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The Daily Wildcat

 

    The cat and mouse games power the latest Shonda Rhimes hit ‘The Catch’

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    ABC
    TV poster for ABC’s newest series “The Catch.”

    Shondaland’s newest hit, “The Catch,” premiered on ABC Thursday. The pilot episode is artfully designed to set the stage to a long-running TV show.

    “The Catch” features cat-and-mouse interplay between Alice Vaughan (Mireille Enos), an intelligent and successful private detective in Los Angeles, and her fiancé, Benjamin Jones (Peter Krause), who just conned her out of her entire life savings. Now, Vaughan is on a mission to find Jones and make him pay, which won’t be an easy job when messy feelings get in the way of business.

    The show opens with an intentional misdirection toward the audience; a stylish move, considering the entire show revolves around trickery and investigation. The opening serves a greater purpose that’s not clear until the audience has viewed the entire episode. A conversation at a museum between Vaughan and the art thief she’s trying to catch actually represents the unfolding relationship between her and her ex-fiancé, whom she knows as Christopher Hall.

    The sequence also manages to lay the groundwork for the poetic symbolism and the 2012 oil on canvas painting by Maria Kreyn, “Alone Together.” The painting is referenced multiple times throughout the episode and subtly alluded to, as Alice later looks through photos of her relationship with Jones in an effort to get a picture of his face to track him down. Vaughan realizes Jones managed to hide his direct facial features in countless photos of the couple together, much like the man in Kreyn’s painting.

    As if all of this wasn’t obvious enough, the final scene of the episode has Jones at the museum displaying the Kreyn painting before cutting to Vaughan’s apartment, where the famous painting is hanging on her wall. This occurs after a flashback scene in which Jones offers to buy the painting for Vaughan, which she refuses because of the fortune it would cost.

    The pilot episode sets an important precedent for the rest of the series: the understanding that Vaughan and Jones/Hall were happy together, despite the lies and deceit. It’s important to note that Jones and Vaughan have feelings for each other as they move forward with their plans to destroy one another.

    The job of any pilot episode is to engage the audience with story while creating character tensions. “The Catch” passes this feat with flying colors, with its action-packed pilot that sets the stage for future storylines. In one episode, the show has already introduced dynamic characters with glimpses into their complex backgrounds.

    More importantly, the show’s premise feels fresh and exciting, not cliche and obvious. In our constantly changing age of television, it is understandable to be apprehensive about starting a new series with the hope of encountering something innovative.

    “The Catch” is uniquely fun because the basic idea of the smart, successful woman and the charming outlaw with a good heart has been done time and time again in countless different formats. Yet somehow, it still works. Shonda Rhimes is a creative Rumpelstiltskin, spinning straw into gold. Betting on Shondaland at this point is like using a cheat sheet during a test: You know the answers well beforehand.

    Even though the endgame of the show appears obvious, this is the kind of show where the ‘how’ is far more interesting than the ‘what.’ “The Catch” airs Thursday nights on ABC at 10 p.m..

    If you haven’t yet seen the official trailer for the show. watch it here


    Follow Casey Aldava on Twitter.


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