Sunday, July 22, 2012

The L.A. Complex has a "Vacancy"

After a (thankfully) brief hiatus, The L.A. Complex returns for a second season with "Vacancy." This episode picks up right after season one ends, and while some of the characters begin new arcs, others have to deal with the fallout from the old ones. At least in L.A., things are never boring!

Nick (Joe Dinicol) gets an interview as a writer for Paul F. Tompkins' new series, even though Paul (himself) hates Nick. To overcome this bias and get on staff, Nick uses his chemistry with Sabrina (Georgina Reilly), who is also interviewing, and they are both hired. Then he returns home to Abby (Cassie Steele), whom he is now officially dating, and lies about working with anyone that he knows.

This cannot end well on either count for Nick. If Abby finds out Nick lied about Sabrina, their relationship is over before it starts. Yes, Abby may have dumped Nick anyway, since Nick slept with Sabrina so recently before her. But lying does not improve the situation, and will only make her madder. Similarly, being in close quarters might reignite things with Sabrina enough for her to forgive Nick for his theft of her jokes. If she acts on it and Nick rejects her because of Abby, she will go ballistic, and one or both of them will have to leave the show. Most likely, both women will find out what Nick did soon enough. There is just no way to foresee a happy ending here

Abby is finally learning the game. Auditioning before a religion-themed series star and creator named Donald (Alan Thicke, Growing Pains), she quickly realizes that she has screwed up with her wardrobe, which she probably didn't have time to change. So she lays into Donald instead, claiming piety and passion for the project. It's a fake-it-'til-you-make-it moment, and one where Abby shines. Though, admittedly, if she's a good enough actress to fool Donald here, doesn't that make her good enough for his show?

Sadly, Eddie (Ennis Esmer), who usually seems like a good guy in The L.A. Complex, acting as not just their landlord, but also their mentor and friend, comes off as cruel in "Vacancy." It's one thing to demand that Abby pay extra rent to live with Nick, an understandable rule. It's another to not make his cleaning gig offer clear to Abby, who works six hours when Eddie is only willing to pay for two. Maybe the slight isn't intentional, but Eddie comes across as a total jerk in the way he talks to her. Is the lesson that you can't trust anyone in L.A.? Or is Eddie just having a bad day? He didn't look like that was the case...

Connor (Jonathan Patrick Moore) probably won't have a show much longer if he keeps on the path he's heading down. Drunk in the middle of the day, jumping off balconies into the pool, his behavior is reckless. There is a hint of salvation as he enters into a real relationship with Raquel (the fabulous Jewel Staite). Having her to care about might calm him down, especially when she gets around to telling him that she's pregnant with his(?) child. Maybe Connor will invest in these two people, and being back at the apartments, he will find himself again. Or maybe he will keep getting worse, and Raquel will be left heartbroken, as well as knocked up.

There is a "Vacancy" at the complex that Connor can use, now that Alicia (Chelan Simmons) has hit the road. She says goodbye at the beginning of the episode, and isn't seen again for the entire hour. She remains a main character, so whether The L.A. Complex will follow her on the road or bring her home soon is the only mystery here.

There are also two new characters, a young homeless woman named Beth (Dayle McLeod) and her little brother Simon (Michael Levinson), whom she is caring for. Viewers are introduced to the pair in "Vacancy," but there hasn't been enough development to really understand who they are and what they are about yet. Might Simon land an acting gig, paying just enough to get them into the complex?

Finally, the real emotional heft of the hour comes with Tariq (Benjamin Charles Watson) and Kaldrick (Andra Fuller). Tariq is hurt and unwilling to forgive Kaldrick, especially if Kaldrick won't go public with their relationship. Kaldrick is willing to do anything for Tariq to make up for beating him except tell people that he's gay, as it would effectively end his career, though that's the only thing Tariq wants. So what we get is two heartsick men that cannot maintain the connection they so desperately desire. To cope, Tariq heads home and Kaldrick slits his wrists.

Will Kaldrick die? Or will he come out of this a new man, understanding that he must be true to himself. We know Tariq, a main character, won't really be leaving The L.A. Complex. Either of those outcomes for Kaldrick will allow Tariq to stay. The question is, will Tariq be happy or grieving next week?

Don't miss the summer's guilty pleasure Canadian drama, The L.A. Complex, airing Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on the CW.

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