‘Pearson’ 1×03 Review: This Could be the Beginning

…of a beautiful show.

During the first two episodes, Pearson did a lot right, especially in setting up Jessica Pearson, as, well… Jessica Pearson, someone we should continue to care about. It didn’t give us many more people to care about, but the second episode at least introduced the possibility that we could.

Episode three, titled “The Union Leader,” hits the ground running and finally gives us that aha moment.

You know what I’m talking about – the moment when it all comes together. The click. The instant where you say aha, I get it know, I get what you’re trying to do here, TV show, and you know what, I’m buying it?

This wasn’t, couldn’t be all about Jessica, as much as we love her and as engaging as she is. This can, however, continue to be mostly about her. That works out perfectly, because Gina Torres is still the most engaging actor around, playing the character we know best and care more about.

But it doesn’t seem like a pipe dream anymore to care about Yoli, to wonder if the simmering dislike she and Derrick have going on can turn into something, to look and Keri and hope there’s something more for her than being Bobby’s sloppy seconds.

And you know what? The idea that we could care about all of the above doesn’t seem as far-fetched as it did a week ago.

So, let us talk about the people orbiting Jessica and what they bring to the table as we discuss “The Union Leader”:


PEARSON — “The Union Leader” Episode 103 — Pictured: (l-r) Gina Torres as Jessica Pearson, Chantel Riley as Angela Cook — (Photo by: Isabella Vosmikova/USA Network)

We know Jessica Pearson. We’ve known Jessica Pearson for a while now. And yet, for a show called Pearson to work, we needed to come to a place where Jessica could be a character that could still surprise us, a character who could still grow.

Hello, character arc, meet Jessica Pearson.

Because the funny thing is that you would think at this point nothing could get to Jessica. She’s seen the best and the worst as a high-powered lawyer in New York. And I don’t for a second believe she hasn’t had to do things she would rather not, or faced situations that are anything but black and white. But, and here’s the rub, it was never personal, not this way. Now it is.

Now it all is.

So it’ll be good to go on this journey with Jessica, to learn more about her soft side, not because she’s spending time with coworkers that are like family, but because she’s finding a connection with her real family, and finding out what that means. And it’ll be good to see her continue to go up against Pat McGaan, because as much as we absolutely hate him, he’s the perfect foil for Jessica.

And we believe in her. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed.


PEARSON — “The Union Leader” Episode 103 — Pictured: Isabel Arraiza as Yoli Castillo — (Photo by: Isabella Vosmikova/USA Network)

Whatever the first two episodes was missing, the presence of Yoli brought in spades. And the best thing about Yoli? That last scene with Derrick, proof that she’s resourceful and capable, but she isn’t perfect. I swear, I care more about her relationship or whatever you want to call that weird vibe between her and Derrick than about Mayor Bobby and his wife, Mayor Bobby and Keri or any other supposedly romantic relationship on this show.

But we don’t necessarily need romance – though I’ll be the first to say I don’t mind getting some. What we need is for these characters to continue on the path set forth by these episode, the path of being actual three-dimensional people.

That means Yoli needs to be herself, but also to learn. That Derrick needs to break a rule every once in a while. That Keri needs to value herself more. That Nick needs to let that heart come out to play more often. And specially, it means that the Mayor needs to decide who he is.

Jessica is already set. Everyone else is up. And now, we actually care about what they choose.

Things I think I think:

  • Is the montage at the beginning meant to shame me for never, ever working out in the mornings? Because it worked.
  • IN
  • LOVE
  • Casual Spanglish is my yam. Yoli is already my fave.
  • Her outfit, however, is not.
  • Also, is anyone getting a vibe from her and Derrick or is that just me?
  • “I talked to a woman called Donna at your old firm.”
  • DONNA.
  • I’m loving the family dynamics in this episode much more too.
  • There’s so much brewing under the surface for Nick, but I like him less this episode than I did last one.
  • But that’s probably a good thing. He feels more real.
  • Do people really not know Keri is sleeping with Bobby?
  • Like seriously? Not even Derrick?
  • I’d miss DB Woodside too.
  • Oh, Bobby’s wife has MS.
  • Should I, like, feel bad for him? Because I don’t. I just feel even worse for HER.
  • I would love to feel like Jessica is doing the right thing all the time. But then again, I guess that would make for a less compelling show.
  • “Please, don’t suddenly make me a priority because I’m sick.”
  • “Whatever I had to.”
  • Indeed.
  • Ooooh, FBI. Things just got interesting.

Agree? Disagree? What did you think about “The Union Leader”? Share with us in the comments below!

Pearson airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on USA Network.


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