‘The Big Leap’ 1×04 Review: “Nothing But Money Shots”
As the first trailer for the dance show drops, tensions run high behind the cameras. We get a lot more background about everyone, and it feels like the show is finding its footing. Keep reading for my ‘The Big Leap’ 1×04 review!
“Enjoy Your Psychopath! Enjoy Your Painkillers!”
The show begins with a flashback to the origins of the titular dance show. Essentially, Wayne was high on cocaine and hooking up with a “talentless Ken doll” in London. He pitched a whole bunch of terrible ideas to a producer, and one of them stuck. The “Ken doll” or Talentless Neil came up with the idea for the title. Back in the present day, Wayne is celebrating three years of sobriety.
However, Talentless Neil comes back into the picture like a wrecking ball, almost literally in one scene when he takes down the set. He’s still actively using drugs and seems determined to pull Wayne off the wagon. Monica is none too happy to see that Wayne is even talking to Neil again. However, Wayne is equally unhappy to see that Monica is shooting painkillers into her knee to be able to dance. They spend a good portion of the episode feuding, which makes it difficult for the photographer to get any photos of them as “best friends.”
Wayne goes out to dinner with Neil, who wants 15% ownership of the show. Wayne ends up in a hotel room surrounded by drugs and booze, so he calls his friend Monica to try to get him out. Unfortunately, Monica is in emergency surgery after collapsing during a truly beautiful improvised dance session with Justin. Seriously, I’ve watched that dance number at least five times outside of the times I’ve watched the episode. Mallory Jansen utterly lights up when she’s dancing with Raymond Cham Jr.
The next morning, Wayne visits Monica in the hospital. In one of my favorite scenes, the two talk about the toxic relationships they have with Neil and ballet, respectively. Mallory Jansen was the MVP of this episode. She takes this character that could have been a one-note shrew and gives her so much depth. Her harshness makes more sense as she’s struggling with how to keep dance a part of her identity. The dynamic between her and Kevin Daniels keeps getting better. I can’t wait to learn more about how they became friends.
“It Doesn’t Really Seem Like You Have Much Time For Me”
Nick is trying to get everything ready for the show, but he’s mainly focused on his visiting daughter Henri. Her mom is moving to London, and he is determined for her to decide to live in Detroit with him. He decides to do everything he can to be the Fun Dad. There’s soda for breakfast. He lets her help him film testimonial scenes, and she is scarily good at finding the best questions to ask the dancers. Unfortunately, he also spends a lot of time degrading her mother, which does not sit well with Henri.
He promises to take her to a zombie movie that night, but he keeps getting pulled away. First, he gets pulled away by the network, who are excited by the positive response to the promot. Then Monica calls for help when she collapses because she can’t get hold of Wayne. He and Henri have to take her to the hospital. Then while they’re at the hospital, Wayne keeps calling Monica. Nick ends up taking Henri to save Wayne from Neil’s hotel room.
The next morning, Nick admits to Henri he’s worried if she goes to England, it’s going to mean their relationship will disintegrate. She promises to come back for “Swan Lake,” and I sincerely hope she does. Scott Foley’s inherent charm already does a lot to make Nick redeemable, but his rapport with Blaire Brown humanized him. We’ve seen Nick have vulnerable moments before, but this was one that was completely separate from the show. It wasn’t Nick the Producer at that moment. It was Nick the Dad.
“This Guy Is Ridiculous”
Now, let’s get into the fallout from the trailer. There is a clip in it of Justin referring to Simon as “ridiculous” because of the tutu he fashions for himself. It was from the first day before they got to know each other. Regardless, Simon is pissed as hell. He refers to Justin as a “judgy closet case.” Their dancing is affected because he doesn’t want Justin to touch him.
This could have easily turned into an episodes-long feud. However, they quickly resolve it by having Justin and Simon talk. Simon expresses why he was hurt by what Justin said, and Justin sincerely apologizes for using such loaded language. Since the reality show relies on such manufactured drama, I love how they’re letting the behind the scenes relationships develop authentically. Justin and Simon have a great dynamic with each other that is getting much more layered, largely due to the chemistry between Adam Kaplan and Raymond Cham Jr.
“I’m Not Going To Be Therapized By A Booty Dancer”
Also unhappy with their portrayal in the trailer are Raven and Julia. Raven didn’t appreciate Julia referring to her as a homewrecker because her death threats are increasing. Julia didn’t appreciate that she was made to look like a “disgruntled housewife,” as she is losing Instagram followers. Besides, Julia is still upset that her husband invested so much money in Raven’s life coaching business, and she doesn’t know where he is.
Julia ends up going to visit Raven at her strip club and paying for a private dance. The look on Teri Polo’s face as she begrudgingly tosses singles at Raven was hilarious. However, the women have a touching conversation. Raven wanted to be a classical dancer, but she wasn’t good enough to make money and stripping paid the bills. Julia left New York after she watched her two best friends die of AIDS. It’s a moment of complete vulnerability as she admits she never even told Kevin about that. I am so excited to see Julia’s journey of self-discovery as I think she is beginning to realize she wasn’t happy in her marriage, either.
“I’m Having A Moment Right Now”
On the positive side of trailer reactions, Gabby is living her best life. Her pediatrician’s office gave her free parking when they recognized her. She is back on dating apps, much to the chagrin of her mother. She even got accepted to an exclusive “celebrity” dating app, which made Brittney furious as she had not been accepted to it. Brittney tries to play up how she doesn’t even need the dating apps now that she has her “Reggie Bear,” but he looks completely miserable every time she is near him.
Gabby is having a blast on the dating apps. As she puts it, it’s “like a video game where you win self-esteem.” She matches with a baseball player named Aaron O’Reilly and schedules a date with him for that night. Reggie warns her to be careful of athletes. She kind of dismisses his warning, but then she shows up at the club and meets the other six women he invited out with them for the night. It’s a shame Aaron isn’t focused on her because Gabby looks hot as hell in that dress. She looks thoroughly bored the whole night. Fortunately, Reggie was stalking Aaron’s Instagram and came to save Gabby under the guise of running into her. As they leave, Aaron mocks Reggie, and Gabby sticks up for him before he can say anything.
They go back to Gabby’s house to hang out and watch TV. She apologizes for cutting his clubbing short, but he admits he just came out to find her. In a moment that could have easily gone romantic, they instead have Reggie talk about his frustrations over losing football. Gabby tells him he needs to work his ass off and quit screwing around. She lightly touches on him wasting his time with Brittney. It’s not in a jealous way, though. It’s in the way a friend tells you how you need to get your life together. He teases her about being so hard on him, saying he thought she was going to rub his back and tell him he’s great. She jokes that he can rub her feet and tell her she’s not an idiot for going out with Aaron. He instantly pulls her feet over and does exactly that.
Before anything else can happen, though, Sam walks in after a nightmare. Reggie gives him a tip on how to make the monsters seem less scary and even makes him laugh. He ends up settling on the couch between his mom and Reggie, resting his head on Reggie’s shoulder. I completely melted and my ovaries exploded everywhere at the sight of Ser’Darius Blain being completely adorable with that child. I’m only human.
The next morning, Reggie wakes up and leaves Gabby and Sam on the couch. Gabby wakes up a bit later as her mom starts questioning her on why Reggie stayed over. She is not a fan of his. However, Gabby says that Reggie is different because he likes her. Besides, it doesn’t matter because she thinks she might even love him. Fortunately, Reggie walks back in with donuts just in time to hear Gabby say that. It almost feels like they’re setting Reggie up to be the one who falls for Gabby first, which I think would be the more interesting way to tell this story. Instead of Reggie breaking Gabby’s heart, it would be the other way around. As with every week, I am all in on this ship and cannot wait to see where they take us next.
“Co-Dancers Fake Date”
Surprisingly, though, the ship I’m feeling the most after this week is Mike and Paula. Mike goes to fix his ex-wife Paige’s oven. She starts questioning him about the woman in the show’s trailer, clearly jealous. Mike lies that he is dating Paula. He and Paige end up in this streak of one upping each other until they’re doing a double date that night. Fortunately for Mike, Paula is completely on board with the fake dating idea. Here is one of my secret shames. I am a sucker for the fake dating trope. It is so nonsensical because it never happens in the real world, but I eat it up in romance novels and TV shows.
The four of them are having dinner together. However, Paula and Mike are the ones completely hitting it off. They like the same detective novels. When they start telling the story of how Mike saved Paula from “murder hornets” during the audition, they play off of each other perfectly. It’s popping back and forth as the story gets more elaborate. By the end of the story, Mike talks about dragging Paula out of the room and sucking the stinger out of her neck. Paige instantly tears Mike down by saying soon “Sad Face” is going to show back up and act like he’s the first person to ever lose a job. Mike looks devastated, so Paula swoops in to bring him back up.
The two go back to the studio to return the jacket he borrowed from wardrobe. Mike finally admits he doesn’t think he wants another chance with Paige, and I just hope we’re almost done with his awful ex-wife. With a little manipulation from Nick and Henri in the control room, they nearly have their first kiss until Neil comes in and tries to destroy the set. However, once they’re safely off stage, Paula grabs him and kisses him. They go back to her place and have sex. The next morning, Mike dances all the way home. It is the most endearing he has ever been. He’s blowing bubbles, jumping rope with strangers, hopping on a trash truck. Unfortunately, he leaves his wallet at Paula’s place. She finds his factory ID and realizes she was the one to fire him.
Everyone gathers for the group promotional shot the next morning, and it goes much better than the rest of the photos. This show keeps getting better each week, and I love the stories they’re setting up. Find us on Twitter to share your ‘The Big Leap’ 1×04 thoughts. Be sure to check our site for more content!