Thursday, October 3, 2019

REVIEW: 'Sunnyside' - Garrett and Griselda Worry About Hakim's Recent and Suspicious Actions in 'The Ethiopian Executioner'

NBC's Sunnyside - Episode 1.02 "The Ethiopian Executioner"

Garrett and Griselda suspect Hakim is involved in something suspicious. Brady takes refuge in Jun Ho and Mei Lin's high society life.

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 NBC's Sunnyside.

"The Ethiopian Executioner" was written by Amy Hubbs and directed by Oz Rodriguez

Garrett has no update as to what happened to Drazen after ICE arrested him. He simply remains in the dark. He still has a duty to protect and help the rest of his friends as they prepare for their immigration tests though. The threat from ICE is hardly the only thing they have to worry about as well. Garrett is a complete newcomer to this system. He doesn't know everything that has to be learned. He doesn't know how to teach American history either. He wants to present as the cool and fun teacher who makes learning a blast. However, he's not as mature and dependable as he would like to believe he is. He understands that he was lazy and ineffective as a city councilman. Now, he is aspiring to do something good for once. However, he still has a tendency of falling back into destructive patterns. Those patterns mean he too is susceptible to the con artists out there taking advantage of the most vulnerable in their time of need. Griselda notices that Hakim is acting suspiciously. Sure, she goes to an outrageous place out of the gate. She thinks he could potentially be a serial killer. Even with that fear, she is trying to work an angle of how all of this could benefit her at some point. A podcast would certainly be timely and powerful for her. And yet, he isn't doing something shady and unethical himself. Instead, he is being taken advantage of by a man claiming to be an immigration attorney. John Michael Higgins does bring an aura of authority and respect to the proceedings. He is someone who seems trustworthy and believable. However, he uses his charm to dissuade people from turning against him just like Garrett has always done. Garrett can see things clearly when Hakim is the victim of this man's con. When Garrett goes in for the confrontation though, he is the one taken advantage of and leaves feeling as if all of this is actually legitimate. Hakim wants to begin the immigration process for his sister. He understands that America is the greatest country on Earth. He wants everyone to celebrate in that. He doesn't want to be disillusioned by what the failings of this place can be. He wants to hold out hope for the best in humanity. This country is a melting pot of identities for that very reason. However, he has been scammed. Garrett and Griselda believe they have to scam the fake lawyer just to get back at him. But it's much more effective when Hakim is the one who pulls off the effective takedown of this man. Garrett's plan was never going to work because he and Griselda were too obvious with their deceits. They never would have caught this guy confessing to a crime in front of them. Hakim does though because he disarms the notion of getting caught. He walks confidently into the scene talking about forgiveness only to be playing the long con in the end. It's very effective if a little transparent. It's a twist the audience can probably see coming. But again, it does a solid job in highlighting the failings of some of these characters while never arguing against them from obtaining success in their pursuits. Meanwhile, the subplot with Jun Ho, Mei Lin and Brady serves as a way to better introduce them as comedic characters. They come from such wildly different backgrounds. The siblings don't know why people always take advantage of them for their money. Brady is doing that now because he is desperate and poor. However, he ultimately feels bad about it. It too is a very simple plot. The laughs aren't as loud and frequent as the show would probably like either. However, it does suggest that these characters could all become friends instead of being people forced together because of their immigration statuses and not having anyone better than Garrett to teach them. That's very reassuring.