Sunday, October 31, 2021

REVIEW: 'Hightown' - Ray Is Desperate to Prove Himself While Jackie Needs to Confront Frankie and Jorge in 'Fresh as a Daisy'

Starz's Hightown - Episode 2.03 "Fresh as a Daisy"

Jackie abandons her stakeout for a fiery confrontation. Ray is once again humiliated, and does what he can to get back on the force.

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 next episode of Starz's Hightown.

"Fresh as a Daisy" was written by Courtney Norris and directed by Monica Raymund

Ray insists that he is only good at being a cop. Without that job, he has absolutely nothing. He is desperate for that respect from his peers because it validates what he is capable of doing in this world. He left his family. He was still committed to the job. Even after being fired, he is a terrible father. He continues to make the same mistakes over and over again. That's clarifying for his son. Ray has no friends to pick him up after being arrested for punching Frankie. He was easily taunted. Ray takes absolutely no time to reflect on his actions and the harm that's been inflicted on those he cares about either. Instead, he immediately rushes to Alan to plead for a lead to follow. It's all that he has. Again, it's all based around the assumption that he is a good cop. He can help with the investigation. And yet, the task force is tainted because of Ray's actions. He shouldn't be anywhere near this unit. His presence is all that it takes in order for everyone to be perceived as corrupt and not credible. Jackie vouched for him during his disciplinary hearing. No one else did though. Her word wasn't good enough. He has such a long history of abuse on the job. He shouldn't be encouraged and welcomed back into the fold. However, Alan believes Ray can be an asset. He can't condone his support. But he also gives Ray guidance for how to assist with the investigation. It comes at a time when Alan is very concerned with his own standing on the force. He wants to impress the leadership. He is doing that as well. It's his time to stand in the spotlight and be praised for his actions. Of course, that has warped his perception of the case as well. He feels the pressure to attribute a murder to Junior just because it's convenient. Jackie can't abide by that. She knows her friend was innocent. He can't speak for himself though. Osito knows the truth. He is playing everyone just in order to survive. He gives Alan just enough information to keep him interested. It's still a struggle for him in prison because of the attention he constantly receives. Jackie doesn't abide by the rules. She breaks them because she is reckless and impulsive. Plenty of people recognize that. It may not aide her in the field. But she cares deeply as well. She can't allow some actions to go unaccounted. She has to respond. She has to stand up for her friends. She has those as well. That's a stark difference with Ray. From his perspective, he is all alone. He is depressed because he can't do the one thing he has uniformly believed he is miraculous at doing. He isn't that special. He believes he is though. The world propped him up for a long time as well. Jackie and Leslie certainly don't get that benefit of the doubt. They have to present a solid enough case just so their superiors can't ignore what they've discovered. Of course, their relationship has become romantic. That too connects Jackie and Ray. They follow the same trajectories in their careers on the force. That may mean Jackie is also destined to be forced out of this job. Her actions could certainly warrant that decision as well. People are quick to note her probational status on the task force. She can choose to return to Ed and his fisheries work whenever she wants. She thrives when given that freedom. It's an exciting and intoxicating energy that she exudes. It's thrilling. It makes people want to get close to her. Again, that behavior may not be healthy in the grand scheme of things. It does display her willingness to fight. That too inspires others into action. It didn't save Junior. It may not be enough to disrupt Frankie and Jorge's operation. But it's enough to signal that someone does care about these issues and wants to do something about them. That glimmer of hope energizes the world even though Jackie can't always handle that responsibility once she receives it. That's her tragic downfall. Things may work out differently this time. And yet, that would take more accountability on her part while also counting on others to make the same costly mistakes that doomed them already. That's a tricky balance. It will require luck. Plenty of people are terrified though. They believe the consequences of their actions won't ultimately come for them. They always do though. Renee feels that pressure. Ray is dealing with it. Frankie flexes and intimidates with more impunity. Jackie is eager to leave her mark. That's her focus. She has the right instincts. She always burns bridges quickly and complicates relationships in ways that may never heal. She has Ed. That support is constant. And yet, the future remains uncertain because of the way Jackie lives her life. She won't have as many opportunities as Ray.