Wednesday, March 25, 2020

REVIEW: 'Little Fires Everywhere' - Mia and Elena Take Opposing Sides in the Brewing Custody Battle in 'The Spider Web'

Hulu's Little Fires Everywhere - Episode 1.04 "The Spider Web"

Moody is envious of Pearl's friendship with Lexie, as Lexie enjoys her newly sexually-active status with Brian. Inspired by Lexie, Pearl explores her budding sexuality and sets her sights on Trip. Mia and Elena find themselves at odds over Mirabelle/May Ling, which ends in an epic showdown and launches a custody battle.

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.

"The Spider Web" was written by Attica Locke and directed by Lynn Shelton

Elena Richardson and Mia Warren are these opposing forces who tried to belong in a fixed narrative of friendship. They like each other's children. They became a part of each other's lives. And yet, they are combustive in every single reaction. Neither one of them is wholly right or wrong either. Elena absolutely comes from a place of white privilege where she wants to see the world as universally balanced and everyone being judged according to the same standards. As such, she is harshly critical of people of color who don't come anywhere close to her high standards for being a good mother. Meanwhile, Mia is fundamentally aware of just how much race defines opportunities for her. She has fought for her own successful life. She prioritizes herself and feels connected with her daughter. But both of them are painfully blind to what their children want as well. Pearl feels this impulse to be like every other teenager. She wants to go to school and make mistakes over boys. She doesn't want life to be defined by race or the various micro-aggressions that seem to permeate throughout this world. Meanwhile, Izzy wants to be loved and accepted. She doesn't want to be shamed because of her ongoing questioning about her sexuality. She wants to be able to go to a parent and confide in what she is feeling. She has that with her father. She feels like she can push back against the aggressive nature of Elena's parenting style. In their big fight, Elena tells Mia that a good mother is putting a child's needs over her own. She uses that as a weapon to highlight how selfish Mia has been throughout Pearl's entire life. Pearl is a great young woman in spite of the parenting she received from Mia. And yet, Elena is absolutely hypocritical in that moment. Mia doesn't weaponize that against her though despite knowing better. She knows how much hate Izzy has for her mother. She knows that Elena wants Izzy to conform to a certain narrative and follow in Lexie's footsteps. Elena's world is one of high expectations and the crushing disappointment and admonishment that comes from stepping out of line. Elena wants to calculate how much a person should respond to any news they hear. She thinks Moody should be the only one upset about Mia and Pearl potentially leaving the family home. But Mia and Pearl have formed relationships with every member of the Richardson family. They should all be allowed to have their own reactions even though they can't publicly share them. Pearl is made to feel small because that's easier for Trip than admitting his fault in having sex with her. She is alienated and made to feel as if Elena is the only person who genuinely cares about her. She is there even when all of the adults are caught up in this brewing custody battle between Bebe and the McCullough's. Everyone is allowed to have an understandable perspective in this case as well. The system didn't allow Bebe to rely on support to take care of her child. She made a choice. She regrets that now and has the means to fight for custody of her daughter. Meanwhile, Linda and Mark have dealt with so many losses. They don't want to lose another child. They have formed an attachment that is absolutely valid. Mia doesn't see that. She doesn't think adoptive parents can be as loving as biological ones. That's why she fiercely defends Bebe no matter what. That's what she genuinely cares about. She isn't putting on a fake front with her. She is her authentic self fighting for what she believes in. Elena always has the privilege to be who she is no matter where she is. That's a luxury afforded to her that extends from her privilege. Even her friends don't think she can sympathize with what they are going through. She will forge ahead no matter what though because she believes she's entitled to this position and can force it onto whomever she wants. That is horrifying. These characters are complex and trying their best. The world has made them into who they are. It has created these confrontations. It's dark and horrifying. Mia's art showcases that in a bold and thematic way. This just happens to be the first spark that ignites as these two sides go against each other in a battle of ideologies where neither one of them truly have something at stake. They still have a whole lot to lose though based on Pearl and Izzy's reactions.