Betrayal (Pilot)

I like soaps and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  Daytime, primetime, any old time…the campy, dramatic, somewhat unrealistic world of soaps is an escape for me–a reminder that no matter how bad my life seems, those poor suckers on that screen have it WAY worse.

Betrayal was a show I’d been looking forward to for a very long time for a few reasons. 

1)  It’s a soapy drama.  I love Revenge (more on that later) and the idea of a companion show for it made me happy.  I also love the idea of a soapy primetime show filled with all the romantic entaglements, ridiculous plot twists, and crazy characters they always provide.

2)  The cast is absolutely fantastic.  Wendy Moniz is my favorite actress of all time.  I’ve followed her career since her days on Guiding Light and I’ll watch absolutely anything she’s in.  Throw in a couple of gorgeous men and a kick butt actor like James Cromwell and I’m hooked.

3)  The show has a mystery thrown in.  I love a good mystery and some of my favorite shows are the ones that leave you guessing every week. 

I’ve followed the development of this one since the first rumblings of cast sign ons and I have eagerly awaited its premiere since the pickup annoucement was made.  Last night finally arrived and……

 

We’re starting with a flash forward.  I like it.  It’s been done…maybe overdone, but I still like it.  I also like the hushed voice calling “Sara” and the flash of the hand that we can’t quite identify.  Nice touch. 

The first look into Sara and Drew’s marriage is interesting.  I can see the writers are desperately trying to portray Drew as the husband that doesn’t have time for his wife and that clearly doesn’t concern himself with her feelings (Act like that about a gift I buy you and see what happens…you’ll be eating that tie). 

One of my favorite lines of the show and it comes so early…

Sara- Still after ten years, how does a marriage just blow up like that?

Drew- Someone lights a match.

Ouch.

Thatcher Karsten portrayed by the magnificient James Cromwell and TJ Karsten played by Henry Thomas aka….. the guy that was in E.T. have arrived on screen.  James Cromwell just won an Emmy for his work on American Horror Story and it’s not hard to understand why.  The man absolutely commands a screen from the second he appears and Henry Thomas shines in this role.  They walk away and leave us to Sara and Drew again.  Oh yeah Drew…that tie is much better.

The infamous bridge scene….and this would be where the show begins to fall apart a little for me.  Who actually starts talking to a stranger on a bridge?  And in Chicago no less?  Have you checked out the rising crime rate in that city?  This is how you get yourself shot. 

They both love the water, Of course. 

And now when they both go back inside to their respective spouses they must try and fight the almost unbreakable bond that has formed.  Instead of throwing themselves into each other’s arms (give them about twenty minutes) they instead stare each other down through as they go their seperate ways….only to run into each other again on the streets of Chicago.  Beat me over the head why don’t you?

Now we get a peek into the McAllister marriage.  Wendy Moniz back on my screen is always a treat.  I can forgive so much of the ridiculousness that plagued the last ten minutes of my life just to see her back on screen where she belongs.  Elaine clearly has issues with her mother’s death (completely understandable) and her father’s business practices make her uncomfortable (considering his one and a half minutes of screen time made the little hairs on my arm stand up, also understandable).  Her children seem caught up in their own lives and her husband seems to regard her as a bit of an ungrateful shrew.  She’s annoyed…and for good reason…besides that, she made breakfast and no one ate it! 

Back to Sara and Drew. She’s taking pictures of the kid. Jack’s meeting with Thatcher, Lou, and TJ.  We learn a couple of very important things here.  No matter how unhappy Sara may be with Drew, she’s not unhappy enough to keep her out of his bed.  Thatcher might have a bit of an anger problem. 

Sara wants to do a photography series on obsession.  Dear God. 

Agorophobia?  Really?  Really?

I have to be honest, I’m enjoying the McAllister family drama much more than I’m enjoying this heavy handed manufactured chemistry between Sara and Jack.  TJ clearly has some sort of brain damage from an accident and now we find out that Jack saved his life.  Clearly, Jack has been an integral part of the McAllister clan and the writers would be wise to utilize the power of the powerhouse actors they have here (Henry Thomas, Wendy Moniz, James Cromwell) and stop trying to make this some Harlequin novel. 

I can’t make myself comment on the train scene.  It’s just more than I can handle. 

The commercial gives me enough time to recover, but then we return to Sara and Jack on the beach. 

TJ and Thatcher together is magic.  Henry Thomas does an amazing job and I actually teared up at the father son moment.  The look on his face after his father’s rejection was devestating and so telling.  Thatcher has to realize, yet again, that TJ is now very much a child. What a horrifying line for any child to hear from their father…

Thatcher: TJ, stop. Know your limitations.

 

Jack and Sarah are now having a dinner by firelight.  And it’s moments like this that make absolutely no sense.  We go from meeting on bridge to going to dinner to getting a hotel room.  Clothes are flying off and then a cell phone rings.  It’s Sara’s husband and son.  That kills the moment, right?  Of course not.  Now we lay on the bed with our would-be lover and go over the details of the son’s favorite bedtime book.  Seriously? 

Uncle Lou you were not long for this world.  You were a plot point, but you did not die in vain.  Your death may have been the only salvagable plot in this show.  The ripples your death creates for the McAllister clan may just keep this show afloat.  Go with God, Lou.

Sara wants to have coffee with Drew, but he can’t do it right now.  She’ll show you. 

And now Jack’s home….far away from Sara and all those naughty thoughts.  Except Sara isn’t very far away, is she?  The photograph is hanging on the wall…right in front of him.  Enter Elaine.  You know, Wendy Moniz is a gorgeous actress and making her look like the frumpy housewife is lazy.  Jack is pained and tears up when he thinks about what he’s about to die.  You ought to cry pal, you’re an idiot. 

And here it is….what everyone has been waiting on…Sara and Jack finally sleep together and now what? 

The police are here to question TJ and Thatcher is protecting his cub.  Sara walks the street with a smile and heads home.  Drew has the pleasure of dropping the next bombshell.  He’s going head to head with her boy toy in court. 

So Sara…your little love affair seems a little less romantic now, doesn’t it? 

And the credits roll as the previews for next week flash by. 

What Worked: 

1)  The McAllister family is made up of some amazing actors.  Henry Thomas as the brain damaged moguls son is captivating and James Cromwell is nothing short of magnificient. 

2)  Liked the idea of setting up a murder mystery within the plot.  Who killed Uncle Lou?  Who shoots Sara–and if viewers had a chance, how long would the line be????

3) Chicago makes a beautiful back drop.  The city is gorgeous and it gives an air of reality to many of the shots. 

 

What Flopped:

1)  Wendy Moniz is fantastic.  I’m so sick of seeing these shows with such amazing actors that they stick in filler scenes.  You’ve got amazing actors–use them! 

2)  Sara and Jack do not have the compelling, life affirming chemistry required to explain starting an affair so quickly.  I feel like I fell asleep in the middle of the show and woke up with these two characters in bed together. 

3)  Sara is utterly unlikeable.  The character is supposed to be unhappy in her marriage and yet she has sex with her husband to try and make it better.  She gets interrupted during her would-be tryst with Jack by a phone call from her son and husband and instead of leaving, she lays on the bed and tells Jack a bedtime story. 

All in all, Betrayal has promise.  As I’ve said before, a cast can carry a show, but they need a decent story.  What we have here is a few stories, with a couple decent ones.  I care who shot Sara because I really want to myself.  I care who shot Uncle Lou because the McAllister family drama is the most compelling part of the show, but I don’t give a flip what happens between Sara and Jack.  I’d much rather watch Sara and Jack deal with the issues in their respective marriages.  That might give me a chance to find a redeeming quality in both of their characters. 

I’m in for the long haul with Betrayal simply because I respect the actors involved, but the writers need to do some serious clean up or the long haul won’t be long at all. 

What did you think of Betrayal?  Did you watch?  Will you tune in next week?  Talk to us.  We want to hear what you think. 

Until next time,

Lynn

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Betrayal (Pilot)

  1. I absolutely loved this write-up, Lynn! It was very well done. The best post we’ve had yet! I haven’t watched the ep yet (planning to tonight, if all goes according to plan) but I have a feeling I will agree with you on every point. Great job!

  2. Generally I do not read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me
    to take a look at and do it! Your writing taste has been amazed me.
    Thanks, quite great post.

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