‘The Catch’ Season 1 Finale: Catch-as-Catch-Can

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As the first season of “The Catch” came to a close, new alliances were forged, double crosses were in abundance and a massive, incredibly intricate heist was planned and almost pulled off without a hitch…almost.

Actually two episodes, “The Happy Couple” and “The Wedding,” strung together as one two-hour event, the finale also functioned as a sort of two-hour movie- okay, more like an hour and a half, sans commercials- albeit with the expected cliffhanger ending.

Though occasionally erratic in tone and execution, “The Catch” was overall just successful enough to survive a virtual bloodbath of cancellations, least of all at ABC. I’m not sure if it had more to do with ABC wanting to stay on one-woman programming juggernaut Shonda Rimes’ good side, or if they felt the show had worked its kinks out just enough to likely improve in a second season, but ultimately, I’m glad the show got a reprieve.

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Early on, I wasn’t quite sure what the show wanted to be: a “To Catch a Thief”/”Catch Me If You Can”-hybrid, with a side order of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “Heartbreakers,” or a PI-driven “case of the week”-style crime procedural. I’m not sure the show did, either.

But somewhere along the way, a great thing happened. The ensemble cast started to gel as a deftly-functioning unit, the “case of the week” thing was dropped and the focus went back where it belongs: on the core relationship between Alice (Mireille Enos) and Ben (Peter Krause) and the struggle to keep things afloat while everything was crashing down around them.

Rest assured, a large part of this was due to that cast, surely one of the most attractive on television at the moment, with apologies to any given CW show. However, there’s a big difference between the CW’s glossy, non-stop parade of beautiful young people and this show- this one prominently features adults.

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Now, this may be a Shonda Rimes thing for all I know. TBH, the only show of hers I’m really familiar with is “How to Get Away with Murder” and it also focuses mainly on a younger cast, with respect where it’s due to its leading lady, the fierce Viola Davis. Whatever the case, though, that doesn’t change the fact that these are some good-looking individuals.

Going in, I was only really familiar with Krause, from “Six Feet Under,” Walger from “Lost” and Enos, from “The Killing,” but none of those shows were exactly known for their high glamour, to say the least.

So much so, in fact, that I was downright stunned to see just how gorgeous Enos in particular was on this show, especially in comparison to her former gig, where heavy clothing, little-to-no-makeup and her hair in perpetual ponytail was par for the course.

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Enos and Krause make quite the lovely and appealing couple, generating some serious heat for a network show, to be sure. Once again, this may be typical for Rimes’ stuff, so my apologies if I’m telling her fans what they already know. But it doesn’t stop with the two leads, by any means.

Also quite the eye-catching couple were Walger and delectable guest star Shivani Ghai as the ill-fated Felicity, both bisexual women not above having a little fun behind the backs of their also dubiously-faithful significant male others, played by Krause and the delightfully charismatic- if deadly- John Simm, as Walger’s brother, Rhys.

Yep, that means one woman was sleeping with both a sister and her brother. Remarkably, this wasn’t even the only show on ABC at the moment in which that happened! (See also the decidedly different “The Family” for more “keeping it in the family” shenanigans, appropriately enough.)

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The chemistry didn’t end there, either, as the on-again off-again Valerie (Rose Rollins) and FBI Agent Dao (Jacky Ido) were also quite the sexy pair and the will-they-or-won’t-they couple du jour of Sophie (Elvy Yost) and Danny (Jay Hayden) were pretty adorable as well.

I liked that both of them dated other people on the side, even though it was later revealed that Sophie’s would-be love interest, Agent Shawn (Caleb Smith) was actually gay and into Danny, who agreed to go on a date with him! Lol. Only on TV, folks.

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I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the hilariously unlikely but highly-amusing pseudo-coupling of Rhys and Ben as well, which was a total hoot. It was completely unbelievable, but those two sold it well and I laughed a lot at their attempts to seem like a real couple.

Hell, even comedic actress and guest star Nia Vardalos (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) managed to generate some fun, appealing- and not un-sexy- chemistry with the suave Reggie (Alimi Ballard). To be sure, this show had sex appeal to burn.

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Beyond all that, though, it was the underlying core story that proved the most alluring, which is why I think we were all glad when the show opted to let the outside cases fall by the wayside and concentrate on the main story at hand: the relationship between Alice and Ben and the ripple effect it had on everyone else in their lives.

I thought the reveal of the “Benefactor” as being Margot’s brother Rhys was clever, and even more so the fact that both were not only at odds with one another, but with their head honcho, mother Sybil (guest star Lesley Nicol, of “Downton Abbey” fame), the real ringleader in this group of con-men-and-women.

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In the end, they all had to work together to pull off a big job, albeit not all willingly, as Ben was forced into it by Sybil having Alice kidnapped. In an interesting twist, though, Rhys opted to side with Team Ben, after taking a shine to Alice himself, who managed to sneak a gun out of her place despite being under duress.

Leave it to that character to find someone willing to go to lengths to get the best of him to be a turn-on. Much kudos as well to actor Simm for somehow managing to make Rhys both charming and psychotic and still seem appealing and likable, even after killing several people in cold blood- including, alas, poor Felicity.

To be fair, though, it was probably not the smartest move in the world to try and sneak around behind that wacko’s back and sleep with his sister. Not saying she deserved it, but not the wisest move she could have made, least of all when he came to town and she knew he would probably be keeping an eye on her. Oh well.

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I also liked that Margot got the best of just about everyone in the end, double-crossing both her mother and Ben alike, getting Sybil busted for stealing money from a competitor’s vault during a wedding reception and trying to replace it with counterfeit cash made by Vardalos’ character, and framing Alice for stealing that painting from earlier in the season.

I had a feeling that the painting would come back into play eventually, and sure enough, it very nearly got Alice arrested, though Ben came through in the clutch and confessed to the crime. It’s only right, as he was the one who actually did it, after all.

Not sure what this means for him and Alice in the future, but thankfully, with the show renewed, we will get to find out in season two. My guess is that he will worm his way out of it somehow, likely by offering to help cooperate with the FBI to bring down Margot, though I’m not sure how he would be able to, what with her never likely to trust anything he does ever again at this point.

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Whatever the case, I am happy the show was renewed, and I look forward to seeing what the next season will bring. Hopefully, the show will have learned from its slight stumbles and keep the focus on the core characters instead of going back down the procedural road again- I honestly don’t think the show needs it.

And if they keep the seasons short, sticking to the ten-episode model, there’s no reason they should have to, really. Granted, they will have to reset things a bit, in order to keep the plotline going, but it should be easy enough to come up with, say, a rival group of con-men-and-women that Ben and company can tangle with and Alice’s team can help bring down, as opposed to the alternative of a case-of-the-week approach.

Hopefully, with the extra time that an extended hiatus will bring, what with the show being a mid-season replacement, they should have plenty of time to come up with something interesting. Fingers crossed they come up with something good!

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What did you think of the first season of “The Catch”? Were you happy the show was renewed? Did you also enjoy the cast? Who was your favorite character? How about your least favorite? Any plot ideas you’d like to see in Season Two?

Do you envision this being an ongoing show for multiple seasons, or do you think it’s destined to have a limited shelf life, due to the premise? Would you be willing to deal with a crime procedural approach to keep the show around longer? Sound off down below and see you next season!