Sunday, April 11, 2021

REVIEW: 'Rebel' - Rebel Pressures Everyone in Her Life to Help Expose a Corrupt Medical Device Company in 'Pilot'

ABC's Rebel - Episode 1.01 "Pilot"

Rebel stops at nothing to convince Cruz to join her fight against Stonemore Medical and simultaneously enlists Lana and Cassidy to protect a woman from her abusive boyfriend. While Rebel is out saving others, her husband Grady stands on the sidelines and picks up the pieces at home.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 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 series premiere of ABC's Rebel.

"Pilot" was written by Krista Vernoff and directed by Marc Webb

Rebel isn't easy to live with. That sentiment is expressed numerous times throughout this premiere. The narrative really needs the audience to be overly aware of that. It is always present. It defines every single relationship she has. She is absolutely relentless. When she finds an injustice, she won't stop until others care just as passionately as she does and are willing to do something about it. It has forever shaped her relationships with her husbands and her children. Every single dynamic seems to be defined in the same way. Her presence is just so large and exhausting. She sucks up all the oxygen in the room at every single moment. People love her. However, she is a lot to handle most of the time. People listen to her because her convictions are so solid and worthy. She is fighting to make genuine change. She uses her voice with purpose. She doesn't care about any consequences that may come her way. In fact, she has a whole routine for when the eventual fallout ultimately occurs. That too is a part of her planning. She makes noise hoping to gain enough attention. It's a very splashy showcase. One that allows Katey Sagal to have a ton of fun. She is the center of this project. The other characters revolve around Rebel. They all just happen to be played by many familiar faces of the industry. It's actually impressive to see all the people who are already a part of this world. This premiere breezes quickly through all of these introductions. Of course, it's still all that really occurs here. It's laying the foundation for what to expect. Rebel is fighting this ongoing case against a medical device company that supplies a heart valve that is actually making people sick. The worst case seems to be a pregnant woman passing along a fatal disease to her fetus. It's absolutely devastating. Rebel recognizes the emotional impact of these stories. She uses them as weapons to get others to care. They can't be critical of her either because she is fundamentally right. That is the frustrating thing for the people who choose to be around her. They know that her way isn't the only way to fight for change in the world. They will loyally support her in these endeavors though. Sure, it takes the most convincing to get Cruz on the case. He doesn't want to simply because it holds a personal connection to him as well. His wife may have suffered from the same fatal condition as a result of this device. He knows just how agonizing that time was. He finds some closure and respect as a result of Rebel's pushing. That's the only way she knows how to operate though. She fundamentally gets away with these outrageous stunts too. That could easily grow tiring as the story develops. But again, it's entertaining because of the fun that these character actors will get to play along the way. That can be the sole value from a project like this. That infectious quality can frequently transfer to the audience's reaction as well. Sure, it still highlights heinous stories of abuse. That comes out in the ongoing story as well as the episodic pursuit of helping a woman escape an abusive relationship. That too showcases the skills that Rebel and her team bring to the table. It's very foundational. That's the point. This is the team at its finest. It can still go awry because people are exhausted by how Rebel has operated for so much of their lives. Nate and Cassidy would love to have careers outside of this relationship with their mother. And yet, they still provide necessary support when necessary. Ziggie does as well even though she should also be focused on maintaining her sobriety. Rebel's ex-husbands are still connected to her too. Grady is about to join their ranks. That too brings a fair amount of melodrama to the proceedings. It makes Rebel's life purely messy. That can be very dramatic and satisfying to watch. It can also be chaotic. As such, the show has to be careful with how far to push things. This is a fine start. Now, it has to dig deeper to reveal the emotional complexities of all of these characters. Rebel is the title character. She demands so much attention. The stories set up for everyone else are relatively minor. The narrative can't really operate that way in the longterm. Cruz is the only viable attempt at grounding him with his own emotional history and baggage. It still needs more. Not everything has to be connected to Rebel's efforts to expose this company. The relationships should extend beyond that. That may be all that Rebel is capable of offering though. That too is an interesting character dynamic and possible flaw.