Judging by Being Erica’s latest episode, it looks like the show is falling into a very similar routine week after week this season. I’m disappointed seeing as these are the last few episodes of one of my favourite Canadian television shows. We’re over the half way mark in the show’s final season and some burning issues still remain.
Nevertheless, it was great to see a reunion of sorts as this week’s episode focused on Erica’s (Erin Karpluk) adorable ex-boyfriend and former best friend, Ethan Wakefield (Tyron Leitso).
And WHAT a reunion we get. The eppy opens with not a threesome, but a four-way with our heroine and all her previous beaus – the most recent Adam (Adam Fergus), Kai (Sebastian Pigott) and surprisingly, the aforementioned Ethan. Gotta hand it to CBC for really pushing the boundaries of network television (who could forget the racy scenes in season one’s “Everything She Wants”) But of course, it’s a dream. What else could it be?
But despite this titillating opening scene, the episode overall was riddled with unoriginal and formulaic plot points that left me mostly complacent and unimpressed. There were moments with interesting potential, but ultimately the episode felt like a missed opportunity.
Erica bumps into Ethan happenstance in the streets of Toronto leading to an impromptu lunch. Having both been recently dumped, the two share a genuine moment expressing how they’ve missed each other. It’s been practically two years since they’ve spoken. Here’s an example of some real potential – why not address the fact that two have been best friends for a couple of decades, but after a failed relationship attempt, the established friendship has dissipated? Interesting and relatable stuff, with the potential for some real character development. Admittedly, early in season three, Erica genuinely tried to talk to Ethan after the breakup, but wisely acknowledges that he needed some space. But now that he’s back, I was curious to see what issues would be explored now that some time (and distance) had passed.
Nope. Instead the two go dancing which naturally leads to Erica taking on Ethan as her next patient*. After going back in time on a pretty fruitless adventure and unsuccessful comic relief, Erica gives him a hackneyed pep talk about how he should just “go for it!” and win back his ex. He (of course!) storms out telling her to mind her own business, but comes back the next day (of course!) and submits that she (of course!) was right all along and just tell his ex he “made a terrible mistake” and they skip off into the sunset as the music swells.
*It’s pretty unclear what constitutes a patient to a doctor in-training. Doesn’t the patient need to know that they’re actually a patient?
After the Ethan reunion is tied up in a neat little bow, we come to the meat of the episode: the final scene. Dr. Tom (Michael Riley) starts to question Erica on her recent post-breakup behaviour. (And we know he means business because the quirky background soundtrack has been dropped).
He interrogates her regarding the reasons why she’s been wearing more vibrant (and shorter) dresses, packing on the eyeliner, and winking at men in the streets (that little trollop!) He implies that she’s not dealing with Adam’s rejection and seeking it elsewhere. Erica doesn’t disappoint me (yet) as she fights back stating that she doesn’t need to “dig around” as to why the breakup upsets her. Dressing up makes her feel good about herself. (Incidentally, I don’t find her appearance THAT much different than how she is in every other episode – she’s just wearing some bolder eye shadows and floral prints. It doesn’t read “slutty Erica” as Dr. Tom suggests) At this point my faith in the show was renewed. Good on Erica for not camping out in her apartment in sweats with bottles of Merlot as she watches The Notebook on repeat. (And no, I don’t speak from experience…) Why does she need to be miserable to be “dealing” with her breakup?
I was all ready to get my pom poms out for Team Erica out as she tells Dr. Tom to shove it, but then she loses me when she says she’s going to go for someone who wants her – Kai! Yes, nothing cries out “dealing with a breakup” more than rebounding into the arms of someone who is completely unattainable. And so the episode ends with Erica running out in the street (I’m surprised it wasn’t raining as well) where she shares a passionate kiss with Kai. Can’t wait to see what Adam will have to say about this. Also, what’s going to happen when Kai goes back to the future? More importantly, when do we find out WHY Erica is even becoming a doctor?
Despite the misses of late, I’m really hoping that the Being Erica team can pull off a satisfying conclusion to the series and get back to what made this show so interesting in the first place – relatable experiences and rich character development.
Some other notes:
- I think the final uniting of Julianne (Regan Pasternak) and Brent (Morgan Kelly) is an indication of the show doing formulaic right. How much did I melt when Brent finally confessed his series-long crush? Sometimes a girl just needs to hear that she’s beautiful. Simplistic, predictable, but perfect. Props to both Pasternak and Kelly for some great chemistry and a well-acted, genuine scene.
- Am I the only one who is getting a little annoyed with the de-evolution of Dr. Tom? He needs to cut Erica some slack – after all just a couple of episodes ago, he was giving the same kind of sass to Dr. Naadiah (Joanne Vannicola) when she started to probe into his personal life.
- I’m seriously getting sick of the overly clichéd peripheral characters. Not every graduate student can be en massed into two stereotypes – uptight, conservative prude or pothead hippie who neglects personal hygiene.
- Good on Erica for not calling Adam after witnessing Ethan winning back his ex. Some relationships aren’t worth fighting for.