Life Unexpected 2.05 “Music Faced” Advance Review

Excited for next week’s Life Unexpected, which happens to be the crossover episode with One Tree Hill? I’ve got an early look at “Music Faced” for you right now.

Here’s how the story goes: Ryan (Kerr Smith) is hosting a music festival, which brings OTH‘s Haley (Bethany Joy Galeotti) and Mia (Kate Voegele) to Portland. Haley then meets Cate (Shiri Appleby), bonds with her over their similarities, and is there to lend a helping hand when the truth about Cate’s birth control gets out. Oh, and because this is a music festival, there are appearances by Sarah McLachlan, Ben Lee, and LUX theme song artist Rain Perry, too.

If you’ve forgotten that Ryan and Cate are trying to have a baby (or he is, anyway), the show opens with them in bed – and thankfully done with that by the time that Baze, Lux and Cate’s mom turn up at their house. Lux is traumatized by what Cate’s mom brings by, and Baze is not thrilled at the news that his ex is trying for another child. If you’ve ever been embarrassed by your parents in front of someone you even vaguely like, you’ll get a laugh out of the joke, although I could’ve done without the sex scene before it.

The episode really starts around the single peoples’ attempt to get dates to the festival, whether it’s Lux being shot down by one of her classmates, or Baze trying to pick up someone at the office to prove to his daughter that he’s over Cate. There’s a return appearance by Emma Caulfield (Buffy The Vampire Slayer‘s Anya) as Baze’s conniving boss, who wants to use him to meet Haley and therefore, Haley’s money. However, because this is a music-centric episode with several musical artists appearing, a large chunk of the focus is on the artists and their musical performances, so you’ll see less plot here than you normally would. OTH fans will at least get a kick out of Galeotti performing.

The big reveal of Cate’s secret isn’t really that big; fans already know what it is, and Cate’s mom finds out about it in the opening minutes. The only thing that makes it interesting is waiting for Ryan to find out, as Cate’s mom warns her that lying to Ryan means losing him. Thankfully, the show has him find out at the end of the first act and doesn’t string the audience along the entire episode. As it turns out, Cate’s mom is right on the money, as Ryan tells her, “I cannot be married to you if I can’t trust you.” Maybe we’re meant to sympathize with Cate’s indecision, but my heart honestly went out to Ryan more than anything else in this episode. Kerr Smith gives a really great performance, miles away from the last time I saw him on TV (which was Eli Stone and he was so smarmy I wanted to hit him with a shovel). His Ryan has the courage to stand up for himself, which is refreshing in a world of back-and-forth relationships (everyone that’s ever been on Maury or Cheaters, I’m looking at you).

This being a crossover episode, though, it’s Haley to the rescue with the benefit of her experience. Appleby and Galeotti make an interesting pair to watch, and while the crossover seems cutesy on paper, it doesn’t seem forced. Fans of both shows should enjoy it, and LUX fans won’t feel like their show is being taken over. Excepting that large portions of this episode are given over to musical performances, the actual plot in “Music Faced” is worth watching.

“Music Faced” airs Tuesday, October 12 at 9 PM on The CW.

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