Season-ending cliffhangers can certainly help a television series from one year to the next by keeping fans interested. But they can also hurt a television series as well, like when the cliffhanger is so big that nothing can follow it. Whether that be a death of a major character or just an action from a major character that completes ruins the integrity of that character, the cliffhanger is easy to use but hard to follow.
The third season of Everwood falls into that latter category. A major character is keeping a big secret from everyone that started at the end of season two, and it seems unlikely that season three can climb back up onto the mountain.
The series revolves around respected neurosurgeon Andy Brown (Treat Williams), who moves his family from their flashy life in New York City to the small town of Everwood, Colorado following the tragic death of his wife. Andy has two kids: a high school freshman Ephram (Gregory Smith), who plays piano, and a third-grader tomboy, Delia (Vivien Cardone). Starting up a local medical practice, Andy instantly rubs the other town doctor who works across the street, Harold Abbott (Tom Amandes), the wrong way. At the same time, though, Andy gets the affection of Harold’s coarse but loving mother Edna (Debra Mooney).
While Andy struggles to fit in the homely town, Ephram struggles like any teen would in high school. This includes awkward interactions with Amy Abbott (Emily Van Camp) and her jock brother Bright (Chris Pratt).
The third season of Everwood picks up with piano-prodigy Ephram returning from a summer in New York at a Julliard workshop, where he finally starts to date his long-time crush Amy. His dad, Dr. Brown, is keeping a big secret from him. At the end of season two, Ephram’s older ex-girlfriend Madison (Sarah Lancaster) comes to Dr. Brown and reveals that she’s pregnant with Ephram’s child. Dr. Brown decides to keep this information from his son in order to preserve his bright future, and sends Madison away, vowing to take care of her financially. Meanwhile, newly graduated Bright Abbott meets a potential love interest in Hannah Rogers (Sarah Drew), a new reclusive student that has her own issues, but still becomes best friends with Amy. Amy’s father has his own share of troubles during the season when not only is he forced to share the same practice with Dr. Brown, but also learns about the secret Dr. Brown is keeping. Andy begins to fall in love with Amanda Hayes (Anne Heche) while trying to help her husband recover from a stroke. Finally, a new doctor comes to town in the form of Jake Hartman (Scott Wolf), and when Nina (Stephanie Niznik) and Jake hit it off, Andy begins to realize what might have been between him and Nina.
All of the same edgier storylines featuring teenage sex, depression, drugs, medication, divorce, HIV, etc. are still around this season. The main problem with that is everything is becoming predictable. Any problem that develops in any episode seems to get wrapped up during that same episode.
More importantly, though, the fact that Dr. Brown is still keeping this BIG secret from his son really puts a dark cloud over this season. That said, that storyline does explore a great issue in parents doing something that may be ethically “wrong”, but think what they are doing is “right” in order to protect their kids.
The show does have some great new additions to the cast, though, including Sarah Drew and Scott Wolf. They are able to breathe some new life into the series as their storylines are mostly not as predictable. Besides them, the acting from the rest of the main cast is still strong. They might not have been given fresh ideas to work with this season, but they still seem to raise the series to another level with their acting.
It has never has been more dramatic on Everwood than the third season of the series. Everwood is still a well-acted series. The storylines this season aren’t as strong as the first two seasons. It doesn’t help that any ounce of fun that could happen on the show during this season quickly gets eliminated as we are reminded of the big secret that occurred at the end of season two. Everwood is still a solid family drama, but the third season is by far the weakest.
Episode 1 – For Every Action…
Ephram and Amy are reunited after a long summer spent apart while Ephram attended Julliard’s summer program in New York, but Amy’s euphoria is quickly replaced with paranoia after she notices Ephram acting distant. Meanwhile, Andy is plagued by guilt over whether he made the right decision concerning Madison’s pregnancy, and Dr. Abbott befriends the town’s newest citizen, Jake Hartman, who turns out to be a doctor from California looking to open a new practice in Everwood.
Episode 2 – …There is a Reaction
At her father’s suggestion, a heartbroken Amy is determined to make the most of her senior year in the wake of Ephram returning from New York and telling her that piano has to be his number one priority. Andy contemplates telling Ephram about Madison’s (Sarah Lancaster, who does not appear in the episode) pregnancy. Meanwhile, Rose naively agrees to help Bright find his true calling after she discovers that he hasn’t enrolled for college s and is in fact leading a life of total leisure.
Episode 3 – Staking Claim
Ephram regrets promising Nina that he would watch over Hannah at school, especially when her constant presence interferes with his time alone with Amy. Amy befriends Hannah out of a sense of charity, but soon finds Hannah so refreshing that a real friendship develops. Meanwhile, Andy tries to ignore the tension between Dr. Abbott and Edna, but his attitude forces Edna to quit and go to work for Dr. Hartman. Andy treats a 13-year-old patient (guest-star Carter Jenkins) whose mysterious injuries cause Andy to suspect the boy’s mother (guest-star Elizabeth Mitchell) of abuse.
Episode 4 – The Birds & the Batteries
Andy finds himself at a loss over what to do when Delia naively stumbles upon Nina’s vibrator and starts asking questions. Meanwhile, Ephram attempts to write Amy a love letter to show her the extent of his feelings. Amy makes it her mission to make new best friend Hannah (Sarah Drew) popular. Meanwhile, Harold and Rose question Bright’s euphoria over being selected “employee of the month” and decide it’s time for some parental intervention.
Episode 5 – Sacrifice
Andy puts his foot in his mouth by picking a fight with Everwood’s patron saint, Amanda Hayes (Anne Heche), who, unbeknownst to Andy, has been caring for her profoundly disabled husband (guest-star Jason Beghe) for the past five years. Meanwhile, Jake surprises Nina by asking her out on a date; Ephram and Bright realize their friendship may have grown too far apart to salvage; and neurotic-as-ever Dr. Abbott struggles to come up with a medical invention after learning that Dr. Brown and Dr. Hartman have successful inventions of their own.
Episode 6 – Shoot the Moon
Andy worries that Ephram is beginning to question himself and his chances of getting into Julliard after he applies to a college in Colorado as a back-up plan. Similarly, Harold has concerns of his own when Amy informs him that she’s not applying to the school they always dreamed of her attending, Princeton, because it would take her too far away from Ephram. Meanwhile, Andy jumps head first into helping Amanda (guest-star Anne Heche) and her disabled husband (guest-star Jason Beghe) with a new therapy involving music, but it may be too much and too fast for Amanda; and Edna and Irv’s marriage hits a rough patch after Irv retires from his job and they contemplate their future together.
Episode 7 – Best Laid Plans
When Jake surreptitiously informs Andy that Ephram came to him for a STD test, Andy and Harold decide the best plan of action is to convince Ephram and Amy to hold off on sex. Of course, when Ephram realizes it’s no coincidence that he and Amy both had a heart-to-heart with their fathers on the same day and informs her of his suspicions, Amy feels betrayed that Ephram didn’t tell her about the test beforehand.
In another part of town, Nina finally decides it’s time to tell Andy how she feels about him and asks him out to dinner, and Bright invites a lovestruck Hannah to go with him to a movie, but the night takes a turn for the worst when Hannah misinterprets his interest.
Episode 8 – The Tipping Point
Ephram seeks guidance from his and piano mentor, Will Cleveland when he’s struggling to select the music program for his Julliard audition tape. But things go from bad to worse when he unintentionally hurts Will’s feelings. Meanwhile, Bright takes a job working at the restaurant, “The Firehouse” where he mets waitress Serena. Things go bad though when they get caught by their boss in the most compromising position in the closet. Lastly, Andy and Amanda experience a miraculous breakthrough in their music therapy with Amanda’s husband, but Andy quickly questions the results.
Episode 9 – The Reflex
Amy and Ephram decide to meet at the Abbotts’ Cabin to take their relationship to the next step as both parents on each side worry as they know their kids intentions. Although while there they realize they may not be able to handle it. Andy and Amanda chaperone Delia and Charlie on a date. Although the evening turns when Andy and Amanda begin to feel they are on a date. Lastly, Nina turns to Jake when Sam is hurt while ice skating and her feelings for him change.
Episode 10 – Need to Know
As Andy finally realizes that his feelings for Amanda (Anne Heche) are only growing stronger despite his best efforts to maintain a platonic friendship, Andy decides it’s in both of their best interests if he refers her husband’s case to Dr. Abbott from now on. Upon hearing news that Madison (Sarah Lancaster, who does not appear in the episode) and her band are performing in Everwood, Ephram seeks guidance from Bright. This signals a thaw in the boys’ chilly relationship which was due in part to Ephram and Amy dating. Lastly, Amy’s curiosity brings about Hannah’s (Sarah Drew) family secret.
Episode 11 – Complex Guilt
Amanda decides to send her husband to a very nice treatment facility causing Andy to colapse as a result of stress and guilt over what has happened between him and Amanda. Meanwhile, Amy continues to give Ephram the cold shoulder for lying about Madison, Also Edna builds a writing room for Irv.
Episode 12 – Giving Up the Girl
When Jake’s girlfriend (guest-star Jessica Collins) from Los Angeles arrives in Everwood unexpectedly, Nina comes to his rescue with a shoulder to lean on as he wants to get rid of her and the possibility of more with Nina. Also, Ephram and Amy are back together. He is being the “new supportive boyfriend she deserves.” Meanwhile, Harold and Rose worry about Amy after she sets her mind to auditioning for a rigorous ballet program in Denver, and Andy unintentionally humiliates Delia in front of her hockey team.
Episode 13 – The Perfect Day
Nina finds Andy and Amanda (Anne Heche) together causing her to question Andy and her friendship with him. Meanwhile, Ephram and Amy convince a reluctant Hannah to ditch school for the day and take Bright along for the ride as the recover from sending out college applications. Lastly, Harold and Edna are forced to work together despite their hostility toward each other when a medical emergency comes up at his office with the water pipes bursting.
Episode 14 – Since You’ve Been Gone
Andy and Amanda (guest-star Anne Heche) decide that it’s time to tell Delia and Charlie about their relationship before they hear about it elsewhere, but Charlie’s emotional reaction makes them question what they’re doing. Meanwhile, when Hannah doesn’t jump at the opportunity to go on a date with a really cute guy, Topher, from school, Amy is convinced that Hannah is misguidedly saving herself for Bright. However it is Bright that discovers her true reservations and convinces her to make a potentially life-altering decision.
Episode 15 – Surprise
Just as they’ve become somewhat comfortable with their new relationship, Andy and Amanda receive word that Amanda’s husband, John (guest star Jason Beghe), has experienced a miraculous breakthrough in his recovery. Meanwhile, Amy learns the truth about why Madison really left town, an elated Ephram is offered an audition at Julliard, Hannah questions whether she’s emotionally prepared to take the test for Huntington’s Disease, and Bright is accused of sexual misconduct in the workplace.
Episode 16 – A Moment in Manhattan
Feeling conflicted over the recent turn of events and not willing to jeopardize Ephram’s Julliard audition, an angst-filled Amy tells Ephram that he should take Andy to New York instead of her. In New York, Andy struggles with memories of his former life and the desire to tell Ephram the truth about Madison. Fate plays a hand when Ephram runs into Madison in Manhattan and they make plans to see each other, causing Andy to take matters into his own hands. The episode was partially filmed in New York City.
Episode 17 – Fate Accomplis
On the morning of his Julliard audition in New York, Ephram makes plans to meet up with Madison (guest star Sarah Lancaster) for coffee where he finds out that she was pregnant with his child. This devastating revelation causes Ephram to make decisions that will altar the course of his life. Amy tries to figure out what this will do to her and Emphram’s relationship. Meanwhile, Dr. Abbott counsels a man (guest star Chris Penn) whose son may die as a result of a hunting accident.
Episode 18 – Fallout
After returning from New York feeling lost and confused and needing Amy for support, Ephram considers his options in the wake of Madison’s (Sarah Lancaster, who does not appear in this episode) life-altering revelation. Ephram tries to find the baby by going to Child Services Office, but finds out that Madison signed the adoption papers with “father unknown” and terminating the parent-child relationship with “Unknown Birth Father” leaving Ephram completely crushed.
Episode 19 – Acceptance
Jake’s visiting accountant brother Brian (guest-star Tom Parker) from LA says he sees no future for Jake and Nina, prompting Jake to seek advice from Andy. Also, accepted at Princeton, Amy assumes that her father secretly sent in her application. Lastly, health issues create tension between Rose and Harold, but the tension turns to fear when Harold finds out that Rose has a 3-centimeter long tumor.
Episode 20 – He Who Hesitates
An angry Ephram makes a bold move – and breaks his father’s heart in the process – in an attempt to raise money for a plane ticket to Europe by selling his music equipment, including his piano, to “musician” Jared and his band. Meanwhile, Nina can’t quite put her finger on why Andy has been acting strangely of late, whereas a more perceptive Delia comes right out and asks her father whether he has feelings for Nina, and Bright’s green-eyed monster makes an unexpected appearance when Hannah (Sarah Drew) goes to the prom with Topher (guest-star Lukas Behnken). Hannah becomes very upset when Bright insults her dress. Bright goes apartment hunting. Lastly, Rose begins her treatment at the hospital with Harold by her side.
Episode 21 – Oh The Places You’ll Go
Ephram prepares to leave for Europe as he feels that he has nothing left for him in Everwood. However, he’s caught off-guard and questions his plans when Andy reveals the secret that Amy has been keeping from Ephram. Meanwhile, Nina and Jake contemplate going into business together, but the stress on their relationship proves a big obstacle to overcome. Meanwhile, Bright finally confesses he has feelings for Hannah.
Episode 22 – Where the Heart Is
With Ephram gone and no longer feeling any significant ties to Everwood, Andy consults with Delia and contemplates accepting a prestigious position with a Chicago hospital, after being offered the job because of the surgery he performed on Rose Abbott. Uncharacteristically upset over this bit of news, Harold takes it upon himself to give Andy a reason to stay. Harold throws a party for Andy, that does not go over well in his books. Meanwhile, Jake moves in with Nina, causing Andy to question whether he should rock the boat by telling her how he really feels. In the end he kisses Nina and you are left hanging. Bright finally admits his feelings to Hannah.
The video is given in widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is enchanced for 16X9 TVs. Transfer is good with minimal distortion. There is some noticeable grain, but nothing that distracts from the overall product. No major problems at all.
The audio included is available in English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound. There are subtitles available in English and French as well. It’s pretty standard quality for a TV show that is more than two or three years old. The dialogue comes out crisp and clear. No major problems here either.
This is the usual collection of bloopers and other mistakes from filming this season.
Season three of Everwood is definitely a step down from season two. Fans of the series will still be disappointed by the lack of extras, so this set is not a must-buy for anyone except hardcore completists. Casual fans or newcomers should still stick with season one to start things off.
Warner Home Video presents Everwood: The Complete Third Season. Created by Greg Berlanti. Starring Treat Williams, Gregory Smith, Emily VanCamp, Vivien Cardone, Sarah Lancaster, Debra Mooney, John Beasley, Chris Pratt, Tom Amandes, Stephanie Niznik, Merrilyn Gann, Scott Wolf, Marcia Cross, and Nora Zehetner. Running time: 951 minutes. Rated: Not Rated. Released on DVD: June 15, 2010.
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