Monday, June 14, 2021

REVIEW: 'The Republic of Sarah' - Sarah Proposes an Insane Idea Once Her Town Is Threatened by a Mining Company in 'Pilot'

The CW's The Republic of Sarah - Episode 1.01 "Pilot"

The bucolic tranquility of Greylock, New Hampshire is upended when a valuable mineral is discovered under the town. Lydon Industries swoops in with plans to extract the mineral, which will wipe Greylock off the map. With her friends and family in danger of losing their homes, Sarah Cooper vows to stop Lydon's bulldozers. She proposes an oddly intriguing solution: Greylock could declare independence. Now, Sarah and her allies must confront an even more daunting task: building a country from scratch.

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 The CW's The Republic of Sarah.

"Pilot" was written by Jeffrey Paul King and directed by Kat Candler

A small town in New Hampshire without a traffic light on main street declares its independence. That's the premise of this show. It sounds absolutely insane. And yes, the show does address just how outrageous this suggestion is. But it earnestly believes in the concept as well. It positions itself as a David vs. Goliath story where the average citizens of this community fight back against the mammoth government interests and mining company that wish to destroy their peaceful existence. The storytelling works because of the light and breezy charm that infuses everything. Yes, some character dynamics seem forced in order to create plot. However, the earnest quality of the show works as well. The independence vote is largely a success because of the determination of one person. Sarah shapes the community of Greylock. She is the one who comes up with the idea that they could declare independence and form their own country. It's a move she makes mostly just to buy time to stop the company trying to move full steam ahead with extraction of a precise mineral that lies just beneath the surface. This conflict happens because of that one discovery. People talk up the importance of this resource. It could dramatically reshape this community. It would do so at the expense of the people who already live here. The citizens believe that their elected officials speak for them. They trust that they will always lead by thinking about their constituents first. And yet, the politicians don't want any input from the people at all. The plans have been made to extract this resource. Solutions have already been created for those who don't want to go along with the plan. Resistance is expected. As such, the workarounds have already been factored into the equation. Lydon Industries has the resources to influence politicians and fast track the development of all their plans. Sure, some of the faces from this company and the local politicians come across as one-note antagonists. They are greedy and corrupt. They will do whatever it takes with no consideration of the humanity they crush along the way. That's not how Sarah leads. She always operates from a place of compassion. Of course, she has been betrayed and spurned by the past. Her childhood wasn't easy. She is still stunned that her brother Danny is leading the charge to destroy this town. She views it as his vitriol for this place rising to a new level. He wants it gone completely. It's not good enough that he escaped and has cut off all ties with his family. That hurt Sarah. She needs to understand it. He only helps her cause because he believes in a fair, honest fight. Sure, it's hard for him to believe those motives given the path he has chosen in life. He is incredibly cynical and works for a corporation that ensures he is paid well. He isn't expected to consider the human cost of this development. He just has to make it happen. Sarah can't stand for that. What started as an insane idea picks up passion for her. This is something that must be done. She doesn't have a vendetta against the United States. She teaches American history in school. She wants her students to know that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things. Because the town can easily rally behind her, the vote seems like a no-brainer. Independence is declared. And then, Sarah is arrested. Again, some of these developments feel like overly dramatic twists just to produce tension. That isn't the only reason to watch a show. The character development should be just as important. In this case, it's clear the show finds joy in the plight of young life while never allowing that to be an excuse to disengage with the world at large. This issue is personal for the people of Greylock. They want to have a say in what happens in their community. They live on this land. They don't have to go along with a plan they know will cause destruction. Independence is a scary and daunting prospect. Sarah doesn't know how to lead a country. She is thrown into that position though. Importance is thrust upon her. She stands up for her beliefs. That quality is essential to the development of this story. As such, the show can't be awkward in depicting people questioning what matters to them. It needs to have its heart on its sleeve in celebration of this community. That quality is present here. It's also very much a premise pilot with a massive twist at the end to suggest severe consequences. That seems typical. Now, the show has to prove why the viewer should continue to invest. The charm gets the viewer through the door. The characters have to maintain that energy throughout the season moving forward.