Sunday, May 24, 2020

REVIEW: 'Hightown' - Jackie Becomes Obsessed with Sherry's Murder After Finding a New Lead in 'Severely Weatherbeaten'

Starz's Hightown - Episode 1.02 "Severely Weatherbeaten"

After discovering a lead on Sherry's murder, Jackie becomes determined to solve the case. Junior finds himself trapped in a position he can't stomach. Ray connects with Renee in ways that are not professional.

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 Starz's Hightown.

"Severely Weatherbeaten" was directed by Rachel Morrison with story by Rebecca Cutter & Gary Lennon and teleplay by Rebecca Cutter

Jackie believes she has to save Krista. She isn't inherently wrong to feel that way either. Krista is a witness to a murder. She wants to maintain her sobriety. And yet, she is coping with that trauma while having absolutely no where to go. She doesn't trust the police. Her family doesn't welcome her back because of the antics she previously pulled when she was high. As such, the narrative states that it's good that someone is looking out for Jackie. However, it's also easy to see this as Jackie finding a new obsession to fixate on now that she has decided to be sober for a little while. It was a choice forced onto her instead of one she actively made for herself. But she also believes that it is going to be easy to maintain after a few days. She hated this treatment facility at first. And now, she starts to see it as the proof that sobriety is something she is capable of doing. But again, she pinpoints her attention on Krista after seeing the picture of her. She could only be gathering circumstantial evidence. Just because Krista and Sherry have the same necklace doesn't mean they were both present when things took a tragic turn for Sherry. Jackie begins to investigate further. She understands the importance of this. But she also obsesses over the idea that helping this girl is her sole purpose right now. She has to save Krista because no one else will. She has to do something. She isn't in the right headspace to do that though. Focusing her attention on someone else may only ensure her own downfall as an addict. She cares about this investigation and is frustrated whenever someone wants to talk about something else. Her therapist at the treatment facility is harsh but blunt. She knows exactly what to expect from the patients. She does her best to ensure that Jackie is aware of the harsh realities that come from this disease. She declares that it won't be long before she starts drinking again after she leaves. Jackie doesn't really care about that. She just sees someone trying to hold her back. She believes she has done enough to hopefully appease a judge and get her job back. That isn't a guarantee though. Fixing her own life should be the priority. Instead, she may allow that to slip further and further away just to get closer to answers about this case. Now, that will be a fruitful journey because the narrative makes it clear that Jackie is right to follow these instincts. It also overwhelmingly states just how corrupt the motivations can be for people in positions of authority who make a difference in the world. That was evident in the premiere where Jackie used her law enforcement employment in order to pick up women. And now, Ray is torn about just how close he wants to get with Renee now that she is his new confidential informant. Sherry was killed because their connection was discovered. That same fate could happen to Renee. He should be careful with her. And yet, he seems incredibly reckless with her life and safety. His colleagues may be aware of that. But he continues to produce results. He is a stalker though who sexualizes this dynamic with Renee. She is forced into compliance against her will. She doesn't have agency. Ray and Frankie have taken that away from her. The same applies to Junior who wants to be done with Frankie but can't escape just yet. The show sets up an increasing amount of tragedy for these characters. People hope that justice can prevail and the appropriate channels can do an effective job. However, no one really trusts the system. Jackie takes it upon herself to get answers. The show is slow to even offer the sense that Ray and Jackie could work together on this case. Their lives do intersect. Those connections will become more apparent at some point. Right now though, it's just important for the show to highlight the anguish of every choice made. Now, that's boring when it comes to Ray and his fetishization of Renee. It's more successful with Jackie because her struggle is complex and her story isn't one that is often told. She fights for herself without wanting to do the reflection to understand the destructive choices she continually makes. Instead, she just keeps demanding emotional support from the people who choose to be part of her life - even if it's only for a couple of hours like her latest hookup.