The second installment of MELROSE PLACE was pretty much more of the same — which is a good thing; it means the-powers-that-be have a handle on the kind of show they want to produce and how to produce it. It also amplified my first impressions from last week: I love Ella (and Katie Cassidy) even more and hate Riley more than last time. I was relieved to see MP did not try to milk the “Violet is Sydney’s sekrit daughter” thread after that was telegraphed so blatantly in the premiere. Instead, we will be treated to the somewhat-similar-yet-more-sustainable “Is Violet really Sydney’s sekrit daughter?”
This much we know: Auggie is not Sydney’s killer; he’s just one of those people who only exist in whodunits, who just happen to look guilty as sin while simultaneously declining to clear his name in order to just drag things out. TPTB simply would not spend an entire episode making Auggie look guilty if he actually is guilty. (At least, they better not have. If Auggie indeed dunnit, we’re gonna to have a talk.) We also discovered that Auggie hooked up with Syd at a 12-step program and they had lots of rough sex. None of which came as a surprise to anyone even vaguely familiar with MP shenanigans. However, it’s generally not a good idea if viewers can predict every story beat, like in this episode. From the troublesome installation of the security camera, to Ella’s professional boasting, to the inevitability of Lauren meeting someone she knows on a “date,” it was all pretty unsurprising. (Especially the bit about Lauren’s “someone” being Ella; how much fun would anyone else be?). And Lauren is already enjoying her experiences as an escort? What a surprise…er, not. Though I did appreciate how she turn on that surgeon’s detachment as she recited her business credo and demanded payment. Looks like she was learning something at med school. She seemed almost as bad as Ella!
Speaking of bad, Jonah and Riley continued to demonstrate what a bad idea idea it is for them to get hitched. Why does Jonah allow Riley to jerk him around? Last week she kept him on tenterhooks by delaying her response to his proposal. This week, she fumed about Ella sniffing around Jonah — that is, when Riley wasn’t “comforting” neighbor Auggie, who was mourning Sydney’s death. Riley flips out at the mere mention of Ella’s name; can you imagine what would have happened if Jonah had spent over a half hour hugging and “comforting” Ella? Somebody would have been wearing a dunce cap!