Sunday, November 7, 2021

REVIEW: 'Hightown' - The Narcotics Task Force Begins to Catch Up on How the New Drug Operation Works in 'Daddy Issues'

Starz's Hightown - Episode 2.04 "Daddy Issues"

Jackie and Leslie get deeper into the case, and with each other. Someone will make a decision they will regret.

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.

"Daddy Issues" was written by John Covarrubias and directed by Radium Cheung

Who is in control? Power dynamics are fluid. They are messed up according to gender norms as well. So many people dictate their superiority as a result of their gender identity. And yet, plenty of people wield power and influence in this world. Others seek to exploit their vulnerabilities. The police are meant to be championed because they are trying to address a serious crisis that plagues the community. Some of them do have genuine empathy. However, plenty are willing to do whatever it takes to make their case. Everyone is coming to the realization that Charmaine is the new supplier for Frankie and Jorge. That's information the audience has already had. And so, the storytelling is a little slow and dull as it makes that case to the various ends of the investigation. But again, that showcases the imbalance of power. Alan knows that he can't trust Osito. The criminal is only giving enough information to help his life as he tries to survive prison. That's going to be much easier now that he's transferred to a new unit. It's one that allows him to heal from his injuries as well. Sure, the system is still exploiting him for money. He's not someone deserving of much sympathy due to the harm he has caused so many in this community. But he remains powerful. He knows that Charmaine can be an ally. She personally reached out to him. Frankie and Jorge are only now realizing that their former associate may still be a problem. As such, Osito remains loyal to Charmaine. It's all a tease. It forces Alan and Ray back together. That shouldn't be comforting either. Ray insists that being a cop is all that he is good at. He refuses to commit to any other path in life. This is all that he is meant to be. Alan reluctantly takes him on as an informant. He is frustrated by Ray. And yet, the two easily fall back into the same pattern and routine. They are working together once more. However, Jackie and Leslie stumble onto the same information. The way they conduct police work is different. Of course, Jackie is just as stubborn and hot-headed as anyone else. She is still learning the ropes. She still serves on this unit probationally. She can still return to her fisheries job whenever she wants. In fact, her trip with Ed isn't all that important when it comes to questioning a guy for poaching sharks. Instead, it simply provides more insight into Jackie's own family unit. That's a character detail that is coming into sharper focus this season. It's not as engrossing as Jackie and Leslie's growing dynamic though. That too reveals how Jackie is used to being the one in control. She may not always accept responsibility for her actions. In the early stages of a new relationship though, it's hot and exciting because of the attention she gives. She wants Leslie waiting for her at home. They are a team on the job. They can riff and tease each other. They support each other's impulses as well. They successfully turn Daisy as an informant. In doing so, they extend humanity to a certain extent. They are still exploiting her past. The abuse is really punctuated in order to make working with Jackie the only viable option for Britney as she comes into focus. It's enough for Jackie and Leslie to feel empowered. They have a way into this criminal operation. They are even still talking with Renee for information. They have a lot of resources at their disposal. But again, it pivots around their personal relationship. Jackie is the one used to taking charge and making the other person feel good. Leslie wishes to extend that same energy to Jackie. It's a change of pace. One that Jackie still enjoys. It also reveals more vulnerability. One that is freeing as she lets go. It's still one that pulls the two closer together and makes them much more intimate. The hope they have right now may not amount to anything. But their little bubble of happiness is still secure. It hasn't been broken yet. Those challenges may still await them. They may not make the same mistakes as the past. However, they aren't eager or able to forget about those challenges either. That too is abundantly apparent. That impulse could sink the overall narrative because it feels familiar to the audience. Everyone is vying for power and control. People may only get that for a fleeting second. But it's also a state of mind more than something anyone can act upon for a long time. That too makes the show feel propelled by the moments of each episode instead of the notion that it's all building to something much bigger and more important.