Star-Crossed episode 3 review: Our Toll Shall Mend To Strive

Review Caroline Preece 5 Mar 2014 - 06:58

Star-Crossed has more going for it than a cliched romance, if only it would shift its focus, says Caroline...

This review contains spoilers.

1.3 Our Toll Shall Mend To Strive

A bit like my feelings on The Walking Dead – yes, I’m mentioning Star-Crossed and The Walking Dead in the same sentence – our present-day setting being years after a big world-altering event sometimes feels a lot less immediately interesting than it would be if we were watching the days or weeks following Arrival Day. This episode, Our Toll Shall Strive to Mend, told us a lot about the day the Atrians arrived on earth, and how many people may have been lost in the initial struggle, but showing is almost always better than telling when it comes to alien invasions.

I understand that the budget just isn’t there for a show like Star-Crossed but, with The Sector being all we’ve got to look at in regards to the Atrians world, it’s hard to empathise with that extremist section of their community. Are their missing families really alive and well on another planet? Since they mentioned the possibility in this episode, then it’s a safe bet we’ll be taking a trip to Eljida sometime before the first season is over, and I wonder whether these people will bring peace or even more war to the already fraught conflict. Then again, with the Atrians looking a lot more sympathetic than the humans right now, I’m kind of rooting for them to come and help with the much-denied annihilation attempt.

In a last-ditch attempt to integrate the worlds of the young with each other, the high school students take a field trip to The Sector where Grayson and Emery attempt to document some of the experiences of Arrival Day from the perspective of the other side. It’s a good set up, even if it’s ultimately just a way to out Grayson as a wrong’un, and is the kind of thing we’d probably be watching on the evening news should an alien race ever actually invade. This is the kind of thing Star-Crossed needs to be focused on over the more obvious love stories and Romeo and Juliet­-esque family issues. The sadness of some of the stories just makes me wonder what actually went down back then.

We find out Grayson’s brother was killed, for example, and this is no doubt the main reason for his and his parents’ membership to the Red Hawks. People fighting with the wrong team for the right reasons is always more compelling than the alternative of bland, motiveless villains and, with the potential love connection between Grayson and Emery already established alongside the obvious endgame, epic-love of Emery and Roman, there’s definitely room for a redemption arc here. Then again, I really have no idea why the show is sticking with the idea that Roman and Emery have some kind of deep, romantic connection, as nothing about the writing or the performances suggest this. The sooner they throw this out, the better.

I still maintain that there’s enough going on to hope for a better show in the future, with the love story the only major thing dragging it down right now. As the central, anchoring concept of the show it’s pretty major, of course, but the revelation that Gloria has a young Atrian son and that some of the teenagers are now starting to join the extremists on both sides makes me root for those more interesting ideas to come through to the front. Shows have been known to throw out their initial concepts once they find their feet and, if that’s something Star-Crossed is willing to do, then it could well turn into a pretty adequate alien invasion story.

Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends, here.

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