Did ABC’s rebel stand up? Rate the premiere
Annie Flynn Ray Bello aka Rebel is fucking crazy and she won’t take it anymore.
Krista Vernoff’s ABC drama (which is loosely based on activist / executive producer Erin Brockovich) opens with the title character (played by Sons of Anarchy’s Katey Sagal) crashing a company party to kill Mr. Duncan, a CEO, that she sent by email about his company’s faulty heart valves.
Rebel gives him one last chance to address the problem and he tries to kick her out of the party, prompting the clerk to call in the cavalry: an army of protesters. Of course, the cops are called and Rebel goes through the well-known process of removing her jewelry before she is handcuffed – but not before she falls off the stage while calling the company about her harmful product.
In jail, Rebel speaks to a woman arrested for stabbing her abusive boyfriend to death. She asks Naomi to call her daughter Cassidy (Lex Scott Davis), who is a lawyer. We also learn that because of her job, Rebel has several ex-husbands, including cop Flynn (Matthew Glave).
Rebel bails and argues with Cassidy, who is upset about her mother for “getting drunk and assaulting a CEO.” She doesn’t think anyone will touch the valve case, but Rebel is determined to pursue it further. She borrows the car from her current husband Grady (John Corbett) and goes to the home of high-profile lawyer Cruz (Andy Garcia) to get him on board. However, Cruz is not interested in taking the case and closes the door on her.
The next morning, Rebel steals Grady’s wallet and asks her friend Lana (Tamala Jones), a private investigator, to look into it because she suspects him of fraud. At the hospital, Rebel again transfers her daughter free of charge before attempting to convince her son Nate (Kevin Zegers), a gynecologist, to look into the heart valve case. She wants him to start college and he won’t because the evidence she has is circumstantial at best. Their relationship is strained, mainly due to the fact that Nate was raised by “nannies on motorcycles” while trying to save the world.
Elsewhere, Cassidy meets with Naomi about her domestic violence case. When Naomi struggles to remember certain details, Cassidy concludes that she may still be in shock. At a hearing, Cassidy gives a passionate testimony on behalf of her client and impresses her father, Benji (James Lesure), who offers to hire her as an employee. But Cassidy doesn’t want to work for the dark side, aka corporate law.
Meanwhile, Rebel visits her friend Helen, who has received one of the defective heart valves, is not doing well and she wants to give up. However, Rebel makes it clear that she’s going to get this valve out of her friend when it’s the last thing she does. She even suggests taking out a second mortgage on her house, which Lana shoots down immediately, because there’s a better way to do it without putting her finances at risk. It’s time to get back to Cruz.
Rebel sits down with a group of protesters in Cruz’s office and forces him to finally hear their stories. One at a time, they share their harrowing experiences with the heart valve, including a woman whose baby is extremely sick after being installed during pregnancy. When Cruz still refuses to take the case, Rebel pushes him further, reminding him that his wife also died from that valve. Cruz snaps and angrily reveals why he’s so against it: He doesn’t want to be reminded of what happened to his wife. Rebel counters that she would be mad at him for making innocent people suffer if he can do something to stop it. This only makes Cruz angrier and he fires his agent.
On the Rebel’s Children Are Struggling news, Cassidy tells her father that she is exhausted from her mother who feels the need to address every injustice in the world. It’s overwhelming what makes her father’s offer alluring. Also, Rebel’s daughter Ziggie (Ariela Barer), who is just out of rehab, visits a support group and meets a cute guy named Sean. If he questions her, she turns him down because it is a better idea to focus on her recovery.
Lana has not met with Naomi and accompanies her to her apartment to pack up her abusive friend’s belongings. You can find drugs and an unlicensed gun in his drum kit, which means he’s likely to face an increased sentence – especially since Lana Flynn called to make sure he got the evidence. The solemn change of mood wants Naomi’s friend to show up and try to attack her, but Lana crushes her. Not only are his seams torn, but he probably has more time to make a police offer.
At the bar, Rebel drinks away her worries when Lana calls her with a present: The abusive friend has been arrested. Rebel goes to jail and threatens to rain hellfire on the abusive musician if he doesn’t agree to stay away from Naomi and bring the record to justice. Guess what he did?
It’s time to celebrate Rebel and Grady’s 10th anniversary. The family has gathered for the surprise party and it’s one of the few times they look happy together. Lana receives a call explaining what’s wrong with Grady: He’s contacted a high-end divorce lawyer. Angrily, Rebel confronts Grady, who lies and claims it is a work matter.
When Ziggie reveals that she found divorce papers in his belongings, Grady finally gets clean. He tells everyone that he’s tired of his wife always working and not being home to cook me dinner – a sexist statement that deeply offends the whole family and leads to Nate beating him. Nate immediately leaves to visit Helen and begin the heart valve study for his mother.
In the final scene, Rebel throws some of Grady’s clothes into the fire. Cruz shows up – Cassidy told him what happened – and offers to take her to drink. But Rebel refuses because she wants to remember how she feels in that moment. Cruz sums up his wife’s autopsy results. He was afraid to see it beforehand because it might say – that she might have killed herself in the pain. However, it was concluded that she died of a heart attack. Rebel looks at the documents and gathers Cruz: “Let’s destroy these bastards.”