Sunday, June 16, 2019

REVIEW: 'Perpetual Grace, LTD' - James Runs Into More Problems in 'Felipe G. Usted. Almost First Mexican on the Moon. Part 1'

Epix's Perpetual Grace, LTD - Episode 1.03 "Felipe G. Usted. Almost First Mexican on the Moon. Part 1"

Pa commandeers the ice-cream truck, as James provokes a rattlesnake encounter and Felipe undertakes astronaut training.

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.

"Felipe G. Usted. Almost First Mexican on the Moon. Part 1" was written by Steven Conrad & Bruce Terris and directed by James Whitaker

This show absolutely runs the risk of adding too many convoluted plot beats on top of an already sprawling narrative. It's mostly proving to James and the audience that there was so much that wasn't revealed upfront. James didn't know that Pa was a sociopath who would kill a man with his shoe and cut off his own thumb in order to escape from Hector. Nor did he know that there was a Texas ranger looking for Paul in connection with a murder or a man looking to get his vengeance against the person he views responsible for destroying his family's lives. And now, this episode only continues to add characters to the plot. The episode is named and narrated by Felipe Guillermo Usted, the coroner who was paid by James and Hector to issue the death certificates for Ma and Pa. He used that money in order to go to Houston to achieve his dream of becoming the first Mexican astronaut. The show certainly has a fascination with men in spacesuits. James' father walks around in one. Felipe is obsessed with the idea of journeying amongst the stars. Even the opening credits features an astronaut floating around in space. It all stands in contrast to what one might expect from a western noir thriller. The show continues to subvert the audience's expectations in that way. It wants us to be off balanced somewhat in order to surprise us with the twists. However, Felipe is mostly just introduced here. He is basically just a looming threat whom Hector warns James about as a potential complication. The impact is more immediately felt with the introduction of Paul's uncle Dave. He is living in a halfway house after being imprisoned as a sex offender. He proclaims his innocence because he's just a normal, awkward guy. The show depicts the incident that led to his arrest as well. That means the audience can come to our conclusions about him as a human being. In the present though, he is seen with sympathy because he just wants to know what happened to his sister. Now, Ma is still alive. She has been transported to a different site in Mexico as well. She is looking for the right moment to escape. She hasn't succeeded in doing so yet. Plus, Pa is choosing to get his revenge against the Mexican sheriff who did this to him and his wife instead of rescuing Ma and returning home right away. Of course, that should be a priority for him as well because of some new threat that also happens to be looming on the horizon. Paul didn't know a whole lot about the business his parents were running. He just saw it as this big scam that allowed them to personally profit. But now, it features an outside criminal enterprise too. That includes the random introduction of Timothy Spall. That's bound to add to the burden of the story at some point. But again, it's a lot to handle. James succeeds in getting a snake to bite him so that he can get the ankle monitor removed. But his problems only continue to add up. He is upset with Paul because he didn't mention all of the things that have gone wrong with their scheme. James is committed to this path because of the promise that he'll become a better person tomorrow. When all of this is done, then he'll be the person he imagines himself to be. That seems unlikely to happen though. It's the kind of argument addicts make in order to avoid making the same destructive choices over and over again. Right now, James is spinning and trying to put out multiple fires at once. It's too much for him to handle and he's still baffled by all of the craziness this world is now throwing at him.