Star-Crossed episode 11 review: Give Me A Torch

Review Caroline Preece 1 May 2014 - 10:33

Balancing teen romance with issues of race and prejudice is a tricky thing to get right - can Star-Crossed manage it?

This review contains spoilers.

1.11 Give Me A Torch

Try as television executives might, there’s no formula for creating audience’s favourite couples. Going into Star-Crossed, for example, it was always supposed to be about Roman and Emery, and whether they could overcome prejudice and war to be together but, flying totally under the radar for much of the season, it has been Taylor and Drake who have actually stolen the show. They’re a fan favourite, have the most interesting storyline of the season and, despite having their dramatic moments this week, are a blast to watch.

And Give Me a Torch was the perfect environment for them to shine, with a winter-themed school dance giving the show the best excuse to get all of their carefully nurtured couples into uniquely stressful situations. The first was Roman and Emery, fresh off their breakup and that familiar, awkward dance of friendship and embarrassment. The real twist in their relationship this week, though, was Grayson’s return to the game with his pledge to deliver a message of tolerance with the ‘new’ Red Hawks, suckering Emery in and adding her to the ranks of the opposition.

That’s if the Red Hawks do indeed turn out to be the opposition, of course, and it’s entirely possible that it might be a case of the gang vs. Castor, rather than the simple race war we were all predicting. The love triangle might interfere with Roman and Grayson’s ability to work together but, with Castor the indisputable villain of the tale right now, it’s hard to predict it turning out any other way. And there are now two half-Atrian/half-human children to protect, with Taylor revealed to be expecting in this week’s episode and Roman’s brother still yet to be discovered.

The pregnancy changes everything, though it wasn’t so much of a surprise after the revealing previews for the episode, and it puts Drake and Taylor at the centre of integration efforts. As the assumption that Emery was the one with child proved this week, however, that puts a target on her very human and very teenage back and, if anything is going to bring everyone together for a common cause, it’s this. That baby is their ticket to peace, but it’s also insurance for a second season should Star-Crossed get renewed. That’s assuming it’s born, that is, and we aren’t in store for any tragedy in the next couple of weeks.

Like with last week’s emergency lockdown in the school, it turns out that the ridiculous drama produced by the younger characters is where the show makes the most sense, and the action in the sector now feels like an intrusion on that. As with so many supernatural/sci-fi teen dramas that have come and gone, it tends to go wrong when a show like Star-Crossed takes itself too seriously, and balancing love triangles and teenage pregnancies with bigger issues like race and prejudice is something tricky to get right. This show is finally on its way towards that goal but, with only two weeks left before the season is over, is it going to be enough?

My instinct says no, but there’s also the overwhelming sense that Star-Crossed, though it’s taken its sweet time feeling out what works and what doesn’t, deserves a little more time to grow into itself. In the fickle world of television, that’s a luxury not many are afforded but, if fans are granted one more year then the show is making sure we have something to tune back in for. The season is building towards some big showdown, though it’s unclear between whom, and now the soapy drama is finally becoming just as interesting as everything else.

Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, What Storm Is This That Blows So, here.

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