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Risks, Reveals, and Repetition in Ravenswood’s “Home Is Where The Heart Is”

By on January 15, 2014
Photo: Brett Dier as Luke Matheson -- Photo by: ABC Family/Skip Bolen

Photo: Brett Dier as Luke Matheson -- Photo by: ABC Family/Skip Bolen

Ravenswood can be like a wild card in your uno hand: it either sets you on a road to victory or gets you overconfident – which comes back to bite you. Sadly, the follow up to the winter premiere was the latter, falling significantly short of its predecessor.

In “Home Is Where The Heart Is — No Seriously Check The Floorboards,” the Matheson twins see their mother brought in for questioning after a three edge knife – apparently like the one used to kill their father – shows up beneath the ground in their backyard. The situation is only worsened by the fact that Mr. Collins was there at their house during un-godly hours the night before.

Luke causes a scene at the home and winds up getting thrown in jail. While there, the guy in the cell next over has a chilling message from beyond to pass along. Apparently some sort of torture so bad is in Luke’s future that he’ll be begging to die. Olivia, meanwhile, is waiting for Dillon to show up and help keep her calm. Instead, she gets two other people: Tess and Mr. Collins. The first conversation goes well. The second not so much.

Caleb has to deal with his own father’s sudden presence in Ravenswood after his dad gets old Henry Rivers’ home. While visiting (or perhaps staying?), Caleb’s father confronts him about his situation with Hanna which makes Caleb uneasy. When Caleb’s father plays with the idea of staying in Ravenswood, Caleb gets scared, and so the defensive claws come out.

Miranda noses around the funeral home to try and draw out the ghost attached to Mrs. Grenwald. What she assumes is a betrayed sister ends up being  a clingy mother that died as a result of the pact. She’s not ready to divulge any secrets that could separate her from her daughter though, leaving Miranda stranded and frustrated.

Remy, meanwhile, is still trying to put together the clues about the curse and handle her sleep walking issue. After she hears about Luke being thrown in jail, she makes her father a trade for her boyfriend’s freedom. With her agreeing to go to a sleep clinic, Mr. Beaumont gets Luke out and brings him back to the house to stay for the night. Things are seemingly going well until Remy attempts to stab Luke while she sleep walking. As a result, the trip to sleep clinic gets bumped up to now.

Finally, when Mrs. Matheson returns home she dismisses her daughter’s concerns over Collins before telling her to get Luke and bring him home. On her way to Remy’s, however, Olivia gets bombarded by Springer whose aggressive nature unsettles Olivia, causing her to run away from him. When he runs after her into the street, he is hit by Tess who happens to be driving around. It’s unclear whether Springer will make it, but one can only hope so as his eagerness to spill secrets on Dillon was perhaps in the fated five’s best interest.

This episode as a whole felt like a lot of filler. This is one thing that Ravenswood, from the start, has struggled with. Pacing can run the gamut of great to less than so and you aren’t actually sure where each episode is going to fall, creating a particular brand of agitation while watching. There was also significantly less scare in this episode, making it more obvious how the show can drudge along. That’s not to say the episode wasn’t useful.

We learned quite a bit about Mrs. Grenwald’s connection to the curse, Remy’s dire situation, Caleb’s new dilemma, Luke’s life being directly endangered, Springer coming forth with potentially helpful (and necessary) information, and uncovered some clues bringing us one step closer to learning who killed Mr. Matheson. With all of that crammed into a single episode, it would seem hard for the show’s pacing to have issues. Yet, it persists. At times there’s no significant exciting dynamic, particularly in Caleb’s storyline. The lead will ideally hold the show together, yet it can be hard to stay interested when the focus is solely on him.

Even with how little there was, one thing this episode continued to do well is the Luke and Remy dynamic. Britne Oldford and Brett Dier have a very natural chemistry that lends itself to a genuine onscreen connection. The show has also become significantly better at incorporating Olivia, carving out a more distinct storyline for one half of the Matheson duo that’s both exciting and well crafted. In fact, Olivia has become one of the better developed (and more interesting) characters on the show. The episode also does a decent job of melding family members and their storylines into the larger plot, creating a stronger ensemble.

The mystery, fright, and fun of Ravenswood is all there. It also has some engaging characters. However, there’s something slowing down the dynamic that makes it feel scarily repetitious – even when we are getting new information – and stops it from being the best show it can be. The winter finale is approaching, so perhaps the urgency associated with that can better help the series get over this oddly large lag.

Ravenswood airs Tuesdays at 9:00 – 10:00 pm ET/PT on ABC Family.