HAWTHORNE “The Road Narrows” Review

Hawthorne Cast

“The Road Narrows” episode of HAWTHORNE opens in the James River parking lot with Tom adorably telling Paul about how Christina makes him feel when a minivan screeches in and takes out Tom, Paul, and several other people. Tom’s arm is injured with possible nerve damage, but Paul is left unconscious with all kinds of trauma and eventually suffers an aneurysm and doesn’t survive. Meanwhile, the grandson of the minivan’s driver is treated for a minor head injury and is worried because he knows his grandmother caused the accident but he doesn’t want to tell the police and upset his parents. Candy returns from Afghanistan three months early with no explanation and Camille is volunteering at James River to be close to Marcus.

The slow burn of Christina and Tom exploded tonight. First Tom tells Paul he thinks Christina is the one and wonders if it’s too soon to ask her to go away for a weekend and then, after learning about Paul’s death, they share some sweetly hot sex and he whispers “Marry me.” I don’t usually associate Hawthorne with shocking moments, but that definitely surprised me, and I can only imagine Christina’s reaction. On a shallow note: that was just a whole lot of swoon-worthy pretty right there.

Despite the initial car crash, “The Road Narrows” was mostly filled with quiet moments like Christina keeping vigil by Tom’s bedside and comforting Paul’s wife or Bobbie listening in the elevator as the uninsured daughter and son-in-law of the minivan’s driver agonize over her possible arrest and any potential lawsuit. I like those moments because that’s when you see beneath the surface of characters and learn from a simple glance. Jada Pinkett Smith, as well as she does the brash scenes, shines even brighter when her expressive face does most of the talking. Watching Tom perform backseat surgery was fun, even though it’s ridiculous he would have been allowed in the OR. I’m not sure how far this potential nerve damage storyline will go, but it could make for some fascinating developments.

Kelly is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters. I love her scenes with the scared boy and that she’s showing some real spine to go with her huge heart. Pretty soon she’ll be Christina, Jr. Not much Bobbie or Ray tonight, and I’m ambivalent about Candy’s return. I hope they do more to develop her character and that we don’t have to watch Ray pant over her. Their scenes tonight were a bit heavy-handed and clumsy for my taste, as has been the case all along. Gail continues to be fleshed out and she and Christina worked well together tonight. I love Vanessa Bell Calloway and I think she will be an excellent long-term adversary/comrade in arms for Christina.

Hawthorne continues to improve in its second season, showing good (and sad) plot and character development. I’m glad the Christina-Tom romance is now in full bloom and can’t wait to see where it goes next.