Monday, February 6, 2023

REVIEW: 'Dear Edward' - Edward and Dee Dee Look for Answers About Mysteries That Have Suddenly Appeared in 'Stuff'

AppleTV+'s Dear Edward - Episode 1.03 "Stuff"

Shay and Edward look for clues about the mystery girl. Adriana decides to run for her grandmother's seat. Dee Dee goes to LA to search for answers.

"Stuff" was directed by Allison Liddi-Brown with story by Halley Feiffer & Rajiv Joseph and teleplay by Megan Chan Meinero

For the first time, Edward returns to Manhattan and walks through his former life. He's still amazed by the things in this world he never knew existed. He has a completely different experience in the museum with Shay. However, he still follows a certain routine. He needs to eat from his favorite falafel truck. He needs to return to his former apartment building. These ventures are out of his way too. They aren't exactly convenient. Shay is hungry and doesn't even get to eat. That immediately seems like a bad decision given the doctor's previous concerns about Edward's weight. And then, he's seen operating heavy machinery. It once again supports the idea that he is perfect at everything. That was true before the crash. It remains true after. And yet, people can't accommodate him the same way as before. Sure, his family's possessions are boxed up and shipped to Lacey and John's house. That's convenient. They even take in the piano. Edward is modest about his skills. He was amazing at a young age. That's still a reminder of what was possible with his family. Now, he sees the world from a different perspective. At least, that's what he is trying to do. He isn't successful at it. He still returns to what is known. That's meant to be comforting. It also reminds him of all that he has lost. Not everyone is aware of his personal story. As such, he continually has to decide how much to tell people. He can play the part to a certain extent. He knows how to live in this role. It no longer feels right. He has to escape with Shay once more. Lacey's home doesn't feel like his yet. She provides him with the opportunity to feel further connected to the family. She manages the family business that Jane was too talented to be stuck in forever. At least that's the story being given right now. Lacey is proud of what her sister accomplished. Every sentiment comes with a side of resentment though. It's as if everyone happened so easily for Jane while Lacey struggled. But now, things are different. That's the common refrain throughout this story. People have to grapple with this new reality. They can't take time to cope and figure out how to move forward. They have to make major decisions now. Edward has no choice about his schooling. He's terrified of public school. That's the only option that works for Lacey and John. Shay's presence will be comforting. However, she also encourages him to investigate the girl who gave him a shrunken head. She's connected to Jordan in some way. She delivers a letter to Edward. That reveals how John has collected a bunch of letters to Edward. He's not sharing them even though that's the first indication of why the show is titled Dear Edward.

Investigating the mysteries of their loved ones proves to be a central theme. Dee Dee and Linda travel to Los Angeles to receive clarity on their own questions. They have no fears about flying even though their loved ones died in a plane crash. This is simply something they must do. Linda has to inform her boyfriends' parents that she is pregnant. They are skeptical at first because they didn't know she existed. And then, they want to adopt their grandchild because they believe they can provide a better life. Linda is pressured into making that decision right now. She would rather escape and unload on people who don't want her to handle things so quickly. Dee Dee serves as that comfort. They are a strange character pairing. It's mostly because they come from two completely different worlds. They are forever tied to New York City. But they each have different expectations. Dee Dee learns her husband had this completely different life she knew nothing about. She prides herself on her charm and ability to connect with people. She explains how that is the reason why Charles provided for his family as effectively as he did. It also made it impossible for him to ever tell her the truth. She had a certain standard of living. She accepted that despite her humble roots. She never wants to return to that tragic home life. But now, she's across the country learning how her husband would rather spend his time. Of course, it seems inevitable that the show is building to a secretly gay twist. It's not the most original idea. It doesn't need to be a prolonged mystery either. Right now, it's saddling Dee Dee with grief and no where to go with it. Sure, it's suppose to be expressive and cathartic when she and Linda go to the wreck room. That's just one moment amongst a full montage. As such, it doesn't have the power to fully enhance their own personal stories. Meanwhile, Adriana and Kojo's bond is presenting them as a new kind of blended family. Adriana helps Kojo with his niece. Meanwhile, Kojo and Becks pump Adriana up in her desire to run for Congress. Adriana and Kojo's interactions certainly have romantic underpinnings as well. It's all designed to be limited as he's waiting for Becks to receive a passport. After that, he's eager to return to Ghana. He's not planning for a life in New York City. And yet, all of his actions have been in service to Adriana. He's helping her plant roots in her community. She sees herself as the most powerful voice for Harlem. She can make a difference. That's inspiring. It's at least grounded in the present. It's a way for Adriana to honor her grandmother without forming some kind of epic mystery around her or what she wanted. In this instance, the show is being direct with its intentions and then delivering on them. That needs to be applied elsewhere for the show to ever feel fully consistent with its tone and aspirations.