Sunday, August 4, 2019

REVIEW: 'Perpetual Grace, LTD' - James and Paul's Con Produces an Elaborate Funeral in 'A Sheriff in the Era of the Cartel'

Epix's Perpetual Grace, LTD - Episode 1.10 "A Sheriff in the Era of the Cartel"

Pa and Ma are driven to the killing fields in Mexico, while James prepares for a funeral in Half Acre.

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 season finale of Epix's Perpetual Grace, LTD.

"A Sheriff in the Era of the Cartel" was written by Steven Conrad & Bruce Terris and directed by Steven Conrad

Wesley understands that something is going on within Half Acre and its citizens. He just doesn't know if it amounts to murder. That's been the way he has perceived everything. That's how he viewed the tragic circumstances around the death of a young girl in Texas. He was hellbent on getting answers for her father, a man of tremendous faith even though Wesley doesn't believe in God. He has been stumbling around this investigation always on the verge of exposing the truth. The answers were literally under his car seat for a long time. It takes until the final moments of the season for everything to start coming together in a way that makes sense for him. James believes that he is fixing the problem and running away with the confidence that he made a difference. That's what his firefighting training gave him. He believes he knows how to manage situations. He brings more people in on the central con. He has Everly and Scotty lying for him to the Texas ranger. Of course, Wesley knows that some aspects of their stories are lies. He outlines all of the nervous ticks that can tip him off to that fact which is followed by Everly exhibiting all of them. That's delightful and strange. But again, Wesley doesn't know exactly what's going on in Half Acre. He wants to believe that he is unraveling a mystery that ends in murder. And yet, the Special Boys are determined not to be killers. They sent Valerie down to Mexico in order to blackmail Hector into submission once more. They knew they needed his assistance in order to keep managing Pa. He was a loose cannon who could destroy this plan so long as he was free. But James and Paul never wanted to kill Pa. That wasn't a part of the plan. They haven't seen him as the killer that Hector knows him to be. Instead, they have been dealing with their own problems that have crept up. They have addressed them too. James and Paul convince New Leaf that it's in his best interests to run over his parents' bodies in order to achieve all of his dreams. They frame it all as a motivation speech that hints at a greater purpose for all of them. These guys each want to do something good with their ill-gotten gains. James wants to be a secret benefactor while Paul truly does want to atone for the death of the young girl in Texas. And yet, the narrative never goes according to plan for them. It's fascinating to watch because the show itself doesn't abide by the conventional rules of television. The penultimate episode concluded with Glenn retrieving James' astronaut father to help him in his time of need. But James' father doesn't make his appearance until the actual funeral. Glenn is keeping him as a surprise for his friend. It's just one more complication that is thrown on top of the narrative. Everything comes together at the funeral. James believed he had everything figured out. And then, he looks out at the crowd and sees all the faces that could immediately blow up the lies that he has been telling throughout this season. Many of the faces support him. But Wesley will likely continue his investigation in town while Donny is likely to follow through on his deadly impulses. The aftermath of such revelations isn't seen though. It is all inferred on the audience's part. We understand that things won't work out for James, Paul and New Leaf as they have planned. And yet, there is also the likelihood that they could spin some new tale in order to survive once more. The same cannot be said of Hector though. He simply wanted to commit to his family once more. He was pulled back into this elaborate plot thinking it would be good if Pa was just dead. That wasn't what James and Paul wanted though. So, Hector intervened and got shot himself. In that moment, Pa is as cold as he has ever been. This is him returning home to claim what is his before even more goes wrong. It just leaves Hector out there in the desert unable to return to his family. His body will likely be found but it probably won't be given the respect it deserves. At least Hector's dying thoughts are those of love. That proves that he is a changed man - if now a dead one - thanks to his time with Pa.