RED BAND SOCIETY Debriefing: Demons In His Leg


I am aware of the fact that Red Band Society isn’t doing particularly well in the ratings and that saddens me. I find the show to be charming and cute – something I cannot say about a lot of other new offerings this season. It knows what stories it wants to tell and should only improve with time.

Tonight’s episode, “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire” picked up the morning after Dr. McAndrew’s (Dave Annable) hookup with the pretty redhead and was all about, you guessed it, lies.

So if you have watched the episode, let’s talk about it!

As I mentioned, Charlie/Coma Boy’s  (Griffin Gluck) voiceover – the one that  sets up the theme for the episode – is all about lying: how you lie for fun, to make yourself feel better, etc.

This 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: his grandma does not believe in modern medicine and his mother is dead, which is a hint of things to come.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

We also get an update on Jordi’s condition: his cancer is not osteosarcoma, but another kind that’s treated very differently, and of course, he needs a family member to sign off on the treatment. This might be a problem, considering his grandma actually thinks Jordi has some demons in his leg, not cancer.

However, the family problem will be no more, as the redhead from the previous episode is back and is revealed as his not-so-dead mother (she’s only dead to her son). Through a cleverly structured scene, we get both Jordi and Eva’s (Catalina Sandino Moreno) perspectives on their estranged relationship: she thinks his grandma has alienated her son against her, when in reality we learn she hasn’t been the best mom.  In the end, both Brittany (Rebecca Rittenhouse) and McAndrew suggest they patch things up and try to make it work.

What is truly sad about this storyline is how out of touch Jordi and his mom are: her first comment is about how thin he looks. She thought he just had a broken leg, and Dr. McAndrew has to inform her that Jordi has cancer. Meanwhile, Eva tells Jordi that she wouldn’t be there if she didn’t care, and how he will be better if he has family by his side.

One of my favorite scenes in the episode was the Palacios’ poker night, with the redbanders (as they seem to call themselves now) looking on – the stakes are so high they are playing for jelly beans. I really liked the juxtaposition of the present with the cute childhood flashback – Eva thinks her son is bluffing because he bites his lip (just like he did when he was a child) so she goes all in, while he folds (despite having a full house). It’s interesting because of the deeper meaning: as she later asserts, she is going to try to be his mother and is all in. Jordi, on the other hand, is trying to believe her (and take  everyone’s advice), despite knowing it might end badly.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Elsewhere in the episode, we have Leo (Charlie Rowe) trying to reconcile with Emma. It definitely feels as if he’s feeling threatened by Jordi, as he walks in on a touching moment between the two, and it is obvious he is stumbling upon something he didn’t want to see. This prompts Leo to tell Jordi about his and Emma’s history, or at least, how they used to be an item but things are still unfinished.

As such, Leo tries to spend more time with Emma throughout the episode, even if that includes preparing some treats for Jordi. While he’s helping her with that, he sees a kid just like him trying on some hats and he flashes back to his first meeting with Emma: it is a sweet scene and it shows the characters’ good chemistry. I was glad to see some of origin stories of sorts (for their relationship and for Emma’s hat), and this was a particularly cute scene. Not only does it set up the triangle, which I envision will be a big part of the show until it gets resolved (temporarily?), but it also helps understand why the characters are the way they are.

In a later scene, Emma and Leo have a more serious talk about their relationship, in which he tells her he regrets breaking it off, but that he did it because he was afraid of dying after the surgery. She actually confronts him by saying she thinks he was afraid of living, and stating she always felt that she liked him more than he liked her. She also comments on how she is not the type of girl he would notice outside of the hospital, since he goes for popular blondes. I also found this scene to be key to understand their relationship: they are very different, and very stubborn people who are connected by circumstances, but as much as they deny it, the affection and attraction between them is real.

(I mean, Emma, you are still wearing Leo’s (sister’s?) hat. I know you don’t even think about it anymore, but that means something.)

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Towards the end of the episode, Emma and Leo tentatively patch things up with a beautiful nighttime skyline as a background– they think they can make things work and leave the past in the past. Yet, it is obvious they’re talking about different things: he is talking about a romantic relationship, she’s talking friendship. However, Leo lies and agrees with her when she says this is what they should have been all along, and how they will be in each other’s life forever this way. Rowe’s face perfectly conveys Leo’s heartbreak without needing to say a word.

The episode comes full circle in a way, as Leo walks in on Emma and Jordi sharing a nice moment in his room in the last scene of the episode, while Charlie reminds us there is always someone who ends up hurt by the lies… yourself.

Kara’s storyline this episode is focused around her and Nurse Jackson’s (Octavia Spencer) animosity towards each other. But what I want to particularly highlight in this storyline is the bathroom scene (you can see it in part here) with Nurse Jackson and Kenji (Wilson Cruz).

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

It is just all sorts of wonderful and might have been my favorite part of the episode. It gives a purpose to the whole storyline — she just wants to find a shred of humanity in Kara, and hoped to find it by spending a whole day with her. I love that Kenji knows Jackson so well – she will not give up on patients, no matter how terrible they are- and I love the little glimpses into her backstory. She gave up on a life most wouldn’t dream of to be there. 

In one of the last scenes in the episode, Kara mentions to Jackson how she thinks she’s owed an apology for her outburst earlier. While she doesn’t get it, Jackson admits she was surprised by her, and she’s never surprised. I found this to be a very meaningful scene: these two characters are going to be at odds for a while, but I like there is some respect there.

Overall, this was another solid episode. The show is still setting up the characters and their relationships to each other, but so far, so good. While the voiceover can be too exposition-heavy at times (instead of letting the actions on screen speak by themselves), the show’s writing used some clever structuring for some scenes – particularly those that used some juxtaposition.

Odds and Ends:

  • Last week, I mentioned I was getting some flirty vibes from Brittany towards McAndrew, and what do you know? The first scene of the episode mentions how she and her boyfriend have broken things off. As if that wasn’t enough, she knows his tie code and stares at the navy blue tie dreamily at one point. (That tie means he had sex the previous night.)
  • However, I’m guessing that Eva-McAndrew kiss means this might not be just a one-night stand. Is this going to be another triangle?
  • (c) FOX

    (c) FOX

    Dash is still a character that doesn’t do a lot for me, though I appreciated that he was hurt by Leo’s abandoning him. My favorite thing he did this week was setting up that pool.

  • Kenji continues to be fabulous (he bet in the pool, even if he pretended it was wrong) and someone I want to know more about. Moreover, his relationship with Nurse Jackson is pretty amazing.
  • The Jordi-Emma-Leo triangle is in full swing. I don’t really know if I want to root for either couple, but I hope it does not drag on forever. Emma is definitely one of the liars in this episode, because she is not completely over Leo, either. (Jordi’s crush on her is cute! But I don’t know if he can beat Leo and Emma’s previous history.)
  • Kara is still the source for some pop culture references! This week, we had the delusional snowman (Olaf, from Disney’s Frozen) and Breaking Bad. It’s amusing.

What did you think about “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire”?



… 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

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