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Drop Dead Diva‘s fifth season may have started with some major shake-ups, but by episode three, we’re back to a familiar format. With Real Jane safely away in Paris, the Harrison Parker crew is free to do what they do best – tackle offbeat cases and win more often than they really should.

The Players:

  • Director:J. Miller Tobin
  • Writer: Jeffrey Lippman and David Feige
  • Cast: Brooke Elliott, Jackson Hurst, Kate Levering, April Bowlby

Episode Title: “Surrogates”

Kim announces a surprise of bigger impact to Jane than Real Jane’s return: In Parker’s absence, Owen has been hired as a partner at the firm. Now she’ll be working under the man whose heart she shattered when she kissed Grayson on her would-be wedding day. On the bright side, Jane thinks, at least now he’ll have to talk to her. On the down side, he starts by assigning her to help a woman sue her ex-fiance after he breaks off their engagement and breaks her heart in the process. Sound familiar?

The Good:

  • Owen is Back: Owen is one of the series’ most interesting and consistently fun characters and it’s good to see him back for season five (since he would have been an easy character to write off in the budget cuts). Also, having him and Grayson both in the office should lead to some interesting romance drama since Jane doesn’t exactly say she’s not into Grayson – she just didn’t consider him an option once she lost her supermodel looks.
  • Baby Fraud: While Jane’s case about love lost isn’t really the most engaging thing the series has seen, Kim’s Case of the Week, involving a woman who was defrauded into carrying a surrogate baby, is up there. After the checks stop coming, the surrogate mom hires Harrison Parker to help her get what she’s owed – and make sure she isn’t stuck with a baby she can’t take care of. The can of worms leads Kim and Grayson to discover a larger scheme that basically amounts to baby trafficking. Diva isn’t always a show to keep you on the edge of your seat with the courtroom drama, but this case was thoroughly entertaining.
  • So Long, Pakery: Stacey proved she was more than just a pretty face when she opened her own business, the Pakery (where she sells “Pakes” – hybrids of pies and cakes). However, anyone who saw that storyline and thought, “But Stacey really doesn’t seem cut out to run a business,” will feel vindicated this week. Stacey doesn’t fail at running her business, but she does realize that the life of an entrepreneur isn’t for her. This week, she sells the Pakery to a businesswoman she met at a conference and now maybe Stacey will get to do something interesting again.

The So-So:

  • Naked Angel: Jane really doesn’t have good luck with replacement angels. Paul is a sweetheart, but completely worthless except as eye candy. It’s like the producers have realized that Jane really doesn’t need an angel anymore (or, at least, that none after Fred have really fit the dynamic she needs) and are just using the character as a prop now. New angel Paul is naked as much as possible and as clueless as he is cut.

The Bad:

  • Parker is Still Gone: The sting shouldn’t last as long as Fred’s departure, but Parker leaving the show still hurts. It’s hard to believe he’s really gone (and we get constant reminders as Kim relays off-screen commands to the rest of the team).

Overall:

Drop Dead Diva is still going strong in season five. The great thing about “Surrogates” is that it proves the show still knows how to be the series we all fell in love with. The cases are the right combination of intriguing and heartfelt and Jane’s personal life is believably suck-y – but we’re still rooting for her.

Rating: 8/10

Drop Dead Diva airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Lifetime

What did you think of this week’s episode?