Tessa & Scott Episode 1 Recap: This is Going to Be Good
Note: This blog contains spoilers about episode 1.
Watch Tessa & Scott on W Network Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Are Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir dating? “It’s hard to explain,” says Scott. So begins Tessa & Scott, a new series on W Network that gives us an intimate look at the unique relationship of these Canadian sweethearts as they train for Sochi. I’ll be recapping the series in this blog; analyzing every furtive glance, as well as geeking out on the show’s other major storyline—figure skating. A former figure skater, I too spent my teen summers in virtually deserted arenas. Did I win any major competitions? Didn’t even come close. But once a skater, always a skater and this series brings it all back for me. The early mornings, grueling practices and inner dynamics among partners, coaches and rivals. This is going to be good.
The episode opens with Tessa and Scott enjoying the midway at a summer fair. The setting reads playful first date even though they say their connection is undefineable. Doth they protest too much? It’s not clear yet, but I’m intrigued.
We put romance aside and get down to figure skating business at an early season competition in Laval, Quebec. This season the short dance for all competitors is the Finnstep, which the internet says is like a light-hearted Quickstep. While pairs skating is defined by acrobatic over-head lifts and throw jumps, ice dancing is all about perfect dance technique, innovative choreography and flawlessly executed details. At this point Tessa and Scott are still working on the connection steps and transitions they’ll need to master before the Olympics.
Back at the training centre in Canton, Michigan, Tessa and Scott work on choreography among the other ice dancers. We get a glimpse of Tessa and Scott’s biggest rivals, Meryl White and Charlie Davis, who even in black leggings and t-shirts look fiercely competitive. Meryl looks on as Tessa and Scott try in vain to get a lift right. Her hairdo with the puffy sides is confusing and intimidating.
“Practice well, competition perfect. That’s all.” says coach Marina Zueva. Marina, who choreographed for former pair skating legends Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov, has clearly embraced the American Dream. She lives in a suburban mansion and boots around town in a slick red convertible. She is also coach to the U.S. team Meryl and Charlie. Scott admits he wonders who she is really supporting. Tessa says it’s tense at the rink.
However, Scott and Tessa have a secret weapon. Jean-Marc Généreux of So You Think You Can Dance fame. The former Canadian ballroom champion and has been working with Tessa and Scott for several years and enters the rink with his signature “Ah, come ON!”
Tessa explains that developing the nuances and characters of the dance is critical to selling the performance. Jean-Marc watches their opening steps and is brutally honest with the couple—“uh, no.” They are missing that je ne sais quoi. Time to beef up the sexual tension. Apparently the last time there was romance between Tessa and Scott was when they were seven and nine. However, they’ve held hands every single day for 17 years and it’s lost the feeling. In an off-ice session Jean-Marc encourages Scott to run his hand up and down Tessa, who is instructed to let her body respond all sexy like. “She is a WO-man!” beams Jean-Marc. I’m blushing.
Later, Tessa and Scott hang with a gaggle of gorgeous skaters during some down time at the rink. Scott says there is always gossip among the skaters as to who is dating who. No kidding. One of the male ice dancers smoothly tells Tessa he’d like to have a night out on the town. She sweetly agrees. Scott’s having none of this and calls him out for hitting on Tessa right in front of his own girlfriend. Awkward. Scott explains that he and Tessa have a very complex relationship. Basically if anyone is interested, they have to go through Scott.
Next, Tessa waits at a table for two while Scott walks to the restaurant. This could be an eHarmony commercial. I can’t imagine they need to eat in such a date-like setting. Nevertheless, footsies ensue. There’s talk about how they share a very unique relationship and everyone always wants to put a label on it. Scott remarks that there are only five more full moons until the Olympics. Tessa says that’s only six more periods. All of Canada collectively cringes. It’s cute when she tries to be irreverent—but things just got a bit weird.
On the weekends, Tessa and Scott leave their training centre in Canton, Michigan and retreat to their hometown, London, Ontario. Scott is lighting candles in his model home for pseudo date number three, a romantic dinner in. Outside, demure ballet flats emerge from a car and a lithe figure with long dark hair approaches Scott’s front door. The doorbell rings and there’s an enthusiastic embrace in the foyer. However, this is not Tessa! Scott says his relationship with Cassandra is fairly new and that things between them are “hot and heavy.” My head just exploded.
Oblivious to this snuggle fest, Tessa explains she’s not in a position to start a relationship, what with the Olympics coming up and all. She’s busy and knows she wouldn’t be able to be the kind of girlfriend she’d want to be. This last segment also works as a case study on how men and women approach dating.
Now that we’ve seen the unique bond between the Tessa and Scott and have been introduced into their inner skating world, the tension will mount. In the next episode there is stress among rivals at the training camp; Scott ribs sweet-natured Patrick Chan about asking his permission to be Tessa’s date at an event; and we are treated to a cameo of Jian Ghomeshi who shamelessly hits on Tessa.
Kate Calder is a former trade journalist turned publicist who lives in Toronto and works at Corus Entertainment on kids channels YTV, Treehouse and ABC Spark. She spent her formative years on the ice and still has recurring dreams that involve flying camels and perfectly landed double axels.
An Interview With Tessa and Scott