heal things with her children. While that is important, it is also critical that she too fix things with Mick. They are still clashing a bit and Mick doesn't seem to be in any mood to talk things out with her in a civil way. I hope that changes in the season finale because they seem like they could be a great combined force for their family if they can just learn to work together again.

Another big development on the Mick side of things is that he and Trace seem to have made official their plans to go into business together on Trace’s music venue. While the story originally seemed like they were going to setup Trace and Mick to be bitter rivals the writers brilliantly turned them into allies. The relationship Trace has with Mick is in stark contrast to the relationship he has with his own dad. Mick respects Trace in a way that his own father can’t seem to. He is willing to help Trace fulfill his dreams while allowing him to have control over the journey. With his father the prospect of help came with fine print and catches. Now, it does seem like Trace’s dad may be having some sort of medical issue, but degrading his son and pushing him against a wall isn't going to help heal the tension between them. Trace wasn’t exactly gracious when he showed up at the bank and he showed up with his guard up, but after seeing the way his dad treated him I can understand why. These two are like water and electricity in that they both have to exist, but it’s never ever a good idea to mix them together. The sad part is that they each care for one another, but they can’t get on the same page. I feel bad for his mom because it’s obvious that she is stuck smack dab between the two men who mean the most to her but whom she can’t get to communicate civilly.

Also having a communication problem was Bree and Jess and this is the point where I was confident the series was about to become overly dramatic. This is where the line was its thinnest and where I was convinced they were about to cross it. Yet they somehow didn’t as the sisters didn’t declare war on one another or threaten each other. All the typical stuff I was expecting to happen didn’t and to be honest I was left a little confused. I expected the sisters to hate each other and when that didn’t happen I was a bit confused. Decades of television watching has prepared me for these types of scenes and for it to not follow the typical pattern was odd. It was a good odd, but still odd, for a television show to do the unexpected. Now to be fair, the sisters didn’t leave things on great terms, but they also didn’t end things in a drag out end all fight the way stories like this usually end.

They both have a connection to David, but it is evident that he and Bree have the stronger bond. I think Jess is madder that Bree wasn’t straight up with her from the beginning then she is about her and David flirting. That is one of the moments where the show did venture over a tiny bit into cliché territory in the last episode when Bree abruptly tried to cover up the fact that she had met David before. Yet the show covered that during Bree and David’s conversation where she admitted to not knowing why she did it. Still, with all of this going on, Bree still admitted to Jess about having feelings for Martin. Based off of the episode description for the next episode I have a feeling that Bree’s wish that he’d come after her might come true. After seven years together I can understand why she would want that, but he obviously was no good for her. David seems like the kind of guy who will nurture her creativity while Martin stifles it. Jess may not be happy about it, but she took the high road and seems poised to cut ties with David to let him be with Bree. Though, him working as a chef at the end could make things interesting should he and Bree actually get together. The risk of a rift happening between the sisters still exists, so I'm quite curious to see how the writers handle that. If Martin comes along and Bree falls for his tactics I have a feeling Jess won’t be quite as understanding anymore making it very hard to predict where their story will end the season.

Someone who has more understanding than most people is Georgia. She loves Kevin and it was obvious how hard it was for her to leave him behind yet she understood why he had to stay. While the O’Brien family has come to embrace her she is still trying to understand her place in the wildness that is Kevin’s family. They are an overwhelming bunch and it’s easy to see why she was ready to get back to her life in Florida. She could have so easily been awful about it by trying to force him back with her, but she is allowing him to heal at his own pace. I think the conversation Jess had with her had a lot to do with it. Those two have the potential to be very good friends so I hope Georgia realizes that Chesapeake Shores is a great place and eventually returns for a much longer stay because Jess could use some friends that she isn't related to.

Georgia is also now privy to the big Jess mystery that the audience is still in the dark about. We at least now know that the traumatic event in her life revolves around her time on a ship named The Citation. What happened is still a mystery, but perhaps it sunk and she was one of the survivors? Perhaps the only survivor? Based off of the question Kevin asked her a few episodes back it’s obvious that she went through something traumatic. She also seems well in tune with PTSD symptoms meaning she likely went through something similar herself. I’m very curious to get the full story, but I am really liking the way the show only drops tidbits here and there for the audience. I like to speculate, so for me, this avenue of storytelling is very engaging. With that said, I hope the season finale finally gives us the entire story because I’d hate to have to wait until next season to find out.

Though, at least it’s becoming more evident why Jess came back to Chesapeake Shores. She too, like her elder siblings, needed to come back home in order to heal. Her scene with her dad was very telling of how she views herself within the family. Laci J Mailey is gorgeous, so it baffles the mind that she could be playing a character who has such a low value of herself. In fact, every single actor on this show is unfairly stunning in their looks. Let’s face it, they are a good looking cast, but that fact makes it all the more poignant that Jess even has to deal with these sorts of thoughts. She is a beautiful woman as are all of her siblings, and I love that even though Mick took that call in the middle of their conversation he sought her out to reassure her and give her some advice. Despite all the human and realistic flaws that this family has their love and loyalty to each other is unlike anything I’ve seen in a television family before.

A prime example of that is when the entire family came together for mini-golf with the girls. Caitlyn and Carrie are smart little girls and they knew this is what their family needed. They all needed a day together just having fun. It was great that they insisted on the entire family being present including their dad. Though I wish Kevin could have participated, but his absence was justified given the fact that he is still healing. While the family outing had mixed results at least they tried and anytime the family is all together in one place is great for the series. This cast works so well together and they truly shine when they are all working together.

While the family moments are amazing it’s hard not to love the quieter moments like the ending between Trace and Abby. No one can ever say that Jesse Metcalfe and Meghan Ory don’t have chemistry because it leeches off of them. The moment they step into a scene together their connection is palpable. Their real life friendship shines through when Trace and Abby are having quiet more intimate moments like this one. Trace isn’t perfect, but he is one hell of a good man with a huge heart. He loves Abby with every fiber of that big heart and it is evident in the way he looks at her and his gentle touch when he held her close as they danced. The entire season has been leading up to this moment and I’m so glad that the show finally had them go on this date. Though, what their status will be when the season ends is uncertain. Leigh is making an unfortunate return in the season finale, so only time will tell, but for this one moment, all was right and beautiful in their lives. For this moment there weren’t any overbearing dad’s or custody battles to worry about. In this moment they were just two people in love and that was a beautiful moment to see.

Speaking of the custody battle, while Connor did Wes a big favor by helping him out of trouble he avoided agreeing to take it easy on Abby in their custody dispute. If Wes still tries to take the girls from her after all Connor did to help him he will probably become even more disliked by the fans than Leigh is. Wes has made some horribly stupid decisions in his life including getting caught up in Gabrielle’s plans, but to go after full custody of the girls after everything else would make him nearly irredeemable. I hope that doesn’t happen because Wes is starting to grow on me as a character, but only time will tell now.

There are still a lot of stories for the season finale to cover and based off of the preview it might finally be time for the show to tackle some overly dramatic storylines. Though, I believe I’ve been saying that all season and somehow they’ve yet to actually cross the line. I’m very curious to see how they will tie everything up at the end of this season. Also, I really hope Hallmark Channel doesn’t leave viewers waiting too long for a renewal because this show is very deserving of another season not to mention it’s obvious there is still a ton of storytelling left in this gem of a show.

Be sure to not miss the season finale next Sunday, October 9th at 9/8C on Hallmark Channel.

Hit the comments with your thoughts about this episode. Did you miss Gran Nell? Do you think Leigh will try to come between Abby and Trace in the season finale? Do you like how the show handled the Bree, Jess, and David storyline? What do you think has gone wrong in Boston?

Author’s Note: I will be out of town when the season finale airs, so while there will be a review for the episode it will likely be much later than normal.

About the Author - Aimee Hicks
Aimee works for a newspaper in North Carolina and has a BA in Broadcasting and Cinema. She has been a TV lover since before she really understood what TV was and has a passion for analyzing performances and theorizing what may happen on her favorite shows. Her interest in television covers just about every genre, but her first love is the sci-fi/fantasy genre. For the 2016/2017 season she will be reviewing Chesapeake Shores, Dark Matter, Frequency, Gilmore Girls, Jessica Jones, Lucifer, and Orphan Black. She will also be handling the Best Scene Polls for Supergirl and previewing several new and returning shows. She also oversees the popular SpoilerTV feature, Performers of the Month (#POTM) which highlights the most outstanding actor and actress from each month. You can email her at aimee@spoilertv.com.
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