Sunday, March 6, 2022

REVIEW: 'Joe vs. Carole' - Joe Hires a Hitman to Eliminate Carole and All His Problems for Good in 'The Florida Problem'

Peacock's Joe vs. Carole - Episode 1.07 "The Florida Problem"

Joe meets another love interest and comes up with a solution to his problems with Carole. Carole hires a security detail and attends a fundraiser.

"The Florida Problem" was written by Laura Jacqmin and directed by Natalie Bailey

The feud between Joe and Carole escalated quickly. It's been heated between them for years. However, that left the narrative without someplace to go. All the momentum died off because the story came out of the gate with murder. In the first episode, Carole and Howard learned Joe hired someone to kill her. In the third episode, Joe used Don's disappearance to sling murder accusations against Carole. In comparison to those extremes, everything else comes across as tame. And yet, the story has been structured to show how things got to the point that Joe would want to kill Carole. That explanation has been straining for purpose. Everything would play better if that wasn't the first tease of this story. Murder could instead be the consequence all of this led up to without the audience already being aware of it. That would have allowed everything to flow more naturally. Sure, that isn't the only crime depicted. Joe committed fraud by transferring the zoo to his mother. He also broke campaign finance laws by using money from the zoo to finance his gubernatorial campaign. Those are serious crimes and should be prosecuted. They inform that Joe isn't that smart when it comes to these felonies. He has no tolerance for the rules that govern our society. He yells about freedom. Carole is taking it away from him. Everywhere he goes, there she is to cause more problems. She is the face for all he hates. But it's such a vicious cycle of hatred. It was built slowly. And yet, Carole has consumed his every waking thought for awhile now. The escalation only comes from how much time he has to do other things. Yes, he gets married again. He meets Dillon only three weeks after Travis died. That too should reveal how he isn't coping with his grief. He is simply addicted to having people idolize him. This relationship presents as different because Dillon is gay and willing to walk the path according to the terms Joe lays out. That shows growth. It's ultimately just a wash though. It's background noise for the main story. It creates characters who are nothing more than plot points. They only pop up to provide a service. The story doesn't seek to understand why Jeff Lowe came in to finance the zoo other than also hating Carole. That's too simple. That may be the truth about humanity. The greatest ambitions of any individual may ultimately be quite contrived and irrational. It can still escalate quickly to serious threats.

These creative decisions were done to present Joe and Carole's lives with equal levels of stability. Arguably, Joe has many more crazy things happening. Carole has to carry some personal responsibility for how things got this bad. Her pursuing more lawsuits against the people who work at the zoo serves as that breaking point. It's simply too much to be caught up in Joe's ongoing drama. Nothing is worth all that anguish and hardship. No one even trusts that anything is real in his reactions. It's him opting for the extreme every time. He goes through the motions. He presents happiness and wedded bliss when most question if either actually exist in any of his marriages. He has simply deteriorated over the years. He was previously able to turn off the performative aspects of his character. He could sit down and have rational conversations. Now, everything is consumed by rage. He is blinded by it. He hires a hitman. Now, Carole's life is never actually in danger. Glover takes Joe's money and does whatever he wants in Florida. The threat is very real for each side of this war though. It's not even until the end that the story reveals Glover's true intentions. That's a false reading because the show actively portrays him as a brute who will do this job no questions asked. He grumbles and carries a chainsaw everywhere he goes. Those are the only characteristics he has ever been presented with. The show isn't going for the nuances of the human condition and how people react to the most extreme circumstances. It reaches for the lowest form of entertainment. That's unfortunate. The only excitement that can be produced in Carole's world is the sudden presence of an alligator. That imagery has been evoked several times to infer the anxiety inside her. It was her projecting her fears into external threats in dreams. In this case, she actually approaches an alligator. That comes after a crowd is too much for her to handle. It's paralyzing to have this threat lingering out there. She can't cope with anything. She lays motionless in bed. That's not the most creative depiction of this though. It's the show understanding an extreme reaction must happen. It has to stick to the basic facts as well. But it's all jumbled because the storytelling put the viewer in this moment right away. And so, nothing ultimately comes across as happening naturally. It lacks that authentic showcase that should genuinely connect with the viewer as each twist is revealed.