Saturday, December 29, 2018

REVIEW: 'Angie Tribeca' - AJ Goes Rogue to Expose the Corrupt World of E-Sports in 'Joystick Luck Club'

TBS' Angie Tribeca - Episode 4.03 "Joystick Luck Club"

The team investigates an attack on popular E-Sports gamer, Bondevil. AJ is sent to join and infiltrate the QuarkSpark team where he learns of a secret underground money laundering system within the E-Sports world.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. Premieres and finales may feature longer reviews. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of TBS' Angie Tribeca.

"Joystick Luck Club" was written by Nathaniel Stein and directed by Brennan Shroff

The premiere established that the addition of Bobby Cannavale as AJ would be a huge shakeup for the show. And now, the third episode of the season features him as the predominate focus for the main story. That is a significant change for a show named after Angie Tribeca. Of course, Angie still has some amusing bits throughout this episode. She is very important to the climax that ensures her son doesn't die in this virtual reality game that kills people if they happen to die in the game. However, she's also really a supporting player throughout this episode. Sure, she gets to once again object to the orders being given to this Special Division Force by the Vice President. She doesn't trust Perry because he's the man who locked her in jail for 20 years. He is apologetic now and willing to have her as a member of this elite team. There is still just something ominous about that whole deal though. But again, that's a concern for the future. Right now, the team is tasked with investigating an assault that occurs at an E-Sports event. Sure, there are a couple of broad and lame jokes about this being taken seriously as a sport. The people confused by that are rightfully put in their place by being told it's a very lucrative movement. That proves the show is still basically taking place in the present even though there are some advances in technology. But it's mostly just amusing as AJ takes on the responsibility of going undercover here. Usually, that's Angie's job in these investigations. She's the one who typically puts on some outrageous costume in order to solve the case. As such, it's a fun shakeup to see someone else deal with that responsibility. Moreover, the show continues to be fundamentally aware of the twists and turns of this specific format. The characters know that they will over promise when it comes to offering protection to a witness who is afraid for their life only for that person to eventually wind up dead. It holds no significant importance to the main characters who were tasked with watching him either. In fact, it's a great series of events to see AJ continuing to scare Ozzy in the car only for the simple suggestion of beer being the thing that ultimately kills him. But it's also just great to see AJ get fully immersed into the world of E-Sports. He reveals himself to be the person most capable of this undercover assignment because his mother abandoned him. He makes a compelling point but he also just runs off and does it without caring what anyone else has to say. Now, it always felt like the girlfriend of the main gamer had something to do with all of this simply because Gillian Jacobs was playing the role. That's significant casting. Though it's also delightful to see Jimmy Tatro pop up as the biggest celebrity in this world who is willing to give it all up just as quickly. But Jacobs is the one who gets to have more fun as Becky Bunnker who is revealed to be the best gamer in the world and AJ's competition to expose the money laundering scheme actually going on. Sure, it makes no sense why she would be so cooperative and help the team piece together this investigation when she was working alongside Pierre Cardin. And yet, that's one of those logistics questions that is best left unanswered because it's simply more fun to see AJ fall into that trouble and ultimately needs his mother to come save his life. Plus, it ensures that Pierre remains the antagonist for the season because he does escape even though he promised AJ that if he survived he could arrest him for his various crimes.