OK, maybe the previous sentence only applies to Sarah (Hannah Ware), the scarlet-
letter-scarf-wearing “heroine” of ABC’s Betrayal, which premiered tonight as a new lead-out to Revenge on ABC. But yes, girlfriend did engage in the worst form of alcohol abuse — c’mon, there’s no way to drink wine with shards of glass mixed in! — and then collapsed in tears after learning the sexy near-stranger she’d just bedded in her photography studio happened to be the defense attorney for/son-in-law of a shady business magnate whom her prosecutor husband is about to bring charges against. (See, she coulda used that glass of vino, maybe even three!)
So how exactly did Sarah go from thriving artiste/happy mom to out-of-control adultress in the course of just one hour? Here’s the quick version.
Sarah’s married to square-jawed Drew, an ambitious district-attorney type who has the audacity to have his own taste in neckties and not be available when Sarah drops in at his office for lunch — without so much as a phone call inquiring how his afternoon is looking, even though it’s 2013 in Chicago and cellphone coverage is relatively ubiquitous. Oh, Drew also makes the mistake of leaving Sarah to mingle solo at a gallery opening featuring some of her own photos.
There, on a cold, dark balcony, she meets Jack (Stuart Townsend), a steely-eyed, stubbly stranger who offers her his coat and some silly conversation about how he once dreamed of being a wreck diver. (I mean…) When Sarah hints at her current state of flux with vague sentiments like, “You lose sight of things,” Jack corrects her: “You do, you mean.”
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They part ways with a couple of lusty glances, but then Sarah accidentally runs into Jack again the next day as he’s going to frame a photo he bought — one of hers! — and she offers to do the deed (heh heh) for him herself. (Actually, she knows a framing guy, but that didn’t work with my joke…) Next thing you know, Jack is asking her to lunch, she’s compromising by meeting him in a train station. Then she’s dropping her scarf (color: fallen-woman red) and he’s hanging out all afternoon at a suburban Chicago train station, waiting for her to return from a photo shoot so he can give said scarf to her. (THAT’S not creepy or anything. Not AT ALL!) Jack shares his own hints of unhappiness — his wife’s a little older than him (how dare she!) and happens to be the daughter of his boss. Oh, also sometimes she hangs photos on their living room wall without consulting him first. (It’s official: She’s the worst!)
Jack invites Sarah to dinner. They retire to a hotel room. Their clothes start coming off. And then Drew calls, looking for their son’s favorite bedtime story, and Sarah hits the brakes — choosing to just sit on the bed with Jack and relate the aforementioned story of a dancing giraffe to her would-be lover. (Somehow combining her almost illicit affair with her tales from her son’s bedtime routine made things a lot worse, in my humble opinion.)
Finally, after a reeeeally bad day — more on that in a second — Jack swings by Sarah’s photo studio. And he gives her this speech about his life feeling small, and his meeting her having made him start “to feel the magnitude of things in a way I never did.” They begin to tearfully say goodbye and express their gratitude for having met, when Sarah grabs his arm. And that’s when they take a page from Marvin Gaye and engage in some sexual healing. It’s only when Sarah gets home that she finds out Drew’s been assigned a juicy new case targeting Jack’s father-in-law. “I’m gonna crucify him,” Drew says of Jack, not realizing Sarah just danced the horizontal mambo with his courtroom rival.
Oh — and just to rewind for a second — Jack’s father-in-law (James Cromwell, in Big Bad mode, offering glasses of scotch to the cops), spends the episode suspecting his late wife’s brother of embezzling from his company. His mentally unstable, possibly brain-damaged son TJ (who had some kind of near-drowning accident in which he was saved by Jack) decides to go and confront said uncle, who winds up dead in the river with a couple of bullets in his torso. But it seems from TJ’s account that he didn’t have a gun, and the last he’d seen Uncle Whatever, he’d just helped him out of the water (after they fought) and walked away. Jack, of course, is expected to keep TJ out of jail, but TJ spilling his soul to some gal named Brandy down at “the club” probably won’t help matters. Anyway, you just know Jack’s gonna be drawn into something deep and damaging and probably deadly.
But so, too, is Sarah: Did I mention the establishing scene of the series shows a gun being fired, and a bloodied, neck-braced Sarah being carried off on a stretcher? The final moments of the hour are similar ones, as a man with a wedding ring — see, could be Jack or Drew — sits beside her and calls her name.
Me? I don’t think I’ve got the patience to stick with Betrayal all season and find out who/what/when/where/why or how. But I’m curious what you think. Grade the Betrayal premiere in the poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts. What did you think of the show and its cast? Will you be back for Episode 2? Sound off below!