Still Star-Crossed Season 1 Episode 1 Review: In Fair Verona, Where We Lay Our Scene

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Almost everyone knows the story of Romeo and Juliet, the timeless tale of love gone wrong because of two warring families. But what happened after?

In Shakespeare's play, the Montagues and Capulets put down their swords after Romeo and Juliet's deaths, but not in Shondaland's new drama.

Instead, Still Star-Crossed Season 1 Episode 1 takes us down a different road that's a lot more colorful and intriguing than two families finally putting their war to rest. 

Waiting for Their Turn  - Still Star-Crossed Season 1 Episode 1

Maybe Shakespeare will turn over in his grave over this perceived blasphemy, but the story rolled out here was captivating enough for me to want to tune in again.

Granted, it takes a full half episode to get to the nitty gritty of what Still Star-Crossed is all about, but that's okay.

Revisiting the romance of Romeo and Juliet was the perfect way to open the series. After all, the famous duo is the reason for everything that happened afterward. And maybe everyone doesn't remember who all the main players were, so a rehash was a great way to reintroduce us to them.

I also enjoyed the added dimension of the behind-the-scenes drama. It wasn't just about fights in the streets. Other things were occurring and it's those that set up the main story and conflict of Still Star-Crossed.

Plus, there are plenty of secrets and mystery to add fuel to all the fires that are small sparks for now.

A Little Concerned - Still Star-Crossed Season 1 Episode 1

At Romeo and Juliet's incredibly romantic wedding (Those candles! That dress!), we met Romeo's cousin Benvolio Montague (Wade Briggs) and Juliet's cousin, Rosaline Capulet (Lashana Lynch) who were witnesses to the forbidden union.

Neither of them was quite thrilled with the idea of that marriage, but they stuck around anyway. Still, Rosaline had no problem telling Friar Lawrence (Dan Hildebrand) she thought it's not a good idea. That might have been the understatement of all time.

Rosaline quickly became the focus of the story as she the one who helped Juliet "die" so she could be with Romeo, her beloved who went into hiding after killing a member of the Capulet family.

Rosaline lives in the Capulet household with her sister, Livia (Ebonee Noel) who only dreams of finding a wealthy man and getting married so she can leave her palace. Even though they are members of the Capulet family, they are servants of Lord and Lady Capulet.

Lord Capulet (Anthony Head) has much more compassion for the sisters than his wife, Lady Capulet (Zuleikha Robinson). She despises them, and we learn later it's because she chose money and power over love.

Benvolio in the Church - Still Star-Crossed Season 1 Episode 1

It's not the sisters' fault, but Lady Capulet doesn't care. She's intent on making their lives miserable, especially Rosaline because Rosaline isn't afraid to speak her mind.

And it's probably going to become much worse for our heroine once Lady Capulet finds out that Rosaline was behind Juliet's death, so to speak.

Rosaline was only helping Juliet because she loved her and wanted her to be happy, even if she didn't agree with Juliet's choice of husband. She saw how happy Romeo made Juliet feel and that's all that mattered to her.

But while Rosaline is all about other people getting married and being happy, that's not Rosaline's thing. At least that's not how she portrays herself to Livia when her sister goes on and on about finding a husband.

It seems as if Rosaline wants to be independent of any man and has no interest in love or marriage. Later, though, we find the opposite to be true.

She is indeed in love with someone, but her chances of being with Prince Escalus (Sterling Sulieman) are quite slim despite their history (which appears to have been a secret).

Prince Escalus is now the ruler of Verona after his father's untimely passing. Escalus is worried that the continued fighting between the Capulets and Montagues will allow the city to be overtaken by some other faction.

His solution is to force a marriage between Rosaline (who he still loves) and Benvolio. Benvolio was for the marriage until he learned it would be to Rosaline.

Royalty - Still Star-Crossed Season 1 Episode 1

The two of them hate each other though it was never established why. Isn't that the whole point of the continuing feud between the families? No one knows why they hate each other so much.

Rosaline will have nothing to do with it and takes off only to be chased by Escalus, who declares his love for her. Benvolio becomes witness to the whole scene, adding to the intrigue.

What will Benvolio do with the juicy information? Will he blackmail Escalus? Will he force Rosaline to marry him to appease his uncle?

The romance between Escalus and Rosaline aren't the only intriguing storylines.

Count Paris (Torrance Coombs) is alive and well after being stabbed by Romeo, but no one knows other than Lady Capulet and the Nurseand Livia who comes across a secret room where the Count is receiving care.

After agreeing to keep the secret, Livia helps care for the Count, but the question is why is he being kept hidden?

While Lady Capulet has her secrets, Lord Montague has his and boy is his a whopper! He knew that Romeo and Juliet were getting married and apparently encouraged the romance behind the scenes. Bad dad.

What he didn't count on was Friar Lawrence's role in Juliet's death. He blames the Friar for his own son's death, and something tells me the Friar better watch his back.

And who put those blasphemous words on the statue unveiled at Romeo and Juliet's funeral? Did the Montagues desecrate their gift? Did the Capulets? Or did some outside force interfere to cause more havoc in the city?

As I said at the beginning of this review, I'm quite captivated by all the stories woven into Still Star-Crossed. There is plenty of mystery, scandal, romance and more to sustain us through the summer. I'm tuning in again; are you?

What did you think of the series premiere of Still Star-Crossed? What intrigued you the most?

Hit the comments and share your thoughts!

If you missed anything, you can watch Still Star-Crossed online right here via TV Fanatic!

In Fair Verona, Where We Lay Our Scene Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (31 Votes)

Lisa Babick is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Still Star-Crossed Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Benvolio: And just like that you've ruined your life.
Romeo: How? Because I married the woman I love instead of one my father would force on me.

Rosaline: This is madness, Friar. I know not why you perform a wedding between a Capulet and Montague.
Juliet: Rosaline!
Friar Lawrence: Because I have performed far too many funerals with both your families this summer and who's to say that love won't succeed where violence has failed?