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Stitchers - Paternis - Review: “Past Trauma, Present Heartbreak” + POLL

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This was an earth shattering episode for the mass majority of the characters. The sad thing is that in most of their cases it was issues from their pasts which they had no control over that came back to haunt them in the end. The case this week centered around Cameron’s father as the team tried to clear him of murder and prove that he acted in self-defense. That topic of family, and fathers, in particular, hit a nerve for almost all the characters. They’ve all grown into incredible men and women, but where they came from and what they endured will always haunt them. Some have coped with their pasts better than others, but they are all impacted by what happened when they were younger.

For Cameron, he has carried a heavy burden since watching his father be carted away when he was just a kid. It was an earth shattering moment especially when he seemed to be really close with his dad. It’s also why he begged Fisher to not make the arrest of the corrupt cop in front of his son. He didn’t want to see the past repeat itself and another child endure what he had to. For him, watching his father be arrested, was a moment that would stick with him for the rest of his life and it impacted him in some big ways. Even though his father was in the wrong, he did commit the crimes he was accused of, but he didn’t try and stiff his victims of the thirty million that everyone thought he had hidden away. That money was stolen yet again, and he had no choice but to keep quiet about it to ensure that his son was safe. Sure, he’s not going to win father of the year anytime soon, but in the end, no matter what else he was or became, he was still a father who loved his son. Cameron has overcome a lot in his life, but at least now he knows the truth about his father. While he is a man that was once a criminal he has done his very best to try and make amends by helping others while carrying the heavy burden of dealing with the threat on his son’s life. Maybe this news can’t undo all that Cameron had to endure growing up, but at least it should give him a tiny bit of peace of mind.

Unfortunately, not everything ended well for Cameron. Upon Maggie’s return, he got a little too comfortable and chatty allowing the secret regarding Kirsten’s mom to be revealed. It’s likely that Maggie is just trying to protect everyone involved, and while her taking the action to gain custody of her will anger Kirsten, it’s nothing at all like the betrayal Kirsten felt from Cameron. She trusted him with the biggest secret in her life and not only did he effectively betray that trust, even though not intentionally, he didn’t tell her the truth right away. That is perhaps the bit that hurt Kirsten the most in all of this. She had every right to be angry with him. Their fight at the end was heartbreaking and full of pure emotional anger, but is it the end? Kirsten did say that even if she could be with him she wouldn’t as she stormed out. Was that her breaking up with him? Was that just said in the heat of the moment? Can she forgive him? The answer to that last question is possibly a no. Now, even if she may not be able to forgive him, she might be able to put it in the past and try to move on with their future. They love each other, that has never been in question, but can love really overcome all? The show has spent two full seasons building up this couple, so the odds are slim that this is the end. They’ll go through a rough patch before somehow finding a way to reconcile. Kirsten will still likely struggle to trust him though and that could cause strain on them once they reconcile.

When Kirsten found out about the betrayal and after finding out her mom had been stripped from her again she went into an emotional downward spiral. Since she was on the outs with her boyfriend and best friend she took to the only person left and that was Ivy. Kirsten is the younger sister, so it was nice to see Ivy step up and act like a big sister. When Kirsten needed her the most she had open arms content to hold her sister close and allow her to let out all her pent up emotions. Keep in mind, emotions are a new thing for Kirsten, and this double blow was likely overwhelming to her still developing emotional understanding. It is no wonder she had a breakdown in her sister’s arms. She also declared her trust in her sister which may come back to hurt her as Cameron isn’t the only one keeping secrets from her.

Unbeknownst to Kirsten, Stinger is still in contact with his eldest daughter even if Ivy doesn’t want him to be. Much like Cameron, instead of revealing the truth, she has been keeping it to herself in an attempt to protect Kirsten and Linus. That has essentially caused her to push away Linus and possibly lose him for good. Sad and ironic since she’s on the cusp of nailing down a job on the team that would allow her to spend more time with him and further build their relationship. By the end of the episode, he was referring to her only as a friend. So, while Ivy was helping Kirsten with her own heartbreak, her own heartbreak was developing on the other end of her voicemail. Tragic all around, since they were all heavily influenced to silence based off of the things they endured in their pasts. However, unfortunately for Ivy, her past keeps showing up uninvited in her living room. Then there was the bombshell reveal where Stinger strongly implied that the Young Cameron anomaly was caused by Ivy herself. Kirsten may have found herself crying in Ivy’s arms now, but when all of this eventually comes to light, their newly developing sisterly bond may come to a screeching halt.

Hopefully, by that point, Kirsten will have reconciled with both Cameron and Camille, because she’ll need them both more than ever. Thankfully, Camille and Kirsten’s friendship didn’t undergo too much damage. Enough, but not at an irreconcilable level, they’ve been through worse fights and gone back to being best friends. They get each other and the dark moods they both get into. Camille and Kirsten have very different personalities, but they seem to really just get each other. While Camille was harsh as she lashed out she was at least brutally honest plus she is incredibly loyal. Let’s face it, at this stage of things, Kirsten needs loyalty and brutal honesty in her life and Camille is an expert at those things even if it is to her detriment at times. Given the state that both of their relationships are in after this episode, they’ll need each other. That is one of the relationships they need to mend sooner than later. Though knowing Camille, she could still lash out at Kirsten simply because of her proximity and it’s one of the few ways Camille knows how to cope. Perhaps shared heartache will be what heals their struggling friendship.

While they all have some sort of tragic past, at least most of them have some fond memories. Cameron has good memories of his dad. Kirsten remembers good days with her parents. Linus may have been lonely, but he was exceptionally loved by his parents. His father went above and beyond to try and help his son and in the end, his advice did land Linus with way more than just the one friend he desired. Camille, on the other hand, has no fond memories to hang onto in the dark times. She had to scam to survive and even though she was the younger sister she was constantly protecting her older brother. This is perhaps one of the many reasons she’s so wary of Ivy given her own experience with her older sibling. Not to mention, her parents had no interest in her and seemingly didn’t care for their children. Camille raised herself and struggles with opening up and being trusting. That, in the end, is what caused her relationship with Amanda to fall apart. She simply couldn’t drop her emotional shield quickly or fully enough to fix the damage. This bit is extra sad because as of the last episode, it appeared that Camille was actually starting to let her shielded heart experience real emotional connection.

Sadly it seems as though Amanda and Camille’s relationship is at its end. Camille fulfilled a self-fulfilling prophecy by actively pushing Amanda away. She tried to reconcile the situation and apologize, but it was too little too late to fix things. Amanda was in a tough position, she clearly has deep feelings for Camille, but she also didn’t have the full picture and all she knew was Camille was pulling away from her in a self-deprecating way. Camille doesn’t like to open up about her past for obvious reasons. It was clearly a conversation they never got around to having or Amanda might have been able to handle this side of Camille differently. There is an argument for why Amanda should have tried better to understand Camille, but there is also the other side of this which is Amanda herself. We as an audience and Camille don’t really know what is in Amanda’s past. Based on what she said it seems as though she’d been hurt before and the moment Camille started to turn negative it triggered something in Amanda. These are two characters who had an instantaneous attraction and their relationship took off right away, but that, unfortunately, meant they didn’t lay a firm foundation for them to build upon. They didn’t have anything to fall back on when things started to spiral. There was no safety net for either of them to grasp onto. A firm foundation is what will likely save Cameron and Kirsten in the end, but things don’t look quite as promising for Camille and Amanda. However, if the show should decide to try and fix this particular relationship it would be prudent for the writers and characters to take things at a much slower pace.

Should things stick as they are, with both Camille and Linus single again, it would seem possible for them to get back together. While the performers have exceptional chemistry their vibe always came across as really good friends with some nice benefits. What they had never really felt like a full on relationship. Even when they were talking in the lab, it didn’t come across as them contemplating the prospect of getting back together should they both end up single, but two buddies commiserating over relationship drama. It would certainly be easier for the show to put them back together since Allison Scagliotti and Ritesh Rajan are series regulars. It’s always easier to deal with a relationship between two characters whose performers you have constant access to versus trying to juggle the schedules of guest stars. In that respect, it would seem prudent to reunite Linus and Camille, but they would have to make it so that these two feel like they have a really strong firm relationship other than just friends. With that said, it seems like Ivy might try to fight to get back with Linus and the Camille might still try one final time to reconcile with Amanda. They may be successful, they may fail, but it feels like both couples need at least a couple more final scenes together to either fully separate or fully reunite them.

One of the few relationships, if not the only one, to escape this episode not at all changed is the friendship between Cameron and Linus. Having a friend was the one thing that drove Linus as a kid and as an adult, he has one serious best friend and a whole slew of other really good friends. When both of their lives were in chaos these two were there for each other. Their buddy night was one of the lighter moments of the episode. Then when Cameron was attacked there wasn’t a single hesitation before Linus jumped in and helped his friend. Their friendship seems to have survived intact and is perhaps the only core relationship of the main four that actually managed to not fall to tatters.

The highly emotional nature of this episode meant that the performers had to give a little extra to their scenes. Emma Istha is always brilliant in her every performance and she did amazing things portraying Kirsten without emotions, but what she has done since Kirsten got back her ability to connect with emotions has been incomparable. Her scene at the very end where Kirsten is sobbing in Ivy’s arms felt so private that it almost felt wrong to be watching this intimate moment. And there was her big blowout with Cameron where she hit the emotions so hard that they transcended the screen and allowed the audience to feel what Kirsten was feeling. Then there was Allison Scagliotti who we all know is the snark queen with impeccable comedic timing, but she’s also an exceptionally gifted dramatic actress. When Camille was having her emotional breakdown and throwing the rocks at the trailer it was so evident how much pain was radiating through the character at that moment. Much like Istha, the performance that Scagliotti delivered in that final montage pushed beyond the screen and slammed right into the audience. Both of their performances were so raw and powerful that they really brought a heavy gravity to the tone of this episode. And of course, there was Kyle Harris who was steadfast and exceptional throughout the entire episode. A lot of the weight of it rested on him and he gallantly shouldered it to help bring to life this heartbreaking and healing time in Cameron’s life. His every performance was right on point.

Every season of every show has to have at least one episode that absolutely shatters the lives of the characters. That usually happens about mid-season so that the rest of the season is about repairing the damage done. This was that episode for this show and it was just as powerful, poignant, and heartbreaking as was called for. Not every single episode can end in happiness. Not every couple gets a happily ever after. It is real and raw and true to what goes on in reality and while it’s not the easiest thing to watch, to not include those things in the story would be insincere and a misrepresentation of reality. In this era of fandom it has become all about the relationships and unfortunately, some viewers have lost sight of the core stories of shows. The relationships between characters do not define a show. Each relationship is a direct result of the core story, not the other way around. And the writer’s first responsibility always has to be the overall story above any coupling on any show. We as the audience need to trust that there is a bigger plan at play that we aren’t privy to, so while this shows main couple seems temporarily apart please take a moment to step back and look at the entire picture. Cameron and Kirsten aren’t real people, but they are written by real people who are pulling from real life things to formulate their story. In real life happily ever after isn’t a guarantee and couples fight and they break up and sometimes they get back together and other times they don’t. So while the first reaction of some may be to be angry at the show and refuse to watch until the couple is reunited that would be unfortunate because they may miss all the beautiful moments that may bring the couple back together. And since that is the most realistic outcome here, just sit back and enjoy the ride that is to come as these characters work through their issues.

This was a beautifully written poignant episode with stunning performances to support it. Every person involved with this show constantly does exceptional work, but this was one of their very best hours. They likely went in knowing that there would be push back and yet they did it because they know that it will do something to further the story. As viewers, all we can demand of writers is that they do what is best for the show, and that feels like it was accomplished here. To hit rock bottom, as so many of these characters did, means that the only way left is up. There might be struggles ahead, but in the end, hopefully, many of them will rebuild and be better for what they went through.

Don’t miss the next episode on Monday, July 17th at 9/8c on Freeform to see how these characters move on after all the heartbreak of this episode.

Hit the comments with your thoughts about the episode. Did you expect what happened between Kirsten and Cameron or were you caught off guard? Can Camille reconcile with Amanda? Can Ivy make Linus see the feelings she reciprocates? How long will Maggie keep Kirsten’s mom hidden away?

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