Friday, February 17, 2023

REVIEW: 'Dear Edward' - Lacey's Parenting Boundaries Don't Translate Well to the Nurturing Edward Needs in 'Haunted'

AppleTV+'s Dear Edward - Episode 1.05 "Haunted"

Edward heads to the city in search of the mystery girl. John visits the crash site. Sam opens up to Lacey. Amanda is haunted by her fight with Brent.

"Haunted" was written by Romi Barta and directed by David Boyd

Unexpected connections form amongst the loved ones of people who die in a plane crash. That's the basic premise of this show. It means the show really drives towards the sentimental moments where the universe forces these characters together. That means Dee Dee joins Linda at her ultrasound, Kojo cheers on Adriana during the congressional debate, Amanda and Steve have sex, and John explores the field where the crash happened with the man who discovered Edward. It can be a lot to handle. It's also the only way in which these stories actually connect with one another. They are all based around the grief group. They share their stories in that space. Sometimes they feel like talking. They don't always want to discuss what's happening in their lives. Dee Dee unburdens herself by sharing the lies her husband kept from her. She wishes she never knew any of this. She wants to return to the blissful ignorance. As such, she's not about to tell her daughter everything that her father was doing in Los Angeles. That means she also undercuts just how serious their financial situation has now become. That's a burden Dee Dee must carry. She isn't worried about money. She knows how to survive. She will make up for it. Everything she once wanted from her life has seemingly imploded. Her husband is dead. He had a completely different life away from her. And now, Zoe wants to drop out of college and travel. Zoe views that as living her authentic truth. She can explore what matters to her instead of facing the same daunting pressure that's been present her entire life. She is honest with her mother. Dee Dee will support her even though she doesn't understand this decision. She only sees it as a massive mistake. That makes it easy for her to essentially adopt Linda as a surrogate daughter. The two need each other. They are aware of that connection as well. Dee Dee doesn't want to be seen as willing and able to drop everything to help Linda because she has no family and friends to do so. And yet, she's right there in the exam room helping Linda go through all of this. That's the beauty and grace she can extend to her. She's not exactly there for her daughter in the same way. Of course, Zoe isn't actually asking her to do so either. Instead, the story is more concerned about how these characters can be of service to each other. They are always asking what they can do. It's not about the tension created from different perspectives on how to live. It's always about striving to better understand humanity. Edward refuses to believe Jordan had a secret girlfriend. And yet, he's just as curious as Shay. He can't let this mystery go even though the truth is hidden in one of the letters John and Lacey are keeping from him. He has other ways to better understand his brother. He's mad right now. That doesn't take away from the love. That's the complexity of life and human relationships. He's simply learning all of this at a young age.

Lacey has a problem with Edward sleeping in Shay's bedroom every night. It's not because she is concerned about some inappropriate relationship between them. She sees the power of their friendship. However, she has certain ideas of what a family is. That includes sleeping together in the same house. She needs Edward to return home. That provides her with comfort. She projects her own insecurities onto the situation. She believes it's her responsibility to set these boundaries. That argument is eventually used against her. However, that takes true communication. Lacey isn't going to grow if she doesn't understand where others are coming from. Edward has never had a bedroom to himself before. He used to do everything with Jordan. Now, he has filled that role with Shay. He leans on her for support. Learning about Jordan's secret girlfriend may help Edward receive clarity that he doesn't have to do absolutely everything with another person. It's perfectly healthy to maintain some distance. He can strive for his own individuality and be celebrated for it. That may ultimately help him. He can't put all of that into words. However, he is comforted by some things from his old life still being around. Moreover, he appreciates seeing the crash site and the man who rescued him. Of course, that story is the most forced throughout this hour. It's a connection meant to provide a wink and a nod to the audience about the overall ambitions of the series. It comes at a time when John hasn't exactly done much to build a relationship with Edward. Most of the time it's all about Lacey and Edward. John is simply lingering around. He tries to be a good influence with this decision. Sharing seemingly random pictures comforts Edward. It's confusing to those who aren't used to his behavior. They slowly adapt to it though. He doesn't have to change who he is in order to belong in society. He wants clarity. He deserves that. But there's also so much life to live going forward. It can't always be centered on what was lost. The pain is still real though. Adriana fears she is living in her grandmother's shadow. So many expectations are forced onto her because of what her grandmother accomplished. She has to stand strong and assertive in her beliefs. She can't fade into the background. That's not what a life in public service is meant to be. She has to be the voice for the people of her community. She can't prevail on name recognition alone. Of course, she doesn't owe anyone an explanation about her personal relationships either. That too is a forced dynamic mostly to provide Kojo with a reason to stay instead of return home to Ghana. It's all just a little too complicated. The seams are showing which makes the overall story lose its power rather quickly. Interesting ideas are present in this narrative. However, too much time is spent dwelling on how these characters impacted by tragedy bond over what happens next in their lives. It's too cute without being substantive.