RED BAND SOCIETY Debriefing: “Do you take plastic?”


Even though I didn’t recap anything last week, I did write a brief, nonspoilery review of the Red Band Society pilot a few weeks back. I had many thoughts after watching the pilot again last week, but I had enough new musings to check in this week.

So let’s discuss the events that transpired in “Sole Searching”! Warning: spoilers ahead.

After a brief recap of last week’s episode, we open with a monologue by Charlie (Griffin Gluck) that reminds us that if you want to know what a person is going through, you have to walk for a while in their shoes. “Sole Searching” picks up right where we left off: Jordi (Nolan Sotillo) is undergoing surgery and Leo (Charlie Rowe) is worried, but pretending to not care. There is another pertinent voiceover by Charlie that reveals how people his age pretend to not have feelings, ostensible to protect themselves.

Spoiler alert: that’s what the episode is about!

Early on, we’re shown how uncomfortable Leo  is with his prosthetic leg (red flag!), as he avoids going to go to physical therapy. If there is something this episode drove home from the very first scene is that Leo is projecting his feelings on Jordi. He was somewhat excited, though nervous, to have someone know the same pain he was going through. So when Dr. McAndrew (Dave Annable) tells him that Jordi got to keep his leg, he’s understandably hurt: Jordi seems to have escaped his own fate, even if at that instant  Leo cannot really see this is not a particularly good sign for Jordi. (McAndrew omitted that factoid, but more on that side of the story in a bit.)

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

This news was so upsetting to Leo that wants some normal, as he tells Dash (Astro). So what kind of normal activity does he engage in? The frat party across the street they saw earlier in the episode, of course!

They decide to drown their sorrows in alcohol. A drunk Leo flirts and makes out with a girl, and even goes as far as almost sleeping with her. But he calls her a slut in an attempt to distance himself and stop this from going further than either of them wants. As she’s leaving the room, offended (rightly so), Leo tries to go after her but falls by the bedside, in pain. Arguably it serves him right for his behavior, but it is not fun to see him helpless, nor physically and emotionally hurt.

Nurse Brittany (Rebecca Rittenhouse), trying to win some points with Nurse Jackson (Octavia Spencer), recruits Dash (who’s worried about his friend, even if he paid the price for Leo’s sins) to get their patient out of the party. When they finally return, Brittany tells a half truth as she lies about his whereabouts (a coffee shop, in lieu of the frat party) but Jackson still compliments her on a job well done.


The second important storyline in this episode Jordi’s surgery. We see the prep, with Dr. McAndrew telling him to pick a nice memory to hold onto while in surgery.  Narrator Charlie leads us to believe he’s dreaming about Emma (Ciara Bravo) yet, as Jordi himself tells McAndrew, it is a memory of him in his native Mexico, singing a song. We see him in the hospital limbo alternate reality we saw with Kara and Charlie last week, where he’s singing with Coma Boy, but soon after they stark talking, Jordi feels dizzy and faints: in real time, the surgery is having some complications as the doctors realize the cancer’s spread.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

For most of the episode, McAndrew is hesitant to tell Jordi the reason why he got to keep his leg. His diagnosis is worse than expected — he doesn’t want to burst his happy bubble. When Dr. McAndrew finally tells Jordi, he gets understandably upset, even if McAndrew tells him they’ll try their best to stop the cancer  (they’ll do chemo in hopes of shrinking their tumor). What’s truly heartbreaking is how Jordi says he’s got no one standing by him: it is definitely one of the most heartbreaking scenes of the episode.


Finally, the third major storyline is Kara (Zoe Levin) and her power lesbian moms, played by Andrea Parker (as her biological mom Sarah) and Tricia O’Kelley (her former nanny turned stepmom Daniella), and Kara and Emma’s burgeoning friendship of sorts.

I found it very interesting that Kara knew right away how Emma had tricked the scale, and Brittany, into thinking she had gained weight. (Wise Nurse Jackson didn’t buy it.)  Kara might be mean, but she’s also undeniably witty. Her scene with Emma is cut short because Kara’s moms (not her friends, like Emma first assumed) were there. It is kind of sad to see how little attention Kara’s mom and stepmom pay to their daughter, though their attempt to get preferential treatment for her was what I would have expected given Kara’s entitlement issues.

It’s with the moms that we see a quieter Kara. She heads to Emma’s room to read some magazines, but Emma will only let her stay for twenty minutes unless she reveals why she’s there. I like that, despite butting heads, they open up a bit to each other. We get to know Emma enjoyed lots of family time until her disease became a priority for all of them. Kara reveals what we’ve been privy to so far: she feels her mothers only show interest when it benefits them, not her.

Emma, meaning well, shares this information to Sarah and Daniella. This backfires on her, though: they both subsequently tell Kara she should be to try to befriend Emma, and be more like her to get on the transplant list. Despite the later confrontation between the two teens, I like that they are somewhat friendly with each other instead of being rivals; it’s refreshing.


(c) FOX

As for how the storylines are resolved, Kara and Daniella have a nice heart-to-heart (but not face-to-face) that mends their relationship thanks to some Winnie The Pooh, which also reveals that her mother is scared. This ends in a group hug between the three of them, along with Kara’s revelation that she’s never seen Ellen though she’s familiar with wife Portia de Rossi’s work.

Nurse Jackson gives Leo a great pep talk, reminding him that, “You can’t run away from your life. It’s yours and it’s precious. You just have to claim it.” This scene was so powerful and well-acted; Jackson is a mother figure to him, especially when he needs someone to remind him of all he has left to live and get him out of his funk. This, in turn, prompts Leo to go sit by Jordi’s bedside and talk to him: “I know exactly how it feels.”

We close with Charlie’s voiceover saying how sometimes, there is no need to walk in someone’s shoes; sometimes, we just have to step aside.


Overall, this was a really solid outing. I appreciated getting to know a bit more about Kara tonight, learning about Emma through her butting-heads-friendship with the mean cheerleader, as well as seeing Leo’s struggle throughout the hour. The direction was solid, there was less exposition (especially using Charlie’s narration) and the actors are doing  a great job.

Mostly, I love  that, despite the heavy matters the show deals with, it’s still quite heartwarming and funny.

Odds and Ends

  • Welcome to the first of these recaps. This one is a bit late because I didn’t know how to approach it. Bear with me as I strike a good balance!
  • Also, I watched the last hour of the Big Brother finale and it was very distracting. But enough excuses!
  • I didn’t mention it but, Kenji is adorable and I can’t wait to see more of him and his story. His conversation with Nurse Jackson was pretty fun.
  • I see some sparks between McAndrew and Brittany – the scene where he comforts her after she realizes she’s messed up had a vibe that raised eyebrows. Plus, he has a thing for redheads, apparently. Am I the only one seeing them?
  • Kara’s biological mom (Sarah) is hilariously tone-deaf. Scratch that – both the moms had really fun moments. Moreover, I think I can much better understand Kara after meeting her moms tonight.
  • (c) FOX

    (c) FOX

    Even if it’s a brief moment, I was surprised to see Leo dropping by Emma’s room to talk to her (… I’m assuming). I can’t wait to see more of their relationship/friendship, though the triangle is still very much in play – Emma asked about Jordi.

  • Speaking of Emma… did she really take on Kara’s “suggestion” and try the salted ice diet? Yikes.
  • I really liked the direction in the episode: from the scene in which Kara’s lonely and quiet, where she’s barely in the frame, to the use of mirrors or, my favorite, how Kara and Daniella slowly turned towards each other (their heart to heart was back to back!) until Sarah appeared… there were some really interesting choices there that I appreciated because they added more meaning to some scenes, which struck a chord with me.
  • My favorite voiceover line in the episode: “Sometimes the longest mile is the one you have to walk alone.” My heart was shattered into pieces.
  • I wish I could choose a quote from the episode overall. I loved any from the Power Lesbians – “Do you take plastic?” was pretty funny – or some of Kara’s jabs.

Did I miss anything you’d like to discuss? Comment below!

… is a young graduate student that has been way too passionate about television ever since she was little. While she insists she doesn’t have a specific type of show, they all usually have strong but flawed lady characters, some derivation of the stubborn friends-in-love/friends-to-lovers trope, and they all make her yell at her tv a lot. She just wishes she had more hours in the day so she could actually write about this.
You can usually find her on Twitter, Tumblr, and at cassidy at

One Response to RED BAND SOCIETY Debriefing: “Do you take plastic?”

  1. […] episode’s main storyline focuses on Jordi (Nolan Sotillo), much like last week’s focused on Kara (Zoe Levin). Early in the episode, Jordi tells Emma (Ciara Bravo) his reasons for being alone: […]

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