Episode 5: “So Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want”
by Dan Tomasik
Charlie’s backstory is explained as Social services plan to move him to a different hospital. Elsewhere, Jordi learns to drive and Kara bonds with Dash.
We have finally crossed over into soap opera territory. It’s not just the musical cues, although they were particularly obvious this week. Even the drama falls flat, despite the actors’ best efforts to make it feel real. Charlie’s backstory wants to have all the workings of a great tragedy, but it comes off simply as an unfortunate accident. It’s sad to see it misfire, because Thomas Ian Nichols gives one of his best performances in memory. It’s an unexpected turn from an actor mostly known for comedic movies and roles. He was actually featured in last week’s episode, but didn’t have a single line.
Last week I pleaded for a unifying storyline amongst the Red Band Society. Charlie’s situation seemed to have the best chance of getting the job done. While at the moment everyone within the group loves or hates each other, Charlie is the one person they all at least somewhat care about, even Kara. Nope. It’s not until the last 4 minutes of the show that anyone besides Nurse Jackson and Dr. McAndrews even finds out something is happening with Charlie. In the last two minutes, everyone gathers together to honor him. “To Charlie”, they toast. That is it.
What are the rest of Charlie’s friends doing? Teaching Jordi to drive and helping Dash tag a rooftop. Priorities, people. There is also the seeming amnesia regarding last week’s homecoming dance. Kara and Leo’s kiss is (eventually) brought up, but Emma’s developments regarding her self-image issues are utterly abandoned. It’s literally as if they never happened.
Last are a couple really awful jokes. Both aimed at Leo, one actually lands, but the other is just cruel. Charlie’s is a sympathetic comment, “what’s worse than having one leg? Being a third wheel.” Then there’s Emma’s, “You couldn’t drive anyway.” That’s the kind of meanness we expect from Kara during a detox. Since when did Emma become Kara? And since when did Kara become Emma, bonding with people and supporting their endeavors? What is this mess I see before me?
Different music cues, switch Emma and Kara’s meds back, and bring the Red Band Society together for something!
Episode Score: 6.2