Sunday, May 31, 2020

REVIEW: 'Hightown' - Jackie Maintains Her Destructive Habits as Ray and Renee Grow Closer in 'Rebellion Dogs'

Starz's Hightown - Episode 1.03 "Rebellion Dogs"

Jackie returns to rehab, but only to help further her investigation. Ray starts closing in on Osito at the same time he and Renee cross the line. Junior takes the first step to becoming a soldier.

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.

"Rebellion Dogs" was written by Ryan Farley and directed by Michael Offer

The drama continues to overwhelmingly state that Jackie and Ray have the right instincts that should be followed no matter what. And yet, the bureaucracy and addictions in their lives prevent them from being all that effective. It's already starting to become familiar and mundane as a pattern. It almost presents as an either/or choice essentially. Jackie can either be the only person who cares about Krista or she can buck her pattern of manipulating people just to get something from them. She convinces herself that she is doing all of this for a righteous reason. She can't be destructive while sober because she has this mission. She is doing all of this in order to save Krista from ending up just like Sherry. And the narrative confirms that Krista is in a dire and tragic place. She needs Jackie's support. Someone should be out there looking for her. As such, the narrative wants to continue sending Jackie in that direction. It is so destructive though. Junior has a reason to lie to her. He wants to cover up just how involved he has become with Frankie and Osito. He was traumatized by seeing Sherry's dead body. He dumped it into the bay without fully taking into consideration the tide and just how quickly she would be found on the beach. He has had to make up for that mistake. He is fighting to stay alive because he has a child to support. He is selfish in that way though because it's all about his own survival. He avoids Osito for as long as he can. He believes he can talk his way out of any situation. At the end of the day though, he finds a new high by beating up the fast food employee who always forgets cheese on Osito's burgers. That too reveals that it would have been fruitful if Ray was allowed to monitor this restaurant. He sees that as the only possible lead to Osito's whereabouts. He even gets the confirmation that this is the precise location where he orders his meals a couple times each week. His boss just doesn't see the value because he views police work as developing informants who can provide all the necessary information that detectives need to close cases. That's all that he really cares about. Anything outside of that isn't of much interest to him. If Ray was monitoring the restaurant, then he would have seen Junior and connect him back to Osito. That's something that needs to happen at some point. Jackie's friend is lying to her about his involvement in all of this. He is trying to get her off the case. He wants her to realize just how crazy and obsessive she is acting. She doesn't have the clarity to see that. She is 12 days sober. Her legal troubles continue to mount though. She doesn't really take any of that seriously. She has to save Krista. That's her sole focus. She goes to Ray for help. He offers some. He can't be everything for her though. She needs that dependency though. That is the only way she knows how to function. She lacks the ability to offer such intimacy in a vulnerable way though. It's all transactional with her. She just needs a car because it can help her get to Krista. Then, the police will have to listen to her. Krista can identify Osito as Sherry's killer. It's just a mess though because it suggests that this is something that has to be pursued at all times. Jackie should prioritize improving her personal health and behavior. She will continue to be destructive otherwise. And yet, the narrative requires her to forge ahead with this mission because that's the only way every story beat remains connected. Similarly, the narrative wants to romanticize the bond between Ray and Renee. They eventually have sex. It was clearly something that Ray wanted. Renee is ordered to give it to him by Frankie. It could be transactional as well. A way to inform what these characters want and how they are trying to manipulate each other in order to get it. But the way the sex scenes are depicted inform the audience that we should actually care about Ray and Renee in a way that isn't a glaring abuse of power. With Frankie, it's physical domination. The sex is about how aggressively he can give it to her. With Ray, it's about pleasing her and acknowledging that this action is reciprocated by everyone involved. It's weird and suggests intimacy even though the audience should have concerns about these personal dynamics and what we should want from them moving forward. It's always awkward when a show tries to suggest one thing even though the audience will probably react to the material differently.