Wednesday, March 18, 2020

REVIEW: 'Little Fires Everywhere' - Mia and Elena Bond Over the Sacrifices They Make as Mothers in 'Seeds and All'

Hulu's Little Fires Everywhere - Episode 1.02 "Seeds and All"

As Moody's friendship with Pearl deepens, Elena's relationship with Mia grows increasingly strained. Unsettled by a faulty reference, Elena snoops into Mia's past while Lexie worries about her Yale admissions essay. Mia bonds with her immigrant co-worker Bebe Chow, who makes a confession with far-reaching consequences.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides 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 Little Fire Everywhere.

"Seeds and All" was written by Nancy Won and directed by Michael Weaver

From the outside, Pearl and Moody appreciate what the other has in their respective mothers. Pearl sees Elena as a parent who is only happy when her children also feel that way. Moody sees Mia as a free-spirit who doesn't aim to firmly dictate what a family has to do. Neither one of them is necessarily wrong to have these opinions at this moment in time. In fact, Mia and Elena may actually see themselves as deeply conflicted and desperate mothers. So much of their final conversation swells around that idea. They have propped up certain versions of their lives. Elena is the strong and determined family matriarch who projects exactly what she expects from every member of her household. Mia is the artist who must prioritize her work above all else despite the uncertainty that comes with that. And yet, they both need the love and support of their children in order to survive. That is the fundamental story that seemingly connects the women of this story. Sure, Elena's book club can discuss whether or not a woman needs to be a mother in order to view her vagina as an essential and significant part of her body and identity. However, motherhood is the precise thing that brings these characters together and may force them to make some desperate moves. Mia doesn't want Pearl to go to Elena for help getting placed in the appropriate math class. She has raised her daughter to be an independent spirit as well who can fight for what she deserves. But that also means Pearl is fundamentally aware that her mother is withholding so many secrets about her past. Mia is haunted by the figure she has painted in the artwork that now lives above the fireplace. It's a monstrous depiction that intrigues some while unnerving others. It's hard to form a quick opinion on it without seemingly dismissing the point Mia is trying to make. She says it was a way to reveal to a friend what she was truly like on the inside. Mia grapples with that concept over and over again. She is drawn to capturing those moments where society can't hide behind the pleasantries that seemingly make everything normal and peaceful. Instead, she notices that her co-worker is in pain over the recent loss of her child. She is there to support Bebe through that even though she doesn't need much clarity over the situation. That may make Mia seem aloof and alienating to Pearl though. Pearl may be capable of handling things herself. However, she is still a teenager who needs guidance every so often. She has formed a quick and strong friendship with Moody. She is welcome in the Richardson home. No one doubts the sincerity of her actions or her presence. With Mia though, Elena fears that she has welcomed a criminal into her home who will destroy her life. As a reporter, Elena has the relationships to get answers about Mia's past. But she also seems sloppy with the details in a way that allows Mia to continue to build on this dynamic that they now share. In fact, it seems like Mia is capable of getting Elena to expand her horizons and challenge her world view. That may be all that it takes in order for things to turn out differently. However, Elena is still a force of nature who commands everyone to strictly follow whatever she orders. That is traumatizing to Izzy who wants to lash out and fight back like Mia says. That isn't good enough though because that rage isn't channelled in an appropriate way. People are continually thriving for a sense of independence. Motherhood may provide that definition for Mia, Elena and Bebe. They will do whatever it takes for their children to always need them. That is less true at the moment because the teens are striking out on their own and holding onto their own secrets. They won't just abide by whatever their parents say. That makes this even more complicated while examining just how loving and dysfunctional motherhood can actually be. It's a profound sacrifice. One that is all-consuming. One that can be rewarding. However, the work in shaping young minds can be quite exhausting and costly too. Elena and Mia may be able to help children who aren't theirs. But that can't come at the expense of expressing what they need from their own children and listening to their needs as well.