This review contains spoilers.
1.4 And Left No Friendly Drop
On paper, this episode of Star-Crossed, the most high school of them all, should have been the nail in the coffin for a show that has so far done almost nothing to capitalise on the promise of its initial ideas. In actuality however, with far less Emery and a more focused idea of what works and what doesn’t (Emery included), the fourth episode of Star-Crossed was a little step in the right direction. The love triangle’s still weighing it down and the themes are as heavy-handed as they come, but at least there were a few twists thrown in this week to keep things interesting.
There have been two warring sides of the show up until now, with the high school drama and terrorism plots never really meshing. For the latter to work, I suspect the first has to be tweaked until it provides a solid base for the more important action, and this week’s focus on Sophia and her athletic aspirations did that quite nicely. Wanting to join the swim team with her fellow students, this was where the racial tensions came even more to the fore with discussions about Jackie Robinson and even a conversation in which Sophia, Julia and Lukas talked about being minorities.
Despite being painfully obvious, these things are expected, and not entirely unwelcome, as the overriding theme of intolerance in high school has always been a universal one. But these guys aren’t geeks or misfits, however, they’re automatically pushed out because of who they are and rarely has something like that been tackled on such a bubble-gum flavoured teen drama. Of course this will never be The Wire, but sometimes dumb shows can deal with important things without anyone really realising.
The swimming was a device to pave the way for future friendships and the ability of students to pull together despite the invisible barrier, and Sophia may well be the catalyst for even bigger changes as the season progresses. She might be shy and annoyingly passive right now but, as her defiance of rules this week demonstrated, she can be as resistant to injustice as her brother. They’re their father’s children, after all, and when news gets out about their illegitimate third sibling (revealed in the surprising final scene) Atrians will be looking to their family for answers.
With Roman still freezing Emery out and going instead to Julia and Lukas for help hacking into his dad’s (illegal) phone, our heroine was more adrift this week that ever. What is her function other than the love interest for Roman, who has so far proven to be a much more interesting and important character? Julia, meanwhile, has all but taken the place as the show’s female lead, and it’s worrying that one of the main characters seems so irrelevant just four episodes in. She may have had plenty of screen time with Grayson dotted across the hour, but these moments were so bland and inconsequential that I have to admit I forget about them.
There are lots of things that still need to be fixed before Star-Crossed even becomes half-way decent, but this episode at least gave me hope that the writers know what they’re doing. Mending whatever’s wrong with Emery would be a fantastic start, and I won’t rest until that love triangle has died a death but, surprisingly, it might actually be the high school drama the show needs to focus on if it is to evolve.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Our Toll Shall Mend To Strive, here.
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