RED BAND SOCIETY Debriefing: “I’m not a sob story”

[Apologies for the late recap. Neither life nor WordPress have been collaborative as of late.]

Wednesday’s episode of Red Band Society, “There Is No Place Like Homecoming,”  was all about feeling home, in the occasion of Kara’s upcoming homecoming dance. Not only that, but Leo has just received an important offer he is considering and Jordi’s mom Eva is still around.

But what exactly went down in the episode? Click below.

LEO || Based on the things we know about Leo (Charlie Rowe), home is playing soccer and all the glory and fame he left behind. Home is being able to be physically able to play it. (I am not ready to say the whole redbanders are, but I could also throw that into it.) When we first see him in this episode, he has just received an email from a soccer recruited from Stanford university; the guy saw him play last fall and has no idea what has going on. Leo is, unsurprisingly, considering it. Nurse Jackson (Octavia Spencer) offers him to let him bring any PT he wants to – she even introduces him to one of the hospital’s former patients, the Bionic Man, Tim “Ti” Jones (his new leg is made of titanium!), who went onto making it big in the basketball world. In the end, and because of his realization at the dance, he rejects that: he doesn’t want to be a sob story; he just wants to be a normal guy. He doesn’t want people’s pity, or to be known as the soccer player that beat cancer (much like Ti is in the basket world). So he lets the scholarship go.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

EMMA || Her home  seems to be friends. When we first meet Emma (Ciara Bravo) in the episode, she is at the cafeteria, having “lunch.” (She just has some chips so she can write it on her notebook.) She seems to be jealous of the group of girls talking in some other table. But after Brittany (Rebecca Rittenhouse) takes her to Kara (Zoe Levin)’s homecoming (after Emma says that she wasn’t popular and has never been to one), she makes some unlikely friends in a couple of girls who are amazed (and admire) that she is a size triple 0 — she is an unicorn to them… but she loves feeling like that.

JORDI || Jordi (Nolan Sotillo) is possibly feeling home for the first time in a long while: his mother is here by his side, and he has some friends he likes (and that like him). He might be fighting Ewing’s Sarcoma, and starting his first chemo treatment, but he seems alright. However, throughout the episode, you could see how sick and not okay he was after receiving the chemo and how Eva (Catalina Sandino Moreno) kept getting overwhelmed by her son’s situation. (But more on that later.) Eva gives him money so that he and Dash (Astro) can go to the movies, thinking he is just bored and is doing okay, but Jordi faints after getting the refreshments and popcorn. He later has to deal with the fact that his mother isn’t there anymore (and in upcoming episodes, with the fact he is on his way to becoming an emancipated minor).

KARA || Kara’s home is probably obvious: she was the queen bee at her high school; she loved it and being feared.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

Her homecoming dance is one of the main storylines in this episode (and the one that titles it). Little did she know, after being welcomed back as if nothing had happened, her friends and peers were just pitying her — needless to say, she is not happy. She is incredulous when her homecoming queen acceptance includes a homage saying great things about her, praising her — things she is not. As such, when Leo smartly realizes what is about to happen, he goes up the stage and starts saying exactly what she wants to hear (“Five days with Kara are five days too many”). She loves it and wants him to continue, and then kisses him while throwing the wheelchair down the stage (cueing a jealous Emma). Chaos ensues at the gym, of course, as our group leaves. Back at Ocean Park, the morning after, Kara doesn’t care about what happened afterwards, saying how she’s never going back. (She also dismisses Watergirl as her minion, which was surprising.)

“I didn’t know I had to go to medical school to be a mother.” || After deciding to stay around for her son last week, Eva is still around, even if she’s not comfortable. Yet, she is looking for a job in LA (despite being a waitress in Fresno) so that, when Jordi gets out, they can live together in a nice apartment. She is the reason why McAndrew (Dave Annable) and Jackson clash -which was a nice scene that showed us some of their dynamic and friendship-, as Jackson doesn’t really like her at all (she reading material, groups she could attend and advice so she is informed on what her son is going through). McAndrew does, insisting her presence is good for Jordi. After Eva screws up by sending her son to the movies (when he should truly be resting after his chemo session), she realizes the whole situation is not easy — she’s overwhelmed. So after telling her son she’s going to get him some ginger ale, she flees — not before McAndrew sees her intentions and tries to stop her, while Jordi looks from his window.

Cancer Bachelor: Latino Hearthrob or Hometown Favorite|| Or just a fancy way of discussing the triangle this week! During her conversation with Dash at the cafeteria, Emma allegedly says she is not interested in either Jordi or Leo, respectively. But dear Emma, the way you behaved in this episode begs to differ.

(c) FOX

(c) FOX

While there was no Emma-Jordi interaction at all, but there were cute Leo-Emma moments that showed how she also feels something for him. After Kara ditches her at the dance, Emma sees Leo right behind her and she smiles brightly: he’s even taken a rose from the guy’s room just for her! They share a nice conversation about where they’d have been at their dance – there is some nice banter and chemistry there. Later on, she’s sort of jealous and angry that Leo defended Kara on stage (and that they kissed). Back at the hospital, when he confronts her about that, she admits as much: she is angry he defended Kara, who is a terrible person and deserves a terrible night. Leo retorts that she, Emma, doesn’t know what is like to be pitied because she doesn’t need to be there.

Odds and Ends

  • I kind of loved how the first and last voice-over sequences mirrored each other, showing how the characters have evolved throughout the hour.
  • Leo saying those things to Emma… I don’t know. Anorexia and eating disorders might not be considered as serious as cancer or heart diseases, but they still are illnesses, nonetheless.
  • Charlie’s dad is back! Kara now uses headphones with loud music to deal with his singing. Speaking of which — next week’s episode seems to be all about Charlie and how he got there. Color me intrigued.
  • Dash’s lack of reaction to Jordi passing out in the cinema left me a tad perplexed.

    (c) FOX

    (c) FOX

  • Brittany starts the episode changing her FB status to single; we also find out she had moved to LA to be with him. Her “So what? Life happens, right?” made me sad. (Her crying at seeing couples at homecoming made me laugh but, poor thing.) That initial scene was nice, and so was McAndrew trying to cheer her up.
  • There were so, so many pop culture references. I loved when Jordi and Dash said Leo was like Professor Xavier from the X Men. Others included “Sisterhood of the Travelling Panties” (instead of Pants) and a mention to The Sopranos.
  • Also, Kara throwing the phone at the wall (after receiving lots of messages) is what I want to do to my phone lately.
  • I loved that the whole pity presentation for Kara started with “The most special thing about Kara is her heart.” Clever, Kara’s peers, clever. It’s literal but funny. (But then it went in the opposite direction of what you would expect having known Kara for four episodes.)
  • I know they did talk about Ewing’s Sarcoma a couple of episodes ago, but I confused it with some other type. Hearing it on this episode reminded me of Bones‘ Wendell, who was diagnosed with it in the January 17 episode last season.
  • The “I’m not a sob story” part was powerful and I feel like it was in character for Leo.
    (c) FOX

    (c) FOX

    Yet, it is also a statement for the characters and one thing the show likes to underline: these kids are not just their illnesses; they are just normal teenagers with extra baggage, being faced with their own mortality. In this case, the episode did a nice case of just not giving a sad story for their characters, but it just let them be and react to some others’ perception of them. Nice job.

  • The music on the show is always on point. I loved Kara trying to convince Nurse Jackson by using A Great Big World’s “Say Something”; I loved the whole sequence in which she gets ready for homecoming to Ke$ha’s “Boots and Boys.” Yet, my favorite had to be the whole sequence to Luke Sital-Singh’s “Nothing Stays The Same.”
  • While I loved the flashback to Kara’s last homecoming, it was Jordi’s flashback to the other time his mother left him (in this case, but putting him in a bus heading to Guanajuato, Mexico) what pulled at my heartstrings, especially as Eva was leaving again.
  • I truly liked the voiceover use this week – the initial and final monologues, as mentioned, worked really well with the montage and helped bring the point home. But my favorite thing Charlie said was, “And the Oscar, for the most pathetic performance in a pediatric ward goes to…”

What did you think about Wednesday’s Red Band Society

… 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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