Television Review: Melrose Place, "Nightingale"
by R.J. Carter
Published: September 15, 2009
Apparently not a day goes by without deep drama at Melrose Place. Following the close of last week's pilot episode, it appears that Lauren (Stephanie Jacobsen) has found a whole new (and lucrative) way to "play doctor," as she plies her assets into cold hard cash in order to pay her $30,000 tuition or be kicked out of medical school. The cash isn't the only thing that's cold and hard, however, as Lauren turns more professional than she might have expected -- particularly after her first date recommends her to a second date! It's not the way Lauren saw herself working her way through school, but she's encouraged by an in-the-dark Ella (Katie Cassidy) to do whatever it takes to get her M.D.: "Once you get there, you won't care how you got there."
Meanwhile, things start out blissfully prenuptial for the just-engaged Jonah and Riley (Michael Rady, Jessica Lucas), until Ella bursts in with a request to install a security camera over the courtyard. Following Sydney's murder (don't worry -- Laura Leighton will continue to appear in flashbacks), it seems like a good idea, and Jonah is almost too eager to drop things with Riley to get around to installing the camera. Riley sees that Ella has a thing for Jonah, of course, but once the camera is installed, will Jonah see (or mis-see) that Riley has a thing for someone as well? And just what else do Jonah and Riley see on the camera that makes Jonah suspicious of the new girl, Violet (Ashlee Simpson-Wentz)?
Secrets and lies continue to abound, as we get the lowdown on the relationship that existed between Auggie (Colin Egglesfield) and Sydney -- how they got together, and the painful tragic secret Auggie shared with her during that time, a secret that comes back to haunt him when police detectives return to question Auggie further about Sydney's murder. But while Auggie's past may be shady, David (Shaun Sipos) continues to operate a thief's game in the here-and-now, fencing stolen property and casing a mansion as he attends a party with the social-climbing Ella in tow. Of course, Ella's at the party to save her job, since the PR firm she works at has been acquired and subsequently decimated. She's out to land the big fish, however ruthlessly she needs to play it, and nothing can stand in her way.
There's a lot of eye candy in Melrose Place, filled with well-dressed, well-coiffed young people (Simpson-Wentz particularly will knock your socks off after her character gets a fashion makeover from Ella's closet and makeup vanity). There's also a lot of dirt on display, and one wonders just how many cast members will be left next season if only a smidgen of these dirty little secrets were to come to light. Regardless, Melrose Place so far continues to appeal to the schadenfreude of the not-so-beautiful people, and is on track to grab as much of an audience as did it's predecessor.
Melrose Place, "Nightingale" airs Tuesday, September 15th, 9pm|8pm CT on The CW.