I want to be more enthusiastic about this episode of “All Rise,” but I don’t trust the show anymore. They’ve resolved Simone Missick’s extra-marital flirtation arc with (not appearing this episode) Sean Blakemore. Again. They promise this time. For sure. This time it’s over.
The resolution arc involves Missick’s husband, Christian Keyes, who hasn’t had this much to do all season. Even though—as Keyes points out—he’s been selfless primary caregiver to their infant daughter, he comes off looking like a complete asshole this episode. I’ve always wondered if Keyes—recast from the original actor—was a stopgap before a potential fourth season without the character. It doesn’t seem like it anymore, but who knows? The show’s always been terrible with Missick’s marriage.
Keyes has strong-armed his way into a case of Wilson Bethel’s; Missick’s the judge on the case. It’s a continuation of a Jessica Camacho arc from like four episodes ago. Unfortunately, this season’s longer arcs are a mess. It’s a lot of drama for everyone involved, which Bethel (in his capacity as director) leans into a little much. He tries to match scene intensity with shaky camera work or fast cuts, which never works out.
And while Bethel does get the twist ending of the episode—it’s a talky, too vague, too hurried twist, he’s hands off from the main plot. J. Alex Brinson is defending a strip club customer accused of drugging a dancer. Evan Arnold’s the exceptionally well-cast sexual predator, Lindsey Normington plays the dancer. Bethel’s supposed to try it, working with Lindsay Mendez to gain the trust of the club’s dancers, only to kick it to newbie Ronak Gandhi.
The arc has multiple twists, including Gandhi’s major crush on Normington and not professionally respecting Mendez enough. It’s harrowing, with good supporting performances from Brinson and Missick. It’s all about Gandhi and Mendez, though.
Meanwhile, Camacho literally hops between plots, visiting all her pals without a case of her own. It’s still entirely unclear if “All Rise” is downgrading Camacho for an easy exit or if they just can’t manage all these characters.
And then Marg Helgenberger shows up for a brief cameo to remind everyone she’s going to show up from time to time.
In addition to the twist ending, there’s a ruling with future repercussions (“All Rise” is about to wrap up its first OWN season). Even with the occasional direction problems, it’s one of the season’s better episodes; it almost feels like they know what they want to do with the show. Almost.
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