On Counter Play Season 1 Episode 2, we finally saw Jake interact with Riley, his ex-girlfriend back when he was still Aaron Robertson. The very first scene, he pretended to be a hero by asking someone to scare Riley and paying that person to be punched so he’d look like a hero.
As said in my review for Counter Play Season 1 Episode 1, I am giving this show a chance. However, that very first scene made me scratch my head. Do I regret giving it a chance? I hope not.
The dialogue they had in there was both funny and sad. The worst thing: they didn’t mean for it to either be funny or sad.
Jake asked Riley if she was okay. Riley said she was just a bit shaken, but she didn’t look shaken at all. Riley didn't even get to see the face of the stranger who touched her because Jake immediately punched him in the face!
Every single emotion counts, people. The transition from whatever to something else is important to be able to get a feel about a character’s emotional journey.
Sadly, we were robbed of that, and we were again told of how they were feeling instead of showing it to us.
Soon after that, they introduced themselves to each other, and they were already friendly towards one another.
Now, being sociable towards someone who saved my life is acceptable. But the stranger didn’t do anything at all! He didn’t attack her. He didn’t even say a single word!
If I were Riley, I would be puzzled. What if it was just a lost man, about to ask for directions? That wouldn’t make Jake a hero. It would make him a guy with anger management and severe trust issues.
Then, she immediately accepted the offer to be taken home by a driver of a man she’d just met? What if it was an orchestrated act, Riley? And, guess what? It is!
As the plot wanted it to happen, Riley wouldn’t know that it indeed is a show.
Plot-driven. I’ve called this show that too many times now, and we’re only on the second episode.
Needless to say, naïve Riley Cornwall just agreed and hopped in the vehicle.
Someone needs to watch over this girl. Seriously.
Because of what happened, private investigator Matt was finally able to start his investigation of the Aaron Robertson murder case by using the incident Jake arranged as a way in.
It's hard to like this character. Sure, he was just doing his job, but there are right moments to do the proper tasks of your job. There are things you can just ask people, and there are others which have to be done at the right moments.
Everyone was aware that Matt reopened the Aaron Robertson case, but to open that up when a victim of an attack called you to report an incident—that’s out of place.
Also, telling a victim to pick better friends and asking where Jess was when all this happened and why he didn’t accompany Riley home? That was a dialogue meant for Mrs. Cornwall, the victim’s mother.
This would have been forgiven if the show had given a little background on Matt. Maybe he had a sister who had gone the same thing as Riley and his sister ended up in a worse situation than Riley did?
That’s called trying to make a point out of an action. The show needs to have more of that.
Faith: I met the famous Jess Haynesworth the other evening. He's a character.
Emily: That's not the word I'd use for him.
Faith: Really? What do you mean?
Emily: I'm just saying—you don't get close to the Haynesworths.
For the second time, Mrs. Cornwall proved that she is the show’s true hero. She came to the rescue and interrupted Matt with his pressure-throwing. Thank goodness for this character.
Now, yes, Mrs. Cornwall isn’t the saint of all saints. She’s a flawed character, and that’s why it's easy to identify with her.
She loves her kids. That much is evident in this episode. She loves them as much as she loves being part of the elite society. But she isn’t a one-layered character, that’s for sure. To say it simply: she's human.
We were brought to a scene wherein Heather Cornwall is talking to her son, Chad. She lied to him about Riley being brutally attacked so she could have him back in South Point with her.
After that talk over the phone, she orchestrated an overdose. Having her daughter see her lying down on the floor, faking unconsciousness — it was a layer to the character that was unexpected.
Another unexpected thing? That terrible scene wherein Riley finally saw Mrs. Cornwall’s show. Just when you think things are elevating for the better…
Riley was talking to Emily, and the moment she turned around, it felt like she already knew her mom would be there on the floor. There was no gap in between to see why she had to be shocked.
This time, it isn't nitpicking. This is when a single second of emotional shift matters a lot to a scene.
It was like she knew her mom was already on the floor but she had to finish telling a joke first. The proper sequencing of that is: you laugh with your friend, you turn around, you look down, and you act surprised to see her there.
That being said, let’s talk about something good — Emily Loui.
She seemed like a character who’s only supposed to play ‘the best friend’ all throughout the season, but she proved to be way more than that.
She’s in on the secret about Aaron Robertson being abandoned in the boat the day of the accident, and she’d been keeping it a secret since her fiancé Ethan is a part of that incident.
Emily faced Jess, the man his fiancé Ethan was so scared of and told him to his face how she would expose the truth if Jess didn’t straighten his acts up.
That's the problem. You always have an excuse. And, you're still getting drunk and not acting your age. Ethan may be scared of you, but I'm not!Emily Loui (to Jess Haynesworth)
But the improvement was cut short.
Speaking of Ethan, I understand that he was scared of the congratulatory note he got from "Aaron Robertson" that he felt like he had to run away, but what’s up with Emily seeming to be okay with it? How did Emily, of all people, just let it go?
They were engaged! On the pilot, it was shown that she would keep any secret for this man and would back him up on everything. How is this a conversation over a text message?
Authenticity is important, and this show lacks it. And, true, this is a soap opera, so everything’s going to be absurd than it will ever be in real life. That said, tell me an absurd story with an acceptable line of action. A proper sequencing and course of the act. That’ll suffice.
Counter Play, as a show, isn’t that bad. Honestly, if it was that terrible, it would be difficult to continue watching. There’s a promise to improve, and they have improved from the pilot episode. But we need more.
For a lead character, we don't get to see a lot of Jake Spector. It would be nice to see him plot with people or show what kind of evil revenge he has in store for us. Rather than explaining to us what he is doing, show us what he can do.
Do people still buy DVDs nowadays? Color me surprised. I really don't buy them anymore.
Riley Cornwall needs to show me some real tears since she's the most broken one out of all.
- Thank you, Emily, for giving me better quotes for this episode!
That's all for this time folks. We have a Masquerade Ball waiting for us in Counter Play Season 1 Episode 3. If you're watching along, hit the comment section and let's discuss further!