“Chasing Life” recap (1.05): Undefined


Previously on Chasing Life, April was diagnosed with Leukemia but decided to tell people on the sly, one by one and mostly by accident instead of holding a press conference. Her sister Brenna was too busy frolicking around town with a dark, artsy man and playing tennis with a bright, bubbly girl to think much of her sister acting weird until April finally spilled the beans.

April and her coworker Dominic are on a date when he decides to take her to a psychic for a laugh. She’s skeptical at best but when the psychic tells her that she needs to talk to her sisters, her mind flickers back to the mystery sister she met at her father’s grave, but corrects the psychic, insisting she only has one sister. Because that’s what she needs to believe.

Cut to April coming downstairs to find her father making breakfast for the whole family. Much like in Pretty Little Liars, I know it’s not reality because of the hazy glow around the scene, but it’s difficult to tell if it’s a flashback or a fantasy. April mentions that she’s worried about moving to New York because her roomie bailed on her, but her parents insist that everything will work out fine. Her father leans in and says, “Just remember what I always say…” but stops there. April implores him to continue, but her mother and sister all of a sudden start yelling at her. She looks to them, confused as to why they’re shouting her name, and wakes up to present day reality, where her mother and sister look rather concerned for her well-being.

Worried about her fainting spell, April’s mother, Sara, tries to get April to stay home from work to slow down a bit, but April (adorably) slow-mo walks out of the kitchen and says she’ll be just fine.

Upstairs, Brenna asks for the real information, about whether this means April is getting sicker. April shrugs it off, insisting she was fine, but when she sees that Brenna looks like SHE might pass out, April asks if she’s okay. Brenna starts to say that when she walked into the kitchen and saw her sister slumped over the table, she feared the worst, which breaks April’s heart, so she pulls her into a hug.

CL 105-1The more April says, “I’m going to be fine,” the more I am so sure she is not going to be fine.

Brenna doesn’t want to carry this secret alone, and April promises that once she gets the test results, she’ll tell their mother.

Downstairs, her mother is worried about all the changes she’s noticed in April like only a mother could. Sara’s mother, Emma, tells Sarah that she should just snoop through April’s things. After all, she’s the one who secretly confiscated Sara’s bong when she was younger. Sara looks a little uncomfortable with the idea, but like she’s going to do it anyway. And sure enough, snoop she does, finding April’s shady bag of pills that Uncle George gave her underneath April’s mattress.

April meets her friend Beth for coffee to tell her about the psychic and her sister drama.

CL 105-2This is Beth. She’s Australian and beautiful and fun.

Beth says she’ll talk to Brenna, since they both know April’s secret, but April is more concerned about her secret half-sister—or, more specifically, how she came to be.

Dominic and April meet up (and I’m biased because I’m originally from Boston, but the exterior shots on this show are all stunning) and Dom asks for some real-talk. He says that his mother is spending a year in a women’s prison, and April laughs like, “If you wanted to watch Orange is the New Black with me you could have just asked,” but Dom wasn’t kidding. His mother was a bookkeeper for an embezzler and he felt like she should know. April says she’ll see his baggage and raise him and then invites him on a super-sleuth mission to find out more about her mysterious potential half-sister. This includes some Sarah Manning-level grifter games at a rent-a-car place, as well as a visit to April’s father’s storage unit, where they find a picture of her father, Mystery Sister Natalie Ortiz…and good old Uncle George. By April’s math, Natalie is two years younger than her, which places her conception right smack dab in the middle of what she thought were her parents’ happy marriage.

At school, Brenna’s friend is prattling on about “top knots” (which we used to call dancer buns back in the day) and other shallow things that Brenna is just not up to mocking, what with having seen her sister pass out because she has leukemia just this morning. Greer, who is sporting a top knot, happily strolls over to Brenna, saying that once her ankle heals, they should totally “play tennis” if you know what I mean.

CL 105-3I wanted to make a “love” tennis joke here but I don’t play sports.

Brenna is kind of cold and aloof in her response, which takes Greer a little by surprise. She shows her annoyance clear on her face before leaving Brenna. Brenna’s friend asks what that was all about, but Brenna tells her that Greer has to do her history homework for her, saying it was just a hustle, nothing more.

April and Dom’s Great Sleuthing Adventure is put on hold because April got a picture text of her mother sitting at her desk at work, so she scurries back to see what that was all about. Sara confronts her about the pills she found and April says that they’re just supplements, that she’s not addicted to pills, and that her mother needs to mind her own damn business.

Brenna goes to Kieran’s tattoo parlor and decides she can’t bear this burden alone anymore. She tells him about April’s leukemia, and he immediately starts to go into a rant about the government and the environment. After seeing Brenna’s “this is so not helping” face, he apologizes, but then immediately delves back into the rant. Luckily, Brenna is saved from this lecture by Beth, who has come to either give Brenna a shoulder to lean on or a way to take her mind of things, whichever she needs most. Brenna chooses the latter, though almost immediately regrets it when the plan is to go to a screening of Pretty in Pink. She agrees, though, and Kieran says that he’ll go, too.

At the screening, Brenna and Kieran stand out like dark clouds on a clear (pink) day. Kieran sees Greer walk in and calls her Martina Navratilova, and Brenna scoffs at him for reducing Greer to her sexuality and the sport she plays. When Brenna sort of says hi to Greer, Beth invites Greer to sit with them, but Greer makes it clear that she’s still not quite over Brenna’s brush-off earlier and starts to head off with the friends she came with. Brenna calls after her and asks her to stay, in a genuine, almost apologetic way, so she agrees. Greer asks what Brenna’s friends would think if she saw them together, but Brenna says her friends are too cool to be seen at a Pretty in Pink screening, so she’s not worried about it. They both smile, and the Incident seems to be forgiven.

CL 105-4THE DIMPLES THOUGH. So adorable.

April goes to Uncle George’s office to confront him about Mystery Sister Natalie Ortiz. When he can’t exactly deny her existence, April is devastated. Her father essentially had been lying her whole life. Uncle George didn’t love being his brother’s Secret Keeper, just like he’s not loving being April’s Secret Keeper, but April is feeling negative amounts of sympathy for him right now.

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