Wednesday, March 18, 2020

REVIEW: 'Little Fires Everywhere' - Mia Helps a Co-Worker While Pearl and Izzy Strive for Independence in 'Seventy Cents'

Hulu's Little Fires Everywhere - Episode 1.03 "Seventy Cents"

Party preparations for Mirabelle McCullough's first birthday are underway as Mia helps Bebe search for her daughter. To Pearl's dismay, Moody tries to take their relationship to the next level at the Homecoming dance while Izzy sends a message to April. Mia's discovery at Mirabelle's birthday threatens her newfound friendship with Elena.

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.

"Seventy Cents" was written by Raamla Mohamed and directed by Michael Weaver

A person's identity is shaped in the early years by the choices made by their parents. There doesn't have to be a biological connection in order for that influence to be felt. That just so happens to define the majority of stories that make up family units especially during the '90s period setting of this series. Elena and Mia have raised their children to act a certain way. However, they are now at the age where the teens are coming to their own understandings of what it means to be who they are in the world. It highlights the privilege or lack thereof that they have had so far. Pearl doesn't always want to assume the worst in people. Yes, she knows how to fight back for what she deserves. And yet, she doesn't understand the underlying racism that is already so prevalent in her world. Elena believes that Pearl and Lexie's boyfriend, Brian, will naturally get along. Race is the only reason why she would make that assumption. Similarly, Lexie wants to appropriate Pearl's story about being denied access to a math class in order to highlight some adversity she has felt in her life. She hasn't experienced anything of note though. Instead, she has gone far riding the same wave of popularity as her mother. Sure, it's pointed out that she is a good student. Nothing has really happened to her though. She follows the traditional story of what the high school experience should be. But she is also oppressive to people whose hardships inspire her to act. She does so out of her own benefit. She buys Pearl a dress mostly to get the sign off that taking this story is okay. It isn't. Brian understands that. Pearl doesn't though. She doesn't quite know what's going on. She is tentative in that way. She clearly pines after Trip. She hangs out with Moody though, who has feelings for her. She doesn't want to disrupt that friendship. And yet, it's difficult to ever truly understand what's going on in someone else's world. Moody loves how independent Izzy is. He appreciates that she doesn't care what anyone thinks about her. She clearly does though. It's wrong for him to operate with that assumption. She is the one being bullied. Her parents and siblings essentially want to treat that as overwhelmingly normal. That too feels like an aspect that could only be told in this specific time period. Izzy is made to feel small because there isn't the opportunity to come out as gay and be accepted. Bill may know something that Elena doesn't. He wants to avoid talking about it until they get home. But that doesn't stop Elena from acting. She is a person who will storm into battle even though she doesn't defend her children equally. She fights for the kids she understands because she can relate to their experiences. For those who are more mysterious to her, she views it as them stacking the decks against themselves and making their lives unfairly difficult. That isn't the case though. They are simply trying to find their own paths. Life is hard. It isn't the same for everyone. Izzy isn't judged for being seventy cents short when paying her bus fair. Bebe is though. She is judged for not breastfeeding her child. She is judged for abandoning her at a firehouse. And yet, no one is there to help her when she is struggling. In the present, she has an immediate ally in Mia, who is eager to reunite the biological mother and daughter. She feels passionate about that. It even gets to the point where she invades the personal space of Linda's home searching for proof despite how awkward it could be if she's caught. And yes, she is. It isn't really a big deal when she disappears though. She instead escapes to her usual routine of meaningless sex to deflect from the actions she has made. She keeps people at a distance in that way. She makes these huge waves though. Bebe is screaming to be reunited with her daughter. She will fight for that. Linda and Mark will too. This could transform this community. It's just awkwardly handled here. It feels as if it is introduced just to provide some narrative momentum to further highlight how Mia and Elena are polar opposites despite their shared experiences as mothers who simply want the best for their children. They stand outside their homes looking for their daughters. That isn't enough to fix things though. Instead, they are blind to the realities around them and how costly that could be in the end while creating the hardship that this community has never really had to endure before.