Wednesday, April 1, 2020

REVIEW: 'Little Fires Everywhere' - Elena Is Determined to Prove Mia Is a Con Artist Seeking to Destroy Shaker Heights in 'Duo'

Hulu's Little Fires Everywhere - Episode 1.05 "Duo"

Bill Richardson has his hands full representing the McCullough's in the custody case, much to Izzy's dismay. Lexie finds out upsetting news and turns to Pearl for help. Feeling as though this whole custody battle is her fault, Elena goes to New York to search for clues about Mia's past and enlists the help of an old acquaintance.

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.

"Duo" was written by Rosa Handelman and directed by Lynn Shelton

Mia would love nothing more than to be proven wrong about what Pearl can expect from her friendships with the Richardson family. She wants her daughter to have personal agency in the world. She wants people to love and respect that. She doesn't want her to be cast aside as someone whose interior life and reputation doesn't matter. It absolutely does. Sure, Mia may have robbed Pearl of some of that because she has taken her on the road throughout the country worried about her secret past catching up to her. She is only now starting to share some details about Pearl's father. It's still presented as a trauma that is bound to only further intensify after Elena learns that Pearl may have never been Mia's daughter. Mia may have been pregnant but the biological connection may be much more complicated than that. But again, that further shows this to be a story of people's perceptions and sense of importance even though their lives aren't the ones at risk of complete destruction. Bebe and Linda are the ones currently in a custody battle over who gets to be viewed as May Ling/Mirabelle's mother. Mia and Elena have strong opinions on the matter and will help their friends no matter what. But that means the mothers in the custody battle become supporting elements in a story that is of the utmost importance to them. They don't want to be dismissed as unimportant. Nor do they want to be sensationalized or appropriated in order for others to feign sympathy or concern. That custody battle is an easy excuse for everyone to mask their own hardships and feelings. Lexie is distraught because she discovers she is pregnant. She wants to come to a well-informed decision. In the end, she is isolated and holds others from afar. She lets Pearl in mostly because it's easy and she doesn't expect anything dramatic to occur from that reveal. Lexie doesn't feel like she can trust anyone else in her life with this news. However, she's just taking advantage of Pearl because she doesn't think she will care. She uses Pearl's name in order to get an abortion. She robs Pearl of her identity and her own sense of independence. It proves Mia's underlying point. These white children may always disappoint Pearl when she wants nothing but a full-hearted embrace provided by their sense of family. Mia and Pearl feel close again near the conclusion of this hour. And yet, friction still remains present between them. Mia doesn't know if she can bear telling her daughter the full truth about the life she lived and what she is running away from. It's a terrifying thought to her. One that can almost cripple her. Mia is so assertive when it comes to expressing exactly how she feels. She tells Lexie and Izzy her opinions in order to essentially push them away. These families have gotten so close. But firm dynamics have been shaped. Lexie doesn't appreciate all the choices and opportunities she has. Pearl is grateful to confide in her mother about her having sex with Trip. And yes, Trip does eventually come back around and say all the right things. That is good for the moment. He sees Pearl as a unique individual who can challenge him to expand his worldview. That isn't inherently bad. It may allow a beautiful romance to blossom. However, it can also signal a dependency where that is all that he views her as. Women are so complex. They deserve to be seen as people with evolving lives and personal agency. Elena feels stuck in her life robbed of choices. She reminisces about the past as she goes searching for answers about Mia. She believes Mia is nothing but a con artist who is trying to tear Shaker Heights apart. That is far from the truth. Mia may have had access to money if she sold her art. Doing so though came with personal consequences and the inability to let go. She felt she had to in this instance for Bebe. She felt strongly about that. Elena feels equally strongly about supporting Linda. She needs answers about Mia. She has to expose her as a fraud and criminal. She may get more than she wanted. But she receives some harsh truths as well. She can't go on a journey to explore what her life could have been if she made a different choice. She has to accept the decisions she made in the past and the responsibility of what happened afterwards. She can't live her life for other people. She can't use others in order to prop up her own sense of self worth. She puts everything into her work. She's hardly objective though. She has a vendetta against Mia. She may be incapable of seeing things from her perspective ever again. That is comforting to her though. That may destroy so many lives. These characters are growing unhinged. Bill feared that with his wife. He is distant from her and his own children now. That is terrifying to him when he is fighting a case where that could be a forced reality for the McCullough's. The world is scary in that way. And so, it needs to be built around trust and compassion. Heinous things happen every day. There is always a need for good journalism to expose the truth and for art to provoke emotions that people can't easily digest. But the increasing toxicity of this world is harming young minds right when they are trying to forge their own identities. That is a lifelong journey as Mia and Elena are realizing but the consequences extend far beyond them. They are part of a community. That is valuable and validated. They just seek independence and privacy too which is beneficial to some and incredibly destructive to others if they don't have the right intentions.