blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

All Rise (2019) s03e08 – Lola Through the Looking Glass

I never watched “Ally McBeal,” but is a dream episode something it might have done? I wonder if it was better suited for the diversion than “All Rise.”

Though… even when “Rise”’s cast has been wanting in terms of performances, they’ve always been amiable, so having them play various absurd roles in Simone Missick’s dream is entertaining. The episode begins with no resolution to the elevator cliffhanger, where Missick and law school beau Sean Blakemore find themselves trapped. But they don’t kiss and canoodle or decide never to kiss and canoodle, which makes the cliffhanger even cheaper than before.

This episode opens with Missick getting an invitation to a prestigious law event. It turns out Blakemore’s the hosting lawyer, so it seems like he’s trying to get her away for a conference weekend at a resort. Before falling asleep and having her wild dream, Missick argues with her still primary caregiving husband, Christian Keyes, about childcare stuff. Then she and Wilson Bethel fight about him giving her relationship advice. As in, stay away from Blakemore’s resort invitation.

The dream has Missick giving up the law to marry Blakemore and living the good life. They’ve got three kids, who don’t figure into the story at all, and Missick’s trying to get elected national chairperson to a Black women’s legal society. She and Bethel are on the outs; he’s the judge now and apparently… gay and married to J. Alex Brinson. Jessica Camacho (who’s fantastic) is their brash, brassy, slutty, drunky surrogate. Lindsey Gort’s her doula.

Missick’s attraction to Blakemore is retroactively completely reasonable once he’s got his shirt off, which the dream sequence leads with. Keyes is also around, married to Ryan Michelle Bathe, now Missick’s nemesis. Missick stole Blakemore from Bathe in law school and ended up with Keyes, who had some kind of attraction with Missick back then. Now Keyes wants to leave Bathe and Bathe’s going to destroy Missick in the legal society election….

And there’s a law school reunion, where everyone gets together. Almost everyone. Marg Helgenberger’s cameo is short, ditto Samantha Marie Ware and Roger Guenveur Smith. Ian Anthony Dale, however, displays unseen comic chops as a horny drunk, while Lindsay Mendez and Ruthie Ann Miles get to sing.

Some things work better than others—Brinson’s a tad broad–but shaking things up does liven the cast. Only for it all to turn out to be filler; stay tuned for next episode and the actual resolution. Maybe.

“All Rise” has let the Blakemore subplot entirely dominate the second half of the season, and it’s getting nothing out of it. Such strange, constant missteps.

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