Red Band Society Season 1 Review “So Tell Me What You Want What You Really Really Want”

Red Band Society episode 5 So Tell Me What You Want (7)

I was dreading this episode of Red Band Society for the mere fact that it appeared to be Charlie-centric. Charlie, to me, is (almost) everything that’s wrong with the show thus far – the cheesy voiceovers, the intrusive commentary on otherwise solid moments of drama, the snark where the show might do better to own it’s earnestness – and that meant that this episode was always going to be make or break for me.

I still think Charlie’s presence is an unnecessary one, but that’s not for his character or the storyline that accompanies him. The tale of a guilty father quite literally sneaking in as a volunteer just so he can see his son is a compelling one, and Nurse Jackson was just waiting for an opportunity to get into an A-storyline. Basically, the sooner he wakes up and the show ditches the idea of limbo, the better.

Because the more the show openly embraces it’s reality – the grim, harsh, ridiculous reality of being a teenager with a potentially life-threatening illness – the brighter it shines. For example, the love triangle isn’t working for me because it feels far too generic. Apart from their occasional outbursts to each other, the interaction between those three characters has very little to do with their unique situations.

Maybe that’s the point, as love would most definitely bloom in such an intense environment as this, but the drama is contrived at the expense of character. Everything we’ve seen of Jordi so far, for example, in in complete opposition to the competitive love rival we see towards the end of this episode (and the promo), and I don’t believe that Leo would role over and take the abuse he gets from Emma so quickly.

The only behaviour that feels plausible to me is Emma’s, but sadly that’s in a way that makes me completely dislike her. She’s struggling, and is hurt very badly by otherwise insignificant things, but it feels like there’s an underlying nastiness that has nothing to do with her circumstances. It rings truer to me than Leo and Jordi’s apparent feelings, but it’s still unpleasant to see from a character we’re supposed to like.

The highlight of the episode came again from Kara, who this week spent time with Dash. This whole storyline was adorable, and felt exactly like the kind of borderline-schmaltzy detour Red Band Society should be indulging in. It feels like Kara has chemistry with everyone on the show, but it was particularly strong here, and I wouldn’t be adverse to seeing more of their friendship while the rest of the group fight over who ends up with who.

What did you think of the episode? What was Nurse Jackson doing with the blood? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.