It's hard to get too angry at Life Sentence. It means well and it's trying its best to lure those who want a Parenthood lite series to watch each week with unfathomably attractive actors at the heart of the drama. But it needed to be a limited series or a film. It needed, more accurately, a definitive start and end date.
If it ever felt as if the showrunners had a long-term, endgame plan for any of the characters, maybe it would be able to inspire a greater sense of confidence.
Instead, on Life Sentence Season 1 Episode 7, what we're left with is a lot of characters making increasingly dumb decisions all for the sake of either advancing or flat-out stalling the plot.
What should have been the big storyline of the week -- Aidan and Stella's marital trouble due to Doctor Grant -- is put on the back burner for further Aidan musings.
Aidan, as we're repeatedly told, is the Black Sheep of the family. The mischievous, pot-smoking son who finds himself in as many troublesome situations as he can keep up with.
Sure, that's a fine plot point as long as you stretch your imagination enough considering his position in life. Jayson Blair is considerably charming but it doesn't stop the thoughts of confusion over how he's being given the A storyline.
Doctor sex fantasy is in a band, did we know this?Diego
Stella, this week, plays more of a commentator, even if her own personal life continues to fall to pieces.
They're making Stella and Aidan's relationship the most crucial to the entire show and that's fine and in theory, it works. They're undeniably likable and, as I mentioned last week, the crux of their stories are playing in opposition of one another. It should make for fascinating television.
However, there's so much surrounding the two that remains underdeveloped. From the bizarrely timed possible reconciliation of Ida and Peter to Stella and Wes's marriage to just about anything to do with Elizabeth.
This might've worked if the series had begun with a set amount of episodes in mind,m that way they could choose a strict story they wanted to tell with focal characters at the heart and work everyone else around it. Instead, they have a critical ensemble show with only two members getting the bulk of the story.
I've never seen you fight like this for Aidan.Ida
Instead, it continues to feel forced as we're continually viewing shoehorned in sequences of past moments between the two that made them so close and build Aidan as a hero to Stella, up until the truth of his failings came to light.
Peter is without a doubt, still the least likable character on the show and they've already squandered the rich narratives that may have come from his and Aidan's dynamic of the dejected son and fed up father, but he makes for a decent foil this week.
The parallel of his being willing to open himself up for failure in pleading for Aidan's innocence as he did for Stella to earn a spot on the clinical trial was a touching recollection of an older plot point.
But again, it's a lot of telling and not showing.
He forces himself into the room to plead the case for Aidan, he declares how "broken" Aidan is and by the end of the episode, with Aidan serving a week in the county jail for all the trouble, they all hug it out and make peace with their version of J Crew catalog dysfunction.
I promise, there was a moment where this episode looked like it might fare better than last week. Not because it was inherently in it but because Grant didn't play as huge a part.
Grant is such a non-entity in my mind and Wes has been so exceedingly wonderful that the fact that this is going to continue to be a pressing conflict on the show is mind-boggling. There's a way to show a character having sexual curiosity, flirtation, and infatuation even without making it the thing that breaks up the shows main duo.
At least I haven't given up on him like the way the rest of you obviously have.Stella
Doctor Sexy is in a band and I can't tell you just how obnoxious I find all of this. It's just so obvious as he plays the vulnerable, artistic doctor with the heart of gold. He's wild and Wes is reliable and okay, been there, done that, it's always been a frustrating narrative move.
This is clearly going the way that Wes fans don't want it to so buckle up as we hit the road with Stella and Grant next week as Wes continues to worry over who he believes to be the love of his life.
So there's no more secrets but now everyone hates each other. So much for coming together in a moment of crisis.Stella
Maybe if Doctor Grant was anything more than a hollow archetype we'd care more?
The fact that they have the audacity to play a Julian Baker song at the end of the episode ("Turn of the Lights" -- look it up online, it's perfect) just leaves a feeling of emotional manipulation. But that's a personal note. Remember, you can watch Life Sentence online anytime you'd like to catch up on all the ensuing drama.
Allyson Johnson was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in May 2018. Follow her on Twitter.