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So Help Me Todd - Ivan the Terrible - Review

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The fifteenth episode of the pilot season was a jam packed tale of two cases, one which was the main focus of the hour, of course, and the other was one that Todd sort of stumbled upon by accident that ended up leading to a major revelation at the law firm, finally setting Margaret up to receive the partnership that she has desperately been seeking. 

Margaret’s image means everything to her, and when she comes face to face with her college nemesis, Natalie (Laila Robins), who wastes no time demeaning her, she makes a spur of the moment decision to go head to head with Natalie, who happens to be an assistant U.S. attorney, by defending the person she is accusing. The accused is sophisticated 17-year-old hacker, Ava, who goes by the name of “Ivan the Terrible.” Ava is accused of hacking the US department of defense and releasing confidential documents. When the judge mandates that Ava be supervised 24/7 as a condition of her bail, Margaret assigns Todd the responsibility of babysitting her. This leads to a hilarious hour of Todd attempting to manage a hormonal teenager who also happens to be a lot more tech savvy than he is. Skylar Astin is a master at improvising one-liners with perfect comedic timing, notably his “you think I’m extra, that guys name is Cheese,” line had me bursting into a fit of laughter. Genea Charpentier did a stellar job at bringing Ava to life, a next-level tech genius mixed with all of the teenage angst one would expect from a 17-year old girl. Highlights of their shenanigans include Ava locking Todd in his car and his comedic attempt to get out, and Ava begging Todd to find out what Harry Styles was wearing that day or she would die. 

It wouldn’t be a Margaret Wright case without Todd placing some kind of undue stress on his mother. In the midst of the babysitting drama, Todd is distracted by another seemingly innocent situation. He has set up a nanny cam in his office at the firm, and has observed one of the partners, Alistair Song’s, receptionist taking files out of a confidential drawer every Tuesday and returning them every Thursday. Todd is adamant that there is something more devious going on, and although most of the viewers likely initially assumed that he was wasting time as usual, his investigation actually managed to uncover corruption at the firm. Ava helped provide Todd with the information he needed to prove that Song has been embezzling money from the firm. He is stripped of his partnership and removed from the firm, which paves the way for Margaret to achieve her ultimate goal of becoming partner. There have been plenty of opportunities for this to happen already, but the writers have chosen to drag it out throughout the season, creating some “will she or won’t she” drama. At this rate, it is likely that Margaret may not make partner until the end of the season, if that. 

As for Ava’s case, Margaret figured out that Ava’s mom died of lung Cancer which she contracted from being poisoned with chemicals while working at the zoo. This proved Ava's accusations that the Department of Defense had been endangering public safety with harsh chemicals. Margaret is thrilled that she is finally able to beat her arch nemesis at something, and relishes every moment of it. Natalie has no choice but to offer Ava a deal and a job with the government handling cyber security. Margaret could have had Ava take a deal for a lesser charge without a job, but that would mean that an emancipated Ava would be left to her own devices which, as Lyle pointed out, would likely see her back in the same position again in the future. The reason Ava hired Margaret is because of her motherly nature, so it was easy for Margaret to make setting Ava up for a successful future a priority. 

During the investigation into Ava’s case, the Wright’s ended up on a stakeout at a cemetery with Allison in tow, who Margaret roped into helping Todd with his babysitting duties. They shared a few deeply personal moments as Margaret revealed that she spent her college years feeling insecure, thanks to Natalie’s countless successful attempts at deflating her. Todd and Allison also share a heartwarming moment bonding over losing their dad. Todd revealed that he spent most of his life being angry with his dad for expecting him to be better and placing rules and expectations on him and when his dad passed, he felt like the guard rails had been taken down from his life and he could not forge a straight path. As a family with deep-rooted issues, these revelations were an important step on their path to healing. 

This brings us to last week's shocking kiss between Susan and Todd. Viewers have been eager to see how the kiss will impact Todd and Susan’s relationship. Sadly, it was quite underwhelming. Susan attempted to avoid Todd and when he persisted, she used legal jargon to make it clear that she wanted to pretend that the kiss never happened. Susan is struggling with her feelings for both Peter and Todd. The fact that she is engaged and kissed Todd, means that she effectively cheated on Peter, a harsh truth that she is ashamed to admit. Susan won’t be able to ignore the issue for long, and the tension between Todd and Susan is bound to come to a head soon. Let’s just hope that when Susan is finally ready to take the plunge with Todd, he hasn’t already moved on with someone else. 

Your turn, Todd fans! Do you think Todd and Ava make a good team? When do you think Margaret will get her partnership? What’s next for Todd and Susan? Share your ideas below and follow me on Twitter @MiddleofCanada

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