Sunday, September 11, 2016

REVIEW: 'One Mississippi' - A Missing Cat Forces Tig and the Family Into Action in 'The Cat's Out'

Amazon's One Mississippi - Episode 1.03 "The Cat's Out"

Bill's cat escapes, and he blames Tig for letting her out. Tig's biological father, Mick, leads a search party. Assigned to survey the neighborhood, Tig unearths a secret from Caroline's past while Remy encounters a romantic prospect who may be out of his league. Having found a local station where she can record her show remotely, Tig connects with Kate, the off-beat sound engineer.

As young children, it can be easy to idolize parents. They are our first heroes. It's their job to keep us safe. They protect us from the world and guide us along the journey. They are always there to be supportive no matter what happens. All of that can paint the picture that they are perfect and should be exactly what everyone aspires to. And yet, it's a fantasy created by our youth. In reality, parents are just complicated human beings as well. They don't know anything more about life and the grand mysteries of existence. They are simply doing the best they can. It's their job to be a parent. It's a grueling and draining experience. Yes, it can be rewarding as well. But it's also just another complication added to a life story. The moment the child realizes their parents aren't perfect is a huge moment of realization. The experience happens at wildly different times for different people.

Tig is just trying to know more about her mother after her death. Caroline was always there supporting Tig no matter what. And yet, Tig feels the need to learn even more about her. It's a captivating mystery to her. She figures if she just finds the mixing piece of the puzzle that is her mother's life everything will suddenly click together. She's looking for that easy solution that can help her process all of these intense emotions about her sudden passing. But the more she digs the more she realizes that her mother is much more than she ever seemed to her. Tig learned that her mother prayed when she got cancer. She wasn't a religious person but in that moment she prayed to heal her daughter from this horrifying disease. That was a comforting reveal. But it wasn't enough. Tig's life is still being touched by her mother. She still feels her influence everywhere. When Tig has a nightmare, Caroline is there at the center of it. She's still just grieving in her own unique way.

Tig has been searching for answers about her mother all season long. It felt like a hopeless pursuit of the truth. There was no mystery to be solved or secret to be learned. There is no deeper meaning to her life or death. She lived her life happily married to Bill. She raised two wonderful kids. She died tripping over a lamp cord. It's that simple. It's disturbing that it's that simple. But that's exactly what it is. It's not enough for Tig. Neither she nor Remy think Bill would have any deep, dark secrets. He's a man who follows a routine and likes everything to be in its place. It's odd but it was an endearing equality to Caroline. She could have just lived a simple life too. And yet, Tig is facing her own insecurities about life. So it's not surprising that she wants to find meaning out of her mother's death. And surprisingly, she actually learns of a long-held secret that not even Bill knows about. It proves that she was right to search for answers even though it only showcases the harsh truth of what her childhood memories actually were.

Tig learns that she and Remy have a half-brother, Dalton Green, who just lives down the street. Her mother had an affair with a married man and got pregnant when she was 17-years-old. She gave the baby up for adoption. He had a normal upbringing but Caroline remained a part of his life as well. Neither Tig nor Remy knew about this. They don't think Bill did either. Caroline kept it a secret. And yet, she saw the world with this new family. She tagged along on their trip to Africa. All this time Tig thought her mother never got to live her dreams. And now, she knows that she actually did with this life and second family she never knew about. Dalton's life hasn't been any easier than Tig or Remy's. He saw Caroline simply as the crazy mother who visited once awhile and who ruined trips. She would always go back to her real family instead of staying with him. She kept in touch and always lived close. But there was always a distance between them that never made it all that real.

Tig and Remy are shocked to learn the truth. They already have a half-brother. Their biological father has a son, Ding Dong, with his new wife despite still being in love with Caroline. That's just a simple fact of their lives. They don't know or want to know that side of the family. Mick frequently inserts himself into their lives. But he doesn't do so as a father who wants to know his children. He doesn't want to know about them. He just wants to be mourning the death of the love of his life while his wife is standing next to him. He breaks down more than Tig, Remy or Bill do. His presence is just something they accept because they think they have to. They don't make an effort to get to know him despite the biological connection. But when Tig and Remy learn about Dalton, they actually want to know more. It peels back a whole new layer of their mother that they had never seen. She kept this from them for a reason. It's not a big or scandalous thing. This was just a part of her past that she wanted to keep to herself. And now, Tig and Remy know about it. It's unlikely they'll do anything with this new family connection. They'll see him around town and know he's their half-brother. But building connections is difficult for this family.

All of this happened just because Bonkers goes missing and Bill can't function without the cat in his life. He's the kind of man who sticks to a schedule. He's probably the only person in the world who has a cat on his own schedule as well. No one notices when Bonkers goes running out the door. And yet, it's an action that forces the entire family into doing something. It disrupts the meal Tig and Remy are having with Mick and Girlie. They understand that this is something really upsetting for Bill. They know they have to do something in order to help him. However, that just means hanging posters up detailing a reward should anyone found him. They are not out actively looking for the cat. Mick calls a bunch of his friends over to form a search party. But they never leave the property. They're having too good of a time to really care. Meanwhile, Tig and Remy know the importance Bonkers has on Bill. And yet, they chose to instead spend their time fantasizing about a woman or meeting their new half-brother.

All of this is enough material for Tig to talk about on her latest show. She has to adjust her life because of this reveal just like she has to adjust her work schedule in order to record her radio segment. The closet just wasn't doing it for her. The file was too corrupted by the phone. So now, she has to go to the local radio station at three in the morning to record her segments. It's a hassle. But it's something she needs to do because she loves her job and doesn't like the person filling in for her. The sound engineer, Kate, agrees with her in that regard. She's not a regular listener but she did her research before Tig came in to the studio. She's not just some incompetent person who has never done the job before and thus keeps Tig from being able to return to her regular life. Instead, everything seemingly works out with Tig musing on the shells we all wear to fit in to society. There are things people do to others because it's the way society dictates them to act. And yet, every person is special and unique. Those norms shouldn't be commonplace. Tig wants to act out against them. But that first means looking at her scars from the mastectomy. It's such an empowering moment. However, it also highlights that Tig is literally rediscovering her own body much like she is learning more about her mother's life in Mississippi.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Cat's Out" was written by Cara DiPaolo and directed by Nicole Holofcener.
  • Bill offers to start saving his money so that Tig can have some security if he too should suddenly die. It's a nice gesture. He just wants to make sure she's secure. Her health is still a major issue for him. And yet, she politely declines his offer.
  • Remy is a school teacher and coach. That's why Bill didn't offer to give him any of his retirement money. Remy actually has a stable job and a pension. Bill isn't worried about him at all.
  • Remy also runs into one of the athletes he coaches at the grocery store when he's getting snacks for the journey of putting up fliers for Bonkers. He meets this student's mother as well. He immediately starts fantasizing about her being the perfect woman for him despite how inappropriate it may be.
  • Bill makes his money in the frozen food business. That's how he is able to afford such a nice house in a nice neighborhood. But it doesn't seem like his job will be all that important for the show this season.
  • That really is quite the nightmare that opens this episode. Tig wakes up from surgery to see her mother at her bedside. At first, it seems like a flashback. But instead, it's a nightmare because Caroline is soon suffocating her daughter with bandages.

As noted in previous reviews from this show, every episodic review was written without having seen any succeeding episodes. Similarly, it would be much appreciated if in the comments, the conversation would only revolve around the show up to this point in its run.