OpinionReviewsTelevision & Film

Chloe King: It's Not Easy Being Green

THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING
Episode 4 “Green Star”

So, to recap last week’s episode: nothing happened. Lots of talk, and we got to see what Mai night vision looks like.

Caught up? OK.

Teaser: Alek breaks into Chloe’s room to tell her that the Leader of the Mai is back in town and Chloe is about to get all of her questions answered. Then, while Alek is reclining on Chloe’s bed, Mom comes in. Alek was just leaving. Harumph harumph. Chloe with the zinger: “You’re home early.”

Back from the titles, Chloe has a “Gilmore Girls” lite scene with Mom, who’s little girl is growing up and has to set some new ground rules. No boys in the bedroom while Mom’s away. Oh, poot. And Chloe just almost gets out the door when she has to put her dishes away! Zounds! The horror!

Out and about, Chloe’s Kitty-Sense tingles, which gives us a chance to see her run and leap over a car (at least we actually get to see the stunt this time…). Then Jasmine shows up and reveals the leader of the local My Mai is her mother, and they have an appointment that night. Ree! Ree! Ree!  All the while, Scarface is watching.

Meanwhile, back at the coffee shop next to the store where Chloe (ahem) works, Kitty Hat Brian has a file folder with a huge Rezza logo on the front (because the producers don’t want us to miss the obvious). Inside the folder is the police report on his mother’s murder.

Seems like this should have been the Mothers Day episode.

So, they go to the fancy apartment to meet Mai Mom – who’s played by Alicia Coppola. Now, I’m always in for watching Alicia Coppola. She’s a wonderful performer, and she classes up the room just by entering. I could watch Alicia Coppola blow paint dry.

Of course, in a show full of well-worn tropes, there’s the stereotypical tension between Mom and Jasmine, and Mom takes Chloe aside to tell her that each of her deaths (if they happen) will increase in pain and suffering. Fun times! And if they can’t find the Order’s assassin (who’s standing across the street! Look! Over there! No, really!), then they’ll have to put Chloe into hiding. The script so far is full of cliches. “I’m sorry, Chloe, but your life is no longer your own.” Fortunately, Coppola can sell it.

Chloe gets home, can’t find Mom, and there’s a brief moment of panic until they slam into each other. And Mom gets onto Chloe for being late.

There’s actually a b-story this week: Amy apparently is a song writer, and has a chance to perform in front of people. She’s nervous.

Jasmine’s mother shows up at the store/coffee shop set, tells Chloe life is all different, and there may not be a Friends & Family Plan. So when Kitty Hat Brian comes in to talk about their upcoming date, she let’s him down easy, and he walks out like the puppy that just got kicked.

Meanwhile, at the newspaper stand, Chloe’s mother literally bumps into (bum, bum bummmm) Scarface!

You see where this is going, right? They set this up with Mom being “missing” earlier when she wasn’t, so when it happens for real it has more emotional and dramatic impact. Except it doesn’t.

[And they’ve got to come up with some other scene transitions. How many shots of the Golden Gate bridge do they have??]

Chloe gets the call from Scarface. And she turns right around and calls the house to find her mother (because that’s what we do, right?) Lo and behold, Mom is home! Just got out of the tub, and darn if she didn’t lose her cell phone! This is what we call a fake-out. This is the second one in the episode. Which means when it happens for real it’s supposed to knock us flat. Right?

The Mai are at shmancy apartment in their black leather (Clandestine Ops line from Calvin Klein?) planning the raid. Chloe can’t come, because that’s what Scarface wants. So they all go to make sure Mom King is OK. Leaving Chloe alone in the apartment with Jasmine. While Amy freaks because Chloe’s not there to support her. Remember, there’s a b-story this week.

And after some Girl Bonding Time between Chloe and Jasmine, where they compare mothers over popcorn, Chloe gets the call from Scarface, who’s watching Amy sing. (see how that b-story works?) Amy singing, of course, gives us the Emotional Montage moment, where we see Chloe, Amy, boyfriend Paul, Mom, Chloe, and Kitty Hat Brian.

[I sure hope they got clearances from Tom Clancy and Dean Koontz for the books that showed up in the bookstore where Amy sings. I clearly saw those and a couple of others.]

Chloe sneaks out of the apartment and hitches a ride with Kitty Hat Brian to go meet Scarface, and the whole time I’m watching their scene in the car I’m noticing the lights in the background don’t change. No movement at all. If they’re in a moving car, you don’t just flash a light along the windshield, guys. The lights in the background have to move, too!

Chloe goes into the seedy warehouse in the seedy neighborhood (and Kitty Hat Brian even comments on what a bad part of town they’re in). And she disappears all Batman-like, to find Scarface and confront him with witty banter before – it’s a trap!

…and Brian waits around for a couple of seconds before pulling out his iPhone and calling Chloe’s iPhone (product placement!) and bailing on her. Really? You’re going to leave the 16-year-old girl you like in the seedy neighborhood that you even said was not a good place to be? But her iPhone is still in the car, so he’s got to turn around. White Knight, this one. Yeah, he’s a catch.

At least Alyssa Diaz gets to do her fight stuff this episode (yeah, that sneaking out thing? Nah.) And there are a few lightning flashes to justify the rain in the next scene. So we get the cliche Final Confrontation with Evil Henchman. It’s just an excuse to get the girls wet, I’m sure. And just as things are about to get nasty, Jasmine’s mother shows up and saves the daaaayyy!

So, everything’s better. Mom King never was in any danger. That whole double fake-out thing? That’s the McGuffin. Wasn’t important. Just an excuse to get everyone in their Clandestine Ops leather and jump around town.

At least I got to watch Alicia Coppola. Someone give her a show. Just don’t let it be written by these guys.

[Official show site]

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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