Wednesday, July 6, 2022

REVIEW: 'Maggie' - Maggie Receives a Vision of What Her Own Future Could Potentially Be in 'Things Begin Where They End'

Hulu's Maggie - Episode 1.01 "Things Begin Where They End"

Disheartened with relationships and always foreseeing how things end, Maggie's life is forever changed when she has a prediction she didn't see coming.

"Things Begin Where They End" was directed by Natalia Anderson with story by Maggie Mull and teleplay by Maggie Mull & Justin Adler

This premiere feels the pressure to make a big pronouncement. Maggie is a psychic. She sees visions of everyone she touches essentially. As such, it's difficult for her to get close to people. She has a strong relationship with her parents, Jack and Maria. Her friendship with Louise is endearing. But she's resigned herself to a life alone. She's at peace with that. It's all that she can truthfully expect given the burden seeing the future is for living in the present. That's not exactly a winning formula for a television show. As such, the first moments are devoted to showcasing how Maggie's powers work. And then, the rest of the premiere pushes her out of her comfort zone. Some people have awareness of what the future brings. That doesn't mean they know the full story. Maggie is startled by seeing herself in Ben's future. It's doesn't make any sense. Getting married and having a child would require a dramatic change in how she lives. She doesn't see that happening. And yet, she keeps running into Ben. He keeps appearing in her life. And so, she surrenders herself to the possibility of this being good and healthy. It's the show basically stating that it's whole premise revolves around whether Maggie and Ben will get together. That's a ton of pressure. It requires the chemistry between the two actors to be just right. The banter they have has to be charming as well. It needs to be easy to picture this future. So much of that is already written because of what Maggie sees. But again, it's all meant to trick everyone into a false understanding of what's going to happen. Not everything Maggie sees comes to fruition right away. Ben is going to be a part of her life now. He is simply destined to marry someone else. That's his future with the girlfriend he's moving in with. Maggie doesn't want to mess that up. She may not even be able to. Knowing the future doesn't mean she can change. She simply has to carry that information knowing how it can change the people closest to her. Again, it's a lot of pressure.

This entire episode is designed around Maggie changing her life because she believes she has to act a certain way. She gives in to a potential relationship with Ben. And then, destiny is pointing him back to Jessie. That's what this story needs to be. It's made even more complicated with the reveal of Ben and Jessie moving into the building Jack and Maria own. That places them in direct proximity to Maggie's life. This all serves as a great setup for a comedy about a group of friends trying to live their lives. That's actually the more exciting aspect of the comedy right away. It gets lost too frequently because everything is dependent on the tension between Maggie and Ben. That's where her focus is. She appreciates when others can keep her grounded. That's the role Louise and Angel serve. More drama is destined for the future as well. Angel doesn't share what he sees even though he's Maggie's psychic. He's helped her on this journey for years. He has the wisdom to know some events are better off being experienced. It's not beneficial to have the foresight of knowing what will happen. That has long plagued Maggie's life. And so, she has to learn how to lead by fostering strong friendships. That should be what this show is all about. If the creative team can hone the comedic voices of the ensemble, then it may be a winning formula. Right now, it's simply too prominent with how Maggie's unique worldview shapes everything around her. That's not inherently bad. It's simply not as appealing as the carefree nature of seeing a group of people together who enjoy each other's company. Not everything has to be so stressful and dramatic all the time. The big pronouncement is still made. The audience expects a future between Maggie and Ben even though that's not laid out in the immediate term of what Maggie can see. That would have been the formula regardless of the psychic premise of the show. It's simply more upfront which creates a whole new set of expectations altogether.