Sunday, December 8, 2019

REVIEW: 'Reprisal' - Doris and Bash Reunite for Their Anniversary While Ethan and Meredith Face Major Decisions in 'Damnit'

Hulu's Reprisal - Episode 1.09 "Damnit"

Ethan is caught between two worlds and Meredith has to decide if she'll protect him. Matty comes under suspicion, but Avron pushes too far. While the Brawlers zero in on the Monster Ring, Doris and Bash celebrate their anniversary.

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.

"Damnit" was written by Nate Crocker and directed by Salli Richardson-Whitfield

The Banished Brawlers have accumulated strength through infamy. They won a war. As such, they got to set the factual narrative of what happened. As such, their achievements were propped up while their failures were cast aside. Those decisions may still haunt the people involved to this day. However, that legend has allowed this gang to bolster its ranks and expand its enterprise. That is where the strength comes from. It's not from a strategic mind that knows exactly how to remain in power during turbulent times. In fact, this narrative has continually pointed out that the Brawlers are flailing around at the moment with no consistent voice leading them. It's all vague conversations about the power and importance of family. However, it still only takes a spiteful accusation for Burt to choke out Matty to determine whether or not he is the mole. Burt is very intimidating and vengeful in that way. This is the way he exerts his control. Until this moment, Matty had nothing but respect for him. He has been in awe of him ever since he was first told about the Brawlers. Joel has the right perspective of hating the violence he has committed over the years. A person shouldn't be willing to embrace these tactics in order to maintain order. It can be necessary in order to preserve the ideals that these people hold sacred. It shouldn't be the aspirational quality of identity for a Brawler. Those mixed messages can be confusing. Some people can find a sense of home and family within this place. For the first time, Ethan and Meredith feel that this is exactly where they are suppose to be. They belong here with the sense of camaraderie and power that they have. Sure, Ethan is absolutely terrified that Meredith will kill him the moment she finds out the extent of his role in helping Doris enact her attack on the Bang-a-Rang. Meredith claims that she lost friends during that tragic event. That's hard to buy into though because the show doesn't project an immediate sense of profound life to the proceedings. Instead, it comes across as merely something that happened. It was Katherine Harlow's grand return to this world. Her legend is infamous as well. People don't entirely know what to believe when it comes to her. She should have the same skepticism about anyone who may potentially help her interests. She allows Ethan and Meredith to return to the Bang-a-Rang hoping that they will protect each other and what she is hoping to achieve in this world. Instead, Meredith sells her out because she is once again given an elaborate lie. She doesn't inherently trust that her father will tell her the truth. She understands that everything he says should be taken with a grain of salt. She isn't under the illusion that the Brawlers is a magical community that helps people feel whole. She hasn't been suckered into this way of life as a result of that like so many others. Him offering a more truthful version of where she came from is enough for her to betray another family member. Burt and Queenie continue to lie to Meredith because they are afraid of losing her. She may side with Katherine if she knew the extent of the horrors they have committed. That's the path they have always been on. They delight in the violence and the sense of belonging they have found with each other. Joel and Bash stand in contrast to that because they lament the past decisions. All of this happens on Katherine and Bash's anniversary. Bash is essentially wandering through the past throughout this hour. He yearns for what once was knowing that it is all coming to an end. He doesn't even put up a fight when Katherine arrives. He knows that he betrayed her. He also understands that there is no redemption of what they used to have. She ensured that by killing Percy. They can't be disillusioned about this moment. There is no romantic salvation. Instead, it's just the brutal reality of this world. This is a story of revenge. Doris gets that for the people who wronged her all those years ago. It just seems blatantly obvious that this is where she is going to be. Someone within the Brawlers besides Bash should have realized that. They eventually do. It just continues to present them as inept and actually incapable of remaining in power. That is a fascinating dichotomy and condemnation on power structures in the world. But it never quite feels deliberate. It's basically the show wanting to produce a tantalizing cliffhanger where the walls may be closing in on Doris even though she does succeed in inflicting a great deal of damange on Bash while "Damnit Janet" from The Rocky Horror Picture Show plays. That is effective. It seems obvious that the audience shouldn't expect much from these characters in terms of acting strategic. That's dangerous though as it sets up its finale.