Chasing Life has completely stolen our hearts—and our Tuesday nights—as April (Italia Ricci) struggles to balance her blossoming work and love life as normally as possible while simultaneously dealing with a shocking and sudden cancer diagnosis. Seriously, we don't know how she does it.
While watching April spend the first half of the season in denial and slowly starting to accept her new reality was compelling, heartbreaking and empowering all at the same time, we also couldn't help but get totally invested in the love triangle at the center of the ABC Family breakout series. Admit it, you're obsessed with it too!
April found herself torn between her sweet and gorgeous coworker/boyfriend Dominic (Richard Brancatisano), who had no idea about her cancer diagnosis, and hot, impulsive bad boy crush Leo (Scott Michael Foster), who also has cancer. Both guys represent important facets of her life for different reasons: Dom represents her desire for normalcy and a life without cancer, while Leo shares her same (possible) terminal fate and outlook on life. She is able to forget about her health problems when she's with Dom, but she is able to overcome her fear of her diagnosis and learn how to live with it when she's with Leo.
And even though Dom left the country for a while for a work assignment, he's still in the picture (April and Dom didn't break up, they just decided to go on a break until he gets back). Of course, that didn't stop April from acting on her feelings for Leo and doing the dirty with him—on a funeral home couch, no less! So where does that leave this complicated love triangle for the midseason finale of Chasing Life, which airs tonight?
As you can imagine, the ish is all about to hit the fan. Break out the tissues now, folks. "The love triangle with Leo and Dominic completely gets ripped apart in the finale," Ricci tells E! News.
Since Dom found out about April's diagnosis at the end of last week's episode (via voicemail and newspaper article, harsh!), he races back to April's side in the midseason finale, unaware that his girlfriend has been hiding more than one secret from him.
"Dom comes back to obviously be there for her before he's aware that she's known about the diagnosis for much longer than he anticipated, and her fling with Leo, and so he's hurt," Ricci says. "That brings on a whole other challenge in their relationship. They address that and the audience will see how they deal with it."
But Dom isn't the only half of the love triangle that races back to April's side tonight. Even though April ended things with Leo after he refused to get life-saving surgery (he doesn't want to risk becoming a vegetable), he'll come back in a major way as well. And while we can't reveal who April picks to be her guy (you'll have to watch to find that one out!), Ricci knows who she'd like April to end up with.
But that doesn't mean the door's open for Leo to swoop in and sweep April off her feet.
"Leo can't be the guy for her," Ricci says. "She needs somebody that's going to be strong with her. Even though he's been strong in moments by helping her and guiding her, he was only doing that because he knows that that's what she needs, not because that's what he would do for himself. She knows that he's too stubborn to be the guy for her. Dom's the guy."
Of course, Ricci knows that April hasn't really given Dom a chance yet, since she's been keeping her diagnosis a secret from him all this time. By confiding in Leo, she's been able to bond with him in ways that she can't with Dom. So we had to ask: if she was honest with Dom from the beginning, who would Ricci want April to end up with?
"Oh, I don't know! They're both just so damn cute!" Ricci says with a laugh. "I think Leo pushes her a little bit more, he challenges her to go outside of her comfort zone and live life a little bit harder than Dominic does. Dominic seems like the very calculated relationship. She looks at him and sees the life that she thought she was going to have before she got cancer. I feel like Leo just lets her relax and forces her to grow as a person. But we haven't seen her with Dominic in all honesty enough to really get a sense of who she is when she's with him."
And don't worry, we didn't grill Ricci on just the love triangle, since a huge milestone also occurs during the midseason finale (which is perfectly and cleverly named "Finding Chemo"): April moves into the hospital for a month-long stay as she begins her chemotherapy.
"She thinks that she is ready for this," Ricci previews. "She thinks that she has prepared herself emotionally and she just believes that this will be a quick month, and then she can get back to her life if she just toughs it out. But you'll see in the finale that she is so wrong. She is not ready. She starts to break down physically, emotionally, mentally. She just starts to lose it and she just can't catch her breath. It's nonstop, she is just getting punched through the whole episode."
April's breakdown starts physically thanks to the chemo drugs, but Ricci reveals it takes a toll on her mentally as well. "There's poison in your body, so you feel terrible and you can't control your nausea, and you can't control your body," Ricci says. "And then with the loss of any sort of physical strength, the hallucinations start eating away at her mental stability. She finds herself at rock bottom and she's never let herself go there. In any of the episodes we've seen, she's never let herself be weak or totally broken. She's tried to be so strong and I love that they let her totally lose it. April has just been so strong that I feel like the audience will really relate to her finally breaking."
As if that wasn't enough drama for one episode (or even an entire season!), prepare yourselves for a huge cliffhanger that will leave you yelling at your TV and more than likely throwing your remote clear across the room in frustration, anger and shock. Confession: that's exactly what we did when we watched the final 30 seconds of the finale.
"The cliffhanger is life or death," Ricci teases. "I think it's going to make a lot of fans very angry. I know I was pissed."
The Chasing Life summer finale airs tonight at 9 p.m. on ABC Family.