Read my review of Episode 7 after the jump. Previous reviews here.
This was a pivotal episode in the season as it resolved two of the most ill-advised and most poorly scripted storylines of the season – the "Kelly-Jason drama" and the "Malik the Asshole" story.
Like last week, let's start with Malik because it's the easiest. As I've said all season, the problem with this storyline is that we really don't know what is at the root of Malik's behavior so it is practically impossible to be emotionally invested in the story. Well, in this episode we are finally told (through the group therapy scene) that Malik's behavior really is due to a combination of all the factors – people like Tee Tee moving on, drug abuse, Sabers – that have been hinted at all season.
Ok, fair enough. I buy it. I just wish we had a clue much much earlier because then we could have cared much much sooner. I doubt anyone watching the show cares at all on an emotional level about Malik Wright. That is deeply problematic and, worse, it does a true disservice to Hosea Chanchez who has proven that he really has dramatic chops. But the fact remains that the audience needed to know what was really going on much earlier, even if it was going to take Malik himself a few episodes to work it out.
Sadly, the resolution itself felt a little rushed given how long Malik has been insufferable. Presumably, Malik's relationship with the model with the drug problem is what snaps him out of it, but it wasn't written well-enough for me to buy it. I can't even remember the model's name she is such a non-entity. Like Donte, she isn't a full-fledged character enough for us to trust her role in Malik's revival. As a result, this storyline's resolution felt less like a real turning point in Malik's life than just the sense that the writers ran out of asshole stuff for Malik to do and say and just felt they needed ot wrap it all up.
Nothing in this storyline has worked and for the writers to have fumbled this resolution just makes me think that they never really knew what they were doing all of this for (other than for the sheer spectacle of it, which…eh) in the first place. All of that said, I think Malik probably has a ways to go so we'll get more of this storyline, but it was nice that we finally understand a bit of why Malik is behaving the way he is.
The "Kelly-Jason drama" story, much like Episode 5's incredibly satisfying resolution of the "Derwin is not the father" story, was resolved pretty well. As television, it wasn't terribly fun to watch, since the story itself was just stupid, but the resolution made sense given what we know about Kelly and Jason Pitts. Kelly and Jason did have an acrimonious divorce, but by the end of the Season 3 on The CW it was clear that they still had tremendous love for one another even if we sorta knew they couldn't go back.
But Season 4 has taken the acrimony to the nth degree, ruining both characters and ignoring the love that grounded them even at the end of Season 3 when Kelly comes to Jason's aid in prison. It has never been fun to watch Jason and Kelly snipe at each other all season and the writing hasn't served Coby Bell or Brittany Daniel well at all.
So it was nice that the writers were smart enough to make their daughter Brittany's acting out the thing that smartens Kelly up so that she quits the reality show and forces Kelly and Jason to put aside their own issues.
That last scene between Kelly and Jason where Kelly sort of admits that she's completely lost herself after their divorce, that she recognizes that all of her behavior of late has been completely absurd, was really great. It functioned much the way the Janay-Derwin scene in episode 5 did, in that it resituated the Kelly Pitts character as the character that we know and love. This was incredibly important because Kelly's behavior has been so wildly out of character in service of a dead-end story.
The writers also cleverly set up a whole new set of complications by putting Brittany in the care of Jason. As we know, Jason has been, at best, a loving but hands off father. It'll be interesting to see how Jason deals with a pre-teen daughter. Presumably, this will rub up against Jason's own issues with the Sabers, which haven't gotten much attention since the second episode.
But at this point, the show has resolved all of the stories that were started this season and, with 6 episodes left, I really hope the show can get back to what it does really well — comedy. This has been a relatively laugh-free season so far as the show has spent way too much time in telenovela mode.
We shall see.
A couple of other thoughts:
- I really can't stand that they aged up Brittany Pitts. Even with a two-year gap, she should really only be 10, 11 at most. I'm pretty sure that the Brittany wants a princess birthday party for her 6th birthday was in Season 2, which in the show's timeline is only four years ago. They also shouldn't have recast her so poorly. The actress playing Brittany now looks 24. It's distracting.
- The Tasha-Melanie "two-piece and a biscuit" joke was laugh out loud funny to me. Great joke, great delivery. The "white mess"/"timeout babies" joke in the girls scene was also hilarious.
- I really liked the role reversal in the girls scene. It was nice to see Kelly sort of play the role that Melanie traditionally plays in that trio.
- Brittany Daniel has some rhythm. Loved how Jason called her ass "flat" though.
- From the previews it looks like Malik will continue his affair with Meagan Good's character. But the Tee Tee reconciliation scene ended with him getting in to his car with the model. Given the role that the model has played in Malik's recovery, I hope they don't just dump her. Even though the actress playing that role isn't very good.
What did everyone else think?