‘Life Unexpected’: Step up and step out

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This week’s episode was brought to you by Drink a Date, hosted by radio personalities Cate (Shiri Appleby) and Ryan (Kerr Smith). Drinking and dating? What could possibly go wrong? Before we get to that, Baze (Kristoffer Polaha) had to score the event to save his bar and pay Lux (Brittany Robertson) back for the rent. So how does one steal an event from the bar across the street? By calling in an anonymous tip on underage drinking, of course. Being the good citizen that he is, Baze then stepped up and offered to host the event at his bar.

What else is required for Drink a Date, you might be asking? An outfit, of course. Cate takes Ryan shopping and asks him, “What do you think I have a better chance of pulling off? These high waisted jeans or a zip-up jumper?” One word: Neither! Also, asking a straight male for fashion advice? You’re going to get nowhere. Ryan called the former mom jeans, but at least he later joked they turned him on. Another outfit made him happy because it had easy access. Is it just me or were Ryan and Cate feeling particularly frisky this episode? Between the almost sex in the dressing room to relieve that infamous “sexual tension” – or just “tension,” as Cate calls it – and the almost bedroom sex, which were both interrupted by a call from Baze, there sure were a lot of sexy times in this episode. And I appreciated that after Cate went shirtless in the dressing room, Ryan took his shirt off in the bedroom. I’m glad the show provides for equal opportunity ogling.

Back at school, Lux has gotten suspended for selling that bong lamp on school grounds last week. Baze doesn’t think it’ll affect her future or college applications, but Cate is freaked out. I’m not sure who’s right here because I was a good girl who never got suspended. Do colleges look at that stuff? Cate is determined to get Lux unsuspended and goes to see the principal. She gives her Lux’s case file, which is filled with art projects and a sweet, but sad letter to Santa asking for (Ryan pauses before he reads this), “One mom and one dad.” Unfortunately, Lux’s nasty, little classmate is conveniently standing nearby. She makes photocopies of the file and plasters it on Lux’s locker, outing Lux as a liar and a foster care kid. I felt bad for Lux, who lost her only friend at the new school, but I also understood where the other girl was coming from. Lux had told her a very elaborate lie and sold her a bong lamp, which didn’t really belong to Jerry Garcia (“We Googled him. He’s dead,” she said.)

Lux took out her frustrations on Cate, yelling at her for outing her secret – that no one ever wanted her in 15 years. Cate couldn’t understand why Lux would lie about her past, and Lux asked her why she lies about her and Ryan. Her whole persona is a lie. She really got her there. And then for the final retaliation, Lux outed Cate and Ryan to the entire Date a Drink crowd. It was a cruel move, but it was about time these two just told the truth. How long did they really think they could keep up the facade? Somebody was bound to catch them together in public during a private moment like, say, that dressing room makeout.

All the fighting between Cate and Lux seemed to bring Lux and Baze together. She retreated to his place and he started calling her “kiddo.” I may have “awwwed” a little each time he said it. But Baze still felt like the loser dad. He couldn’t even take her to a Disney movie, much less Disneyland. Surprisingly, it was heated confrontations with Cate and Ryan that got him to step up and take charge. Granted it was sneaky, but getting the Drink a Date helped bring in some much needed money and allowed Baze to pay Lux back. Baze and Lux also had a heart-to-heart in which he maturely admitted that he couldn’t let Lux hide out at his place forever. She had to go back to Cate’s. But does Cate want her back? Feeling like she had reached the end of her rope, Cate told Lux she was doing her best, but Lux was continuing to push her away. At some point, Lux was just going to have to take it or leave it. Cate feared her ultimatum meant Lux had left for good when she returned to a dark, empty home, but then she noticed the attic entrance was open. Lux had returned home, as had the bong lamp.


A couple of quick notes:

– Math (Austin Basis) teaches English? I guess it would have been too sickeningly cute if he taught his namesake.

– Math takes over for Ryan as the voice of reason this week, getting Lux to forgive Cate. But don’t worry, Ryan was still very sage and also very sweet. He’s happy he’s with Cate – take that listeners! – and happy they can kiss in public now. And if Lux isn’t home, he’ll still be there for Cate. Do guys like him exist in real life? And where can I find one?

– Fans of the Canadian series “Being Erica,” which airs on SoapNet in the U.S., may have recognized Erin Karpluk as Cate and Ryan’s boss, Alice. Meanwhile, “Everwood” fans probably noticed that the principal was played by Merrilyn Gann (Rose Abbott on “Everwood”). I see this as more positive proof that “Life Unexpected” is more like “Everwood” than any other WB series.

Readers, were you excited to see some familiar faces? Are you glad Cate and Ryan’s relationship is out in the open? Is it wrong of me to admit that I kind of like Lux’s horrible new friends better than her foster friends?

– Vlada Gelman (Follow my TV musings on Twitter: @stayingin)


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Photo: Cate (Shiri Appleby), right, tries to get through to Lux (Brittany Robertson). Credit: Jack Rowand / The CW