Monday, July 31, 2017

REVIEW: 'People of Earth' - Alex Questions the Members of StarCrossed About Walsh in 'Uneasy Alliance'

TBS' People of Earth - Episode 2.02 "Uneasy Alliance"

Agent Foster continues her investigation into Walsh by meeting with StarCrossed. Yvonne leads a small team to search for Gerry - unaware he's been abducted. On the ship, Jeff asks Gerry for advice on how to deal with his new boss.

There have been two major additions to this season of People of Earth - Eric the Cube and FBI Agent Alex Foster. Both characters have inserted themselves into this world in some major and significant ways. The rest of the characters are too busy dealing with them instead of trying to figure out everything that happened at the end of last season. On one hand, it could be seen as a stalling technique to keep the show from changing too much. StarCrossed has made no significant progress about learning that they have all been abducted many times in their lives. But on the other hand, Eric and Alex are just really funny additions who enhance the story even more. Their presence makes things very precarious for everyone. It's a necessary plot device to keep everything complicated for everyone involved. So, Eric shows up as the new boss on the alien spaceship who has a much different management style than what that job has been in the past. Alex appears in Beacon on a hunt for Jonathan Walsh which preoccupies everyone's attention because of the cabal of reptilians operating within the FBI. Both are very interesting and entertaining storylines. But it also feels like the show is still primarily in setup mode. That can still be really funny. But the season is just getting started so there is still a fair amount of exposition to deal with throughout "Uneasy Alliance."

Up in space, it's nice to see how disruptive Eric has been to the operation. He wants to do things completely different. For most of last season, Jeff was the alien in charge. He was the one actually doing the job. He was committed to it while everyone else was getting caught up in personal drama. Sure, Jeff had that as well in his quest to kill Gina for killing Kurt. But he still primarily focused on the mission. He sees himself as that kind of employee. The one who stays loyal. But that's not how he's being positioned in this new corporate structuring. Eric sees him as an alien who is unwilling to change. He's too stuck in his ways and not open to trying a different approach. Jeff is so disgusted by humans. He doesn't want to be touch by them or even interact with them at all. They are a species to be studied. That's how he sees things. But that means he simply can't understand why Gerry has the freedom to roam around the spaceship and forge relationships with all of the aliens onboard. It's really quite different. It makes it seem much more carefree up there instead of this grand conspiracy for world domination. It's a fun twist while still not getting in the way of the overall mythology of the show.

But mostly, it's just great that Eric is doing employee evaluations and hates them just like every other boss in the world. Jeff and Don are stressed out because of their actions on the job. Jeff believes Eric is out to get him for some kind of personal vendetta. Meanwhile, Don thinks he'll be punished for abandoning his post to pursue a relationship with a human. But Jeff really is the only alien whom Eric has a problem with. He's perfectly fine and understanding of what Don did. He will face no punishment for leaving the mission. To Jeff, that seems so incredibly unfair because Don isn't even doing the work. It's even more stressful for Jeff because Eric doesn't have a high opinion of his ability to do this job. He wants the ship to have more fun with their human visitors. It doesn't have to be so professional and serious all the time. Eric doesn't think Jeff is possible of doing that because of the alien race he belongs to. It's harsh and does lead to Jeff opening up to Gerry as well. He's bonding with a human even though he doesn't want to be. That's an amusing concept. It all just builds to the moment where Jeff lashes out at Eric for not being a good boss. He didn't mean to submit it as an official complaint but that's exactly what occurs. So, it should be interesting to see if anything changes because of that.

Of course, it's already clear that Eric has some big plans for this mission. He's changing the direction a little bit. He wants to be friendly with Gerry. And yet, the end of the episode reveals that no one should trust Eric. He was a friendly and understanding exterior but ulterior motives that should be revealed soon. That's very enticing to think about. Right now, it largely just means that Gerry returns home to Earth. He returns with new and different alien procedures being done on him. The group has a firm understanding of what happens to them on the ships. They still don't know all that happened. But they know the signs that prove they were abducted. Images of deers were implanted to cover up their memories on the ship. Gerry won't have that. He'll have something else. That should be a lot of fun. A change-up could be exciting and terrifying for the group. When he first appears on Earth, he completely startles Yvonne because he's waiting in a corner for her. The two of them desperately wanted to be reunited throughout this episode. That love is real. But their reunion is very unsettling and creepy. It's still ultimately sweet. But it also hints at darkness and unpredictability in Gerry's story this season.

On Earth, the story picks up right where the premiere left off with Alex forcing her way into Officer Glimmer's house to ask him questions about Walsh. Of course, she doesn't do a close examination of the house. She just stays in one room. She notes some oddities around the place. But she writes it off as strange details of this new community she has arrived in. A place where the police station actually closes at night and on Sundays. A place where Glimmer can eat a lot of takeout because he's going through a divorce. It's an amusing sequence because it never seems likely that Glimmer will be able to pull it off and fool Alex into not looking around or asking too many questions. His answers seem questionable. But there's also no reason for Alex to suspect him of anything. He's just a simple local cop who may not be all that professional about the job. He wants to write off Richard as crazy even though he's a witness to a potential crime. Alex reminds him of that fact. He's also willing to send information over to her pertaining to the case. But he has some time to pull that together. Mostly, this scene is great because of Glimmer's reaction once it's over. He's just so happy that he didn't do or say something that exposed the existence of aliens to this woman.

Alex then finds herself interacting with the members of StarCrossed. They are skeptical of her right away because Walsh fortunately called Ozzie back warning him about her. He didn't provide any meaningful answers to the questions Ozzie has. He didn't even bother to listen to all of the messages he left. But it establishes that they do have a way of contacting each other. That will be important moving forward. Alex is incredibly skeptical about this group. She believes she knows how to make herself seem endearing to them in order to get the answers she needs regarding Walsh's whereabouts. She believes there is something more going on with Ozzie, Gina and Richard. She suspects they are hiding Walsh for some reason. It's an understandable assumption to make given the position Alex is in. But it's also so amusing once it all goes awry. Richard gets himself arrested because he believes all FBI agents are reptilians who want to kill him. He's saved from lockup only because Ozzie agrees to lead Alex to Walsh. It's another solid concluding moment for the season that makes the audience want to see the next episode right away. Will things go according to plan for Ozzie? Or will Walsh find a way to mess things up? The latter seems much more likely.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Uneasy Alliance" was written by David Jenkins and directed by Ian Fitzgibbon.
  • Did the audience really need to see the incident that led to Alex shooting herself in the foot? It's an important part of her backstory. She is still clearly haunted by it. But it's an amusing enough joke on its own. It didn't really need to be dramatized. That didn't really enhance it all that much. It just shows how reckless she can be in the field.
  • Alex also finds herself confronted with alien evidence right away. She takes the vacuum bag from Gina's house as evidence because Gina felt the need to clean up after the explosion. Inside, she finds Nancy's missing finger. She has a shocked reaction. But will it force her to accept the existence of aliens? Or will she rationalize it in some other way?
  • No one in the group outside of Yvonne is all that concerned about Gerry being missing for three days. He's been gone for a week before. But Yvonne still gets a couple of them to look through his house for clues as to where he's gone. That reaction reveals to Chelsea that Yvonne and Gerry are dating.
  • Kelly has returned from Iceland with a new hairstyle and is mad at everyone in the group for not noticing that she was gone. She clearly wants to talk about what happened. And yet, she doesn't at the same time. Mostly this just forces her to think about what she truly wants to do with her life. The answer is modern dance which should be amusing to watch.
  • It's not surprising at all to learn that Alex's boss - played by Orphan Black's Kevin Hanchard - is a reptilian. He makes that clear when he asks to be the first call when she discovers Walsh's location. But more importantly, he's sent a killer to take out Walsh before he can reveal anymore secrets.
  • Don on Eric: "He says there are six sides to every situation."