All Rise season 2, episode 8 recap – “Bette Davis Eyes”

February 9, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Weekly TV
3.5

Summary

“Bette Davis Eyes” sees more major changes occurring in Lola’s courtroom in her absence, while Mark sees his own troubled relationship with his father reflected in his celebrity murder case.

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3.5

Summary

“Bette Davis Eyes” sees more major changes occurring in Lola’s courtroom in her absence, while Mark sees his own troubled relationship with his father reflected in his celebrity murder case.

This All Rise season 2, episode 8 recap for the episode titled “Bette Davis Eyes” contains spoilers.


Just a month after the premature arrival of baby Bailey, Lola has already been replaced – or at least that’s how it seems in “Bette Davis Eyes”. It’s easy for Lola herself to think that, but Ness, Sherri, and Sara can’t help but suspect it too. Her replacement, Judge Jonas Laski (Paul McCrane), assigned to 802 because of unavoidable cutbacks and departmental reshuffling, is her stark opposite, not least because he’s a white man. It’s enough for Lola’s trial team to fondle voodoo dolls that just happen to resemble him quite a bit.

Laski’s overseeing the case of celebrity actress, Samara Strong (Lesley Ann Warren), who was accused of killing her husband 30 years prior by clubbing him over the head with an awards statue. Jere Burns returned as guest-starring lawyer-to-the-stars Adam Pryce and was, naturally, pitted against Mark, representing the people while also, privately, dealing with a longstanding crush on the accused and the sudden reappearance of his estranged dodgy-dealing father, Vic.

This case is pretty open and shut; it’s relatively obvious right from the jump that Samara killed her husband and that her daughter, Kelsey, was a witness to the act and had psychologically buried the trauma for her own protection. But what was interesting about it was how it related to the other subplots of All Rise season 2, episode 8. When Mark turned to Lola for advice, she suggested a cognitive interview, or in other words, returning Kelsey to the scene of the crime and having her memories of the event be prompted and unpacked. Laski authorizes this and Ness rebels against it; having met Kelsey and taken something of a liking to her, she thinks the experience might trigger her, and that justice shouldn’t come at the expense of compassion. Of course, she doesn’t know until she goes to Lola that it was Lola who suggested it in the first place.

I don’t like Ness – I think she’s a one-note mouthpiece for idealistic woke liberalism, but what I do like is the interesting and nuanced discussions that emerge from her predictable rebellion against the system. She has a great conversation with Lola in “Bette Davis Eyes” in which her mentor reminds her that justice must come first and foremost, that there is a system in place for a reason, and that not everything is a racist conspiracy. Ness thinks Laski has been put in Lola’s place because he’s white, whereas Lola trusts Benner, her friend and mentor, not to allow her to be ousted. Sometimes, needs must, as evidenced by the cognitive interview working to expose the fact that Samara did indeed kill her husband.

Of course, Kelsey was somewhat traumatized by the experience, but in the long term, isn’t it better that she isn’t psychologically burying such an important, damaging truth? Won’t that allow her to better come to terms with it? Interesting questions and they also relate to Mark’s troubled dynamic with Vic, who happens to be in the courtroom to watch his son work while Kelsey is cross-examined about her feelings towards her mother; the resentment and jealousy that develops when parents aren’t able to devote all their time and attention to their children. The difference is that Samara was famous and successful while Vic was a conman, but the essential aspect of loving your parents and wanting to remain loyal to them is universal.

Having all this play out in her absence worries Lola – so, too, do the rumors of cutbacks, and she feels she needs to return to work already to make sure that she isn’t simply replaced and forgotten about. But it’s her mother who reminds her of how their relationship suffered when she went back to work too early. If Lola wants things to be different between her and Bailey, she has to do things differently, and that includes not going back to work when she doesn’t need to. And Mark will always have her back – at the end of “Bette Davis Eyes”, we see he has stolen Laski’s lucky mounted deer head from Lola’s office, where he had it installed.

Luke and Emily get things to do in All Rise season 2, episode 8, but a bit less than usual. It’s Emily’s birthday, which everyone seems to have forgotten, and she finds herself being yanked this way and that by competing responsibilities, trying to please everyone, and ending up losing clients in the process. Luke, too, lets his idealism get the best of him, handing over money to pay a man’s fine and then being talked distressingly easily into ponying up even more. He learns a lesson the hard way that helping people doesn’t have to mean giving them whatever they want, and also that someone deserving of help isn’t always nice enough to not use that help against you. In the end, though, despite Choi realizing that Luke is far too naïve and inexperienced to run restorative justice on his own, he offers to partner with him on the next case, Batman and Robin style. But he’s Batman, obviously.

Luke also came through for Emily, not forgetting her birthday and delivering her a cake after hours. What she wished for when she blew out her candle is anyone’s guess, but one can make some assumptions.

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