Sunday, July 14, 2019

REVIEW: 'City on a Hill' - A Police Raid Once Again Ends in Tragedy in 'From Injustice Came the Way to Describe Justice'

Showtime's City on a Hill - Episode 1.05 "From Injustice Came the Way to Describe Justice"

Jackie and Decourcy continue to hunt down the weapon connected to the armored truck robbery in Revere. Michaela Freda, a local reporter, gets a tip about a story that could lead her down a treacherous path. Despite the threat of a grand jury, Frankie considers what he must do to provide for his family. After another allegation is brought to her attention, Siobhan questions whether doing what is right is ultimately what is for the best.

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 Showtime's City on a Hill.

"From Injustice Came the Way to Describe Justice" was written by Michele McPhee and directed by Alex Zakrzewski

There are several aspects of this show that are just difficult to care about. Jackie and Jenny have no clue what's going on with their daughter, who is now approached by Clay. Frankie and Cathy's daughter is terrified by recurring nightmares. Jenny feels torn about going back to school. Jimmy and Clay keep teasing Jackie with information that they could provide that may help with his ongoing cases. Meanwhile, Jackie's philandering ways keep coming back to cause more problems for him. All of this highlights how the show wishes to spread out its world and the lives inhabited by these characters. And yet, it still doesn't seem like everything is coming together in a rewarding and compelling way. There are some aspects that could inform something much more important down the line. But most of these are just character details that prove to the audience exactly who these people are. Sometimes that can be very intriguing and worthwhile. Decourcy and Siobhan are discussing issues of race and sexual misconduct. Siobhan has always felt somewhat like a tangential character off in her own plot concerns. Here though, she presents a very compelling dialogue about just how intimidating and threatening men can be when they abuse their power. It doesn't have to be sexual contact in order for it to be abusive and wrong behavior either. That then creates a new debate with her mother who doesn't want the next generation to ruin all of the hard work that she and her peers did fighting for a better world. Just because things are better for communities of color doesn't mean that they are now good. Decourcy brings up the statistics about the number of black kids killed by senseless gun violence. He does so with the awareness that he could be just another number. He wants to make a difference in the DA's office. Right now though, it's hard to feel optimistic because everything he is doing could be seen as illegal. That could cost him so much. He's in the pursuit of making a name for himself. He has formed this partnership with Jackie thinking he can provide answers and substance. That remains very questionable though. It took some effort on his part to track down Clay. Meanwhile, a reporter was willing and able to do so with just a tease that something more corrupt may be going on in this corner of the city. It's fascinating to add a journalist to the proceedings who wants to shine a light on how the city and its public officials are operating. The main characters mostly see her as a nuisance though. That too is very overwhelming and defeating. People lock down on what they know. Siobhan thought she could trust Decourcy to know how to talk with her mother. Instead, he gets into a disagreement with her and then questions Siobhan's own loyalty. That's brutal. But again, all of this has the potential of being worth it. Everything does comes together in the end to produce a gun that could help build a strong case of corruption that led to the armored truck heist. It just comes with Minogue getting shot in the gut and flatlining en route to the hospital. In that moment, Jackie is present to ensure that he delivers as much suffering as possible. It's cruel but this guy was an asshole. That's largely the sole defining characteristic for him though. So, this doesn't feel like that big of a loss to the overall show. That too could be a significant problem. It's clear things are escalating but the coalescence is still fairly murky. The show can certainly create moving and powerful moments. That final beat in the ambulance is strong. Rachel talking about her Persian heritage and current opportunities is strong. Decourcy and Siobhan's conversations about race and power are significant. Those moments help create some momentum. It just may not be enough to fuel the end game for the season.