Black Box Season 1 Review “Sweet Little Lies”

Black Box (ABC) Episode 2 Sweet Little Lies (1)

When the pilot of a new series isn’t strong, the hope is that the next few episodes rectify the situation. The second outing of Black Box did not do that. Not even the great Edward Herrmann could save it.

Again, I don’t think the issue is Kelly Reilly’s performance as Catherine. She captures the vicious cycle of going back and forth between mania and clarity. She’s self-loathing about her actions. Here’s the problem: while I empathize with the fact that her condition controls every aspect of her life, her relationships with Will and Esme don’t carry any weight. My strongest emotional reaction from “Sweet Little Lies” was Dr. Reynaud’s (Herrmann) reconciliation with his son. I mentioned last week that the supporting cast, apart from Vanessa Redgrave and Laura Fraser, fell flat. This is disappointing considering Will and Esme are the two most important people in Catherine’s lives. She would become inherently more likeable if those relationships had a stronger impact. Personally, I would dump the Will aspect from the story and lessen Esme’s. Any scene with Fraser’s Regan automatically lowers my view of Catherine. I wish it didn’t, but it does, and Catherine needs the audience to be on her side.

The medical story of the week also didn’t get off the ground. Every doctor treating the babysitter besides Catherine came off as completely incompetent. I would not trust Dr. Ina Lark to give me CPR. And her whole geek/medical dating website subplot came off horrible cliché. Why would someone as brilliant as Catherine surround herself with this people? I’m not counting Dr. Ian Bickman (Ditch Davey) because he’s new and actually seems up to the challenge. Dr. Reynaud is an exception as well, and thankfully Edward Herrmann is the kind of actor who can elevate any material he’s in. I would have been satisfied if the whole episode was him and Kelly Reilly just talking.

Whatever the case, Black Box needs to step it up.