Life Sentence, I have to say it’s quite nice to meet you and your story. Bear with me fans, I’m new to reviewing a Pilot, but right out the gate I’m going to say it started a story, and introduced a leading lady, and her family in a way I can only say was: unique.
So why don’t we dive in?
Real Life is Here to Stay
The premise of our story starts with Stella, who’s lived the last eight years with cancer, and has quite literally lived like she’s dying. Going on adventures, telling her whole life cancer story to a wedding shop attendant, and marrying a handsome stranger named Wes whose British accent made him even more instantly handsome. That might be just me, but Stella is kicking it until she kicks the proverbial bucket.
Here’s the kicker, there is no bucket. Her oncologist dropped (the first of many) bombshells: she’s been completely cured! The celebration and joy were rampant for her entire family that evening. The next morning is when reality came knocking for Stella.
Lucy Hale’s voice overs with her actual thoughts to her spoken words, were clever to backdrop how overwhelming real life was to Stella. With a speed that reminded me of the Flash, the story picked up on opening the floodgates of everything her family had kept from her to keep a positive, and supportive environment when she was sick.
The amount of truth bombs ranged from her parents breaking up, mom coming out as Bi and in love with her godmother, and her sister giving up a scholarship to Columbia to stay and take care of her. In Stella’s defense that’s a lot of information to get in one episode, and the way the sped through those was impressive, but sets quite a bar for the rest of the season.
Working is Important, but so is Family
Losing a house due to two mortgages, however, is part of this new reality her family is looking at. To Stella’s honest, endearing credit, she instantly steps into help as best she can by getting a brand new job as a barista, complete with the hat her boss insists she wears. As difficult dying was, living is no picnic. Her own lack of experience with reality, pushes her into the realm of lying to make everything seem okay, even when the opposite is obvious to the one person who in spite of all the craziness has her back.
Wes’s struggle I felt could have been given more time, as opposed to the constant truth bombing, personally. But it felt very real that a man would want to live as who he is than the kind face, he put on for half a year because Stella was dying. Stella’s reluctance to deal with that is hard to miss especially during the babysitting fiasco, but thankfully my favorite part in the hour was her saying it. She’s terrified out of her mind, and as much faith her (stoner) brother has in her to face “uncertain” life, it’s not as scary when someone has your back.
- Meeting Stella and her entire family was a delight, but I’m looking forward to the times where we can slow down and get to know all of them better. All their baggage as it comes out (because I’m sure that’s not all it), their hopes, their dreams, what makes them laugh and frankly these characters.
- Only right off the bat would Stella end up in trouble at her job because her brother is trying to hide from his lady’s husband. Kudos on making me die of laughter.
- The best moments I’d rank were Stella’s talks with Sadie, and Wes. Sadie reminded her of where she was, and how complaining about real life doesn’t make the problems go away. It means as annoying as all of us know they are, we are lucky we get to deal with them. Wes, was honest to a fault, but I admired how it opened the door where Stella could admit her fear. These two have a lot to learn, but I’m rooting for them all the way. It doesn’t hurt Lucy Hale and Elliot Knight’s chemistry is literally off the walls.
How about you guys? What did you think of the first hour of Life Sentence?
Life Sentence airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on the CW.