The Big Leap Season 1 Episode 11 Review: We Make Our Own Light!Jasmine Blu at .
The Big Leap ended the season the way they entered, making us laugh, cry, and long for more.
Now, one has the great difficulty of discussing The Big Leap Season 1 Episode 11 when the temptation to curl up and binge the entire series all over again is strong.
With so many exciting developments, where do you even begin?
The crazy part about this show within a show format is that you find yourself equally invested in the series we're watching and the reality series they're filming.
It made things interesting when you both wanted to experience the full Swan Lake dance performance and catch up on the latest drama with our favorite characters.
Every cut away from one or the other left you conflicted because you wanted what you were currently watching to continue.
Given the circumstances that should've made it anything but good, the Swan Lake performance was spectacular.
It was reality TV show gold, and the level of involvement of all the fans and their investment in their favorite reality stars was hilarious in its accurate depiction.
When you watch reality shows, you feel as if you know the people personally, and the commentary by the audience throughout the performance was comedic gold.
It was shaping up to be a tornado of diarrhea. Category five.Wayne
Nick does deserve kudos, and it speaks to how fantastic he is at his job, along with Wayne and Monica, that they were able to pull off a live performance with so many difficulties, spontaneity, and unknown factors.
Allan will never live down plugging in that tree, but it brought the best out of the characters and even served as a great installment where some of our favorite background folks got to shine.
Pardon the pun, of course.
I was a massive fan of Comfort Fedoke on So You Think You Can Dance, so her character Aja has been one of my favorite scene-stealers, along with the other members of House of Lush.
Mike: Luckily, I rewired my whole house three years ago, so Aja and I tag-teamed it.
Aja: You know even though I was in the first dance and rehearsed for like a month, but you know, who's keeping track?
I appreciated the slight shade she threw at Nick about how little he paid attention to her and therefore didn't know she had a background as an electrician.
She and Mike teaming up to get the lights back on was pure fun, and the only downside was that we didn't get to spend more time with the two.
You could tell they've had a fun camaraderie, and we've had nods to it like their hotel party dancing on the bed.
Ladon not even wanting to look at Reggie after what he did to Gabby was hilarious, and Travell's judgmental side-eye during Reggie's first conversation with Gabby was epic.
Ladon: Destiny made Brittany fall through a hole, so that Monica could be an honorary member of the House of Lush.
Aja: Sounds about right.
Hell, Monica getting a moment to shine again onscreen while she danced and got her honorary membership to House of Lush is what dreams are made of, dammit.
I believe in a season two where House of Lush thrives and gets the screentime and storylines they deserve. But at least the finale finally put some respect on them.
The costumes were gorgeous, and the entire performance was captivating. You find yourself as enthralled with their recital as the audience.
The flashlight work with Justin and the other B-Boys, in particular, was so clever and fun.
It's great, I feel like randomly hugging people!Nick
Julia and Raven's ballet act was stellar, albeit too short. But our girl got the praise she rightfully deserved, and how could you not love that for her?
The transitions in dance forms were terrific, and the entire performance served as the best opportunity to highlight the talents of the show's other dancers, too.
Can we get the Earls to provide commentary for everything? Justin's brother and father were one of the biggest highlights of the hour.
They had endless streams of quotable lines. The installment had many standout quotes, many of which are in the quote section.
Earl Jr: Personally, I like that they took some license with the music. I would take Whitney Houston over Tchaikovsky any day.
Earl Sr.: The Bodyguard. Now that was a good movie. They should do that for season two.
Their diary room sessions had a girl howling in laughter, from Junior's comparison of Swan Lake to Shrek and Frozen to Senior not knowing what was happening most of the time but only caring about Justin dancing.
Justin got his wish when they treated the entire performance with a similar level of excitement as one of their NFL games, and they didn't even need Reggie in it to get invested.
And yes, Senior is right about The Bodyguard. They should get on that for season two.
Those were the moments of lightness and joy, and it's what the series does best.
Their performance went off despite many hitches.
Like had the audience in tears, and the allergy flair up was something fierce when he stood there staring at the montage of he and Paula and didn't know if he could go through with the dance.
Paula's kiddos from the dance program were there to uplift and support him through it. And again, this series has made a lifetime Rudnitsky fan out of me.
The tenderness of his performance with these children reminded you of a loving dad who indulges his daughters and treats them like princesses. And in the ideal world, he and Paula would've had adorable children together.
It's from Paula's lawyer. She left me everything. Nick, it's millions of dollars.Mike
Their group hug with him was enough to bring down the house and all the tears. The final dance served as this beautiful tribute to Paula.
Nick put so much pressure on himself for that to be the best outcome, and it was.
It's also beautiful that the audience responded so well to Mike's love story that they root for and support him. It's like he has this extension of family and supporters in all forms, and if anyone deserved that, it was Mike.
He's also how the series dropped one of many nuggets to address a second season.
We knew Paula was a successful businesswoman, but that was never her focus. The revelation that she left everything to Mike wasn't a surprise, but the reality that it was a fortune and Mike is now a millionaire did shock.
I long for a season two where we get to see this Blue Collar character in a foreign tax bracket for him. How does he manage that? What does Mike look like when he doesn't worry about unemployment or juggling multiple jobs? Does it change him any?
Is the money a burden or the poor substitute for his loss? We know he's the type who would do something for his friends. How do they incorporate him into a season two? I'm eager to find out!
The finale lobbied hard for a renewal. There were so many great lines that suited this series and its slick dialogue.
Wayne: The show was wonderful, and you did that. You did that!
Monica: You did, too. We all do. Not everything worked out, of course, but we did pull off something great, and I'm very proud of my dancers. I hope we get to do it again.
Brittany's line about word of mouth being positive made me chuckle. But nothing was more on the nose than Monica's exchange with Wayne.
It was Mallory Jansen's sincerity that rang through with a statement that wrapped up the series as a whole, commending a job well done by all and a hope that they get to do this again.
Please, FOX, look at that woman, listen to her. Who can say no to that?
Monica sharing another moment with Justin where she admitted how proud she was of him was another thousandth scent that reduced you to tears.
And Justin showed that he truly is a star.
He's in a good place with his family, and he also patched things up with his endearing proclamation that the audience ate up.
A secret trap door is the exact type of hijinks only this series can pull off, but thankfully, it caused Justin and Brittany to have a conversation that clarified things with Simon.
He and Justin hurt each other with their words and talk of sleeping with other people. But Justin understood that Simon reacted out of fear and poor advice from his twin.
It's a testament to how well thought out their love story is that when Justin confessed the exact moment he fell in love with Simon, you knew it to be true.
Their rooftop scene was a crucial moment in their relationship.
Both men finding their way back to each other suited their storyline and growth.
And Julia, blessedly, sticking to her guns about Kevin was the best outcome for her, too.
She's so much bigger and better than tying herself to a romance. Kevin meant well, and they could agree that he's remorseful.
But it was time for both of them to move on. In the end, Linus wasn't even a factor. It was about Julia and the strength she holds and the self-identity and acceptance.
Kevin: I love you. I hope you know that.
Julia: I'll always love you too.
Kevin: This is really it, isn't it?
Kevin: Thank you for being the mother of my children.
And her relationship with Raven is the one that deserved to thrive. It's the unspoken love story for Julia.
She's found herself again. She's reacquainting herself with her daughters, and she has formed a true bond and found genuine sisterhood with this unexpected person.
Not only are Raven and Julia beautifully dynamic, but there's more to Raven's story the series could explore.
Karen Rodriguez is fire, and we need more of her.
Justin and Simon brought the romance we needed. And Julia getting to choose herself and her girls was empowering.
Gabby got the chance to step into her self-acceptance for the first time in her life and show that real self-love and feminism is in a woman having the ability to choose for herself and go for what she wants.
She got to grapple with what it meant that she finally loved and chose herself but still wanted Reggie.
Too often, a series will minimize self-empowerment, strength, and feminism to this notion that it's anti-feminist to want or choose love, especially with a man.
And that's simply untrue. The installment played with this concept when Gabby stood in her moment as Odette and expressed to Nick how eye-opening and gratifying it was that she finally loved herself.
Gabby: So, I made up this hokey ending where Odette has to love herself, but I was a fraud. See, I don't remember a time when I looked in the mirror and didn't want something to be different or I wasn't beating myself up about something I said or I did, but being on this show playing the White Swan and having all these dancers support each other, it's just, I got it. It happened. I was able to feel love for myself.
Nick: And what did that feel like?
Gabby: In that moment, I felt about me the way I felt about Sam. I want to protect me, and I love myself. And I was proud of myself, and it was suddenly so clear that there was always a chance for everbody, and you just can't always see it right away.
Nick: How do we get that feeling to last?
Gabby: I don't know. Practice. Surrounding yourself with the right people.
Nick: That sounds just right.
Her words were visceral and necessary. They were poetic and inspiring.
Her expression of that sentiment and that place she worked toward is aspirational. It's what everyone should strive to achieve.
And her emphasis that the way to maintain it is practice was so deeply profound. You could tell even Nick was touched a bit by her words.
By then, he slipped back into a state of darkness that they won't be able to pull him out of for some time, but that fondness for Gabby was there, it only briefly.
Part of learning self-love and protecting oneself includes showing yourself grace.
Gabby wisely surmised that if she could show herself grace and give herself a second chance, she could extend that to Reggie. She gave him the opportunity to prove he's trustworthy and committed to her and their relationship.
Maybe an afternoon coffee isn't sexy and glamorous or some happily ever after, but it's a start, and it's real.
Reggie's grand gesture speech was perfectly romantic and swoon-worthy and the two sharing their kiss backstage instead of on it was right for them after the public nature of the series caused issues for them.
I know you told me to stay in the Greenroom but I want to be your Prince, and I need to tell you something. I came onto this show looking for a second show in my career, but the second chance I found was you. I should've never put myself in the position to mess up what we have, and I hate that we did. Look, I know that I broke your trust, but I will work every day to try to change that because Gabby, I love you.Reggie
The only thing the moment lacked was the incorporation of her family more.
And Reggie, of course, we still need to know what his future in the NFL entails with his injury. It's this potentially career-ending dark cloud that looms over them.
And, of course, Brittany's pregnancy is another.
The twins are always a hoot, and their mad dash to the drug store is evidence of it.
It's typical of Simon to keep track of his sister's menstrual cycle, and we won't go into that perfect moment of normalizing them. It's something more loved ones; especially men, should do.
Two months late is a doozy, but Simon was right there to let his sister know that he'd be there for her no matter what she did.
Brittany fought hard to become a better person and friend to Gabby. As badly as you feel as a Grabby shipper, Brittany deserves sympathy too.
It bothered her the whole time that the fans hated her as the show's villain, and the camera never caught her most authentic moments.
She could be as sweet as ever in season two, and it wouldn't change how people see her as a near-permanent obstacle between Gabby and Reggie.
I believe that after the initial shock of it all, the three of them could find some stability. It would take some work, but the trio could get there.
But Return of the Nick will cost them more than anything.
It's an intriguing place to put a character like Brittany, and in some ways, it coincides with Nick.
By now, we know Brittany has the propensity for decency, but Nick is asking her to stay in a position she's not comfortable in and squash her growth.
It's unfair, but it means that whether she agrees to it or not, she's boxed into a role she desperately wants to break out of it, and her journey toward freeing herself from what others project upon or need her to be -- continues.
While Brittany gets foisted into an adversary or villain role, she's become someone we're rooting for, and that flip in her character is ingenious.
Nick dangled more screentime and a bigger story arc in front of her for season two as if she'd want to jump at the role of playing something she's not happy in, and I don't think she'll readily choose it as he expects.
Whereas with Nick, he's operating under the assumption that the person who matters most to him doesn't appreciate his growth.
It was a slap in the face to him that after all he did, Monica still saw him as a sleazy, heartless producer. It doesn't matter that we know the truth about how she feels regarding Nick.
Nick: Oh, thank you for getting those flashlights today, you saved the day.
Brittany: Yeah, no problem. I love to be of service.
Nick: You pick up anything else while you were there?
Brittany: You know.
Nick: Is it Reggie's? Yes!
Brittany: What are you going to do?
Nick: Could present some interesting opportunities depending on what you decide to do, you know if you want to stay on TV a little bit longer? Maybe in a bigger role?
Brittany: So I'm the villain again. Everybody's going to hate me.
Nick: No, come on, everybody loves to hate you.
Brittany: Wow, you really are the wizard.
Nick: Oh, you're sweet.
In Nick's case, if people expect this of him and refuse to see him as anything else no matter what, then he intends to deliver. Game, set, match.
In that sense, that's part of what makes his treatment of Brittany in those final moments fascinating. They're opposite sides of the same coin in upholding a particular role.
Nick has chosen to shut down again, put his walls back up, and bask in the antagonism because it hurt too much to put himself out there, and it not matter.
It's the return of the Chaotic King, except he's so hurt that he shut off his emotions, which means no one gets spared from his shenanigans.
It cost him getting invested, so now they're all cogs in a machine and pawns on his chessboard.
Not only is it great for drama, but you can understand how Nick got to that point, so no matter how awful his mechanizations are or how they hurt the characters we love, we'll watch all the drama he stirs up in season two and still hope for the best.
You still root for Monnick to come together.
Nick: Hey, Gabby. What you did for the show is beyond impressive. So how do you feel about joining season two as a cherographer?
Gabby: Oh my God, Yes. What about Monica?
Nick: Oh, she could use the help. Besides a little healthy competition never hurt anybody. I got a great story arc planned for you.
And we get all of this delicious tension and drama because of a hot mic and a misunderstanding. But even that is a credible one for Nick.
He was the one who fell first, and he kept putting himself out there more than Monica ever did. He expressed wanting more, and while she showed him her investment through her actions more than her words, you can understand how Nick walked away heartbroken.
We watched as Nick went from basking in the thrill of the show and this group of people he became attached to, and by the end of the hour, he flipped an emotional switch and was cool and calculated.
Scott Foley, you guys, he's phenomenal.
We all know Monica only responded the way she did to Wayne because she's terrified that she's in love with Nick, and his rebuff shattered her, too.
Mallory Jansen has also been phenomenal all season with Monica's journey, and she's had such a difficult task. But all of Monica's vulnerability comes through her facial expressions and physicality, and it's remarkable.
Monica crumbled when Nick retracted his offer. And you saw the hurt in her eyes when he offered Gabby that position as a choreographer and implied she was healthy competition for Monica.
Gabby's gig as a choreographer for the next season is a solid choice, but tying that into Nick's puppeteering and string-pulling is a brilliant move.
Gabby gets the win she deserves, but it's at a cost, and it puts her back into this weird relationship she has with Nick, where he gives a little but exploits her, too.
Gabby is someone who has a way of getting through to him. Unfortunately, Monica can't have that role anymore since she unwittingly broke his heart.
And Wayne is none the wiser and won't be effective at this point. The closing scene was one of the best of the series, Nick cooly discussing his plans for season two with a double meaning that only the audience is privy to and Wayne, still riding hide from the success of everything, is unaware.
Wayne is so proud of Nick for his growth, and little does he know, the man has regressed to protect his heart. He'll confuse the hell out of everyone.
Wayne: You pulled off something wonderful, Nick. You made magic. You know, I feel like you raised the floor of your humanity.
Nick: Sure, Wayne.
Wayne: Will you be joining us next season to see where our story goes?
Nick: Yeah, I wouldn't trust anyone else. It's going to be full of surprises.
One of the only people that could probably get through to Nick now is his daughter. Nick and Hen are the best, and I could watch an entire series about Nick and his mini-me.
She's so much like her father in some ways, but she's also the best of him. She's masterful at producing along with him, too, and she'd be a great addition to the series on a more regular basis in a sophomore season.
But the show beautifully set up Brittany and Nick as the second season's antagonists while managing to make the characters we root for, support, and still love.
It isn't easy to pull something like that off, yet The Big Leap did.
And Nick's full-circle moment feels more realistic than him abruptly becoming a better version of himself without challenges to that. His journey and development as a character is a marathon with hills and valleys rather than a linear sprint, and again, that's just good writing!
Some have pondered what a second season of this show could even look like, and they set it up well with this hour.
They've shown us how they can continue stories with the characters we've come to know and love. They've also opened the door for some of the background characters to come to the forefront, so in the event, more prominent ones take a backseat or have a limited presence, we still have that familiarity.
The Big Leap is a perfect setup series for a revolving door or rolling cast if it calls for it with the production characters at its core.
Nick: If those dancers can walk out on a pitch-black stage and make something gorgeous, why can't we give us a shot?
Monica: That's a bold speech. Question, are you drunk?
Nick: Yes, yes. I'm drunk. I'm drunk on inspiration!
We have some closure but enough loose threads to leave us wanting another season.
So if fit wasn't apparent with the reviews and an editorial about this series' underrated and understated brilliance, can we please have a renewal now!
It'll be the best Christmas gift ever.
It's been an absolute pleasure covering this series this season. I'd really freaking love to do it again.
Over to you, Big Leap Fanatics. Are you pleased with how the season ended? What are your thoughts? Hit the comments below, and let's discuss it all!
If you want to relive this darling series all over again, you can watch The Big Leap online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.