Still Star-Crossed 1×03 Review: All the World’s a Stage

After a week break where I honestly missed this show more than I expected us, our favorite trope-filled hour of escapism is back, and this time, the plot picks up, we get way less of Escalus and his pining for Rosaline and more of what we’re here for – the contrived business of the arranged marriage between two people who hate each other.

I’ll admit, like most girls, I once found Romeo and Juliet the height of romance. I’ve sadly grown up, and have traded Shakespeare’s tragedies for his comedies (Much Ado About Nothing is a masterpiece), but there’s still a little part of me that wishes that damn story had ended happily.

That’s the part that’s both entranced and a bit worried about Still Star-Crossed, even after having devoured the book. I see the tropes, you see the tropes, I’m pretty sure Shonda sees the tropes, for they’re everywhere …so that means we get a happily ever after, right? Right?

We better. And not a happy ending for Escalus – or even one for Benvolio (though I’m very close to just declaring my allegiance to Team Benvolio), but to Rosaline. To the heroine. A happy ending to a strong woman who got handed a raw deal in life, and who still didn’t give up. That’s the kind of heroine we need.

That’s who we want to live happily ever after.



If you don’t think this show is 100% ROSVLIO OTP OMG YAY then you probably haven’t been paying attention. But that’s okay, I’m here to point out the signs, even though the show pretty much proclaimed this in the first episode.

Think of this as a romance novel with a very contrived plot, because that’s basically what it is. Sure, the show differs a bit from the novels (not greatly, yet) and the production is top-notch, but this is basically still a tropey trope filled with trope and covered with a trope sherry. You know, the kind of novel you read because it leaves you with a smile in your face and ends in happily ever after.

Could the happily ever after for Rosaline be Escalus? Yes, it could be. Will it? No way. He already showed that he doesn’t think she’s the most important thing, the city is. And, of course, there’ll be a moment later where he’ll reconsider, a moment later where he’ll change his mind, a moment when she’ll waver. That’s the whole point of this. But, by then, she’ll already be too deep in with Benvolio – as will we, probably. There’ll be no going back.

Make no mistake – The Montague, Benvolio, he’s the real hero of this story of a heroine that doesn’t really need a hero to save her, but a partner to walk through life with her. In a way, that’s also what he wants and he doesn’t think he can get with her. But, if both the hero and the heroine knew it from the beginning, what kind of journey would this be?



Love conquers all, Escalus says, and it’s a joke for him, in a way, for he’s standing there in front of the woman he loves, pledging her to another man he knows full well she doesn’t care for, a man that doesn’t care for her, and yet he’s using these words, playing the part. The ironies of life, though, is that after Escalus says these words, the events that will conspire to bring Rosaline and Benvolio together follow shortly after.

So no, he’s not speaking the words and making it happen, but in a way, his lack of spine, the fact that, despite the fact that he clearly cares for Rosaline and that, if he were any other man, he’d be fighting for her tooth and nail, are the reasons why this story is going in the direction it’s going – towards a grand love for Benvolio and Rosaline, one that, ironically, might indeed bring their families together once and for all.

If only Romeo and Juliet had known enough to play this game.

Other things to note:

  • Lashana Lynch looks gorgeous. She exudes light as Rosaline.
  • But – let’s be honest. Everyone looks gorgeous. The costumes are out of this world amazing.
  • I have no love lost for Escalus.
  • “My heart cannot wait until the day we wed” – if only the main characters in tropey circumstances such as this one understood that saying those words is like wishing them to happen.
  • “Cheer up. Remember, you’re in love.” – HA.
  • But, since trope, I bet he’s gonna fall first and he’s gonna fall hard.
  • Paris, stop being charming right this second.
  • There never was a worst actor than Benvolio Montague.
  • Who’s buying that sham? They look like they’d rather be anywhere than with each other.
  • I said something bad about mini-Cersei Isabella? I take it back. She’s my fave.
  • I read the book in the week break between episode two and three and now I know too much and I’m trying very hard not to spoil you all but it’s hard.
  • You know running away is impossible, Benvolio. If Stella knows it, so do you.
  • “You have already lost her, Escalus. If you turn back now it’ll have been for nothing.” – PREACH, ISABELLA. Preach.
  • I know we’re supposed to feel sorry for Escalus, but I don’t.
  • Both Rosaline and Benvolio said sorry to each other before the betrothal. MY FEELS.
  • Running with your hands tied has to be the worst thing ever. I’ve seen couples actually exercising while holding hands, and like …what? No. Thank you for bringing out the knife, Benvolio.
  • “What have we done?” Well, you stood there. Benvolio actually did something. But it’s good that you’re looking at life like you’re an entity already.
  • Benvolio has like a running list of things this dude did to Rosaline. But he’s not smitten, that’s just me.
  • Isabella is going to fix the ambassador problem. I know it, you know it. We all know it.
  • Ghosts? FOR REAL?
  • No way I’m walking into a tomb in the darkness. No way. I’ve seen too many scary movies.
  • Ah, the Shakespeare references. They’re everywhere! Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day, in particular, to Sonet 18, one of the author’s most famous, is notable, but there’s also the names, borrowed from different plays, and a true delight to a nerd like me.

Still Star-Crossed airs Mondays at 10/9c on ABC.

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