Sunday, September 29, 2019

REVIEW: 'On Becoming a God in Central Florida' - Krystal Works With a Reporter to Expose Obie's Secrets in 'Flint Glass'

Showtime's On Becoming a God in Central Florida - Episode 1.07 "Flint Glass"

Krystal takes initiative and drums up some press for her business. Cody finally gets some one-on-one coaching. Bets isn't sure about FAM.

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 On Becoming a God in Central Florida.

"Flint Glass" was written by Esta Spalding and directed by Matt Spicer

It truly feels like the show is just spinning its wheels at this point. It has run out of new and interesting things to say about multi-level marketing schemes. It's essentially teasing the audience with big developments at the close of each episode only to delay the inevitable for as long as possible. The previous episode concluded with Krystal calling Mirta in the hopes of exposing the central fraud within FAM. The people working the business don't stand a chance at making a living off of the products. Instead, they just have to work the system until they are trusted to join Obie's inner circle. Then, he'll pay them from his personal business when he eventually gets around to doing that. It's false advertising. But this hour suggests that that is the only piece of the story Krystal has to share with the world. Sure, it's annoying just how often the show checks in on Mirta as she is chasing this story while misleading Krystal into believing she still has a job at the local news station. She sees a potential scoop. And yet, the recording device hopefully catching all the details about Obie's plans for the future doesn't have enough tape to get it all. That is infuriating to Krystal. But it mostly means she concludes this episode once again angry at the world and willing to forge her own path in order to expose the corruption going on. That hasn't worked out for her in the past though. It seems like she is making the same mistakes over and over again. She does so in service of the idea that Splashercise could be huge. Everyone else looks down at the concept. It doesn't have legs as a business proposal. But Obie is still willing to use aspects of her plan in order to build a shrine to himself. He is so completely delusional and demands absolute loyalty from his followers. That is so corrosive. And yet, that has been an overwhelming quality to the season so far. Cody, Travis and Ernie have fallen under Obie's spell. They treat his word as law. They view him as God telling them exactly how to live their lives. However, it's spelled out right in the pamphlet that this is a confusing business venture that probably won't work for many. All of the evidence is there upfront that this is a scam. Ernie doesn't have that entrepreneurial spirit in the same way. Sure, he can motivate people to sign up and join his downline. He sees it as only a matter of time before he is earning millions without having to hold all the product in his house. And yet, he doesn't want to sell the Spanish translations of Obie's tapes that he has recorded. That's where Obie's true profits come from. The FAM merchandising is key to all the success he has in the world. Even that is an illusion. He is forever paranoid that people are targeting him. As such, he is distrustful of everyone. He may have seen inspiration in Cody at one time. But now, he needs to test him to see if he is trustworthy. That test is mostly just withstanding several pressing and personal questions in a makeshift sauna in the middle of the woods. That's all there is. In fact, it paints a bleak portrait of Obie as a man who has been deceptively made to feel at the top of the world. He has blind loyalty from Cody. He won't betray him like he did his father. That personal detail is crucial. It just feels half-baked as an idea. Cody is financially cut off from his mother not because of what he is doing with FAM but because of his relationship with Krystal. That's where his mother drew the line. Meanwhile, Krystal is only stringing Cody along to get the dirt on FAM. She may not have the energy to do that any longer. But again, that was the central drive of the series from the start. It doesn't feel like a whole lot of progress has actually been made. Sure, Krystal is now the manager at the water park. But Stan is selling that to Obie. Bets may be more aware of the true financial damage FAM has done to the immigrant community in Ernie's downline. But that mostly serves as awkward tension in their marriage. They are in the same position Krystal was in with Travis back in the premiere. Krystal feels like she can't persuade Ernie with the truth about FAM. But she also doesn't try to reach out to Bets despite how much she has relied on her for free day care. That's awkward. Again, the show is spinning its wheels instead of telling genuinely compelling stories.