“Devotees in the Courthouse of Love” tackled weddings, births, runaway dates, thieving nuns and court costs in a fun episode of All Rise that also had something real to say about the justice system.
This recap of All Rise Season 1, Episode 5, “Devotees in the Courthouse of Love”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
All Rise Episode 5 had no shortage of weirdness: thieving nuns, dashing dates, marriages, stuck wedding rings, surprise labors on the floor of the courthouse… you name it, “Devotees in the Courthouse of Love” included it. But you shouldn’t let that distract you from all the genuine issues that were also raised, such as how the justice system funds itself by rifling through the pockets of the needy, and how what you believe doesn’t always have to determine how you act — at least not all of the time.
Mr. Owens (Marcuis Harris) only appears at the beginning and end of All Rise Episode 5, but he might be the most important person in it. He committed a crime: He was selling marijuana without a license. But he was selling marijuana because he was short of money, and the only reason he didn’t have a license is because it’s terribly difficult for a black man to get one. Now he can’t afford his fine or the court fees, and that fact weighs on Lola (Simone Missick) all throughout “Devotees in the Courthouse of Love”.
Lola — and even, surprisingly, Sherri (Ruthie Ann Miles) — isn’t comfortable with all the arbitrary bureaucracy and red tape that determines these things. But whereas a legal procedural like Bluff City Law is in love with the facts and figures, All Rise wants to weigh the human cost. What does it mean for law and order to require exploitation of the needy to fund itself? What is the likelihood that the cost of doing business forces a man like Mr. Owens into potentially reoffending? Profit means incentive, on both sides of the law.
This is a minor subplot in “Devotees in the Courthouse of Love”. It amounts to just a couple of scenes but a lot of food for thought. The more substantial cases in All Rise Episode 5 had more to them but didn’t necessarily have the same staying power. Lola presided over a case of money stolen by a nun; of the potential culprits, the likeliest was Phoebe (Emma Dumont), who was taken in by the church straight from skid row. Emily (Jessica Camacho) did her best to defend her, but sometimes belief in something greater — not a deity, necessarily, but a purpose, a moral responsibility — overpowers one’s sense of self-preservation. The whole matter, wedged inside a very busy episode with more interesting things to say, felt somewhat out of place, like it didn’t amount to much.
I preferred what Mark (Wilson Bethel) was up to. Once again pitted against Amy (Lindsey Gort), he was defending men who had been lured into dates with “diamond dasher” grifter Margot Baxter (Rebecca Wisocky), whose shtick was to order the most expensive items on swanky restaurant menus and then leg it before the bill came. It was a dopey case played for laughs, but it had a different purpose in rounding out Amy’s character and positioning her closer to Mark. Whereas before they seemed like a shipper’s dream simply by virtue of being absurdly good-looking, it’s now clear that Amy is a bit more complicated than that, and that she challenges Mark in ways that Ria (Nadia Gray), implausibly stunning though she may be, simply doesn’t. Despite Mark’s insistence, more is sure to come of this, and I can’t say I’d be against the idea, even if it’s mostly because Ria hasn’t really been given anything to do yet.
But relationships were right at the heart of All Rise Season 1, Episode 5. A young woman went into labor on the floor of the courthouse and had to be swiftly married to her fiance before the baby arrived. Couples were lining up to be wed by Judge Benner (Marg Helgenberger), who was late for the nuptials due to enlightening personal reasons. And Emily, thoroughly put-off by all the romance, was finally able to remove the wedding ring that has been stuck on her finger for the duration of the season. It’s fitting that the person who managed to remove it was Luke (J. Alex Brinson). Sometimes the only way you’re able to grow is by removing something that you thought was a part of you. And often that doesn’t cost a thing.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.