Life Sentence — Pilot Episode Review

by Gianluca Russo

“I don’t want anything to change,” Stella says, still reeling from the news that her terminal cancer has been—shockingly—cured. Little does she know, nothing is as it seems.

The CW’s latest series, “Life Sentence,” premiered last night, following the life of Stella Abbott (played by “Pretty Little Liars” star Lucy Hale) who has been living with the mentality to enjoy each day as if it was her last because, well, because she thought it was. Having been diagnosed with terminal cancer six years back, she was determined to find love, make memories, and have a blast before the end of her time came.

But unexpectedly, in the series premiere, her doctor informs her that she is cured and, in fact, not dying.

A truly joyous occasion! Stella can finally start living life without the tremendous stress of worrying which day may be her last. What she soon comes to find out, however, is that over the past six years, her loved ones have been lying to her about practically everything.

“Creating a positive emotional environment would give you a better shot at beating cancer,” Elizabeth (played by Brooke Lyons) explains.

Alright, maybe we shouldn’t call it lying. After all, it was the doctor’s order and no harm was necessarily caused. On the contrary, hiding the negative aspects of their lives helped Stella.

So, let’s just say they were “hiding the truth.”

Basically, her brother Aiden (Jayson Blair) is selling drugs and dating married women, Elizabeth is unhappy with the fact that she had to sacrifice her career to have children, her parents are separated, her mom is bisexual, her father is broke, and her husband Wes (played by Elliot Knight) is a completely different man than she imagined.

So Gen Z readers, here’s how this is going to go: Each week, I’ll be recapping “Life Sentence.” But this won’t be a normal recap. Let’s face it: the internet has enough summary-style recaps out there. My format is going to be a little different and a whole lot more fun.

Here we go.


Episode 1: “Pilot”

Premiered on March 7, 2018


What Would Aria Montgomery Think?

Lucy Hale is most commonly known for playing Aria Montgomery in the Freeform hit series “Pretty Little Liars.” Aria and Stella are pretty different characters, though. So what would Aria say about the pilot episode?

First off, she’d be pissed about Stella’s earring game. Aria is quite famous for her long, extravagant earring whereas Stella basically doesn’t wear any.

But, more importantly, Aria would be so proud of Stella’s family for telling the truth, something the “PLL” gang never quite knew how to do.


Big Time Lyric

Big Time Rush fans rejoice! Carlos PenaVega, who is practically a boy band legend at this point, stars as Darrius, Elizabeth’s husband, in “Life Sentence.” Yep, the icon himself has found his way back to the small screen.

So each week, I’ll be scouring my iTunes library to find the perfect BTR lyric that describes each episode.

This week’s Big Time Lyric is brought to you from the self-titled song “Big Time Rush.”

Go and make your luck with the life you choose,

If you want it all,

Lay it on the line.

It’s the only life ya got,

So ya gotta live it big time.


Wait, seriously?

In true Millennial fashion, Stella gets a job as a barista to try and help make ends meet. And, like all Starbucks workers, struggles with the infamous task of spelling people’s names correctly.

Such as one customer whose name is Joolie. Yes, not Julie or Juley or Jewly. Nope. Joolie.

Alrighty, then. Will avocado toast and social media addiction be incorporated in the next episode? The barista bit is okay, but let’s chill will the stereotypes going forward.


Is It Worth The Watch?

Unquestionably. The premise is fresh, the actors are fabulous, and the writing is sweet and charming. Lucy Hale is, as always, a remarkable actress who constantly keeps audiences intrigued. And, from the looks of it, there’s a whole lot for Stella to unpack going forward. I, for one, am on board for the ride.

Catch “Life Sentence” every Wednesday at 9 p.m. EST on The CW.

Featured Image via Life Sentence.


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