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Reef Break - Lost and Found and Buried Things - Review - Earn Your Reputation

Reef Break likes to cut to the chase. More specifically, it knows its value lies in its characters, so it spends minimal time on things like exposition. The show takes place on a fictional island/province/commonwealth that could be as small as Rhode Island or as big as New Zealand. This island has an offscreen governor who is a blank slate, which doesn't matter because Melissa Bonne's Ana Dumont is the person who actually gets things done, which might include getting her hands dirty. Or might not. Every character on this show, except Would-Be Killer Doug, exists in a friendly moral froth of pastel gray. They bend rules. They wade in the ocean. And they live their best lives. Cat (Poppy Montgomery) killed someone for unknown reasons, but is that important? It could be. The maybe scandalous video she retrieves for Ana might be important too. The watch that Jake (Ray Stevenson) recovers really comes across as a Chekhov's Gun, but it might not be. Sometimes you think Reef Break is setting stuff up, but you can't be certain. That isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Reef Break avoids a very common mistake that procedurals make: ignoring the supporting characters. While it's absolutely true that Montgomery's suave and sly heroine gives the show its biggest energy, the attention paid to developing her associates and friends only enhances Cat. Because we are invested in these people, we understand why she is, which makes the show more engaging. The standout so far is Stevenson, with Jake really ditching the usual ex-spouse tropes. Make no mistake. He is the leading man here. Watching Jake struggle with how to find purpose in his work again while also wrestling with how Cat's return is affecting his heart is the emotional core of the show. The couple's backstory might be a wee melodramatic, but the chemistry between Montgomery and Stevenson gives this pairing weight. Even as we are reminded every episode their marriage was built on deceit, something that Cat really feels, as we saw when Jake happily presented her with the watch. It's no less interesting to see the bond growing between Petra (Tamela Shelton) and Cat. The two are increasingly codependent, their mysterious (but is it meant to be mysterious?) past connection left unexplored. We can't forget Desmond Chiam's Detective Wyatt Cole, who doesn't quite have a place in this story besides being Cat's side piece. "Lost and Found" hints at a friendship forming between him and Jake, which would be fun to see.
In terms of entertainment, there's no shortage of antics. Cat negotiates with pirates and flees from a gunman with the ole zigzag maneuver (bonus points because so many TV characters forget to do that in chase scenes). Her fling with Wyatt keeps going, playful in nature but lacking the bittersweet melancholy that her interactions with Jake have. The antagonists are inconsequential. A couple corrupt detectives here. A hired gun there. Cat Chambers has no adversaries worthy of her so far, and hopefully we won't have to wait for Doug to escape from prison for her to get one. Boat rides and jungle hikes are lovely, but she can handle a bigger puzzle to solve.

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