Last night's Star-Crossed was really keen to make sure you were aware of the show's central theme: That Emery and Roman come from two separate worlds, and they can't be together because their worlds are separate. Here's a handy 30-second compilation of every moment where the show drove those themes home.
So Star-Crossed is having the early stumbles and lurches that a new TV show often seems to have, in its first few episodes. And hopefully this show is slowly going to trundle towards watchability, the way Tomorrow People (for example) has. For now, though, the show is really keen to bludgeon us with its major themes, and also to try and push the nearly chemistry-free romance between Emery and Roman.
So in the second episode, we deal with the fallout from Emery's dad shooting Roman's dad, and Roman curing Emery's friend Julia. And we learn a lot more about Atrian culture and politics, as Roman makes a play to be the new leader and deals with terrorists. But mostly, there's a lot of adults arguing seriously about whether to allow the aliens to go to the big school carnival — and then what happens when the aliens do.
So yeah, the Roman and Emery romance has cooled since Emery's dad shot Roman's dad. As you can see from the 30-second compilation above, Roman and Emery do thaw somewhat over the course of the episode, especially after they go to the carnival together and do some handpainting on a rock — a cunning reference to Romeo and Juliet's pilgrim hand dance scene?
The tone of the episode is set by the somewhat bludgeony scene where all the kids sit in their homeroom and taunt each other loudly and openly. This show's answer to Caroline says she'll be a "megabitch" if homecoming carnival is cancelled due to Roman's dad's death, while the aliens retort that their leader is dead and that's more serious. That one jerky kid tells Emery her dad is a hero, right in front of Roman. It's super tense!
The actual meat of the episode has to do with extremists on both sides of the Atrian-human divide.
The Atrians have the "Trags," who are like Atrian terrorists who want to take over Earth or something — and not only do the Trags blow up some guards and stockpile some weapons, they also have disguised agents living among the human population and laying in wait — including Tahmoh Penikett, playing his third non-trustworthy dude in the past year.
The humans have the Redhawks, who are basically the anti-alien militia. They want to wipe out all the aliens, or at the very least keep them from going to homecoming carnival. This is a militia that really has a strong emphasis on carnival attendance prevention. The leader of the Redhawks is named Crazy-Eye McWildbeard, and everybody takes him seriously. At the end of the episode, Crazy-Eye tries to kidnap the big bruisery Atrian kid, but he's stopped by Grayson at knifepoint — only to have it revealed that Grayson is secretly a Redhawk as well. Whoa.
Meanwhile, the Trags are a bit more subtle, using an explosion as a cover for weapons theft. And they scheme to kill Emery, using the aforementioned secret undercover agent Tahmoh, who's now in charge of the human guards since Emery's dad stepped down.
A lot of the action this time around has to do with Roman trying to stop the Trags — because Atrian society is apparently undemocratic and runs on a hereditary leadership principle, Roman is in line to be the new chief of his tribe, but everybody thinks he's too young and puppyish to handle the responsibility.
So Roman's uncle Castor volunteers instead. Castor is an ex-Trag, and Roman says 100 times he doesn't trust Castor, until the end of the episode when he suddenly does. He asks Castor to stop the Trags distributing weapons, and then takes Castor's word for it that this happened, and then says "OK, you can be leader after all." Meanwhile, Roman also walks up to the Trags and says "Show me your weapons cache, I'm on your side," and they say, "OK sure." The Atrians are a trusting bunch.
My favorite bit in last night's episode is probably when the Atrians are talking amongst themselves and one of them says, "If the humans ever learned that the mystical plant Cyper when mixed with our blood has healing properties, that would be a major plot point." And everybody is like, "Yes, you're right. That would indeed be a plot point that would lead to plot complications."
Oh, and there is fallout from Julia getting healed — for one thing, Emery now has two dorky friends at school instead of one. And for another, Julia's arm glows blue when Roman comes near, indicating she's got some lingering effects from his miracle cure. Woo.