TV Reviews

Life Sentence Season 1 Episode 2: Re-Inventing the Abbotts Review

If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.

Synopsis: Stella and Wes must defend their marriage to the INS; Peter and Ida decide to sell the house; Stella tries to help Aiden face reality; Elizabeth’s husband is not thrilled with Stella’s plan to deal with her sister’s writer’s block.  (TVGuide)

Writers: Erin Cardillo & Richard Keith

Director: John T. Kretchmer

Rating: TV-PG

Running Time: 45mins

Life Sentence continues to be ever so charming and witty this week as the second episode unfolded. After learning Stella is cancer-free, the Abbotts life has become front and center with all of their secrets. Stella is finally realizing just how much her family hid from her to protect her, and just how much of a toll it has taken on them. Meanwhile, Stella and Wes are experiencing marital problems as the INS has targeted them for an illegitimate marriage claiming it was solely for the purposes of obtaining a green card.

Stella is aware of all the sacrifices her family has made for her and does her utmost best to make up for it in this week’s episode. Whether it is getting Aiden to face Marlene and the recently announced pregnancy, her sister’s writer’s block, or dad’s frustration with his life after her mom left him, Stella is trying to keep them it all together. Ida insists that they must sell their house and make some money (remember, it’s been all but depleted after Stella’s medical bills). However, Peter is not in agreement over this and wants to keep the house, and Stella proceeds to take his side.

With the INS on their backs, Wes and Stella have to prove that their marriage and love is indeed real. However, this proves to be difficult given the way they live (separate mattress on the floor and the fact they don’t actually truly know one another, not as well as they would like anyway. Stella’s family drama gets in the way of them having a study session for their INS interview, but they make it work as they peruse through the types of questions they may ask. Wes reminds her that the reality of being deported to London is not far-fetched, which places Stella in a difficult situation given her family is falling apart. This episode did a good job of introducing the reality of Stella’s situation and that while she may have perceived life to be perfect, what she’s facing now is what’s real.

In an attempt to coax the INS, Stella goes to the office to share her and Wes’s love story in Paris. This only complicates things further when the officer asks why Wes would marry a dying girl and implies it’s clearly for immigration purposes. The agent goes on to share information about Wes’ life prior to meeting Stella which reveals he was with another girl. This irks Stella because Wes told her that she was the first woman he ever loved. This moment leads to one of their first fights and pushes Stella to get marriage advice from her sister, Lizzy. Lizzy tells her marriage isn’t perfect and as long as Stella feels its worth it then it’s something worth fighting for.

A family dinner night brings more drama when a fight breaks out and Ida shares exactly why she is so dead-set on selling the house. While Stella has happy memories associated with it, Ida only sees bad–Stella having cancer and her marriage falling apart. In a moment of frustration, she begins digging “her own grave” because this family wants her dead. The digging leads to her uncovering a tiny coffin that holds the remains of Stella’s cat who died from cancer, but Stella was told otherwise. As sad as this moment is, the family breaks out in laughter and realizes that selling the house is the right thing to do. After all the fighting and bickering, it also helps everyone understand Ida’s perspective on what she has been feeling. They share one more family dinner together before the house is sold.

Wes and Stella get another shot at an interview with the INS, in which they clearly stumble answering questions but also showcase the reality of their situation. They love one another, and as unconventional as it may seem, they have their reasons. Wes shares how Stella taught him to live in the moment because when he met her, every moment could be her last. This is enough to convince the officer to clear Wes and let him stay in the U.S. Yay! As the episode ends, Stella sends Lizzy off to a writer’s retreat to focus on writing her book and pushes Aiden to talk to Marlene about their baby. All’s well that ends well, at least for now anyway!

Life Sentence is an adorable, light-hearted show that takes a serious issue and brings some humor into it. Life is tough, and it’s never easy, but this week Life Sentence teaches us that there is always a way around it if you have hope and the ability to sit down and talk to one another. Bravo, Life Sentence, Bravo.

Score: 8/10

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