Wednesday, July 31, 2019

REVIEW: 'Pearson' - Jessica Must Make Bad Deals with Good People to Protect Her Family in 'The Union Leader'

USA's Pearson - Episode 1.03 "The Union Leader"

Jessica goes head to head with McGann, who doesn't like her challenging his alderman appointee.

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 USA's Pearson.

"The Union Leader" was written by Sonay Hoffman and directed by Stefan Schwartz

Jessica laments the life she had in New York. She believes that she was able to get things done more effectively there. That may be true because she was surrounded by friends at the firm. She had their support. She knew she could trust them with whatever she may have needed. She still has that trust even though she is now in Chicago. In this city, she doesn't have any friends yet. She has people who work for her whom she doesn't know if she can rely on just yet. She is still asking Yoli and Nick to prove themselves to her. She knows that they can be effective at their jobs while continuing to speak their minds at any given moment. But she is still adjusting to what she can do within the mayor's office and just how far she is willing to compromise her values to get exactly what she wants. She may not have friends in the city but she has family. That's a completely new relationship for her. She wants to be close with Angela and her family. It's personal for her. Angela doesn't think Jessica is capable of being a genuine person who cares about what is going on with her family though. Instead, Jessica will always act out of her own selfish interests. That may very well be true at the end of the day. But Jessica is putting the work in to prove that she wants to be a member of this family. She wants to care for them in their time of need. Right now, that just means delaying their eviction until they can find a suitable place to move. That's the best that she can do. Angela sees the value of protesting and speaking her mind to her local representatives. And yet, Jessica actually wields power behind the scenes. She understands that Angela and her family are at risk of losing a place to live because Jessica refuses to install McGann's pick for alderman. It's a very personal battle where it's clear that's exactly how McGann operates. He makes quick progress in making people compromise their morals and values. Jessica has to go to the local union leader to convince him to allow a greater number of non-union workers on McGann's next development project. It's a brutal demand on her part. She even gets assaulted at one point. But that doesn't shake her. She doesn't see it as a big deal because she has been walking past construction sites her entire life. She knows exactly what perversions people feel free to yell at her. It's despicable. But she still wields the power. She can bring that incident into the negotiation in order to get what she wants. It just means she has to break a strong moral leader for the failings of his son. That's horrifying and shows that Jessica is being corrupted by this new job. She came to the city hoping to make a difference. But instead, she is now on a conspiracy board with her new associates by some organization that is investigating their actions. That certainly provides more context for why she was shredding documents at the start of the series. But it remains unclear just how far she is willing to go. That's the way the show wishes to analyze its characters at the moment. Is Bobby a bad husband because he is having an affair with Keri? Or is he surprisingly solid when it comes to going out of state for his wife's experimental medical treatment? It leaves Keri with more compassion when she goes to confront him about why he's been so weird to her today. But it also enlightens her to the fact that she can do better and should actively pursue that. She may still fall into this familiar pattern but it doesn't have to be the only thing that defines her personal life. She is an accomplished woman who is an inspiration to the next generation. She deserves to be proud of the life she is building for herself outside of work.