Wednesday, October 2, 2019

REVIEW: 'Stumptown' - Dex and Grey's Past Is Explored While Dex Works a Simple Case About Love in 'Missed Connections'

ABC's Stumptown - Episode 1.02 "Missed Connections"

Dex is hired by a wealthy man to search for a woman whom he recently met, but she quickly learns that the task is not as simple as it seems. Meanwhile, Dex and Grey's history unfolds.

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 ABC's Stumptown.

"Missed Connections" was written by Matt Olmstead, Mike Weiss & Jason Richman and directed by James Griffiths

No relationship is ever as simple as people want it to be. Every dynamic is complex and could turn into something new at any moment in time. The premiere established Dex and Grey as the best of friends. They go together phenomenally well. He is able to call her out on all of her bad behavior. He is responsible with Ansel as well. He is truly the third member of this family. This hour utilizes flashbacks to reveal how Dex and Grey became friends in the first place. It was only six years ago when they walked into each other's lives. The connection was immediate. Dex simply couldn't get away from this guy. It's not a case of him coming across as a stalker either. She just doesn't have her life together and has constantly relied on him. Sure, she may not listen to his advice. She is still incredibly self-destructive. However, this is a friendship that has worked for both of them for years now. Again, it may not be healthy. Grey may only convince Dex to do a cleanse of her body once a year to celebrate their friendship. In fact, he may encourage some of her bad behavior because he owns a bar and will always have a space for her and Ansel. That can be seen as reliable and sturdy too though. He helps encourage her to find work as a private investigator. This may be the direction she needs to ensure she has a better future. In the beginning of their friendship, there was the suggestion that they could become romantically involved. They have sex before even knowing each other. Of course, he remembers everything and she doesn't. Again, it's not told with any monstrous connotations either. This is simply who Dex is. She's not really someone who has control over her life. She implodes from moment to moment. She has been in this constant cycle since Benny died when he chased after her to Afghanistan. She blames himself for his death. That's the guilt she has carried around ever since then. As such, she hasn't been willing or able to have a real romantic connection with anyone. Sure, the show could be setting up some kind of love triangle where Dex has these flirtations with both Grey and Hoffman. That could be successful in the long term. Right now though, Grey functions perfectly as the best friend. Meanwhile, Hoffman can be viable as the resource within the police department who understands the instincts that Dex can bring to her new job. Lieutenant Cosgrove doesn't want to indulge in it at first. She continues to see Dex as someone who doesn't know how to function in a way that is actually helpful to the work they are trying to do. Instead, she only allows a con woman and her partner to get back in touch with a wealthy individual in the city. Grey too many have concerns about bringing this job to Dex in the first place. But again, Dex persists and continues to hold out hope that her actions haven't led to more tragedy. She allows herself to feel good and optimistic about the idea that immediate and clear love is out there in the world. She wants to believe that is possible. It's easy for her to be swayed against the suggestion. At the end of this story, it's unclear if Katrina is simply continuing her con of Aaron or not. Right now, the police can only arrest her partner. Katrina is allowed to walk free and have whatever relationship she is going to have with Aaron. There is no telling at the moment how things will turn out. They could grow toxic and dangerous. But Dex notes that only the people in the relationship truly understand what's going on. This is just a job for Dex to do at the moment, get paid and move on to the next one. That's what this narrative is forcing her to accept even if it leaves uncertainty for everyone to grapple with. Plus, the hour closes on the cliffhanger that Grey may have been involved in a murder. That seems unlikely but it will keep things intense for the time being in addition to better fleshing out his past as an ex-con still indebted to some unsavory people.