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Two Takes: The Catch “The Birthday Party” 

Two Takes: The Catch “The Birthday Party”
Photo Credit: Bob D'Amico/ABC
Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico/ABC

This week’s episode of The Catch picks up right where last week’s left off…with Ethan at Alice’s door.

Ben makes himself known, which results in a very awkward conversation. Awkward for all parties involved. Except for the audience. We were highly entertained.

“The Birthday Party” also showcased the Ben-Margot-Tessa family dynamics. It gave us a glimpse into Margot and Ben’s parental leanings. As you’d expect, Margot’s moral code is pretty much non-existent. As for Ben, he tries to do the right thing and be the strict parent. How strict can he be when faced with two strong female forces? The answer, for those playing the home game, is not strict at all.

Sophie’s story has taken a back seat recently, but that ends when a friend of hers is murdered. The natural inclination is for everyone to protect Sophie, but the lawyer/hacker isn’t about to sit back and let her friends do all the work. She does what it takes to bring the bad guy who hurt her friend to justice.

Speaking of protection, that’s what Rhys sets out to do when Justine decides to track her wayward husband (Ness Bautista, Sense 8, The Last Ship) down. It involves gun runners and highly illegal Cuban cigars. Plus, something the show does so well, this story spawns another storyline in the form of a betrayal from Rhys’ recent past.

Tina: A lot happened in “The Birthday Party” and, once again, I loved every bit of it. So much so I’m not sure where to start. I do want to throw in some adjectives I often use to describe this show.

This episode was fun, fierce, flirty and potentially frustrating depending on who you ship. Let’s just say I’m a bit confused right now. I blame the actors on this show because almost everybody seems to have chemistry with each other. It makes picking sides or ships or whatever you want to call them very, very hard.

I’m saying all this because I loved loved loved the Alice/Ethan dynamic. I’m sorry, Ben! I still love you and Alice. I really do. But Ethan’s entry into the mix is creating lots of confusion for me, I’m not going to lie.

Kudos to Mireille Enos, Peter Krause, Warren Christie and Sonya Walger. Because when these different pairings are together — Alice/Ben, Ben/Margot, Alice/Ethan — I see so much awesomeness. And I root for them in those scenes. See why I’m having a bit of a problem, Cortney?

Cortney: You know I do! And I one hundred percent agree. While I have my favorite pairings, it’s becoming clear you could literally put any group of people together on this show and still get screen-popping chemistry.

There’s no denying Alice and Ethan were phenomenal together. From the witty banter to the top-notch takedowns, it felt so natural, while also being electric. And like everyone else, including Alice, I was absolutely certain Ethan was trying to rekindle that flame — of course until he pulled out the dreaded “f” word….fiancee.

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico/ABC

I have to admit, I was a bit disheartened when Alice’s face seemed to drop at this revelation….however, I am MORE than looking forward to meeting this fiancee next week and seeing this suggested double date! If Ethan and Ben’s first face-off was any indication, we’re in for quite a treat! How did you feel about this revelation and Alice’s reaction? And what was your favorite Ethan/Alice moment this week?

Tina: It definitely felt like Alice was not so laser focused on Ben, which is something new and different. And with Ethan, played by the oh so delicious Warren Christie, I can’t blame her. Let’s see. Favorite Alice/Ethan moment. I have to think about this. Honestly I enjoyed the looks they were giving each other. I shouldn’t have been surprised to hear that Ethan has a fiancee but I kind of was. Not for long though. It makes sense.

Hmmm…back to favorite moment. Well, aside from the fact that I adored it when Ben told Alice that Ethan has “the piercing blue eyes of a Siberian husky,” will you hate me if I say it’s when Alice gets off the phone with Ben and she looks up at Ethan and Ethan is looking right back at her and he gives her a cheers of his champagne glass? Because damn. This moment was the first time I thought that this guy is a real competition for Ben.

Cortney: Not at all! I agree and I loved that in between these two great Ethan champagne moments, Alice had this sweet Ben moment that was in no way lessened by Ethan’s Siberian husky eyes. Her love for and chemistry with Ben is still strong.

Tina: Agreed. Yet Alice is distracted by Ethan. On top of that, Ben is distracted by the Margot and Tessa family business. These two might be in trouble. Tell me you thought that the family con matter at the sweet 16 party was as amazing as I did.

Did you see how I used the words “family” and “matter?” That’s in honor of Margot’s criminal rival, Raymond Taggart. I don’t know if you know this but Darius McCrary played the son in the late great ’90s T.G.I.F. hitcom, Family Matters. Margot, Tessa and Ben made his character look real stoopid. Kensington Firm one. Raymond Taggart zero.

Cortney: Hahaha! Well done! I definitely recognized Taggart and I feel like I probably thought it was amazing as you did and then some! This was easily my favorite storyline of this episode.

I don’t know if it was because we were in such anticipation of what the dynamic between these three would look like or if it was simply because their chemistry was off the charts, but everything about this was gold for me.

From watching Tessa arrive to find a yard full of typical 16-year-old girls (I cringed with her!) to Ben’s unexpected interference to Margot saving them all and the gossip-spreading that ensued, it was the perfect con and made all the more impressive that it was done off the cuff.

I can’t help but mention that despite his inclination to play protective (wrist-breaking) papa, even Ben seemed to be impressed with Tessa as they slow-walked out of there flying high on their win.

That being said, while the sweet 16 takedown colored me pink, purple and downright impressed, it was the moment after that that really gave me the family-feels. Watching Margot order room service as the three of them traded quips back and forth felt so natural and, as much as I hate to say it, so “meant to be.”

These three have been together for mere days but instead it felt like a lifetime. And dammit, I actually liked it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never wish for Ben to return to Margot, but it was still nice to see how well they play together.

And remember those googly eyes you mentioned Alice making at Ethan? Yeah, I saw Ben giving those same eyes. Maybe not to Margot but to the family life that “could have been.” I don’t think it spells trouble for Alice, but I have no doubt it will make for some interesting drama in the future.

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico/ABC

Tina: Ben did give the same googly eyes over what could have been, I totally agree. I also agree with you on something else. I loved this mother-daughter mission, especially when the father showed up unexpectedly to try to stop it. Here’s a question: Why does Ben think he could ever put a stop to anything that Margot and Tessa want to do? He’s so naive.

This is one twisted family but I’m totally in love with them and I can’t wait to see more. Philippa Coulthard is a fantastic addition to this show. One of my favorite moments was at the end when Margot told Ben she was ordering three martinis – one for the each of them. After all, Tessa asked and she did earn it. Margot said something to Tessa about her father trying to put his foot down again. And Tessa replied:

“Oh I love it when he does that. Do it again so I can see.”

Tessa has the family sarcasm down. I think it might cause some trouble for Ben and Alice. I don’t think Ben’s going to do anything with Margot (especially after that ending) but it might change some of his thought processes. Like running away with Alice to a far off land where they can live as husband and wife in peace. This might make the permanent FBI informant gig more palatable for him.

Cortney: Yep, I definitely think that island is off the table. And while you’re right that Margot and Tessa are unstoppable, I have to say that Ben and Tessa make a pretty good team as well. That impromptu faux-fight while they were being held captive was both believable and seamless….dare I say, it felt like they were reading each other’s minds. I look forward to more.

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico/ABC

But back to Margot, I will say this isn’t the only relationship of Margot’s that has me amused right now. Lucky for BAlice, her interest in Danny and their you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours partnership seems to be benefitting everyone…as long as you don’t accidentally swipe right on the pictures in Danny’s phone! Danny’s all-business seriousness and Margot’s playful retorts as they discussed Sophie’s friend’s death was one of my favorites:

Margot: You do know I’m not the detective, right? I mean, allegedly that’s you.
Danny: I know but I thought based on your particular skill set…
Margot: You mean murdering people?
Danny: …that you might be able to identify the killer.
Margot: Do you think we all just hang out, having drinks and trading pro tips? Because we do occasionally. His name is Willy Grace. Loves that bathtub gag. Sending you a photo of us all at the Annual Murderer’s Christmas Party.

I don’t know why, but this cracked me up. Partially because the thought of an Annual Murderer’s Christmas party is so absurd, but also because when it comes to Margot, I could actually see it happening. I mean, even murderer’s enjoy eggnog and mistletoe, right?!

Tina: It’s been a little bit since we’ve enjoyed some Margot and Danny fun. I’m still surprised I like them as much as I do. But did you notice that the Danny/Sophie chemistry was back in business in this episode?

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico/ABC

Danny made that call to Margot in order to find out the identity of the man who killed Sophie’s friend Heather. Sophie felt a bit responsible considering she enlisted Heather to hack into Ethan’s company, which left him open for some corporate espionage sabotage. Heather was collateral damage. And even though Sophie stepped up to help ensure justice was served (the ultimate bad guy was Ethan’s rival, Marcus Nash, played by J. Downing), it was nice to see Sophie and Danny be in each other’s vicinity again.

At the end of the episode Danny and Sophie were sitting together and Ethan asked Alice if the two were together. It seemed natural for him to ask that because I saw the sparks too. I might be back on board the Danny and Sophie bandwagon. Although, I also adore Danny/Margot. Having said that, Margot was a bit busy (getting busy) with a returned Felicity (Shivani Ghai, Dominion), who says she wants to cause trouble. I wonder if this trouble will head Rhys’ way.

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico/ABC

Cortney: Before we get to Felicity and Rhys, I have to go back to Sophie for a minute to discuss how awesomely badass she was in this episode. As you mentioned in the intro, everyone expected her to be a fragile flower, but instead she was ready to jump in and do whatever it took to get revenge. That scene in the street where she was controlling the killer’s car, sending him forward and back and with more than a few cases of whiplash, was absolutely priceless. She was absolutely fearless and I loved seeing her in the field and so confident in her abilities. She is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

Okay, now on to other matters. I have to admit, when Rhys was talking about Felicity, I didn’t remember her (or her history with Margot) at all. Let alone the fact that it was because of Felicity that we were first introduced to Rhys as the “Benefactor” in Season 1. I just figured it was someone in the past that we would eventually learn more about….that being said, I love that we already know her and that the drama is so much more than I remembered!

After all, Rhys did supposedly kill her last time they were in the same room and as far as I’m concerned, you can’t get much more dramatic than that! Obviously this is going to bring inevitable pandemonium for Margot, Rhys and most likely Justine.

So now, on to Justine and Edgar. I’m still processing how I feel about the fact that Agent Edgar is still voluntarily undercover with the FBI and divorced Justine to protect her and so she could go on with her life, even though he still loves her. Is it noble? Yes. Does it also feel a bit cliche? Definitely.

Not to mention the front door make-out before Justine even knew the truth (really?!) and the fact that she “asked” Rhys if she and Edgar could spend the night at his house…that was a bit of a slap in the face. Especially after Rhys made such a noble effort to puff up his chest and advocate for “his friend” Justine.

Tina: Snap judgment time. I didn’t feel an instant connection between Justine and Eddie, which I guess is natural considering they’ve been apart for eight months. Justine is larger than life to me. Eddie doesn’t seem like he’s in the same league.

And I love how Rhys has a crush on Justine and I see so much potential with these two. On paper the con artist and the FBI agent are a disaster. But I feel like she’s already helped make him a better man (although I don’t ever want him to get better better. I like his ethical shadiness. I love his willingness to not just bend the rules but shatter them. I don’t want him to ever truly be a good guy. I know these two would never work but I’d love to see them try at least once).

Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico/ABC

And it was adorable how jealous he was but still wanted to protect her and that Justine thanked him for trying to protect her. But may I remind both Rhys and Eddie that Justine can protect herself? She can take care of herself. She can also take care of them. Just saying.

Still, Rhys dropped a tiny bit of knowledge about loving someone who betrayed him and she was gone. I also forgot about Felicity until she showed up alive at Margot’s at the end. Felicity and Margot ended up somewhere they spent a lot of last season…in bed. I’m curious as to how she’s going to affect the canvas now that she’s back. And what does she have in store for Rhys?

Random Notes:

-I love that Margot and Ben love Steak Frites along with a martini. That’s like a perfect meal for me. (Really anything combined with “frites” and a martini is good in my book)

-I’m not sure how I”m going to react to meeting Ethan’s fiancee in the next episode.

-The dialogue continues to be crackling good. I love the writers of this show.

-Did you see the anchor they used in the newscast? Jay Jackson is constantly called on to play reporter/anchors. I first was introduced to him on Parks and Recreation where he played a journalist/TV host named Perd Hapley. Then I noticed him on Scandal. And he’s also played one on Supergirl. And now The Catch. I just looked up Jackson. Turns out in real life, he was a reporter here in Los Angeles. I just realized I never watch the local L.A. news so I had no idea.

-I know Eddie was trying to protect Justine but the breaking up and divorcing via email = not cool. Justine deserved better. I’m with you, Cortney. Not sure how I feel about Justine reconnecting with her husband as quickly as she did.

-Why did Ben invite Ethan to dinner? What was he trying to accomplish?

-Meanwhile, Ben and Alice continue to be adorbs especially when he’s pretending he wants to go to sleep and she’s all, fine. Then I’ll call Ethan. Alice got what she wanted. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure Ben did too.

Cortney: I agree on all fronts. Eddie didn’t “pop” at all…he was just there and such a wet blanket. That’s a problem on any show, but particularly this one where all the other character spew verve and charisma. And divorcing someone via email…that’s just cruel. I don’t care how deep undercover you are.

And while I agree that Justine can take care of herself, I have to admit that sadly, my opinion of her as a strong, tough women changed just a little when she so easily fell bad in to Eddie’s arms after being on the verge of wanting to “kill him.” It just didn’t feel true to her character. That being said, I’m keeping an open mind and curious to see how she and Rhys (and hopefully Troy) work to get him off the hook.

Tina: OMG. Troy, I almost forgot. They put clothes on him, Cortney. CLOTHES!

Cortney: Yep. And he was still just as entertaining. Shallow Hot Guy Alert, Revoked!

And yes, while I’m eager to see how Felicity plays in to all of this, I’m even more interested to meet Ethan’s fiancee! From the promo, it looks like she’s a poor-man’s Alice…which begs the question, did Ethan really move on or did he just find a “new” Alice?? Whatever the situation, count me in!

And I don’t know why Ben invited Ethan to dinner…maybe a keep-your-friends-close-and-enemies-closer situation? Either that or Ben is just a big fan of dinner parties. First he invited Tommy and Rhys over for one, then last week he suggested that he and Alice have Tessa over for dinner. He doesn’t seem the least bit threatened by Ethan, but then again, who knows what Ben has up his sleeve.

That being said, while we’re pitching dinner party ideas, can we PLEASE have a scene with Rhys and Tessa already?? I can hardly believe these two haven’t met yet and after hearing the story about how Rhys introduced Ben and Margot then left them high and dry, I have no doubt Tessa is a big fan of her Uncle Rhys already. I mean, can you imagine the trouble those two could get in to?! I can and I’m more than ready for it! In the meantime, steak frites for everyone!

The Catch airs Thursday nights at 10/9c on ABC.

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