Just Give Me A Reason: Mistresses “Payback” Review
At the end of last week’s episode Mistresses took us a place we weren’t sure we’d see before the finale. It wasn’t too soon though for viewer, character, or storyline. In the process, “Payback” returned to us the people we knew in the pilot while doling out a more refreshing version of itself.
Savi has confessed to Harry that she cheated and that the baby may not be his. His response? Avoidance. Distance. One word answers. However you want to describe it, Harry didn’t talk about it with Savi, and she doesn’t know how to handle it. It’s clearly distressing to her, but not in the way lying was.
There’s a certain clarity to the character now and as you watch you feel that the darkest cloud is gone. Savi is still Savi though and instead of listening to Karen’s advice, she pursues a discussion with Harry relentlessly. There’s no doubt he’s upset, but in terms of emotional control, he handles it remarkably well.
This only makes it harder to watch because the Harry we saw in the pilot might have drove someone to cheat. This Harry is one we’d never want to hurt. While our eyes are busy tearing up at Harry’s heartbreak, Dominic is on a mission to share his true feelings for Savi. Sadly for him, she doesn’t have time for it. Savi’s priority is her marriage and now that she’s told Harry the truth, there may be some chance of mending both herself and her relationship. At this point Dominic is only getting in the way. Still, there is a possiblity that he’s the father of her child, so is pushing him away and keeping him in the complete dark the best idea?
Aprils’ tune has changed as well after spending the night with Richard. Getting a little action has not only brightened her spirits, but has given her more of backbone. When Miranda shows up for her “check,” April doles out a mear $100. We know the financial crunch April is in, but a couple weeks ago she was willing to give away her arm to a (possibly philandering) woman whose story touched her heart. The check was an appropriate way of saying I feel for you, but you had the affair, not me. And with that, one of April’s most infuriating character traits vanishes.
Miranda just won’t back down, and stops by the house to guilt April into giving her more money. Things get really heated and a shouting match ensues – all under Richard’s nose. Everything we know about him signals he’s about to jump ship, so when he tells April they shouldn’t go to the game we’re 100% sure that’s exactly what he is doing. He pleasantly surprises both us and April when he decides that her vortex is his vortex. It’s a move that only adds to Richard’s charm and aura of too good to be true.
Things for Karen are also on an upbeat until she walks into her office and learns someone broke in. Discovering the computer she usually turns off is on, she deduces someone copied patient files. To add to her worry over her professional lies getting out, Elizabeth Grey has flown off to Italy with no set return date. She’s now left out high and dry if anything should happen regarding Tom’s insurance case. That sympathy we feel dwindles when Karen has a talk with her practice partner. After telling him that the break-in is most likely due to her, she goes on to say that she can’t tell him why. He’s confounded and agitated, two things he should rightfully be. Karen has just done to him what Elizabeth did to her.
Joss’ storyline this episode was the least interesting and seems to be the only storyline going nowhere. The most her robotic french boss does is point out her flaws and occasionally give her a lousy listing. Tension is always important, but one thing this show has done well so far is make sure that tension has a purpose. Joss’ final nod to her boss (a cabinet full of bananas) was some nice light comedy, but we can get that without a seemingly pointless plot line. If this defined antagonistic relationship exists it probably has a purpose, but it needs to be revealed before it affects the show’s wonderfully consistent dramatic pace.
On most “soaps” the reveals or turning points for our central characters would have been stretched as far as humanly possible over the course of a season. Mistresses chose not to follow that algorithm and dramatically it has been gold. Using the situation to create tension, instead of relying solely on a reveal, is really what takes some of the soap bite from the show. It treats itself and its storylines with maturity and understands that good drama isn’t necessarily about the plot, but good characters. And this series is definitely not short on those.