I’m oddly comforted to know that, on Pitch, it’s not the holidays — because season 1 wraps up on such a dismal note for everybody, I’d be picturing each character spending Christmas alone, staring out the window wistfully at snowless San Diego. And that thought is almost as depressing as this episode, “Don’t Say It.”
Things start out hopeful enough: Everyone down in the dugout and upstairs in the luxury box is jittery watching Ginny throw a — why do I still feel suspicious typing this when it’s a fake game in a TV show that is, in any case, already over? — no-hitter. But a flashback to the past 36 hours quickly puts us in angst-land.
We pick up where we left off last week: in the land of permanently long-faced Mike Lawson. See him scowl, see him scoff, see him keep leaving the room without answering the question someone has asked him, even though there are really only two rooms in this show: the clubhouse and the hallway. Where does he so urgently need to go all the time? Anyway, Mike’s trade hullabaloo has dissipated, but Blip isn’t satisfied, especially when he realizes Mike didn’t call off the trade himself. Blip was this close to the captain’s chair, and he’s had it up to here with Mike’s evasive grunting. I can’t blame him. I am actually relating to the perpetually whiny Blip. Will this glorious feeling last the whole episode? Not a chance! But we’ll get to that in a minute.
Josh Peck brings back his Jonah Hill Moneyball impression briefly to tell Oscar that Ginny’s arm is used up. He’s run the numbers, and Ginny has thrown way too many of her signature screwball — a pitch that’s tough on the arm — for one season. If they want to avoid her getting injured, they need to shut her down for the year. Now. Oscar says okay, and Blip thinks she should call it a year, too. (Nobody invited Blip to this meeting, but he marches in anyway. I’m still with him. For about 20 more minutes.) Al and Lawson think Ginny should get to keep throwing. A compromise is established, with help from E from Entourage: Ginny will at least make her next start. For her part, Ginny thinks this is all nonsense. She points out that women’s ligaments have more flexibility than men’s, so she can handle a little more strain. Josh Peck’s face is like,Yeah, that’s total bull, but I want to work in this town again so I’ll keep my mouth shut. Meanwhile, Evelyn has completely wised up to Will’s fast-talking, cash-nipping ways, and Amelia is all too happy to take over that conversation. She promises Evelyn that she’ll handle Will.
NEXT: Kissing and fighting galore
Now, this is where things start to fall apart. Hold on to your Padres hats, because Pitch is about to turn into One Tree Hill for the duration of the episode. All of a sudden, romantic storylines charge forward like Wal-Mart shoppers on Black Friday.
Rachel, Lawson’s ex, shows up to interview Ginny, and whaddya know — she and her dinner-party boyfriend broke up. Later, Lawson grimaces his way through her package on Ginny, and somehow, it moves him to get up and go to Rachel’s hotel room, unannounced, for a night of reconnecting. Let’s remember that this is all on the heels of him and Ginny almost-kissing, which happened on the heels of him doing some rueful beard-heavy flirting with Amelia. When was the last time you remember watching a show where a main character had three love interests going throughout the duration of a season? That’s what I thought. Because shows mostly don’t do this, and when they do, it’s highly forgettable.
Elsewhere in Tree Hill: Ginny has Eliot track down an actual person from Tree Hill: Tyler Hilton, a.k.a. Noah, the Zuckerbergian billionaire Ginny ran out on last week for Lawson. Please tell me I wasn’t the only one who felt like we had truly traveled to another dimension as we watched Noah strum a guitar on the stage of a coffeehouse and Ginny act into it. What? No. No all around. I’m sure the writers wanted to make Noah multilayered, but please, not this layer, anything but this layer. And Ginny swooning, after a season of painting her as a true hardass? I don’t buy it. The whole thing felt less realistic than the “STRIKEOUT!!!” headline I spotted in the FS1 game graphics. Thankfully, Ginny’s true self kicks in once Noah proposes a whirlwind trip around the world. “He can come watch me train in Arizona,” she snaps later, during a mid-game rant to Lawson that also includes this revelation: “I don’t need a man to rescue me. I’m the one on the mound. I throw the ball. I give the speeches. And I decide if you and I are going to talk about what happened the other night.” Yeah, for having three women on the hook, Lawson has kind of maddening good luck with getting out of “talks.”
Ready for Blip and I to part ways? Evelyn sits down to confess that Will stole money from their business account, and Blip is — wait for it — relieved because he wants Evelyn freed up to get pregnant again. Ignoring the less-than-thrilled look on her face, Blip rambles on about how much he wants a daughter who Evelyn can “wear matching outfits” and “have spa days” with. So… maybe Blip just needs a pair of American Girl dolls? Anyway, Evelyn finally stands up to him, hitting him with a double whammy: She’s doing the restaurant without his approval, and she thinks she’s done having kids. She leaves Blip to sulk over the elaborate breakfast I have a feeling he didn’t cook himself.
Then comes a breakup that actually broke my heart a little: Ginny, still smarting from Will’s betrayal, tells off Amelia once and for all. The fight goes like most of theirs do: Ginny starts out with the moral advantages but squanders it by acting bratty. And Mama Amelia has finally had enough — she heads back to L.A., marching onto the plane even after a newscast of Ginny’s injury sidetracks her momentarily.
Yeah, about that — after all the random melodrama and real, painful drama this episode serves up, I was sure we were gonna get that no-hitter. Instead, with it all but sewn up, Ginny injures herself on a routine play, bringing Oscar’s fears to life. The season closes out on the joyless sight of Ginny sliding into an MRI machine, her face filled with apprehension.
It’s the same face I’m making as I wonder where this series is headed, and what satisfaction we’re supposed to draw from a conclusion like this. Like a big-payroll team who fizzles in the playoffs, Pitch is full of talent and promising moments, but its timing and chemistry often failed to come together. Somehow, it feels a little like the season ended in a tie.
Episode Grade: C