Sunday, June 9, 2019

REVIEW: 'Perpetual Grace, LTD' - The Realities of the Con Are Much More Time Consuming for James in 'Orphan Comb Death Fight'

Epix's Perpetual Grace, LTD - Episode 1.02 "Orphan Comb Death Fight"

In Mexico, the imprisoned Pa and Ma are separated. Back in Half Acre, James and the real Paul Allen Brown conduct a secret meeting.

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 Epix's Perpetual Grace, LTD.

"Orphan Comb Death Fight" was written by Steven Conrad & Bruce Terris and directed by Steven Conrad

James was made to believe that conning Pa and Ma would be an easy job. He was deliberately kept in the dark about who they and their son truly were. They are essentially a killing and manipulative family. They destroy lives simply because they have the cunning and sociopathic skills to do so. Pa expertly knows how to break a person down and build them back up to the point where they can only trust him. Once he gains that connection, he exploits it for his own personal benefit. That helps him immensely on his journey through the Mexican desert with Hector. Sure, it's absolutely horrifying and sinister just how casual he treats using a beer can to cut off his thumb in order to make it out of this imprisonment. No one should ever underestimate him. He is only given that opportunity because he annoys Hector to the point where he can't deal with it without alcohol. But Pa has the astute observation that Hector's life story and the novel he is writing isn't all that unique. It's very derivative and familiar. It's the kind of story that has been told a million times before. The show is aware of the tropes it is playing with while allowing its characters to be out of the loop as well. Hector doesn't know just how recognizable the plot of his novel actually is. Nor does the Texas ranger recognize the pun that comes from his last name being Walker. This is a world where people expect certain things to happen simply because they appear to be commonplace and accepted. And yet, that's not the case at all. The world is never as simple as one would like it to be. It is for someone like Pa. He gets exactly what he wants even though he hasn't broken free of his chains just yet. Ma is still in her separate prison as well. It's unclear how exactly they will reunite. Neither should be underestimated though. Plus, the real Paul Allen probably shouldn't be trusted when he says it's just one big misunderstanding that a Texas ranger has been pursuing him for years in connection to a murder case. That made it clear to James that he had no idea who this person was that he has been aligned with in this scheme. So now, he is facing questions from Walker with no answers whatsoever. Plus, it's so strange to see him sitting in a jail cell next to a man with "Paul Allen Brown" tattooed across his chest. That too features an amusing origin story at the top of this episode. This guy just wanted to open a Lenscrafters store in Half Acre. That was his passion. He may be a former felon but he has found the motivation and drive to do something productive with his life. He knows how eyes work. He just fails as a businessman. He wants to blame all of his problems on a past scheme in which Paul Allen stole all of the money Pa and Ma had collected from this nearby community. At least, that's the story that Pa shares here. Pa has created quite a bleak portrait of his son to the people of Half Acre. There is animosity to him even though they don't know that James has taken over Paul Allen's identity. But it complicates everything. Paul Allen wants to continue being seen as the guy obsessed with magic. He isn't though. And James is dealing with those consequences. He has remorse for attacking Glenn and causing his ever-mounting health issues. He has an ankle monitor because Paul Allen has made a habit of disappearing without a trace for years. And now, James has to contend with this con actually taking three months to pull off instead of two weeks. That's bound to keep things very compressed and tantalizing moving forward as the pressure mounts on him to succeed quickly.