Red Band Society: Season 1/ Episode 1 – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

In probably the best series premiere I have seen, perhaps in my life, we are given this vibrant little world which will lead you to falling in love with each and every single character. Even the obnoxious one.

Review (with Spoilers)

Though it is unfortunate both Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis, as well as Gabourey Sidibe too probably, seem not to get a lot of good, and meaty, movie roles, thank the heavens they are more than willing to come to TV. For while Spencer isn’t necessarily the star of Red Band Society, at the same time she is the good type of Trojan Horse. For unlike Piper in Orange is the New Black, Spencer is the type of Trojan Horse which brings a viewer’s interest for amongst all these unfamiliar faces, she is the face of someone you trust to be part of something good. Though perhaps good isn’t a strong enough word, but being that this is but the first episode I don’t think it would be right to say immaculate yet.

Topic 1: Meet the Staff – Nurse Jackson (Octavia Spencer), Dr. McAndrew (Dave Annable), Brittany (Rebecca Rittenhouse), and Ruben (Griffin Dunne).

I must admit, with me being someone who watches Nurse Jackie, I found the hospital staff to be a little too similar to that show. Nurse Jackson, whose name isn’t too different from Jackie’s, is the head nurse, so it seems, and she is your usual tough as nails, don’t feed me no BS, type of nurse who can quickly snap into a sweetheart if she is invested in you, or if you seem like a baby bird kicked out the nest too soon; then there is a character who is a flamboyant gay nurse; and then a Zoey type girl named Brittany, who is new, overly bubbly, and doing so much to try to impress Nurse Jackson. Something which she doesn’t really appreciate for she just wants Brittany to do her job so she doesn’t have to.

Leaving Dr. McAndrew, who doesn’t come off as a Nurse Jackie character, who is a prominent surgeon who the pilot doesn’t flesh out much past us learning he is a prominent doctor, and then you have the hospital’s big time donors: Ruben. He is a bit of an odd ball who lives in the hospital, but isn’t sick. However, in a way he sort of acts like the father figure to Nurse Jackson’s motherly ways, so a lot of the kids, especially Leo and Dash, seem to really like him.

Topic 2: Meet The Kids – Kara (Zoe Levin), Charlie (Griffin Gluck), Jordi (Nolan Sotillo), Dash (Astro), Emma (Ciara Bravo) and Leo (Charlie Rowe)

When it comes to the kids, you get the heart and soul of the show and with most of the kids suffering from cancer, eating disorders, being in a coma, or a weak heart, each one has some sort of ailment which surprisingly doesn’t lead to some sort of sob story. These group of teens instead are a diverse group who may have suffered, but their personalities and their possible stories may lead to some of the best performances and storylines outside of an ABC Family show.

To give you a quick summary: Kara is a bitchy cheerleader with a weak heart who, once people actually call her out on her actions, and she gets diagnosed, mellows out and acts like she has some sense; Charlie is our narrator who seems like a real sweetheart, but unfortunately with him being in a coma, it seems mostly he will either be in his bed, or talking to the cast while they are under anesthesia, or in a coma themselves (1); Jordi is an American, who came up from Mexico, because he wanted Dr. McAndrew to be his surgeon to help hopefully rid him of the cancer within his leg; Dash is your token Black kid who is urban-ish, and seems to be like Pharrell between when he first came out and when he started working with Robin Thicke (2); Emma is Leo’s ex (3) who is a brilliant young girl, but with her battle against having an eating disorder she is stuck in the hospital for now; and Leo is the unofficial leader of the ward and has been facing off against cancer for years. In fact, he is the one who starts the Red Band Society. For the red bands are from each and every major moment he had from being admitted to losing his leg, and he gives all the aforementioned kids a band not just for solidarity, but to hopefully instill luck, protection, and hope.

Topic 3: One Last Hoorah! – Jordi, Leo, Kara, Emma, and Charlie

Something that Jordi needed throughout the episode for him coming to Dr. McAndrew wasn’t scheduled but done based off hope, something which is validated. Though he is sort of the odd man out when he arrives. If just because Leo hasn’t had a roommate in a while (4) and Jordi overhears his displeasure about suddenly getting one. But with Jordi following Leo around, getting to meet everyone, and showing he is a cool dude, he quickly becomes part of the family.

Making it so that Jordi’s final night as a two legged person gets a party. Something Ruben helps with by setting up the roof, and Kara helps too by blackmailing Charlie’s dad (5). Thus also allowing her to integrate into the family, despite pissing so many people off when she first got there.

Overall

I’ll follow this show until the end. If just because I honestly fell in love with each and every character and I want to know as much about their lives as can be told. For from the staff to the kids, there are just so many stories, of which you can foresee both laughter and tears. And with Spencer’s performance, I think Kerry Washington may have some company in the fight for Best Actress in a Drama Series soon.

Collected Quote(s)

“Luck isn’t getting what you want, it’s surviving what you don’t want.”

— “Pilot.” Red Band Society

“If you’re going to lie, lie well and know who you are lying to.”

— “Pilot.” Red Band Society

“Your body isn’t you, your soul is you, and they can never cut into your soul.”

— “Pilot.” Red Band Society

“What hurts most is not that it’s gone, what hurts is remembering it was ever there. But then with time, that memory stops hurting too.”

— “Pilot.” Red Band Society

Things To Note

  1. Charlie has seemingly talked to Leo before the series started, and he was under anesthesia, and they had a really reaffirming conversation.
  2. Dash has Pulomnary fibrosis.
  3. Leo and Emma’s former love affair seems so cute, they matched each other’s wits and intelligence, but I think because of Leo losing hope to get better, and with Emma’s battle possibly being one which wasn’t so Pyrrhic, I think he ruined it on purpose. Though they still bicker enough with each other to make it seem those feelings aren’t dead. Though with Jordi entering the game, it is hard to say whether Emma may just hang around Jordi because he is cool, and to make Leo jealous, or if that may actually become something. As for Leo, though him and Kara could become something, Dash moves in on her and with him being fun, and trying to not die a virgin, I don’t know if Leo may want to compete with his best friend.
  4. The majority of the kids, either in their room or area, have really decked out spaces which help show off their personality.
  5. Kara faints and ends up meeting Charlie in comatose world and during their chat he asks for pizza, since he hopes it may wake him up, and for Kara to tell his dad he knows it isn’t his fault. Something which is significant since Charlie’s dad got into an accident which caused Charlie’s coma, and due to the accident he lost a lot of his rights as a parent. However, with his face not documented, he has for some time been visiting Charlie as a volunteer who plays him music. Something Kara discovers, and uses as blackmail material, to get beer for Jordi’s party. Though I doubt that will be her last favor.

How Would You Rate This?

Negative Mixed Positive

About Amari Sali 3366 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.

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