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TV Review: Hellcats – “Don’t Make Promises (You Can’t Keep)”

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Usually when a show is about to take a month or so off, they offer some kind of big finale, often ending with a cliffhanger. Not so this time with the CW’s Hellcats. I won’t say that last night’s episode is bad, but it certainly isn’t one of the best. In fact, the episode I would have wanted going into the hiatus aired two weeks ago. It’s a shame they couldn’t have switched those around. Ah, well.

Savannah (Ashley Tisdale) gets the most interesting, juiciest plot this week. While at her house, Kathy (Magda Apanowicz, Caprica) lets slip that Savannah’s little sis, Charlotte (Emma Lahana), is pregnant with Noah’s (Tom Stevens) baby. Noah is Savannah’s ex, and he hooked up with Charlotte the night Savannah last rejected him. Now Charlotte and Noah are engaged. Noah admits to Savannah that he really has feelings for her, and asks her what she wants him to do. Savannah breaks the news to Charlotte, who denies it, but breaks off the engagement.

I have found the stories about Savannah’s family fascinating. I like that they are uber-religious, and that causes them issues, including teen pregnancy. I firmly believe that parents who are too strict risk their children rebelling. It’s a shame that Noah is such a slime ball; he had seemed like a decent guy up until now. But there aren’t any better adjectives for a guy who impregnates the sister of the girl he likes.

It’s great to see Savannah strength here. Right from the beginning, there has always been a force within her, especially evident when she is around her mother. Her character is not rebellious for rebellion’s sake, but she has an inner passion that benefits herself and those around her; she stands up for what she believes when necessary. Her character may possibly be my current favorite in what has become a very large cast.

I think we are supposed to have our heartstrings tugged by Marti’s (Aly Michalka) search for information on her long-gone father. I am not feeling it. As Dan (Matt Barr) points out, if Marti really wants to know, she would have demanded it a long time ago. Wanda’s (Gail O’Grady) refusal to cooperate with her isn’t really a good excuse; that doesn’t usually stop Marti. Wanda may have gone into a downward spiral once Marti pressed her years ago, but that is nothing new either, and should not have been enough to make Marti give up for the next however-many years.

The competition between the cheerleading squads is much more satisfying. Likely because of Savannah’s history, there is obviously great rivalry between Memphis Christian, who doesn’t have a cool nickname, and the Hellcats, who don’t either, but act like they do. That last line was not intendied to insult, but “Hellcats” is teeming with corniness, trying to insert drama where none exists. Anyway, watching them square off is wonderful, and I enjoyed how many of their moves match up, emphasizing that both are very good.

I also like the hint at something brewing between Lewis (Robbie Jones) and Kathy. We don’t know enough about Kathy yet to know if she is a good match for him or not, but the scene we get of her away from cheerleader feuds make her seem sweet. Lewis has been hurt by multiple girls, and doesn’t deserve to have to put up with a high maintenance woman. Plus, I adore the actress who plays Kathy, so the more she is involved in the show, the better.

The chemistry between Vanessa (Sharon Leal) and Derrick (D.B. Woodside, 24, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) has been off for awhile, so it’s no surprise that they broke up last week. I admire Woodside greatly, and hope the series sees fit to keep him coming around. That being said, Vanessa isn’t having any better luck with Red (Jeff Hephner). Perhaps it is because she is sneaking around, ashamed of tossing aside Derrick, but so far, I’m not seeing this spark they supposedly have. Either go for it or don’t, but if there isn’t anything there, don’t force or fake it.

Overall, Hellcats is having a pretty good first season. I hope it hasn’t peaked too early, with that wonderful take down of Bill Marsh (Aaron Douglas – also great) already having happened. A new major arc is needed fast to fill out the rest of the season when the show returns next month.

Hellcats airs Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET on the CW.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com