Thursday, April 14, 2022

REVIEW: 'Killing It' - Everything Must Go Wrong for Craig in Order for Him to See the Appeal of Snake Hunting with Jillian in 'Pilot'

Peacock's Killing It - Episode 1.01 "Pilot"

A divorced, down-on-his-luck single father named Craig tries to apply for a loan to start a new business, but an encounter with an Australian Uber driver changes his life forever.

"Pilot" was written by Luke Del Tredici & Dan Goor and directed by Mo Marable

Between Craig's brain and Jillian's hammer, they can thrive as partners killing big snakes in Florida. It's not an activity Craig would like to do. However, he sees it as a perfectly rational way to raise the funds necessary to launch his actual business. This premiere is all about him delivering his pitch across town. He needs someone to invest in his farm that will grow the unique berries necessary to treat enlarged prostates. He is committed to this path. When his father died preaching the importance of a man standing by his word and being financially responsible, Craig took it to mean hard work would eventually pay off. His brother Isaiah learned a different lesson. He saw it as foolish for his father to stick to such rigid morals. That only got him killed. It was all completely pointless. As such, Isaiah has to hustle and do whatever he wants just in order to survive in this vicious world. It's a conflict broken down between legal and illegal activities. Craig believes he can accomplish things the right way. Meanwhile, Isaiah will do anything if it means making some quick cash. That includes manipulating his brother so he can then rob the bank he works at. He doesn't care about the repercussions for Craig. His brother is down-on-his-luck. His life is spiraling. He ends up sleeping in his car, which eventually catches on fire. He's so desperate he will take a ride from any Uber driver. Jillian doesn't have much going for her either. She at least has an awareness of the demands of the local environment. Craig has that skill set as well. They have simply applied them in different ways. Jillian must stop everything when she spots a snake in the wild. It takes so much effort to kill the creature. She doesn't even complete the job. Instead, Craig is the one who must deliver the final blow in the car. They are presented as a partnership. One that can be successful together. Craig's opinion of Jillian immediately changes. She is no longer the stranger who doesn't connect with what Craig wants his experience of the world to be. This partnership will more than likely force each of them to see the world differently. They have similar backstories. They both lost their fathers at a young age. In their formative years, they were shaped by tragedy. Craig can deliver an inspiring speech. Jillian can lead him to a new path. It's going to be outrageous seeing them try to work together.

Of course, the opening sequence suggests all of this will work out. Craig is living a life of luxury. He needs to tell his tale of success to his housekeeper. She doesn't care about whatever wisdom he is trying to impart on her. Nor does she wish to respond with the same emotions. What he cares about isn't necessarily what she connects with. Craig believes his story is important. It has to be inspirational. He has found solace and wisdom in the stories of other successful entrepreneurs. And so, he too must pass his story on to whomever needs the inspiration the most. Craig is told no over and over again. It has absolutely nothing to do with his pitch. Instead, it's merely the statistics. No one is willing to invest in a Black-owned business. The financial world is dominated by white men. They dictate the terms. It doesn't matter even when someone is willing to at least hear Craig's pitch in the wild. That's never going to be able to win them over. These bankers work in Florida. They don't particularly care about the best ways to invest in the local environment. Instead, it's nothing more than a division between the world of access and opportunities and those who are devoted to killing snakes to make a living. It's convenient that a big competition is happening. Jillian didn't even mention it even though she is tuned into this world. She is willing to offer Craig some help. He is deserving of collecting the bounty for the animal they drag in. That's not going to cover his expenses. A hundred dollars isn't going to change his life. It's not going to change Jillian's either. The $20,000 grand prize would though. Craig sees the opportunity right in front of him. He can collect that entire sum. Of course, he'll be working alongside Jillian. Her generosity is appropriate and sensible in this moment. However, the prize being increased would change the calculus quite a bit. Craig feels like he is entitled to the whole sum. Him being the brains of the operation may even fool Jillian into going along. This premiere wants to treat Craig as an amusing character who laughs at his own jokes and the way he presents his story. The audience being told it instead of living in it diminishes the comedic power though. That's already a glaring problem that may only be embraced further. The structure suggests a road map for success that must be followed instead of allowing the show to simply enjoy how the comedic rhythms develop naturally.