Here is a detailed run-down of last night’s episode of the new ABC series Still Star Crossed. The pilot swiftly follows Romeo and Juliet up to their deaths and the consequences there after.
We start out with Romeo meeting his true love Juliet at the church as they plan to marry. Juliet is accompanied by her cousin Rosaline and Romeo’s cousin Benvolio soon interupts. They both make their feelings known how much they are against the union. Rosaline asks the friar why he would marry a Montague and a Capulet. He responds by stating that he had “performed too many funerals” for both of the families and who was to say that true love would not suceed where violence had failed. They stay and witness the wedding. Romeo and Juliet part ways, each telling each other that they will tell their fathers. Friar Lawrence sends his servant to go tell “someone” that it is done. But who?
It is the next morning and Prince Escalus is riding into Verona to join his father on his death bed. His sister, Princess Isabella is also at her father’s side. The dying prince asks if she is following the orders he has left and she lets him know that if under any circumstances, a Montague or Capulet sheds the blood of the other, they will be put to death. Escalus promises his father that he will do whatever he has to to put Verona first. He father’s last words being that if either house gain power, their target will eventually be the crown. He dies and Escalus becomes the new ruler of Verona.
At House Montague, Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio are joking amongsts themselves about how much Tybalt hates Romeo, especially for killing Tybalt’s cousin. (If you are confused about characters and their relationship to one another I will provide a list at the end of the recap). Lord Montague greets his only son and sends him and Mercutio to breakfast. Benvolio stays behind. Lord Montague has some stern words for him because he refused to marry the Minola’s family daughter. Benvolio pleads that he didn’t love her but Lord Montague argues that it’s not about love, it was about bringing the families together. Yeah, you can tell that Benny here is not a family favorite.
At House Capulet, Lord and Lady Capulet are arguing over whether to let Rosaline and her sister Livia attend Prince Escalus’ Ball. Even though they are Juliet’s cousins and have Capulet blood in their veins, they are being cared for in the House of Capulet, after their parent’s deaths, as servants, against the better judgement of Lord Capulet because they are his brothers daughters. Lady Capulet has a hatred for them which I hope we will soon find out. Lord Capulet believes that having them at the ball will gain them favor with the prince. Lady Capulet gives in. They are told that they can attend the ball and are interupted by Juliet who pretends, not very convincingly, that she is too tired to attend and has to stay in for the night. On her way out, she whispers to Rosaline, “I’ll tell them later.”
Juliet runs to her chambers and opens the doors to her balcony, no pun intended. Fireworks sound off throughout the city and Romeo climbs up the balcony and into Juliet’s arms. They kiss and disappear into her room. We all know what happens here.
The new Prince Escalus, accompanied by Princess Isabella is presented to the attendees of the ball, Capulets and Montagues included and everyone celebrates. Isabella tries to inform and warn Escalus about the fued but He dismisses her telling her that he is well aware of the laws that their father has set in place but their father is no longer alive and he is now home.
While at the ball, Rosaline pays her respects to the Princess and Prince and Lady Capulet tries to belittle her due to the fact that she is not longer his peer but merely a servant. Escalus interupts, telling her that Rosaline is a welcome guest and gives her his condolences regarding her parent’s deaths. She thanks him and awkwardly walks away. Isabella notices that Escalus is bothered.
Whatever Romeo and Juliet were doing didn’t last for very long because he makes an appearance at the ball along with Benvolio. Tybalt confronts the pair and Benvolio tells him that they don’t want any trouble. Tybalt insists on taking revenge for the Montagues burning their fields earlier in the summer. A fight ensues. Romeo pleads with Tybalt that he will not fight him because they are now family. Of course Tybalt doesn’t know a thing about him and Juliet getting hitched so of course Tybalt thinks that Romeo is just being cowardly. As Tybalt charges at Romeo, Mercutio interupts and Tybalt turns and aims at Mercutio. They fight and Mercutio is stabbed. Romeo runs to Mercutio and vows to Tybalt that he will die for what he has done. Tybalt arrogantly asks, “I thought you said you couldn’t fight me?’ Romeo snaps and turns and slays Tybalt and simply states: “I changed my mind.” Romeo and Benvolio comfort Mercutio as he dies and with his last breath he says, “A plague on both your houses. Ask for me tomorrow and you will find me a grave man.”
The next morning, Count Paris of Mantua is negotiating a marriage to Juliet with Lord Capulet. He gives his consent for them to marry At breakfast, it is revealed to Juliet that she is to marry Paris although she gives her reasons for not wanting to, except the one that she is already married. It is also relvealed that Romeo is on the run and he is to be killed, without a trial for the death of Tybalt.
As Romeo flees, Escalus and Isabella are arguing about how to handle Romeo’s punishment. Isabella wants him to be put to death per her father’s wishes but Escalus wants to try a different approach in order to bring peace to the both families. He asks for Romeo to be brought to him.
Juliet pleads with Rosaline to help her before Romeo is put to death. Rosaline tries to convince her that maybe it wouldn’t be bad to marry Paris but Juliet tells her it’s a sin to be married to two different men. Roaline says it is not if she is a widow as well as a virgin but Juliet informs her that she is no longer a virgin.
They both go to Friar Lawrence for help and he gives her the potion that will make her fall into a death-like sleep. Her body will even turn cold. He tells her to take one drop and only one because any more would for sure kill her. Back at House Capulet, Juliet and Rosaline are in her room as she is about to take the potion. She asks Rosaline to wait with her and she agrees. Before taking the potion, she tells Rosaline that she is a true friend. She takes one drop of the potion and almost immediately collapses, eyes wide open. Rosaline steps back, grabs the potion bottle, hides it, purposely drops a vase and begins screaming for help.
The friar finds Benvolio in hopes of finding Romeo in time to let him know of the plan that has been set in motion. Benvolio tells him that he ran off as soon as he told him that Juliet was dead.
At the family crypt, Paris comes to grieve for the young Juliet but is interupted by Romeo. Paris asks what he is doing there and Romeo informs him that she belongs to no other man but him because she is his wife. They fight and eventually Romeo stabs Paris and he falls to the ground. Romeo drinks the poison he bought and kisses Juliet as she still sleeps. He dies laying next to her. She wakes to find Romeo already dead and drinks the remaining poison herself. She lays down beside him and closes her eyes as she dies. Rosaline soon walks in, sees what has happened and runs out. Surprisingly, Paris awakens, gasping for air.
On the day of the funerals, Rosaline is helping Lady Capulet get dressed. The Lady asks her isn’t it kind of her to allow her and her sister Livia to attend a funeral, as well as, why are they alive when her only daughter is dead? Lady Capulet insinuates that she has never appreciated anything that they have done for her and her sister. Rosaline confronts her and asks, What is it that she has done for them? Rosaline tells her that the only reason they let her and Livia live with them is because of her jealousy of their mother and becuase she couldn’t marry the man that she truly loved, their father. Lady Capulet threatens her that she can still make them suffer and that the worst is yet to come.
Ahhh…Now we get to the “who” the friar was taking about when he sent his servant the night of the wedding. Appearently, Lord Montague had tried to set the whole thing up since Romeo was younger. He planted the seed and hoped that Romeo would fall for a Capulet girl. He had given his blessing and paid for the secret marriage but not to see his son happy, but to strengthen his house of Montague with a Montague/Capulet heir.
During the funerals, Escalus is giving the blessings and states that he hopes that the both sides can put their differences aside. He unveils a statue given by House Montague in honor of Juliet but as the cover is pulled off, it is noticably defaced with the word “Harlot” painted in red across it. This begins a fight in the church as Lady Capulet screams, “A curse on the House of Montague!”
As the 2 sides fight, Livia nd Rosaline are separated. Rosaline is saved by Escalus and they hide in one of the rooms. She wants to find her sister but he pleads with her to stay. You can only see the sexual tension between the two if you haven’t noticed already. She hesitates for a moment but leaves him behind.
After the fighting ends, Escalus tells Isabella that Verona must have peace, no matter what the cost is becuase there are other nations surrounding them just waiting for a chance to take control of Verona.
Livia and Rosaline are in their room arguing over the fact that Rosaline says that Lady Capulet has threatened them and they have to leave. Livia is more focused on the fact that Rosaline failed to inform her that she was witness to Romeo and Juliet getting married. Rosaline begs Livia to leave but Livia refuses. She wants to stay in Verona to eventually find a man to love her and become a mother. Livia tells Rosaline that if she wants to run, she will lie for her but she will not go with her.
Rosaline is summoned to the palace. As they make their way to the streets, they are ambushed by citizens and attacked. All the guardsmen are killed. A man pretends to want to take Rosaline to safety but attacks her in the alley. As he is choking her, she grabs a log but before she hits him with it, she is saved by none other than Benvolio. She is more annoyed than grateful that it was he that saved her but she sarcastically thanks him anyway and makes her way to the palace.
As Livia is walking through the halls of House Capulet, she hears screaming and finds a secret room. She also finds a nurse and Lady Capulet tending to an injured Paris. Why in secret? I guess we will find out in other episodes. But she is asked to leave and Livia informs the Lady that she knows how to treat him and that she will need another person to tend to him. Lady Capulet agrees and asks if she can keep a secret. She insists that she can.
At the palace, Rosaline walks in and is greeted by Escalus, Isabella and Lord Capulet who asks her if she is loyal to the House of Capulet and Verona. She states that she is. He tells he that Verona’s enemies are just outside the gates and that they have to put rivalries aside for the good of Verona. She then notices Lord Montague and Benvolio standing at the other end of the palace and asks what is going on. She is silenced by Lord Capulet.
Escalus, acting as prince and sole ruler of Verona, orders the marriage of Rosaline and Benvolio as a symbol of the feuding families coming together as one. Benvolio argues his case and Rosaline flatly refuses and walks out. As she walks the halls, we see flashbacks of Rosaline on her balcony and Escalus climbing up to her and the two professing their love for each other, much like Romeo and Juliet in the play itself.
Escalus chases after her and finds her in the chapel. She asks how he could do this and he tries to make her understand that it is for the good of the city. Verona cannot be divided if it wants to prosper. She feels that she is being sold off to someone she hates but he tries to tell he that he is trying to help her, not sell her off. He wants to give her back the nobility that she once had before her parents died. She tells him that she doen’t care or want nobility or comfort. He asks what does she want and all she can say is that he didn’t even say goodbye when he had to leave. He says he tried to but his father wasn’t willing. He would give her anything to make her happy but all she has to do is ask. She stays silent but she steps closer to him and they kiss…awwwww. They stop, shyly look at each other and smile but are interupted by Benvolio looking at them from the balcony. They look at each other wondering what he observed.
So there you have it. Episode one in the bag. Did I enjoy it? It was good, in my opinion, for a pilot episode. Like with any show, it has to build momentum to get to the good stuff. The politics can seem quite confusing but it wouldn’t be Shakespeare if it wasn’t.
From the looks of the previews of what is to come in the season, Verona’s fate hangs in the balance as other nations look to take advantage of their termoil. I do know that I will continue to tune in and I hope you all will too.
Still Star Crossed airs on ABC on Monday nights at 10 pm. Below is a full list of the cast.
- Lashana Lynch as Rosaline Caoulet, Livia’s sister, the niece of Lord and Lady Capulet and Juliet’s cousin and handmaiden
- Wade Briggs as Benvolio Montague, Romeo’s cousin
- Sterling Sulieman as Prince Escalus
- Ebonée Noel as Livia Capulet, Rosaline’s sister, the niece of Lord and Lady Capulet and Juliet’s cousin
- Zuleikha Robinson as Lady Guiliana Capulet and Juliet’s Mother
- Anthony Head and Lord Silvestro Capulet and Juliet’s Father
- Grant Bowler as Lord Damiano Montague and Romeo’s Father
- Torrance Coombs as Count Paris
- Dan Hildebrand as Friar Lawrence
- Medalion Rahimi as Princess Isabella and Escalus’ sister
- Lucien Laviscount as Romeo Montague
- Clara Rugaard as Juliet Capulet
- Gregg Chillin as Mercutio, Romeo’s good friend. They grew up together like brothers.
- Shazad Latif as Tybalt Capulet, Juliet’s cousin