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'Life Unexpected': It's a rocky road

March 1, 2010 | 11:10 pm
Cate (Shiri Appleby), Baze (Kristoffer Polaha), Ryan (Kerr Smith) and Lux's (Brittany Robertson) worlds went through a major overhaul this week, paving the way for what I imagine will be the first of many rocky roads ahead. How fitting then that it started off with Cate and Lux having a sweet mother/daughter moment in which Cate gave Lux the essentials for surviving a breakup: rocky road ice cream and money for retail therapy. But how sad that the most luxurious item Lux could think of to buy was arm warmers. You can splurge on some new makeup or a pair of shoes now, Lux.

Threatened that Ryan was “moving in on his dad role” by giving Lux driving lessons -- well, he maybe is going to be her stepfather, so I think they should bond -- Baze entered the radio station's Hands on a Hybrid contest. Ryan was the winner last year as the last man standing with his hand on the car after 39 hours. The radio station, never missing a moment to capitalize on Cate's man drama, is pitting the contest as a Ryan vs. Baze showdown. If only the station knew how true that was. The car is the least of their showdowns. Cate is worried that Baze will let it slip that they had sex and Ryan will find out that she lied to him about Baze just trying to kiss her and her pushing him away.

“You're so 'Days of Our Lives.' I'm going to have to start tuning in at 1 to watch you,” Alice (Erin Karpluk) says to Cate. More like 9 p.m., at least until next Monday when “Days of Cate's Lives” moves to 8 p.m. Yes, that was a not-so-subtle nod to the fact that “Life Unexpected” moves to 8 p.m. next week, so adjust your DVRs!

Baze decides to attack Ryan's Achilles' heel and get in his face during the contest. The two start to argue about Baze taking advantage of Cate, at which point Baze figures out that Cate lied to Ryan, but plays along with it. He makes a remark about wanting to see if Cate had improved as a kisser over the last 16 years. Ryan punches Baze and you know what that means. They both get disqualified from the contest. OK, that's not the important part. Cate sees the punch and immediately starts apologizing to Ryan, telling him that sleeping with Baze didn't mean anything. Uh oh. This is why communication is key in a relationship. Do your reconnaissance. Find out what he knows first.

Cate's dug herself into a hole as Ryan realizes she's been lying to him this whole time. He listened when she ridiculed his proposal, when she told him she had a kid, when she said they'd be a family, when she said nothing happened with her and Baze. He's done listening and he's done with Cate. And good on Ryan for not accepting that baloney “we weren't together” technicality of an excuse. As glad as I was to see Ryan no longer having to play the fool, I felt bad for Cate, who was hopelessly standing by as her world crumbled around her.

In addition to losing Ryan, Cate lost Lux, who begged her to take in Tasha (Ksenia Solo), so she wouldn't be sent to a foster home three hours away. It's the only thing she would ever ask Cate for, she promised, but Cate said no. Lux felt let down since Cate had promised to be there for her and for anything that she needed, but she probably wasn't banking on that something being another teenager. Hurt, Lux escaped to Baze's place and Baze finally got to step up in a major way as her father. They made a bedroom for Tasha and called Fern the social worker, who was impressed by the home adjustments and Baze's suddenly profiting bar.  But unsurprisingly, a random, single guy can't take in a 16-year-old. He can, however, now have joint custody of his daughter. Looks like he didn't need to win that car for Lux to show her that “you know” -- that's guy speak for “I love you” -- because he got her something way better: Him. Lux moves in with Baze, leaving Cate behind in a sea of wine, ice cream and despair.

Readers, are you excited for more father/daughter bonding time now that Lux is living with Baze? Do you feel bad for Cate, who lost almost everything in one swoop, or do you think she brought it on herself? Did this episode finally get you to care about Tasha? I warmed up to her a little. Hey, Tasha's terrible mother, you remind her of how horrible you were, but she still wants to try, so why can't you?

-- Vlada Gelman (Follow my TV musings on Twitter: @stayingin)


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Photo: Ryan (Kerr Smith) and Cate (Shiri Appleby) size up the competition. Credit: Jack Rowand / The CW