‘Whiskey Cavalier’ 1×03 Review: When In Rome

It usually takes a while, especially for someone who watches as much TV as I do and is somewhat required to watch it with a critical eye. A while to get in the groove, a while to stop being cynical, a while to go from hey, this has promise, to I love this show and I would protect these characters with my life. It takes a while to become a fan of something.

Talk about the exception to the rule.

Few shows in memory have got me so in as Whiskey Cavalier does, after just three episodes. Timeless is the most recent one I can remember. Because the truth of the matter is, few shows manage to give you humor, realness, a potential OTP, friends-as-family dynamics, male/female friendships, and oh, yes, compelling characters with room to grow. And even less shows manage to do that WITHIN THE SPAN OF THREE EPISODES.

Can you imagine what I’ll be feeling by the end of the season? I’m not even sure a review will be enough then. It hardly feels like enough now.

But that’s what I’m here for, so let’s go into these team’s growing pains as we discuss “When in Rome.”

MORE THAN STEREOTYPES

The funny thing about Whiskey Cavalier is that the show is relying on stereotypes to make the characters work, and of course, they’re also doing the same when it comes to the entire genre. That means that nothing that’s happening on screen is truly new, we’ve seen dynamics like the ones the show is giving us before, other characters have been placed in the same situations, and the tropes are, well tried and true, as they say.

Why then, does the show work? What sets Frankie Trowbridge apart from, say, Kate Beckett? What’s the thing making us invest in this team, this family, over, let’s say, the NCIS family?

If you ask me, the answer is pretty simple – fun. Whiskey Cavalier is not trying to reinvent the wheel by any stretch of the imagination, but it is standing on the side making fun of how the wheel works, even if it IS also a wheel. The show has gotten a tad more serious than it was in the Pilot, but the whole vibe of it, during the first three episodes, has been of a show that isn’t really taking itself all that seriously, even if it’s putting its characters in pretty dangerous situations.

And that’s what sets it apart from the competition. Well, that, and a hell of a lot of chemistry between everyone in the cast, but especially between Scott Foley and Lauren Cohan, who are tasked with leading this series and with making us feel, at every point, that Frankie and Will, no matter how different they are, or maybe because of those differences, really and truly belong together.

Not saying romantically, not yet. First they gotta learn how to truly be partners. Then friends. But hey, that’s how the best OTPs start, isn’t it? And this show has already proven it’s not afraid to lean into the tropes, and it’s really, and truly not afraid to give us what we want, and have fun while doing it.

GROWING PAINS

The team in general experienced some growing pains this week, with Jai rebelling against Susan’s being Susan, Frankie and Will’s different approaches to life and relationships making them clash and Edgar pushing back against his designated role on the team. In the end, they managed to smooth over most of these issues, though thankfully, the episode did very little to fix them.

And I say thankfully because, that’s life. Issues like the ones they faced this week don’t just go away. Susan isn’t going to stop being Susan, and she’s not going to stop noticing things and saying them, Jai is not going to just relinquish control easily tomorrow, and Edgar is not just going to become a field operative just by wishing so. These things take time.

Same goes with Frankie and Will. Frankie might protest too much, but the truth of the matter is, when push comes to shove, she does trust Will, maybe not with her heart, but with her life. And I know in so many ways, for Frankie, that’s easier, but that’s still the first step, and I think in many ways, she’s scared of the fact that she already trusts him as much as she does.

Will is a different matter. He’s used to his charisma working on everyone, used to easy interpersonal relationships, and it’s not going to be like that with Frankie, she’s got too much baggage. But Will isn’t the type to give up, he isn’t the type to stop trying, and I think he’ll find out that, sometimes, when you just infect people with your charm virus, and that’s all people see of you, that can be a little superficial a relationship. With Frankie he’s got a chance to go deeper, a chance for someone to truly know Will, and for him to truly know another person.

For now, this team isn’t a family, but that’s okay. It’s jut been three episodes. The important part is that they want to be. They’ll get there, and we’ll be here watching.

Things I think I think:

  • “Why do you get to drive?”/”Cause I got in first.”
  • I agree, Frankie, that’s not a good system, but boy, is it better than the typical response to THIS question.
  • Yay for progress.
  • What? I’m having flashbacks to Mulder’s whole “I didn’t think your little feet could reach the pedals” shit.
  • I TAKE IT BACK, FRANKIE. He said Ladies first and you mocked him. THIS IS ALL ON YOU.
  • Frankie is stone cold, God. I absolutely love it.
  • I’m so glad this is a training exercise, because boy, did I have questions.
  • Still in love with the credits, btw. In case you were wondering.
  • “You’ve been pissed off for three time zones, what’s up?”
  • God, they’re already married.
  • I hate it that Will is right all the time too, Frankie, but he IS right. You can’t just shoot teammates.
  • She is, indeed, trying to push his buttons, and boy, is it working.
  • But also, Susan is the best self-insert for the audience EVER.
  • The cleaning not being fun thing I’m giving to Frankie.
  • I’m getting feels from Will still calling Edgar “Standish” and the whole “you will’ thing.
  • Hey, this whole case thing sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
  • “You can’t just insult me and buy it back by saying no offense.”/”I can if I don’t care whether you were offended or not. No offense.”
  • I like Jai.
  • “My charm is like a virus.”
  • And she’s already infected. That’s the problem.
  • Frankie, you’re literally the definition of protesting too much right now.
  • “Whatever you decide, I’ve got your back.”
  • Correction, I love Jai.
  • This episode does a great job of establishing everyone’s separate personalities.
  • Also, the Italian is good.
  • SO. MARRIED.
  • He is, indeed, every likable. So, put two and two together Will. Please.
  • The friendship between Susan and Will is life-sustaining.
  • Even I saw that shit coming from inside the bus, how didn’t you?
  • YOU SHOT JAI.
  • “I’m a killer, and now I’m your partner. Enjoy.”
  • The ladies first joke is gonna stick, right?
  • No, Marco, Will is an upgrade.
  • It was totally not necessary to sit on him to disable the bomb, Frankie.
  • Well, if she wasn’t, I will admit I was trying to figure out the eye thing.
  • How in the world did they have enough time to run?
  • Wait, you know what? I DO NOT CARE.
  • Awww, Jai.
  • How can I love these five humans so much already, it’s been just three episodes?
  • AND SOME SPANISH.

Agree? Disagree? Share with us in the comments below!

Whiskey Cavalier airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on ABC.

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