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Last week’s Drop Dead Diva got us back into its groove, but this week’s brought a shakeup that changes one of the primary players for good. For once, that change has nothing to do with death, switched souls or Jane’s love life.

The Players:

  • Director:David Grossman
  • Writer: Amy Engelberg and Wendy Engelberg
  • Cast: Brooke Elliott, Jackson Hurst, Kate Levering and April Bowlby

Episode Title: “Cheaters”

Owen is starting to annoy. We know, it’s crazy to hear; he’s always been one of the most awesome characters on the show. Unfortunately, he’s playing his “heart broken at the alter” card too heavily and too often. He and Jane are paired up as co-council on a case about a dog rape that Owen manages to make about him and Jane. Meanwhile, the rest of the firm focuses on another kind of cheating – academic.

The Good:

  • Stacey Might Be Gay: The big news of the night is Stacey’s. Jane becomes convinced that Stacey feels neglected and has found a new BFF to replace her. Then, angel Paul brings the news that he suspects Stacey is a lesbian, not BFF cheating. Both turn out to be wrong, but the show’s handling of Stacey’s maybe gayness is pitch perfect. Jane takes the news in stride and prepares to support her bestie, while Paul is also A-Okay with it despite his semi-religious origin. In the end, it’s revealed that Stacey has decided to become a single mom and is looking for a sperm donor. Momma Stace? Stranger things have happened on Diva (like Momma Kim).
  • Drugs and Cheating and Test Scores (Oh My!): Perhaps not since Saved by the Bell has there been such a prime example of “let’s address drug use, but not REALLY” on TV. While Jessie Spano’s foray into caffeine pills was an attempt to address real drug problems facing teens, Diva’s episode addresses the real issue of ultra-motivated students taking Adderall to boost their concentration while studying for exams. It also tackled the question of if this is really so wrong. It dived into the moral/ethical gray zone surrounding teen drug use, which was pretty ballsy.
  • Grayson Tries Again: Grayson tried yet again to profess his love to Jane, who’s just eating up the abuses Owen is throwing her way. With Stacey’s help, he got into Jane’s apartment to set up a romantic dinner to give her a glimpse of what life with him would be like. She asked him to leave, but stopped conspicuously short of telling him she did not return his affections.

The So-So:

  • Paul Goes to Work: As Stacey transitions into the maturity necessary to become a mom, Paul is posed to step up as the show’s token pretty idiot. He even nabbed a job doing Kim’s errands at the firm, promising he’ll be around to make more obvious but well-intentioned mistakes as the season progresses.

The Bad:

  • Owen: I hate to put Owen on the bad list, but his constant attempts to guilt Jane are obnoxious. It’s hard to feel sympathy for someone blatantly going for emotional revenge. If he can’t forgive Jane enough to be civil, he shouldn’t have accepted the gig at her firm.

Overall:

Drop Dead Diva is proving that it’s willing to be more than pure fluff. It’s a daring move, but the series is handling it with grace. The personal story lines are losing some of their appeal as the characters circle, seemingly looking for new angles to old plots. The legal side of the show is stronger than ever though, which makes up for it (for now).

Rating: 8/10

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

What did you think of this week’s episode?