Earthquakes, pronouns, and workplace rivalries all featured in “Uncommon Women and Mothers”, which toned down the courtroom theatrics for a greater focus on character.
This recap of All Rise Season 1, Episode 7, “Uncommon Women and Mothers”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, especially when the tree is L. Scott Caldwell. She guest stars in All Rise Episode 7 as Lola’s (Simone Missick) mother, Roxy, and is about what you’d expect; she’s also a character witness in an arson case that seats her opposite Mark (Wilson Bethel), who is naturally terrified of cross-examining her. This is the A-plot in “Uncommon Women and Mothers”; the B-plot is a dispute over a warrant that a detective wants to be granted on a clearly prejudiced testimony, and there’s room for a friendly rivalry between Sherri (Ruthie Ann Miles) and Sara (Lindsay Mendez) over who gets to be Floor Warden following an earthquake.
First, that whole arson business. The accused is Jax, a homeless person whose preferred they/them pronouns cause some confusion. They’re accused of starting a fire, which they did, but the difference between a felony charge and a misdemeanor is what’s at stake. Jax is tough, but not tough enough for state prison. Luckily they have Emily (Jessica Camacho) to defend them and Roxy to speak to their character, although that last point might not be as much of an advantage as it seems.
It’s going well until then. The head of the construction company whose projects are set to displace Jax and the rest of their homeless community has a history of insurance fraud. But when Roxy is pressed by Mark about her exact relationship with that community, she refuses to answer a potentially damning question and is held in contempt by presiding Judge Megan Piper (Amy Tolsky).
Lola has a complicated relationship with Roxy, whom she visits in her cell afterward. She respects her mother and what she does for her community, but she resents the fact her work has kept her absent for most of her life — she’s only visiting Lola at work now because she’s a witness in a separate case. But All Rise Episode 7 makes a point of emphasizing their connection, even if it is sometimes long-distance. They both believe in doing the right thing, so Roxy agrees to take the stand again and tell the truth.
The truth almost destroys Jax’s defense in “Uncommon Women and Mothers”. Roxy bought Jax the socks that were used to start the fire; there’s no doubt Jax started it. But Emily delivers a passionate closing statement that questions why they did so. A federal charge of arson requires malice, and there’s no malice in doing something stupid and desperate to try and preserve the only thing that you can call home. The jury finds Jax guilty of a misdemeanor, not a felony.
As if Lola didn’t have enough strong women to worry about, in the B-plot she refuses to sign a warrant authorizing the search of a property for firearms since the affluent neighbor witness describes the residents as “gangster rapper” types and doesn’t actually claim to have seen any guns. But Judge Benner (Marg Helgenberger), trusting the detective seeking the warrant, goes over Lola’s head and signs it anyway. It results in a large collection of guns being found, which presents a problem. Lola is furious that she was undermined and that the warrant was granted on a clearly prejudiced hunch, but through sheer chance, the warrant resulted in guns being taken off the streets. All Rise Episode 7 is, I think, the first time we have seen Lola be shut down during an argument. It ends amicably — Lola admits she was wrong, but Benner respects her passion for due process — but it was a reminder that judge or otherwise Lola can’t always get her own way.
On Roxy’s advice, Mark goes to see his estranged father, whom I assumed the show had forgotten about. He appears to be in ill health, though assures Mark he’s fine. Neither Sherri nor Sara — their battle is a fun distraction all throughout “Uncommon Women and Mothers” — are awarded Floor Warden status. And Emily unburdens herself to Luke (J. Alex Brinson) about her vulnerability following her divorce. They agree to take things slow. All Rise Season 1, Episode 7 kept the theatrics to a minimum to better focus on character, which should pay dividends going forward.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.