It’s been almost two years since that fateful day when Once and Again‘s Rick Sammler (Billy Campbell) and Lily Manning (Sela Ward) first set eyes on each other in the principal’s office at Eli (Shane West) and Grace’s (Julia Whelan) school. Since then, we’ve watched them embark on what has become their most significant relationship since the demise of their respective unions with Karen (Susanna Thompson) and Jake (Jeffrey Nordling).
In the early days, they seemed like soul mates, as if all that was left to do was get married and bring their two separate families together into one extended brood. On the May 2 episode, that much-anticipated event finally came to pass, but something about it seemed anticlimactic.
Once and Again began its run focused on the story of these two lovers trying to find their way toward each other amid numerous distractions, such as Judy’s (Marin Hinkle) hopeless relationships, Karen’s control issues, Jessie’s (Evan Rachel Wood) anorexia and Jake’s financial struggles.
The problem is that somewhere along the way these subplots became moreinteresting than the lovers ever were. Making it worse was the fact that Rick’s insecurities and Lily’s selfishness made them seem less like soul mates and more like a couple in dire need of couples counseling.
For those reasons, watching Lily and Rick exchange “I do’s” was somewhat bittersweet, because after two seasons the secondary characters have become more intriguing than the main ones, which probably isn’t a positive harbinger for the future of this insightfully written and beautifully acted series. The ABC show’s declining ratings support this theory, placing it in jeopardy of not returning for a third season.