Wednesday, September 18, 2019

REVIEW: 'Pearson' - Jessica Struggles to Maintain Her Personal Life and Her Career Ambitions in 'The Fixer'

USA's Pearson - Episode 1.10 "The Fixer"

Jessica is split between her personal and professional life. Keri makes a decision on her future.

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 USA's Pearson.

"The Fixer" was written by Daniel Arkin and directed by Kevin Bray

Was the main narrative drive of this season suppose to be solving the murder of Tommy Diehl? Sure, it was a component of the story this year. And yet, it was mostly just used to flesh out the backstory of Bobby and Nick's relationship with McGann. That was the most pressing concern with it. In the last few episodes, Nick really started to feel the guilt weighing on him. He was ready to turn himself in. But again, that wasn't the resolution that the characters and audience were desperately awaiting in this finale. But it appears to be the thing that everything else pivots around. There wasn't a need to solve this case. And yet, that appears to be the FBI's interest in the Chicago mayor's office. That too has been something teased throughout the season. The structuring of it all is just weird though. The execution falls flat in a major way. The series opened with the suggestion that Jessica was destroying evidence and being targeted by some unsavory types. The season had to build to that moment. When the narrative finally catches up to it though, it's mostly one built around misdirection. The files that Jeff gave her haven't been a priority in a long time. Jessica hasn't been actively investigating that case and trying to figure out how to best deliver justice to the community. Meanwhile, Jessica calling Keri isn't about wondering if the mayor is with her because of their secret affair. Instead, she just wants the feds on the line to hear the conversation she is about to have in the alleyway with Bobby. That too is what's actually going on there. She isn't about to be run over by some mysterious individual. That's just a weird fake out in order to drum up tension. All of this mostly amounts to a lackluster conclusion for the season. Sure, it suggests an immediate threat to everyone's job security at city hall. The FBI is looking into who has been a part of this criminal cover-up and what they have done to maintain their political power. It comes when Bobby is already facing a public crisis with Angela leading the charge for affordable housing. Bobby wants to back McGann into a corner. Instead, Bobby is the one who has to make firm decisions. He has proven so inept at doing so. That may be the curse of the politician. Every statement has to be carefully crafted in order to appeal to as many potential voters as possible. It doesn't matter who is alienated in the process. Of course, his rousing speech that manages to win over Angela in the end isn't as good as it is perceived to be. It doesn't present as much progress actually being made. Instead, it's him making the only choice he can in order to ease tensions while remaining the most viable candidate for mayor. He is so worried about people who may run against him. But that's a concern far off in the future. Right now, it's personally destructive to see relationships fall apart. Both Stephanie and Keri want to leave Bobby. Stephanie files for divorce while Keri takes a new job and leaves city hall immediately. Meanwhile, Jessica and Jeff's relationship implodes. That is the most emotional and devastating scene of the finale simply because there is so much good will that was built up between the two of them on Suits. They should have made it as a couple. The only reason they may not is because the spinoff needs to create drama for its lead character. Jessica and Jeff don't want to turn against each other with the information they know. But that may only further indicate how Jessica loves wielding power. That too can be a significant flaw for her if she isn't too careful. But that's not a particularly notable insight into what all of this has been about. It's mostly just a muddled end to a season that had some interesting things to say but struggled to find a strong enough hook. Things may improve with Angela also entering the world of politics. That's a personal choice she is making thanks to an offer from Jessica. But again, it doesn't seem like things will dramatically change in a way that actually works to the benefit of those struggling in this world. It's still a story fundamentally about people in powerful positions doing whatever it takes to stay in them which hasn't been all that exciting.