Is it possible to overcome a tragedy and still come out on top when the odds seem to be against you? That's part of the premise behind the second season of Lifetime's "Devious Maids," which followed various residents of different classes coming together to maintain their secrets. Sure, the nighttime soap opera format has been done before, but the show has managed to put a new spin on the familiar genre with some new characters added to the cast.
"Devious Maids" followed about three months after the events of the season one finale with life in Beverly Hills moving on a lot faster than many of them expected, especially for four friends who bonded through working as maids. Zoila Diaz (Judy Reyes) was a hardworking maid who was a devoted mother to her daughter Valentina (Edy Ganem), until one mistake forced Valentina to run away for a relationship that didn't work out. She returned home without informing her family, and her near reconciliation with Zoila ended badly. She ended up poised to becoming Adrian (Tom Irwin) and Evelyn Powell's (Rebecca Wisocky) new maid. It turned out that Zoila and Valentina weren't the only ones with problems. Former maid Carmen Luna (Roselyn Sanchez) entered a fake engagement to the very famous Alejandro Rubio (Matt Cedeno) in an effort to protect his image and start up her own music career. Carmen's new life caused friction with her friendship with Alejandro's most loyal employee Odessa (Melinda Page Hamilton), but they managed to get things back on track. Rosie Falta (Dania Ramirez) was falsely arrested in an effort to keep her away from her lover/boss Spence Westmore (Grant Show), which ended up backfiring against Spence's vengeful wife Peri (Mariana Klaveno) in the worst way possible. Rosie and Spence still broke off their relationship after one of Peri's latest schemes threatened to keep them apart for good. Unfortunately, the one who seemed to be in the most danger was Marisol Duarte (Ana Ortiz) who was now engaged to Nicholas Deering (Mark Deklin) after a whilrwind romance prevented her from finding out about the mysterious death of his first wife. Nicholas' suspicious maid Opal (Joanna P. Adler) also threatened to derail everything before it even began. Will the four women be able to stay alive and sane as danger threatened them at every turn?
In terms of questions, the show's season premiere posed a few big plot mysteries that will keep viewers guessing for a long while. The addition of the Deering family and their dark secret provided the episode with the right amount of darkness with a hint of a Alfred Hitchcock movie. The show's early villains appeared to be Deklin's Nicholas and Adler's Opal who had a twisted dynamic that will likely end with one or both of them dead. Deklin designed Nicholas to be a romantic man who had a dark side that was close to coming everytime his first wife's name was mentioned. He had a strong rapport with Ortiz, but Deklin had a slightly stronger one with Adler that should continue to get more interesting however long the plot runs this season. The other potential mystery involved a break-in during the premiere at the Powell residence that changed the ever complicated relationship between the equally deranged couple for better or worse. Irwin and Wisocky continued to find humor in even the most disturbing of circumstances. Early hints in the premiere led to the possibility that this plot somehow tied in with the Deering story, but it's too early to tell. The show also managed to use its supporting players to the best of their ability, especially Susan Lucci's Genevieve, who put a much more humorous spin on what could've been a limited role as a rich housewife. The show's only potential flaw could be in the somewhat melodramatic plot between Ramirez's Rosie and Show's Spence. Sure, they did have some chemistry, but Rosie needs to find work outside of the Westmore house to make that on-screen relationship work. Only time will tell if that's the case.
As for breakout performances, Ortiz, Ganem and Reyes led the pack as their characters came into their own this season. Ortiz's Marisol was looking to explore the lighter side of her personal life without being prepared for the harsh reality surrounding her new fairy tale. She managed to give Marisol a hidden strength as she was starting to overcome strong adversity from Opal, and even her future husband. Her strongest scene came from the premiere when Marisol confronted Adler's Opal about intentionally causing some tension between her and Nicholas. The scene managed to foreshadow the growing antagonistic relationship between Marisol and Opal as the season started to progress. Ganem's Valentina has evolved from being a love sick teenager into a cynical young woman looking to make it on her own. She provided a sadness in Valentina that wasn't there before as she entered voluntarily into her mother's profession as a maid, which could spell trouble for her down the line. Reyes' Zoila has now become a devoted mother in search of her daughter, even though she's closer than she may think. She projected Zoila's strength and sadness as she saw her estranged daughter for the first time in months. Ganem and Reyes' strongest scene was their first scene together in the premiere as they tried to move around their true feelings, but their anger got in the way just when they were close enough to forgive each other. Let's hope that this story won't get resolved for at least another episode just to see where things are going for the time being.
"Devious Maids" premiered on April 20th and airs Sundays at 10:00 PM on Lifetime.
Verdict: The show's balance of comedy and drama help to keep viewers interested in the twists and turns of each week. The cast also managed to get plenty of opportunities to shine as well, which worked out well for everyone involved.
TV Score: 4 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)