It took a minute, but eventually ABC came around to the idea of bringing back “The Catch” — the newest entry into the #TGIT lineup — for a second season.
In January, at the annual Television Critics Association winter panel, new showrunner Allan Heinberg did tell the crowd there would be a decidedly lighter tone for the new season, however — they’ve decided to embrace the show as a romantic comedy.
If you look at the show, and that statement, in context of the TGIT lineup it could make for a smart move. When “How To Get Away With Murder” is in the mix, Thursday nights on ABC have become a marathon of depraved acts, questionable morals, and holy sh*t I can’t believe that just happened plot twists. It could be nice to break that up a little.
But, if done improperly, it could make a show that struggled a bit to connect with audiences even worse. One episode in, we’re thankfully leaning towards that first notion. Here are a couple of moments we liked so far that give us hope this pivot could work… And one development we’re still on the fence about.
T.R. Knight Is Back in Shondaland!
But don’t call it a George O’Malley comeback. Knight pops into the series as Alice Vaughan’s (Mireille Enos) seemingly always-down-on-his-luck younger brother Tommy Vaughan. In the premiere, he arrives on Alice’s door with a secondary case involving a mysterious sum of money that’s shown up in his bank account. Who the money is tied to isn’t solved — but the desire to take the money and run is clearly there in Tommy’s eyes, so we’re assuming this comes up again over the course of his run.
Those extra cases are going to be cut down this season, and only involve story lines that intimately affect the main cast. A story line involving Alice’s brother that plays out over a couple of episode (or entire season) seems much more interesting than one-off clients we don’t really know or care about.
And if the show is going for a lighter, more rom-commy note, Knight was a good choice to bring in. His comedic timing as a dopey, self-serving sibling is spot on — while still maintaining that air of dramatic tension that would make any “Grey’s” fan proud.
Margo Is Finally A Badass
Last season Margo Bishop (Sonya Walger) was a daughter/lover scorned, but this time around she’s going for complete b*tch, in the best sense of the word. Thanks to her scheming last season, Margo is now head of the family business: International crime syndicate the Kensington Firm.
Margo was always great last season as a woman trying to prove her worth to powers at be — but now that she is the powers that be, she’s free to be the ruthless, stone-cold leader we always knew she could be. This proves out within her first scene at the helm of the Kensington Firm, where — during her first meeting before a clearly hostile and disinterested board — she straight shoots someone who gets up to take a phone call, just to prove a point.
The Sophie/Danny Relationship
One of the better couples on the show is Sophie (Elvy Yost) and Danny (Jay Hayden), and it looks like they’re actually going to go on a date… Maybe? At the end of last season, in that wedding scene where everyone was seemingly falling in love when they should have been watching Margo and the cash, Sophie and Danny finally admitted that they were school-girl crushing on each other.
This first episode sees them actually planning to go out on their first date. And while life will inevitably throw them some hurdles (see: Tommy! Last minute case developments!), we’re ultimately hopeful about this outcome.
That “Happy Ending” Con
Last season saw the AVI gang tackle art heists, medical malpractice, and money laundering… But it never quite got anything interesting out these capers. The stakes never reached a height that fully drew us in, or made us care about the outcome (partly because we always felt the outcome was inevitable — they’d solve and/or get away with whatever it was).
The major con here finds Rhys and Ben breaking into the gaudy mansion of a gangster’s wife to nab a briefcase holding a mysterious package… Which turns out to be said gangster’s sperm sample. The ultimate (ahem) climax comes not from anyone getting knocked off, but from the gangsters wife slipping on the spilled sample during a stick up, and knocking herself unconscious. Oh, and she’s naked during the entire scene. Hijinx!
If this is the level of seriousness the cons are taking this season, we’re definitely on board.
On the Fence: The Margo/Alice/Valerie Dynamic
So… um, remember how we just said how much of a bad*ss Margo was? And how she seemed to be taking control of her own rightful destiny? Well, her showing up in the lobby of AVI looking like a scared puppy flies in the face of that, just a little.
Part of what worked last season was the cat and mouse dynamic between Margo and Alice: The two were always circling each other in a way that was charged and nicely choreographed. Yes, there will probably still be tension in this new alliance, but it all still feels a little contrived for now: Will they be able to protect Margo, while not fully trusting Margo, while wanting to turn Margo in, etc.
We appreciate putting her at the center of everyone’s lives, obviously — but avoiding claustrophobia will be a concern moving forward. All in all, though, it’s a great new direction for a show that deserves more love, and we’re excited to see what’s next.
“The Catch” airs Thursdays at p.m. ET/PT on ABC.