Second Chance “Geworfenheit” Review (Season 1 Episode 10)

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On the penultimate episode of “Second Chance,” things with Otto (Adhir Kalyan) and Connor (Adan Canto) came to a head as they both showed their true colors, as Mary (Dilshad Vadsaria) scrambled to make sense of it all. Meanwhile, Duval (Tim DeKay) dealt with his daughter Gracie (Ciara Bravo) running away from home, while Pritchard (Robert Kazinsky) lent a hand in finding her and was forced to reexamine his life yet again when circumstances beyond his control made his time on Earth seemingly numbered, in “Geworfenheit.”

The title refers to the German word for “thrownness,” a term created by philosopher Martin Heidegger, referring to being thrown into the world without a choice and all the trauma and suffering that can result from our very existence, even if we didn’t play a part in bringing it on ourselves. While a mouthful, it’s certainly an apt title for a show that revolves around the notion of someone being brought back from the dead against their will and the repercussions, good and bad, of that.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the show is the way it’s constructed, where a mere brief conversation would have been enough to change things immeasurably, and often for the better, but because those conversations never happened, things go south, and quick as a direct result.

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Look no further than the situation between Otto and Mary for proof of this matter. As close as these two are and were, it wasn’t enough for them not to keep some pretty massive secrets from one another, and they are certainly paying the price for it now.

Mary, in particular, who wanted nothing more than to do good things in the world and for the world, but was sadly given a limited time to do so, is feeling the repercussions of her brother’s actions in making that happen. It’s a time-worn question: if you do something bad for the greater good, or in the name of love, is it always justified? Boy, were those questions at the center of a lot of the action in this episode, and there were no easy answers, that’s for sure.

To her horror, Mary discovered the extent to which her brother would go to save her life in the worst possible way: just as it was seemingly too late to do anything about it. What’s more, she inadvertently led Otto to revolt altogether when she found herself having genuine feelings for Pritchard, the man who had ultimately saved her life.

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Granted, as noted by the title, Pritchard didn’t exactly have a choice in the matter, but the fact that he was more than willing to help her says a lot about the strength of his character, even if old habits die hard, and his previous actions in his former life hadn’t always been on the up-and-up. The point is, not all of us get a second chance in life, and Pritchard is making the most of his, by trying to help people at every turn, often at the expense of his own well-being.

Conversely, we have Alexa (Vanessa Lengies), who is essentially a variation on Pritchard in that she was also given a second chance, but who made all the wrong decisions, largely leading to the mess of a situation our characters find themselves in now. When it was first revealed that Alexa was spying for the competition, I figured that it was either because she was uncaring and remorseless, not unlike Connor, her real boss; or more likely, given her general demeanor, that she was being blackmailed into doing what she was doing.

Imagine my surprise then, when it was revealed that it was actually a little of both. Like Pritchard after her, Alexa was brought back from death, but in her case, she was callously discarded like garbage by a clueless Otto, to whom most people are just like pawns on a chessboard, waiting to be moved around the table.

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Little did he know that action would lead to the downfall of his relationship with his sister, which was the only thing that really mattered to him in the first place, and indeed, was the very reason he was doing all he’d done in the first place.

Alexa, alive and young again, if a little worse for wear as her transition from death to life was less successful than Pritchard’s, wanted nothing more than to be with the love of her life, but there was one massive problem: he was still her “real” age, which is to say elderly, while in her rebirth Alexa had been made young again.

Taking full advantage of the situation, Connor made her a deal- help him to perfect Otto’s research the way Otto himself already had with Pritchard, and Connor would do the same for her beloved George (Francis X. McCarthy), reuniting the two in age and making their relationship whole again. So, Alexa betrayed Mary and Otto in the worst way imaginable to make that happen, but she didn’t count on one thing- that George might not want what she did.

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While George loved her dearly, he just wasn’t willing to go to the lengths she was to make it happen in the way she wanted them to. In his mind, they’d already had a full life together, and what Alexa was doing was an abomination and a betrayal of everything he thought they stood for. In short, the cost of what it would have taken to do what she wanted just wasn’t worth it to him, as the price was just too high.

So, George simply removed himself from the equation altogether, by not only killing himself, but burning his body to ensure that Alexa didn’t do anything against his will- or that she’d regret even more than he already did. On the plus side, it did lead Alexa to come to terms with all she’d done and hopefully do the right thing by saving the day before it’s too late. But is it too late already? We’ll just have to wait and see.

In the meanwhile, after the Pritchard family sent her all manners of mixed messages, Gracie took her fate into her own hands- or so she thought- by running away with her loser boyfriend Garrett (Jesse Irving), who her father quite correctly steered her away from, with an assist from his own father Jimmy Pritchard.

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Unfortunately for her, like many a teenage girl (or guy, for that matter), it turns out her father was right on the money with that assessment, as Garrett was indeed proven to be up to no good with the underage Gracie, who he traded away as if she were a lost bet- which in a way, was exactly what she was to him, as Garrett was in hock to some local thugs and Gracie was his way out of it. Bad boyfriend!

Turns out that there was more going on that it seemed on the surface, as it wasn’t the people he owed that really wanted Gracie, but the people behind the people, which just so happened to include Connor. Yep, just when you thought he couldn’t sink lower than having Alexa turn two siblings against one another, he goes and kidnaps a teenage girl, all as a means to an end for stealing work that didn’t belong to him in the first place.

Yes, granted, his initial plan was to inherit said work by way of Mary’s death, having weaseled his way into her and Otto’s good graces. Only Mary didn’t die, and indeed, was cured altogether by Otto’s unorthodox methods, leaving Connor out of the loop as a direct result. Instead of owning a larger share of the twins’ company in Mary’s wake, he found himself with nothing, and in his greed to be included by any means necessary, he took steps to force it to happen anyway.

So, he took away the only thing that mattered to Otto in the first place- his sister, by having Alexa make it seem like Mary didn’t need Otto anymore and was essentially trading him in for Pritchard, even going so far as to speak and teach their private twin language to him. (And you thought that whole “twinspeak” thing was a myth.) The nerve!

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Of course, Mary was doing no such thing, she was merely falling in love, but the concept was so alien to Otto that, in his mind, it was an either/or proposition. There could be no more “him and Mary” if there was a “Pritchard and Mary,” simple as that, even though nothing could be further from the truth.

But, as we know, Otto doesn’t think in emotional terms, he only deals with rational ones- emotion only clouds his line of thinking, as we’ve seen in the past, notably on the anniversary of his parent’s death, easily the most traumatic event of his life, and the one that directly led to his being the way he is. Not that he wasn’t quirky before, as we saw in the flashbacks leading to the moment of their deaths, but the event led to his being essentially a shut-in, with only the most limited of relationships with the outside world.

Blaming himself for the death- which, in a way, was indeed his fault, in that it was his talking that led his father to take his eye off the road and led directly to his parents’ deaths in a car wreck- Otto withdrew into himself, with only Mary being his most trusted and crucial confidant. Mary was basically his connection and conduit to the outside world, so to lose her was just too overwhelming.

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So, when faced with the prospects of losing her via disease, Otto not only went above and beyond to save her, he crossed a line, playing God with other peoples’ lives and then casually discarding them like garbage- a decision which would certainly come back to haunt him later on, and lead directly to his downward spiral. Ironically, just as it was his love for his sister that spurred him on in the light of undeniable tragedy, so it was his love for her that brought him down.

Of course, that love is more than a little unhealthy, as we saw in his intense jealousy over Mary’s burgeoning relationship with Pritchard. Oddly, Otto had no problem with Mary’s sexual relationship with Connor, seeing it as an emotionless means to an end, which in a sense, maybe it was. But when faced with the prospect of his sister truly falling in love, Otto did NOT react well, more like an over-protective boyfriend than a concerned brother.

It’s all a bit icky in a pseudo-Norman Bates kind of way, only with Otto substituting his sister for Norman’s dear old mother. I don’t necessarily know if it’s a sexual thing, but given that Otto has seemingly never had a girlfriend of any kind, its close enough for disco.

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To me, it’s precisely this sort of thing, along with the moral quandaries we see with the other characters that make “Second Chance” so fascinating, and a better-than-average example of the crime procedural form. Sure, we got some stand-alone episodes where it was all about solving a particular crime, as to be expected, but really, it was the other stuff that made it interesting.

What with the show’s future uncertain, it’s entirely possible next week’s episode might be its last, and maybe it should be. After all, without the massive revelations and long-term storytelling we’ve seen in this first season, it’s hard to say what the show might become if it were allowed to continue.

Perhaps a one-and-done scenario is actually the best one, making the show more akin to a mini-series than an ongoing thing. I can live with that, assuming that we get some semblance of an ending next week, but that remains to be seen.

Join me next week, as we discover Pritchard and the gang’s ultimate fates and see if the show-runners can wrap this bad boy up in a satisfactory manner. So long as they bring the main storylines to some sort of decent conclusion, I can live with whatever minor cliffhangers we might get on the side. We’ll see.

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What do you think of “Second Chance” so far? Are you enjoying it? How would you like to see it end? If the show were to continue, what would you like to see it become in the future? Is it even possible for it to recapture what it achieved in the first season in a second one? If you’ll pardon the pun, does the show itself deserve a second chance? Or, if it gets one, should it take it? Sound off down below, and see you next week for the big finale!