Is it possible to walk a fine line between having it all or going too far? That' part of the premise behind the first season of ABC's "Mistresses," which followed four friends who bonded over their complicated personal lives. The results may have awkward and disappointing at times, but the show had some memorable moments as well. It's early to say if there will be a second season, but let's hope that there is a chance for that happen especially with how the last few episodes have gone.
"Mistresses" followed four friends as they struggled to stay sane with the complex Los Angeles dating world. Savannah "Savi" Davis (Alyssa Milano) was a responsible attorney who had a loving husband in Harry (Brett Tucker), but their marriage struggled under the weight of their struggle to get pregnant. Their constant fighting over the issue led Savi to have a one night stand with her flirty colleage Dominic Taylor (Jason George). Much to Savi's surprise, she ended up getting pregnant but she had no idea who the father was. She was struggling under the weight of her secrets and the fact that she was forced to reveal a few truths for the sake of her health. Now, she was torn whether to be with her estranged husband or focus on a new romance once the baby was born. Savi's younger sister Josslyn Carver (Jes Macallan) was an impulse free spirit who bounced from one casual fling after another without forming any true attachments. She had a brief but meaningful relationship with Alex (Shannyn Sossamon) that allowed her to find some semblance of love before one impulsive encounter wrecked it all. Their friends April Malloy (Rochelle Aytes) and Karen Kim (Yunjin Kim) also dealt with some complicated arrangement as well. April was struggling with moving on over the death of her husband when some unexpected truths threatened to derail everything she worked so hard for. Karen was a psychiatrist who broke more than one professional rule as they got involved with a now deceased patient and then his son Sam (Erik Stocklin) within the span of a little over a year. Will Savi and her friends have to be punished for their actions or will they manage to find true happiness?
In terms of questions, the show posed some valuable ones about life, love and morality. Unfortunately, the show made some mistakes in trying to balance the tone with the darker material in the earlier episodes. The first handful of episodes had the characters taking themselves way too seriously that viewers didn't get much of a chance to enjoy Savi's impulsive fling with a co-worker. Even though Milano's Savi beat herself up too much, the paternity story was one the show's more interesting plots in the latter half of the season. Seeing George and Tucker fight over Milano was an interesting twist that allowed the men be more than eye candy. Unfortunately, the show's love triangle was rather uneven because Milano had more chemistry with George than she did with Tucker. She also shared more scenes with George than she did with Tucker, which also played a role in this story as well. Sadly, the show's biggest casualty with Kim's wildly uncomfortable storyline that involved her character sacrifice her professional reputation on a love affair and a one night stand that were both doomed to fail from the start. It was confusing for viewers to have Kim's Karen feel guilty over her past transgressions, but it was perplexing to have her repeat her mistake with her deceased lover's son. Stocklin was convincing in his role as the young man who had a hidden agenda that was disturbing to watch from start to finish. Hopefully, he will get the chance to play another role that allow him to explore his light and dark sides at the same time. The only bright spot out of Kim's story was the appearance of Penelope Ann Miller as an unhinged widow who was focused on revenge to the point where a body count was inevitable. She made for a great campy villainess who enjoyed her role being so over the top. It's a shame that her role was going to be clearly short lived once her plan came to light.
As breakout stars, Aytes and Macallan seemed to lead the pack from start to finish due to silly but relatable storylines that made viewers root for, even when they wanted to cringe. Aytes' April was designed to be a widow who dealt with everyday problems like how to provide for her daughter and decide when it was time to date again. Once she made that decision, that's when the crazy problems came up out of the woodwork. Aytes' ability to ground her story with her realistic disbelief and frustration made it worth watching, even when her story veered off into one too many unexpected directions. Her most memorable scene came when she struggled with the realization that her dead husband was actually alive and that he lied to her about many different things during their marriage. She gave April the right amount of anger and hurt that made viewers want April to fight back instead of listening to reason. Macallan's Joss, on the other hand, had the challenging task of being the show's resident free spirit who was allowed some personal growth before reverting back to at least one old habit. She gave the show a much needed jolt of humor and enough guilty pleasure material week after week to keep things interesting. Macallan's Joss was basically the character that many viewers would love to be who spoke their mind regardless of the consequences. It's refreshing, but it allow caused some much needed tension down the line. Her most memorable scene came when Macallan and Milano had a horrible fight after Savi's secret came out. The scene allowed both women to explore their characters' sisterly bond and how it could be broken over such a betrayal, even though the rift was short lived. Let's just hope that the show won't have the same shelf life as Joss and Savi's fight.
"Mistresses" aired its season finale on September 9th at 9:00 PM on ABC. There's a chance that the episode could've been prevented due to "Monday Night Football." If that's the case, check your local listings to see when the episode is slated to air next.
Verdict: Unfortunately, the show's fate remains uncertain due to its inability to make a firm decision on tone before the season was halfway done. Hopefully, the season finale's many twists will allow for the show to be given an opportunity to have another season to right some wrongs.
TV Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)