There has to be someone else who notices all the “All Rise” retcons; not just the little ones where it seems like someone’s going to be disgusted with being part of the carceral system but—and here’s a perfect example—the back and forth on whether or not Todd Williams is moving to L.A. to help wife (and ostensible lead) Simone Missick with their new baby.
Last episode she said he was already there and his transfer had come through, two episodes ago he wasn’t there yet, and this episode he’s just there for a bit before he leaves, no talking about the transfer at all. Despite Williams being profoundly useless on the show, this episode is easily his best, even if showcases why the show doesn’t need him. Even with a new baby.
This episode also goes out of its way to close up a bunch of outstanding subplots, like Wilson Bethel vs. lying, shooting civilian cops and Missick trying to find the girl who lost her backpack at the George Floyd protests. At least the Bethel one feels like they decided they couldn’t afford Anne Heche for a guest spot and rushed her out (ditto Williams, who the show seems to be dangling as an almost regular).
The stuff with Bethel and the cops doesn’t really work (mostly because they also drop the main cop villain who’d been around since before Heche) and doesn’t provide Bethel with any actual character development. The show goes out of its way for guest star Gabriel Cordell—the guy shot by the cops—to tell Bethel off about it, which is totally justified but also very strange Bethel thought he’d “done enough.”
The most successful—but no less cloying—story in the episode has J. Alex Brinson trying to get a youthful offender and victim in a healing circle when the victim (Coy Stewart) doesn’t want to testify in court. While it’s way too aspirational and Brinson seems way too naive, Brinson’s really trying with the acting and he’s got excellent support from Jessica Camacho (who’s basically a guest star at this point instead of third lead) and—for maybe the first time—Reggie Lee as his boss. Lee and Brinson click in a way Lee never does with Bethel.
Admittedly, a socially distanced, locked down, lead on maternity leave on the show (Missick), whatever’s going on with guest star budgets… “Rise” is still holding it together but just barely. It’s forgotten how to leverage Missick and Bethel, but has also downgraded Camacho as her acting has improved. For seven episodes into a sophomore season… it’s rough.