Saturday, December 7, 2019

REVIEW: 'Reprisal' - War Finally Breaks Out Between the Brawlers and the Ghouls Thanks to Doris in 'The Tiniest Battle'

Hulu's Reprisal - Episode 1.05 "The Tiniest Battle"

Doris puts her plans in motion by visiting an old friend, and Ethan is forced to deal with being caught between two worlds after his actions contribute to a sudden death. When Bash takes things into his own hands, Joel is unable to keep the peace anymore.

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 Hulu's Reprisal.

"The Tiniest Battle" was written by Elizabeth Hunter and directed by Cherie Nowlan

There has been a lot of talk about war in this season so far. It's the topic that everyone in the Brawlers' world discusses the most. It's top of their minds more than the money and the drinking. The leaders are forever worried about this conflict brewing over into something more once again. The first few episodes teased that something as simple and small as a bar fight could tip the scales over. That's how tentative the peace may actually be in the region. It doesn't actually feel like a stable power structure at all. As such, Meredith has the right impulse to drive as far away from this place as possible. She has no doubts about whether or not this is a safe and healthy environment for children. She has known this place her entire life. This is home to her. But she desperately needs to explore a different world. Meanwhile, Joel is plagued with doubts that if he lets his daughter go he'll never see her again. That dynamic has fleshed him out as a more sympathetic figure who is trying his best to maintain some sense of peace. All responsibility ultimately rests on his shoulders. He is the leader making these pivotal decisions. He doesn't always speak with absolutely authority. The people beneath him can go off on their own and create problems. His orders aren't necessarily followed. However, Doris comes along to stir up chaos just to benefit her own goals. Burt staged a brutal attack in order to start war previously. He knew that he had the strength to emerge victorious even if he lost ten of his best guys. Doris couldn't abide by his methods. He betrayed those who bought into the idea of the Brawlers being a makeshift family. People have contempt for Joel now because he still wants to hold onto that concept. It's so innocent and wholesome. But again, it masks the true danger always lurking in this place. It's a corrupt environment where only terrible decisions can be made and accepted. Ethan feels like an innocent pawn in all of this. He tells Doris the information she needs to know not knowing what she plans on doing with that. He lets her know where to find Percy and when he will have something of value in his safe. She essentially starts a war here just like her brother did all those years ago. That may show that she fundamentally isn't any better than him. Lives are being lost that have nothing to do with the revenge scheme or the sense of Brawlers history. Burt isn't even an active component of this world any more. No one knows if they will ever see him again. That isn't stopping Doris though. She feels invigorated. She has felt this way ever since she crossed paths with Witt again. He may aspire for more companionship from all of this. But he is fundamentally igniting the fire that will burn down the world that has provided him with stability for so long. That is at the heart of this piece. Doris is doing everything out of a sense of retribution. She kills and has a crew that is willing to do the same for her now. Ethan sees her in this area. And yet, it's too late to do anything about that. By the time she arrives, it is already a lethal situation. One in which she operates from a position of strength and control. Meanwhile, it's those who respond to the brutality who are left behind to act recklessly and impulsively. Bash may have a sweet moment of being compassionate with Joel's daughter. However, he flexes his anger and takes out all the Ghouls he believes to have gone against the Brawlers once more. That is the narrative he chooses to buy into right away. It's a false premise. That is a fascinating narrative engine in order to define character motivations here. All it takes is a convincing stage to be set in order to manipulate events into benefiting the final outcome one wants. Doris creates this event that will produce a war. Something that the Brawlers have long avoided has erupted once more. There is no denying that. Peace is gone. It's all because of Doris. No one knows that except for Ethan who is rattled by the whole endeavor. He may trust his colleagues. But he too may feel the impulse to run away from this world because things are happening that he simply doesn't understand. Doris so effectively took advantage of him and his continued ignorance to what she was capable of pulling off. This event sets the stage for a more engaging second half of the season.