Wednesday, April 24, 2019

REVIEW: 'Brockmire' - Brockmire Gets a Visit From His Sister and Their Estranged Mother in 'Banned for Life'

IFC's Brockmire - Episode 3.04 "Banned for Life"

Brockmire's mother comes to town and challenges Brockmire's relationship with his sister.

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. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of IFC's Brockmire.

"Banned for Life" was written by Alex Reid and directed by Maurice Marable

Is Brockmire capable of doing a selfless act without needing to call attention to it? This episode articulates that he is now at the point where he can do that even though it could potentially cost him everything as well. His sister, Jean, is living her best life. Brockmire has put in the work to have more of a relationship with her. Sure, they may have wildly different opinions on lots of things. But they recognize the importance of being family. They want to be in each other's lives and make up for the sins of their pasts. Jean is holding onto the hope that reconnecting with the mother who abandoned her children could also be very beneficial. She wants that kind of love that has been missing from her life for a long time. She sees that as the one thing that is still missing. And yet, Brockmire has long known that his mother is a horrible human being. She is actually a mobster now working for the Armenian government. That's so insane. And yet, Linda Lavin absolutely sinks her teeth into this role with so much delight. She is essentially putting on a performance for Jean because she sees her as an easy mark. She is only returning to their lives because she wants inside information from Brockmire. She wants to know how the players are performing behind-the-scenes so that she can make a ton of money by placing bets. She is trying to manipulate the outcome in her favor. That's horrifying because she is taking advantage of so many people in their times of need. Brockmire has been trying to turn over a new leaf. He no longer wants to be the same person he has always been. He is fourteen months sober now. His mother still laughs at the suggestion that it could possibly last. She sees her son as a kindred spirit. Someone who will always destroy his life and delight in the misery he causes others with no compassion for what they are going through because of him. He completely destroys Jean's life here. He gets a fresh perspective from her new girlfriend. It's so telling and amusing that Jean has a very specific type. She's part of a throuple now because she doesn't want to leave her asexual husband. She is happy and excited about life. She enjoys her trip to Disney World. It's a memorable experience for her. And yet, Brockmire ruins it by telling her the truth about their mother. He has been in contact with her for years behind her back. He wanted to shield her from the truth. He never wanted her to lose this idea that their mother could possibly be a good person despite abandoning them as children. But their mother was always a despicable monster who doesn't care about the life she had for a little while in Kansas City. She is just trying to get stuff from her children now. That just makes Brockmire regret every action he has taken. He wants to be better. He wants to do better for his family. He only makes things worse though. It's so difficult and tempting for him. He is literally in a convenience store parking lot debating whether or not to go buy some alcohol inside. In that moment, he doesn't turn to his sponsor. Instead, he reaches out to Charles who comes running. That routine could grow old if this was a pattern in Brockmire's life. He doesn't need Charles' help dealing with the multiple crises that are always apparent in his life. But it's meaningful that connection is still there when things do look this dire and bleak for Brockmire. He needs a friend. His life has changed so much this season. He wants the compassion and understanding that comes from the people who helped him get sober. It's just much more challenging than he ever thought with no guarantee that being a morally good person would lead to a demonstrably better life. He just has to keep making an effort in the hopes that one day Jean will come back to him.