Written by Nancey Silvers
Directed by Anne Wheeler
“Just don’t kiss him.”
This week on Chesapeake Shores the adult O’Brien children discover that life is not all fairy princess games and S’mores, but if you take a little time for those things, then life is a lot more enjoyable. Several members of the family experiment with the idea of making a living and making a life worth living at the same time. Some old family tensions, while they don’t get resolved, also don’t get worse. Sometimes that’s a good enough result. One of the most important life lessons one can learn is figuring out when it’s time to let go and leave something behind.
The most shocking development to occur comes from Jess. She realizes that she’s interested in her chef, David, and spends the whole episode trying to impress him by cooking him Chicken Parmigiana. Did I mention that he’s her chef? Did I mention that he’s her chef for a very good reason and that very good reason is because she can’t cook? Anticipating Jess’ Cooking Nightmare, David whips up his own much superior Chicken Parmigiana. When her plan turns into the inevitable epic fail, Jess discards the indirect route to her crush’s heart by way of his stomach. Since she can’t woo him with food, she resorts to… sexual harassment. Last week she responded to David’s complete refusal to talk about himself by stalking him and spying on him. This week she just walks right up to him and smacks a big kiss on his mouth. He doesn’t sue her: in fact, he doesn’t seem to mind at all. Yet. Jess is so needy and neurotic that the only hope for them to have a successful relationship is that he actually has no personality at all and therefore won’t mind her high maintenance all-consuming need for attention. Otherwise, he’s going to need a good lawyer someday.
Speaking of women with emotional issues, Kevin spends a little beach time with Sarah, the Foxy Philly Firefighter. She invites him to join in some training exercises at the firehouse, which quickly turns into the first responder version of the Army-Navy rivalry, with Kevin representing the Army. He scores pretty well, almost equaling the record set by the most macho of the macho men, and even manages to save the life of an innocent young mannequin. In a taste of possible foreshadowing, the firefighters tell Kevin that if he does not get back into med school, he would make a great firefighter or paramedic. Despite scoring high on the macho manhood measure, Sarah bolts after Kevin kisses her. She is so emotionally unavailable that she makes herself physically unavailable too. Why does he keep pursuing her? At this point, she’s not tough and hard to get; she’s just moody, unpleasant, and cold. Time to bail, dude.
Though Kevin and Connor share a little bro time and compare notes on the vicissitudes of adult life, Connor at least knows when to pack up the tent and go home. A month into his first lawyer job, he discovers that lawyers suck. He despises the cubicle hell in which he finds himself. Unfortunately, despite his dislike of the job, he receives a glowing evaluation. Getting the chance to do more of the same – a lot more of the same – only solidifies his antipathy. When a fellow inmate in cubicle hell retires after 40 years of legal service and receives nothing more than a short round of applause, that seals it. Knowing that he may be committing career suicide, Connor quits. Kevin’s tenacity in the face of a looming bad relationship has the audience holding thumbs down, but Connor’s escape from a life of legal servitude produces a sense of relief not only in the character but in the people watching as well.
Connor doesn’t have kids, so he has the freedom to make life-changing decisions without worrying about the impact they will have on anybody else. Abby, however, needs to support her daughters even though that means she gets to spend a lot less time with them than she would like. She worries too much, she works too hard, she doesn’t have time to play fairy queen with the girls, and she rarely gets to see Trace, either. Complicating matters, her big New York client compiles a file full of dirt on Tom, her uncle and the co-owner of the O’Brien land parcel. The client insists that Mick use what’s in the file to discredit Tom and get the project moving. Tom and Mick are scheduled to hold a town hall on the future of the land development, in which each presents his proposal. Mick knows that if he uses any of the information contained in the dirt file, his plan will certainly win over the town but he will tank any relationship with his brother forever. Faced with this untenable conundrum, Mick asks Tom to join him for a beer and they just walk out without holding the debate. Prior episodes have suggested that Mick’s fiscal well-being depends upon this development, so choosing his relationship with his brother over the deal may have serious financial consequences for him. Mick does not present as the most likable of the O’Brien clan. After this week, he’s certainly not the most unlikable, either.
Megan’s attempts to force reconciliations with her daughters instead seem to drive them further away. Nell advises her to stop trying to fix the past and focus on the present. Accordingly, since family gatherings on this show as in life so often revolve around food, Megan convenes a family fire pit for the First Annual O’Brien Family S’mores Eating Contest. While not every old family tension can be dissolved with sugar and fat and carbs, sugar and fat and carbs have a way of at least smothering lingering wounds with a delicious sticky goo. Megan is determined to help her family heal from the trauma of her divorce from Mick; oddly enough, by letting go of the desire to discuss the past, she may succeed in mending some of that old suffering. She also looks to the future: when Bree insists that she’s never going to see the schlocky novelist again, Meghan emails him to tell him that Bree loved his novel, his real novel, which brings him back to town. Bree won’t pursue that romance, so Megan does it for her.
This episode focuses on the importance of knowing when to quit. You can tell, because even uptight Abby eventually calls it a day and leaves work(!) to spend some time at the beach with Trace and her daughters. New beginnings require room to grow, and that means removing old obstructions. While this is not the most exciting episode of CS, it shows the evolution of some of the storylines for this season. Only a few episodes remain before the show ends for the year. Which relationships will continue to develop and which will die should coalesce in the next couple of weeks. This season started out strong with upbeat writing and more authentic character portrayal and interaction combining to deliver a compelling storyline. Unfortunately, the last couple of episodes have lost some of this momentum. Perhaps the build-up to the season finale will recapture some of that more exciting storytelling. CS is a hopeful show, so let’s hope for that.