Wednesday, September 11, 2019

REVIEW: 'Pearson' - Angela's Latest Act of Resistance Causes Complications for Jessica and Mayor Novak in 'The Rival'

USA's Pearson - Episode 1.09 "The Rival"

Angela leads a tent city outside City Hall. Keri thinks about her future. McGann finds Nick.

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 Rival" was written by Chris Downey and directed by Mark Tonderai

Some characters have popped this season and others haven't. Jessica remains the most well-defined. That is helped a considerable deal because she came from an established show in Suits. Of course, this drama sought to find new avenues of interest for her. She is no longer a lawyer but still wields a ton of influential power. She gets things done on a practical level in Chicago. And yet, she aspires for more of a connection with her family. When she came home to an empty apartment, she was so worried about what happened to Angela, Lillian and the boys. She doesn't want them to be living in tents across the street from City Hall. But Angela thinks that's the only way to send a message to the mayor that these people are hurting and need his immediate attention. Bobby hasn't been all that concerned about them. Instead, he has been too consumed with needing to please McGann and trying to navigate his complicated marriage to Stephanie with his relationship with Keri. He wants everything to just magically be okay without needing to make any of the firm decisions himself. Stephanie wants to know if he loves Keri as well. She had that brutal conversation with the city attorney in the previous episode. And now, her husband isn't able to offer her the same clarity. Keri wants to figure out how to best move forward with her life. Moving to a corporate law firm may not make anything better for her. She is still tangled up in complicated matters because of Bobby and Nick. The episode literally ends with Nick on her doorstep wanting to confess to a murder. That has been all consuming for his character arc this season. He feels that guilt and lashes out because of it. He is still left standing. He doesn't want to just completely forget about it like McGann and Bobby have. He wants to be held responsible for his past actions. But that also seems incredibly tangential to everything else going on. Sure, it's cynical to see McGann's point as valid. No one cares about the man who was killed. The show has tried wringing a ton of drama out of that past event without providing the audience with an entry into that story that is easy to invest in. Instead, it all hinges around Nick's perspective and what he is feeling in any given moment. He hasn't been one of the characters with a meaningful story on the show though. He is mostly just a complication to keep everything intense. The same unfortunately applies to Angela. She is Jessica's cousin who wants to support her neighborhood. She is proud of the world she comes from and will always fight to make it better. She won't sell out. She will hold firm to her ideals. Jessica believes the deal she crafts over night is the best that these citizens can help to achieve right now. It's the only feasible plan. This can't be a story that is allowed to fester and grow. Angela can sell her neighbors on the plan as well. But she is also susceptible to a man looking to use this cause to launch his own political ambitions. That too is very true to life. The people who become the biggest advocates may not even be personally affected by those fighting to be heard. That doesn't inherently make them monsters. Some of them are genuine. But the show wants to believe everything can be seen as transactional. Jessica just has to approach this activist with the right offer. That may vilify her in Angela's eyes. But it's also hard to care about what Angela thinks because she's prioritizing this protest over absolutely everything else in her life. Again, that may not be as destructive as it seems to be because it is important to fight to get what's right after being slighted and abused by the world. Angela just doesn't come across as the sympathetic and passionate voice who can do some good for her community. Instead, she mostly comes across as a liability who keeps making things difficult for Jessica when an easier solution could have been accepted already.