Friday, February 28, 2014

REVIEW: 'Enlisted' - Pete Learns How to Break Up With a Girl with Some Help from Jill in 'Brothers and Sister'

FOX's Enlisted - Episode 1.06 Brothers and Sister

Pete is confronted by a girlfriend with whom he never broke up, before deploying to Afghanistan, and Jill must help him through the split. Meanwhile, Derrick and Randy test their "dating skills" without each other as wingmen and come to some startling revelations.

"Brothers and Sister" is just a great examination of the lived-in chemistry of the core cast. Pete, Derrick and Randy are the three brothers and their connection needed to be apparent immediately in order for the show to work at all. The pilot set up that dynamic really well. But now, the show has smartly added Jill into that mix. They've given her these wonderful and intriguing quirks to play - that don't come off as a mishmash of various things. It's wonderful watching as she gives great advice to Pete about how to break up with someone. It's just so pleasant to slowly get to plea back the layers of that character.

It's just been an overall pleasant experience watching this show develop how these characters are individually as well as in a group. Sparks were flying in the two scenes featuring Pete, Jill, Derrick and Randy. But splitting them into two groups also worked very well. Yes, it's initially odd to see Derrick flirting with the girl he was dating in an early episode (Yes, FOX still doesn't make a whole lot of sense in how it's airing these episodes.) But also great seeing that initial spark of Derrick not always being a jerk and someone recognizing the honest man deep inside. She's easy for him to talk to. The story keeps things simple but also hilarious - like his fall trying to do a walking handstand.

Those core four characters are the true heart of the show. The supporting characters are often called on to be the more comedic elements. I'm fine with that. I love a good Keith David one-liner. I love Dark Park. I love Dobkiss' little criminal outbursts. Putting all of those elements together for the B-story had mixed results. I loved the Ryan Seacrest-narrated video building the Sergeant Major up as well as all the great one-liners the characters had. It was just a weirdly plotted and edited story. The concert felt rushed and the Kid 'N Play cameo was just odd. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "Brothers and Sister" was written by Peter A. Knight and directed by Peter Lauer.
  • Randy's animal cards were just great. You see he's the hippo and Derrick is the bird. The pictures just really help with the simile.
  • Randy: "I say: Teach the controversy."
  • Pete: "You'd be surprised what you CAN Afghanistan."