Since this is my last Still Star-Crossed review (I’m side-eyeing you, ABC, I really am), forgive me if I get a bit …maudlin. Contemplative, even. I’ve never pretended this show was a masterpiece, or even that it was attempting to tell a groundbreaking story. I, however, have always stated that the story this show was telling, it told it well, that visually it was stunning and that the representation we fight for every day was on-screen and both the network and the fans just …failed to support it.
I have also said time and time again that, for a show like this to work, it only needed one thing: chemistry between the two leads, and Still Star-Crossed had that in spades. May the Gods of television give Wade Briggs and Lashana Lynch another chance to play opposite each other – and maybe they give us a chance to enjoy both of these talented actors in something we can fall in love with.
Like we fell in love with them – with Rosvolio.
For those of you who are right now, like me, a bit miffed about the cliffhanger ending – here’s my heartfelt recommendation: Go buy the book this show is based on. It does not end on a cliffhanger. It has a happy ending. It’ll provide closure.
And, even though it seems like more than a long-shot, I’d also say, let’s never stop raising our voices and asking for what we want – for more of the shows, of the couples, of the actors we want. After all, what else can we do but be loud?
Join me as, for one last time, I examine the up and downs of this show that left us too soon.
Wait, did I say ups and downs? I only want to talk about the ups, about Rosaline and Benvolio and about how far they came – with way less screen time than we would have expected, considering the setup. That we care, that we want more, is a testament to the actors, not necessarily the writing – although I will admit that the writing was always best when it came to the two of them.
Rosaline risks absolutely everything in this episode, for Benvolio, just as he did for her in the last episode. They don’t utter words of love – sadly, that’s something the show seems to have reserved for the second season that will not come, but they get as close as we could have hoped.
“Because Rosaline Capulet is my friend,” Benvolio tells Escalus. “I trust you,” Rosaline tells Benvolio, and isn’t that, in a way, bigger than love? Romeo and Juliet loved each other and died for each other but they could have never healed the city because they didn’t trust each other enough to live for each other. Benvolio and Rosaline do. They didn’t choose each other, but they found each other nonetheless and though they are no star-crossed lovers, not really, they are still star-crossed.
The kiss they share, at the end that is not the end, is not goodbye, not really, it’s just an affirmation of their feelings, feelings neither of them dares speak out loud. They love each other, but they don’t love each other because of something as superficial as looks, they love each other because they know who the other is.
And that is the real kind of love. The one, we, the audience, fell in love with. The one we wish we’d gotten more of.
In the end, Still Star-Crossed was anything but a perfect show, and they failed at a lot more things than they succeeded, but they truly did right by these two, and that’s why they will live in forever – in fanfiction, in fanart and in the memory of those who wanted to see themselves in period pieces, those who wanted to feel Shakespeare, to understand it.
For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo, is how Shakespeare ends Romeo and Juliet, and in a way, that’s only because of the possibilities. This feels oddly familiar. We’re not sad because of what we got, we’re sad because of what we could have had and were deprived of.
But before I go, allow me to say thank to – to the actors, for making me feel. That is, literally, all you can ask of a TV show.
May we see each other again.
Other things to note:
- Perhaps the problem with this show – brain over heart – is that they gave very little time to the character development of anyone other than Rosaline and Benvolio, and thus all the reveals seem …well, unearned.
- Paris as the bad guy? Who cares?
- Livia? WHO CARES? Other than Rosaline, that is.
- In fact, at least Escalus has me feeling some things – even if they’re not positive.
- Isabella is the only character other than Rosvolio I have any emotional connection to.
- But I would have still watched this show for Rosvolio, I ain’t gonna lie.
- This is all exemplified by Lady Capulet changing her mind about Rosaline without any discernable reason.
- I don’t care, I don’t understand and I just wanted to fast forward through her scenes.
- The Rosvolio show, that’s what I wanted.
- Escalus is the main character who’s suffered from the show’s wishy washy approach to characterization. He could have been someone we rooted for, instead he was someone that made me go ugh every time I saw him.
- Can you imagine what this show could have been if we’d gotten way more of Rosaline and Benvolio together?
- Do I sound like a broken record yet?
- “Kill me today or kill me tomorrow, it matters not to me. But I will never lie to her. That is why she trusts me.”
- MY HEART.
- Yuck Livia and Paris. YUCK YUCK YUCK.
- “Actually, Uncle, that isn’t worth anything to me at all,” was incredibly satisfying, I’m not gonna lie.
- We got a kiss before the end. That was literally all I wanted.
- I mean, that and more episodes, but, you know …
Still Star-Crossed aired Saturdays on ABC. It has now been canceled.