Once again, “All Rise” seems prepared for change. It’s not going to get change—CBS cancelled the show in between the previous episode airing and this one—but they’re once again primed for it. Everyone’s got something going on for the future, whether it’s Wilson Bethel once again feeling distressed at the D.A.’s office (at the end of last season, pre-Rona, it seemed like he might leave), Simone Missick’s politicking subplot returning, or Reggie Lee straight up leaving the show this episode. Guess he wasn’t going to be back in prospective season three.
But there’s also a lot of character development for Jessica Camacho and J. Alex Brinson (together and separately), which seems very appropriate given it was really their show for a while. Camacho’s got to decide not just between boys Brinson and Shalim Ortiz, but her future as well. Meanwhile, tying into Lee’s departure, Brinson’s probation period in the D.A.’s office is up and he and fellow newbie Audrey Corsa have to decide their futures. I love how they never made the probation thing a plot point—this episode picks up a few weeks after last, with Bethel and Lindsey Gort still on the outs and Lindsay Mendez working towards a plot line away from the courthouse too—but all of a sudden it’s a great deus ex machina for resolving Brinson’s cop who tells story line.
Brinson’s got a somewhat fun arc with Suzanne Cryer—one of the annoying D.A.s, i.e. everyone but Bethel and Lee—this episode. He and Camacho get an okay seemingly farewell scene together, though the show’s leaning hard on the exaggerated time frame since last episode.
There’s a big court case for Missick, involving “the entire tribe,” meaning best friend Bethel prosecuting (guess the “no Bethel in Missick’s courtroom” thing is out with two episodes to go, other best friend Ryan Michelle Bathe and her law partner, Gort, defending one client (the rich one), while Camacho defends the other client (the poor one). Gort’s mad at Bethel for walking out after she tells him she’s married, she’s mad at Bathe for kissing Bethel before the marriage divulge, and then she’s not happy with Missick really because Missick is the one who tattled about the kissing. Todd Williams—as Missick’s husband—is actually around this episode (making you wonder if they really just didn’t have him on the show because there wasn’t room yet added six new characters in the meantime) and he has some fun joking about Missick’s friends and frenemies predicament. Though he and Missick also have some pre-season three drama to get in.
Throw in Marg Helgenberger worried she’s rushing things with girlfriend Amy Acker and Steven Williams finally getting out of the basement to try a case—not to mention the trial case itself is engaging and takes up most of the characters’ times, as they line up new projects (the characters, not the actors)—and it’s a very full episode.
It’s really unfair “All Rise,” which can obviously flex when it needs to flex—this episode’s directed by Denitria Harris-Lawrence, with Lucy Luna and Harris-Lawrence getting the writing credit—not getting a shot at doing it when there’s not Rona and a pregnant lead.
But then of course CBS would cancel them. CBS sucks.
Fingers crossed the finale closes well, but it all of a sudden seems a safe bet.