Sunday, December 8, 2019

REVIEW: 'Reprisal' - The Brawlers Regroup After an Attack That Leaves Them Mindful of the Past in 'The Horse Cabbage Heart'

Hulu's Reprisal - Episode 1.08 "The Horse Cabbage Heart"

Doris and the Monster Ring are forced to shift gears. The Bang-a-Rang reels from an attack, as Avron discovers evidence of a traitor. Haunted by the past, Joel opens up to Matty. Meredith and Ethan go on a date, but are interrupted.

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 Horse Cabbage Heart" was written by Salvatore Stabile and directed by Jonathan Van Tulleken

The Bang-a-Rang was attacked. And yet, none of the Brawlers feel very proactive about needing to mount a response. Instead, they are largely just mournful and introspective about the past. Those aren't inherently bad qualities. People absolutely should think through the consequences before they act. However, that defines the majority of this hour. It's discovered that someone from within the Brawlers has likely been working with Doris this entire time. That's how she and her crew were able to slip in fully armed. However, no one is taking that investigation into discovering the mole very seriously. Ethan is. He understands just how dangerous it will be to him if his actions are eventually discovered. That just doesn't present as a priority at the moment. He is still given the freedom to roam around this world. He may be cautioned to lay low for awhile. The Phoenixes are called back to the Bang-a-Rang in order for all the troops to rally after this devastating loss. However, it also functions under the guise that Katherine Harlow has returned for revenge and successfully stolen all of the money in the vault. That's not true at all. Once more, the narrative is purposefully deceiving the audience. People are afraid to mention Katherine's name when she becomes associated with this attack. When Meredith hears about it for the first time, she even mentions that she doesn't know which version of past events is actually true. People have the freedom to believe whatever they want. There should be trust in the facts. There should be basic fundamentals that everyone can support in order to move in this world. However, the history of the Brawlers was built on a lie. Joel has to get incredibly drunk before starting to talk about why Katherine would want revenge. That seems like a foreign concept to Matty. From his perspective, Katherine is the woman who has already done so much damage to the Brawlers. The history of the organization is one of resilience and strength from Burt. If that notion is destroyed, then that could completely change his world view on the system that he trusts so much. And yes, it is clear that people's priorities and loyalties are shifting. Some people believe in the genuine ideals of the Banished Brawlers. The organization provides a sense of camaraderie for those who feel they need purpose and an escape from the aimless world elsewhere that would like to trap them. Cracks may be forming in that understanding of the purpose of this place. Burt left once and has been welcomed back with no serious questions asked. He was allowed to once again take the mantle of leader. He is the one calling the shots. Only Bash and Joel are truly aware of what happened with Katherine. With Burt, it's clear that all of this hits in a personal way. But again, the show is withholding of the truth to make it feel like a serious betrayal. They may have crossed the point of no return. Doris was planning on Bash having a huge reaction to Percy's death. That just guarantees that the love they once had will be lost forever. That has all the tenants of a tragic love story. The show is simply withholding too much of it from the audience. Instead, it opts to open this hour with the story of how Witt came to find Katherine Harlow in Detroit living under a new identity. It certainly props up his admiration for the Bang-a-Rang and his recruitment tactics. But it also highlights just how agonizing his constant travels can be without enjoying the benefits of full membership to the Brawlers. That may be all that it takes for him to align with Doris. She gained a new perspective after he entered her life. He did so just being a fan. And now, his livelihood is on the line if the Brawlers choose to investigate the claims of a mole. Meredith has the gumption to follow after Ethan is forcefully taken by Earl. She comes face-to-face with her aunt for the first time here. But power is quickly taken away from her with Molly once again coming into the proceedings with a more comedic beat that seems misplaced. Again, the show is striving for delicate character work. But it also feels like it is preventing any genuine momentum from actually gaining traction.