Sunday, May 7, 2017

REVIEW: 'Guerrilla' - Jas, Marcus & Dhari Carry Out a Coordinated Attack in London in '104'

Showtime's Guerrilla - Episode 1.04 "104"

Kent begins to enjoy his role and forms a surprising alliance. Cullen and Fallon bond over a shared history. As Eliette and Jas speculate about the future, Dhari and Marcus put their personal issues aside - and the infighting that threatened to destroy the gang falls away as they come together to embark on a brutal mission. In a desperate attempt to save his relationship with Jas, Marcus decides to do something they will never come back from.

Jas, Marcus and Dhari finally take action for their cause in this week's episode. So far, it's been a lot of spontaneous attacks. The police view them as these criminal masterminds and terrorists who need to be stop as quickly as possible. But in reality, they are idealists who are still just learning how to be soldiers. They believe in this cause and each other. There has just been a lot of fighting amongst themselves over what action they should take. How far are they willing to go for their beliefs? Is it simply a debate of differing ideals and they want their message to be heard? Or is it a physical war between the police and the oppressed? By the end of this hour, everyone is united in their understanding of what must come next. It follows after they receive a devastating loss during their first coordinated attack. There are casualties in war. This conflict is still only getting started - which is weird since there are only six episodes in this limited series. But now, the group is becoming more emboldened. No one will hear their message and potentially change their ways if they don't take action. Right now, they equate guns and force with power. To them, that's the only option they have to completely change the lives they have been living for the better. It just comes at a very steep price.

Of course, the gang is still fighting a lot throughout this hour as well. The three of them still have different ideas for what this group actually stands for. Marcus still respects civility and eloquence. He's gone along with all of this because he believes in the message and loves Jas. But he doesn't enjoy violence. He wants to avoid it at all costs because he doesn't want to feel the anguish that came when he thought he killed someone. Meanwhile, Dhari doesn't think simple disobedience is enough. They can't just attack travel agencies in the middle of the night to steal paperwork that may or may not help their cause. That seems like a pipe dream that is more work than it's worth. It's still fundamentally up to Jas to decide what to do. When she says they have to arm themselves and attack during the day, it's what they ultimately do. She wields the power even though that is still slowly destroying her relationship with Marcus. They started all of this as a couple who loved each other. And now, philosophical differences are tearing them apart. She wants to continue to train and become a better soldier in this war for social change. He wants his message to be heard and respected. He wants out of this lifestyle and back to a sense of normalcy as soon as possible. He doesn't feel recognized in the same way that Jas and Dhari are though.

That's not all that surprising though. Marcus is the person who brings a rich vocabulary to this endeavor. He knows how to refine the message so that it can be understood to the rest of the world. But he's largely operating in the background. Jas and Dhari are the public faces of this crusade. They are the ones whose names are attached to the documents outlining the message. They are the names the people of the world know about. They don't know how invaluable Marcus actually is. To the outside world, they are known as the Mitra-Bishop gang. It's what they've been labeled. It once again reinforces how belittled Marcus is through this whole process. He's important too. But he's not the one driving the action forward. He's a crucial ally and loyal friend. He helps when it's time to take action. He stands up for what he believes instead of simply reading the message from their German friends. But it's still a much bigger deal that Jas decides to accept the public name for the group instead of the one that Marcus used to sign their mission statement. It's thrilling to watch as Jas, Marcus and Dhari simultaneously attack their targets. It's them making a statement that they actually care about. That's the heart of this episode.  It's becoming much more personal for them. Of course, that means the losses that come with all this new pressure hit even deeper than they did before.

Eliette hasn't been a major character so far. She was only introduced in last week's episode.  But she did make a major impact on Jas. To her, she was an example of a woman taking change of her life and being respected by the people around her for her beliefs. She was a fighter who knew how to handle this environment. She was a teacher to Jas - even though she has the right instincts in this line of work. She was someone Jas respected because they were so similar. Her tragic death here hints at the outcome all of this could be leading to for Jas. If she continues down this path, she too could be shot and killed by the police. They don't care about her beliefs. They've labeled her a terrorist and are willing to kill her to silence her cause and its actions against the city. The police could have gotten anyone from the core group. It's not surprising that it's Eliette. She has the tragic story of being able to get out but doing one last job to help a friend. She wanted Jas to leave with her and train so they cound better the cause. Instead, she helped with this mission because the group needed it. And now, her death will unify them even further. It's an action that quickly vilifies the police. They need to take action against the people who killed her immediately.

The police were at the scene and able to engage in gunfight with Eliette so quickly because of Kent. At the top of the hour, it seems like he enjoys the fame he has gotten because it has upped his game with the ladies. He doesn't believe he has to actually do anything. He's a voice in the community who says everyone should be held accountable for their actions. That's a comforting message to many. But Kent doesn't know what to do when someone actually comes to him with information. He didn't think he would be put in the middle of this situation like that. So instead, he simply tells the police what he knows. It's an action he's willing to do even though it will have major consequences for Jas. He does it because of indifference. He doesn't care how he'll be perceived once it's learned he's voluntarily working with the police. That stands in stark contrast to Fallon's situation. She doesn't want Jas and Marcus doing this in Julian's name. That's why she tells Cullen what she knows. He's been carefully cultivating that relationship in the hopes of having her trust and this information. In that way, he's a better detective than Pence. But he's not friendly. He can be just as vicious and mean as Pence. When Fallon doesn't give him what he wants regarding Jas, he takes his frustration out on her. It reveals his true self. It's brutal to watch. It's all because of Jas. And she has no idea how much her friend is suffering right now because of her and her radical actions. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "104" was written by John Ridley and directed by Sam Miller.
  • It was a huge risk for Jas and Dhari to storm Kent's office demanding to know if he truly is working with the police. It's a risk for them to be anywhere in London. But Jas doesn't punish Kent for his betrayal. It's just information she now has and needs to be cautious about in the future. 
  • Marcus is the one who suggests the final action in order to honor Eliette's memory. It's an action that will support her cause while helping them in the process. It's just going to be very difficult to get a bomb into the police precinct. 
  • The mission was compromised because the kid who got his cheek cut earlier this season recognized Leroy walking down the street. That just shows how easy it can all be for this to go awry. Though the police don't see everything either. They missed Eliette walking into the building with a gun.
  • Whatever Jas, Marcus and Dhari do next, they'll have to do it quickly. They are living in a new safe house. This time it's in the city and they only have four days until they have to move on. That starts a clock for them to take action or get caught. 
  • Fallon is motivated very much by her need to protect her brother. That feels a little too artificial because the brother hasn't been a major character this season. He's just a way to explain Fallon's behavior.
  • Pence is still busy with his son's drug and alcohol addiction. In fact, he seems almost cruel in keeping his son in this place - even though that's probably the smart thing to do. Of course, this treatment probably won't cure him in the end.