For an episode with a lot going on, this week’s Rosewood feels awfully slight. Maybe it’s because almost the entire episode takes place indoors, and the show gets claustrophobic without its sunny Miami vistas. Maybe I just miss Hornstock, who doesn’t appear this week.
More likely, the episode falters because it treats a fairly ordinary family crisis as high drama. A divorce is a huge blow to any family, and everyone involved will react in distinct, emotional ways – the problem is, nobody’s reactions to Donna and Beaumont Sr.’s divorce are terribly interesting. The divorcing couple are so sanguine about the decision that it’s hard to picture a time when they loved each other. Pippy reacts like a twelve-year-old, scrambling for a way to get them back together. Tara (who, as this episode belatedly establishes, even Pippy refers to by her awful nickname, TMI) flails like a lost not-quite-in-law, which at least is realistic.
And Rosie? Mostly, he’s just angry at his dad. It’s justified, at least. Beaumont Rosewood Sr. is the medical equivalent of a stage parent: he used Rosie’s birth defects to further his ambitions, assert control, and soothe his own guilt at contributing genetically to Rosie’s premature birth. (Seriously, his guilt over his own DNA is a plot point that has to be smoothed over.) Compared to Beaumont Sr., Rosie is humble and well-adjusted.
Beaumont Sr. hasn’t returned to Miami for the sole purpose of formally dumping Donna, who I hope will find a saner love interest later this season. He’s also an expert witness for the defense in a trial where Rosie is an expert witness for the prosecution. If I weren’t already way too used to this show, I would have been surprised. Halfway through the episode, the judge orders them to work together on a re-autopsy to figure out how the victim really died. It would have made for a great mystery if they’d had a full hour to work on it. Instead, we get awkward courtroom drama that proves Rosewood learned everything it knows about the American legal system from Law & Order reruns.
Meanwhile, after a few weeks that hinted at complexity and underlying kindness, Villa has backslid into nasty one-liners. She gets along great with Beaumont Sr., which only reinforces how unpleasant they both are. In the cold open, Rosie beats Villa at pool and earns the right to make her do whatever he wants. There’s a cute thread through the episode as he taunts her with his victory, asking random questions about her allergies and fears. It’s clear that he’s tossing red herrings at her, but it’s still charming.
Unfortunately, the charm gets drowned out by an aggressive round of everyone else insisting they’re in love. We all realize it’s a “will they/won’t they” set up by now. I wish the show would give the characters enough breathing room to assess their own feelings without shoving it down their throats – or the audience’s.
The only one who’s backed off a bit is Pippy, and she’s the heroine of this episode in general. Once she accepts that her parents’ marriage is beyond saving, it becomes clear that she’s the rational, compassionate glue that’s held this family together all along. There’s a wonderful moment when she talks Rosie down from self-absorbed rage at their father. In the process, she finally hangs a lampshade on the questionable ethics and safety of Rosie’s self-diagnosis and self-treatment. Later, she shares a tender scene with Donna, a rare example of two characters on this show acting like mature, thoughtful adults at the same time.
But if the characters on this show acted like mature, thoughtful adults, this would have been a ten-minute episode. Or it could have spent the whole hour investigating a mystery! Problem solved.
Image courtesy of FOX
Sarah Rasher is, among other things, a freelance writer based in Chicago. You can read her writing at the Friendly Atheist and Graphic Policy as well as on her own blog, Sarah Explains the Finer Sports.