THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER “Another One Opens” Season 4 Episode 2 – With Adrian still reeling in the aftermath of her daughter’s death, Ben has turned into quite the little villain as Ashley takes a road trip to nowhere, Papa Juergens changes the countertops in the kitchen, Ricky and Amy fight, as usual, over nothing, this time to resolve it with a bedtime romp and Tom chills with his new family.

See how much you can do with real conflict? After three seasons of lily livered tiptoeing around pseudo angst and made up drama, the writers have finally created a situation where they can milk some actual drama, that being Adrian’s depression and Ben’s unwillingness to remain with her.

What impresses is the evolution of Ben’s character, from tragic hero to hateful villain, all while making sense, all without really breaking out of character is, well, its something the show has done which I actually like. Ben does not want to be with Adrian, he’s understandably pissed off, but from his confession to his best friends and his reaction to Ricky’s advice, I’m hoping that the writers will build up on this character development and fulfil the promise that it sort of established in last week’s episode. He’s not the noble guy anymore.

Adrian meanwhile has to contend with her grief, and the show is also getting along well with her character, developing it in such a way that she has not yet gotten grating and, er, Ben’s stepmother (I know, I don’t know any of these peoples’ names. It took me twenty episodes to figure out which one was Ben and which was Ricky, though in that case it was because the actors look identical) provided an actually semi amusing scene.

So yeah, I’m not saying this show is as emotionally gripping as Friday Night Lights, but with the stillborn subplot it rapidly matured, paticularly the acting. I really admire what Brenda Hampton is trying to do, insofar as taking a tired show and breathing some life into by providing some real, serious stakes. Hopefully the vast improvements will continue.

Oh, the younger version of Amy scene? Really creepy.

What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below.

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