Saturday, December 7, 2019

REVIEW: 'Reprisal' - Doris and the Monster Ring Invade the Bang-a-Rang With Lethal Consequences in '25 or 6 to 4'

Hulu's Reprisal - Episode 1.07 "25 or 6 to 4"

A shaken Meredith reconnects with her father. Doris and the Monster Ring attend a Bang-a-Rang. Queenie and the Pin-Ups defend their family.

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.

"25 or 6 to 4" was written by Adam Lash & Cori Uchida and directed by Eva Sørhaug

When Doris, Earl and Cordell open the Brawlers vault, they are surprised to discover it's empty. It's a moment built up to stun the characters and the audience. The show has a tendency of doing this. It establishes a dramatic and shocking moment only to later on explain why things turned out that specific way. For example, this hour opens by explaining how Meredith came to join the Brawlers. She has always been positioned as Burt's daughter. She may be protected because of that identity within the gang. It may also put a target on her back when war breaks out with the Ghouls. However, it was a false narrative created by Burt and Queenie after they killed a couple for getting rough with one of the pin-ups. They didn't know this couple had a child. Meredith saw her parents get murdered. And then, she was indoctrinated into the organization that killed them. That is brutal and absolutely justifies her pull to run far away from this place. That impulse was understandable long before this reveal. But now, it only further intensifies. In this world, she has to kill just in order to survive. That may offer her some freedom. However, she is emotionally fraught after being betrayed by Gertrude. Sure, she lies about her friend now being dead. But the Brawlers have much more pressing problems than that at the moment. The vault is empty and the Bang-a-Rang is under attack. Again, it's reasonable to assume that the show will explain how the Brawlers potentially planned for Doris' attack. She has left clues beyond teasing that she has returned to this world. Lyla talked about her encounter with Doris with her father. Bash woke up to the gift Doris left behind for him to find. More importantly though, Ethan is faced with the near constant question of whether he still supports Doris. He has long viewed her as the one person who may offer him salvation in his life in Detriot. He hasn't been in that environment in awhile though. It's reasonable for him to suspect that Doris isn't even helping his legal case now that she too is at the Bang-a-Rang in the south. He may be willing to plant the bag of weapons within the Bang-a-Rang so that Doris' team has easy access to it during their assault. That shows he is still loyal to her. And yet, that may be fraying away with each passing episode especially since Burt is now joining the Phoenixes as they make their deliveries and pickups. All of this may conveniently allow the leaders of the Brawlers to be away from their headquarters when this attack happens. Burt is on the road checking on the structure of his criminal enterprise. Joel is killing his counterpart in the Ghouls as retribution for what has just happened to Meredith. Meanwhile, Bash is no where to be found. That leaves Queenie and the Pin-Ups largely in charge of protecting this place. They are more than capable of doing so as well. In fact, it's such a stylish action sequence. A lot of it may be created through editing techniques. However, it's still very entertaining to watch. It ensures that Doris makes her presence known in a huge way. All it took was four people for all of this destruction to occur. The war has come home to the Brawlers. They weren't expecting it. Of course, now they'll operate with the knowledge that Doris is their true enemy in this fight. It's not the Ghouls. That awareness leaves everyone on the same playing field which should create an engaging conclusion to the season. But again, it still feels like some things have to be explained in order for them to fully resonate. Doris decides not to kill Queenie only after Queenie recognizes her as Katherine through the Harlow family tattoo, which may mean something depending on whomever wears it. Meanwhile, something clearly happened to the money. Is it because some Brawler was smart? Or does that showcase how the infrastructure isn't as strong as it is perceived? These are important questions that have to be answered in order to make everything actually relevant and significant when they happen instead of delaying that satisfaction later on through a lengthy explanation.