Saturday, September 9, 2017

REVIEW: 'One Mississippi' - A New Job Opportunity Brings Tig and Kate Closer Together in 'Kiss Me and Smile For Me'

Amazon's One Mississippi - Episode 2.03 "Kiss Me and Smile For Me"

Tig and Kate deal with negative reactions to their radio show, leading them to a career opportunity. Remy and Bill attend an emotionally charged party at the senior center, while Tig and Kate go fishing and their relationship deepens.

One Mississippi is one of the most beautiful and emotional shows on the air about love and the need for human connection. The emotions of this season are so vastly different from the emotions of last season. It's different but equally great. The season premiere set up these new episodes with romantic stories for Tig, Remy and Bill. And now, they are each dealing with their own complications in their search for love. It all revolves around how they have different approaches to the subject as well. Each story is different but completely fitting to each individual character. Their love interests aren't perfect. They may not ultimately be healthy in the end either. But it's also easy to understand why the characters would be interested in them at the moment. It doesn't even have to be entirely about romantic love either. There's the love that comes from true friendship. There's the love of true companionship too. Feelings and personal emotions are often so frightening. There's the fear of making that first move and being rejected immediately. It's terrifying. And yet, it's so sweet to see all of these stories move at the pace that is perfect for them. They all build to big moments here with the pairings all coming together. But they all mean vastly different things for each of the characters. That's what makes this show so insightful. This is a family that loves each other despite their differences. And now, those differences are on full display in the overarching story of the season. The show is giving them similar objectives but executing them in distinct ways for everyone.

Of the three main stories, Remy's is perhaps the most awkward and jarring. He started the season pursuing Vicky from his civil war reenactment group. And now, he's pivoted to Desiree who he met at a different church. She's a blunt and big personality. She is really only given depth in this episode. She appeared briefly in the previous episode. It's only now that Remy and the audience are seeing that she is living with a friend and caring for several children (only one of whom happens to be hers). She makes a living selling her breast milk to people over the internet. And yet, she's totally charmed by Remy. She sees being a high school history teacher as one of the best jobs out there. She sees Remy as this very attractive man who deserves everything he has ever wanted. He was uncertain about this date beforehand. But now, he sees Desiree as his opportunity to get back on track in his life. He always believed he would have a family at this point. He doesn't and hasn't had any viable options to actually make that commitment with. That's because he still isn't done growing as a human being. But Desiree sees him as perfect. On one hand, that is very sweet. On the other hand though, this is all happening very quickly. They immediately sense that this is going to be a perfect relationship. They believe they have a deep spiritual connection. It's jarring because of how quickly it's moving. That's not an adjective that would describe this show at its best. And yet, Remy has always said that's how he romances someone. He makes his feelings known right away to see what will happen. He did that here and it's already leading to a sexual connection. It may all blow up eventually for being too good to be true. But right now, he's happy and content with his life.

Meanwhile, things are still fairly platonic between Bill and Felicia. They share their moments in the elevator. They notice when the other isn't there but don't make a fuss about it. Bill delivers an orchid to Felicia to show his gratitude and appreciation for what she did for him. Of course, he's intruding on a personal moment for her. He would never willingly do that to another person. It's clear he causes stress for that dynamic as well because Felicia and her man, Frank, are arguing about finances. Frank even wonders why a white man is bringing Felicia flowers. And yet, it's all just setup for Bill and Felicia. She feels the need to explain to him what's going on in her life. She talks about planning her daughter's wedding with her ex-husband. She wants to be very mindful of the budget. He wants to go all-out with an open bar and an 18 piece band. It makes no sense for the occasion. The groom is sober and that kind of band is just too big. It's a decision that Bill understands completely. It once again shows how similar the two of them actually are. That makes them a compelling pairing. Bill is rejecting the advances of other women. He may or may not see romance in his future with Felicia. He doesn't share Beulah's feelings. And right now, all he cares to do is have lunch with Felicia. But it also just feels so good for him to have a kindred spirit in this world. Someone who understands and appreciates life the same way he does. It doesn't need to become romantic. If this is as deep as it goes, it still feels like it will ultimately be very rewarding for Bill.

As pleasant as both of those stories are at the moment, they don't have the same amount of depth as Tig's relationship with Kate. That's a benefit of time. Kate was on the show last season and it was already clear then that Tig was pining after her. And now, it takes on new meaning. They are forced to deal with the realities of doing this specific show in this specific place in the country. Tig isn't afraid to talk about some truly dark subject matter that can make people very uncomfortable. It's a business built on sponsorships. Without any sponsors, there is no show. And now, Kate reveals that all the sponsors have left. They left because Tig offended the women who wanted to pray the gay away. It's curious why that person was a sponsor in the first place. It's just significant now because Tig and Kate can't produce the show that they love and want to be making. It's absolutely devastating to both of them. And yet, it's not the end of their journey together. In fact, they are able to bounce back very quickly. Even Tig is surprised to learn that they have a promising offer from a company that actually wants to be in business with them. Of course, the sit-down meeting largely revolves around how Tig has used her life story and experiences to become this excellent storyteller. It feels a little manipulative. But it's still presented as a genuine opportunity. The two of them are able to continue working together. It's still unclear if they'll continue to have creative control but it's just rewarding that they have the outlet to do something together.

But all of this is just completely secondary to the big kiss between Tig and Kate. It's something the show has been setting up for a long time. Tig was just waiting for the moment to be right where it felt natural to make that first move. She knew things would be awkward because Kate is straight. And yes, things are awkward because of that crisis of identity. Kate has always seen herself as straight. She's talked about it openly with Tig. She values their connection. She feels drawn to Tig. That's what makes it so enticing to see them actually act on these feelings. It's just a simple kiss. Kate goes in for it too. She's the one who makes the decision. That's surprising. It has the potential to change everything for this pairing. They work well together because they are honest with each other. And yet, they have wildly different reactions to this moment in the aftermath. It's so beautiful to watch as Tig imagines the two of them performing "Ring of Keys" from Fun Home. That's such a poignant musical that really connects to this story as well. It's so simple and sweet. It's very emotional because it plays as this big moment of release that the two get to celebrate together. That's what makes it so crushing when Kate enters the room with the desire to just be friends. She loves their dynamic. She doesn't want to lose it because of this kiss. And yet, she can't commit to a relationship like that because she doesn't feel it is true to herself. That's so heartbreaking. She explains that Tig has gone back-and-forth on her feelings about people not being confident enough with their sexuality in the past. When she ended things with Phoebe, it was clear it was going to be a problem with Kate too. It's devastating that this happens. But it also makes sense given the events that have shaped their lives recently as well.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Kiss Me and Smile For Me" was written by Kate Robin and directed by Ken Kwapis.
  • Remy and Desiree do have a similar connection in that important men in their lives have walked away despite their important responsibilities. For Remy, it was his father who left when he was only one year old. For Desiree, it was her baby's father. As such, this may hit home for Remy as he'll want to be a father to this young baby in the same way that Bill was for him.
  • If Beulah was really interested in Bill in a romantic way, she has to know that what seems very obvious to her and her friends could go completely unnoticed by Bill. He just doesn't see all the work she is doing to make her intentions known. Even when it's pointed out to him, he doesn't see things differently or want to pursue anything romantic with her.
  • Steven Williams is cast as Felicia's ex-husband, Frank. That's notable which probably suggests that this isn't the only time he will be seen this season. This wedding could prove to be very stressful for Felicia with Bill being the only comfort she can find in discussing the various plans. But does Frank still have feelings for Felicia? It seems likely.
  • It's fun that Tig isn't interested in the event at the Senior Center at all. She saw it as something fun to go to when her mother was still alive. Bill and Remy have a good time because it's the community coming together. But Tig isn't feeling that kind of love right now. It's much more important for her to be teaching Kate how to fish. That's much more personal and enjoyable for her.
  • The "Ring of Keys" moment is even better because it's not over-produced. Whenever a show plays with fantasy sequences, it can go over-the-top in a way that isn't natural elsewhere in the story. But this fantasy works because of how understated and simple it is. It's just two people actually singing their feelings to another. That just makes it feel more real and genuine.

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.