At some point, Pearson is going to have to make a choice. For me, right now, after “The Donor,” that choice is clear: Dump Bobby Novak. And I don’t even mean dump him completely as in fire the actor, he can stay in the background. Just stop trying to make every storyline about him; because for that to work you would need your viewers to actually care about him, and if there’s one thing Pearson has failed at, it’s that.
Of course, Pearson has succeeded at many other things: including giving Jessica, a character we’ve known for many years, depth and a character arc we’re invested in, and making us feel for characters we just met, like Yoli and Derrick. And yes, it’s also made us raise our eyes at the Nick/Jessica/Jeff of it all and wonder: what is it that we want there?
These are all good things, positive things. Investment is good. The problem is the investment doesn’t translate to anything that has to do with the Mayor.
Does that make the show any less good? So far, not particularly, but I will say it doesn’t make it more interesting. Every second spent on Bobby feels like dead weight right now, and this is the first season, yes, but Pearson would do well to learn what works and then lean on it.
So, let’s go into “The Donor” as we discuss the ship the show wants us to care about, the ones coming out of nowhere and the immigration storyline I didn’t expect to see:
THE SHIP THEY WANT VS THE ONE WE WANT
The only thing worse than story-lines having to do with Bobby are story-lines having to do with Bobby and Keri. Why is this a thing? Does anyone care? Sure, there’s some chemistry there, but not enough to make me get over how icky it all is, especially when we, and Keri, know he’s absolutely never gonna leave his sick wife.
So why? We didn’t need this to explore the dichotomy of a man who was once good and idealistic and ended up going down a dubious path. That’s literally why Pat McGaan is around! This whole thing just makes him seem like a douche, and makes her seem like a woman who doesn’t know her worth.
And when you compare it to how the show is handling other relationships, even the rocky ones like Yoli and Derrick, it comes up lacking. I’d rather see two people who butt heads because they’re too much alike in some ways and too dissimilar in the ways they’ve chosen to get what they want – like the aforementioned Yoli and Derrick – than see Keri making googly eyes at a married man again.
Hell, I’ll take whatever that weird, tense conversation between Jeff and Nick was – even if I still trust Nick just about as far as I can throw him (which I’m sure it isn’t very far), than be party to the affair.
In fact, I assume the Jeff of it all, and Jessica’s affinity with Nick is something that’ll come up soon. Because, in the end, whether he felt justified or not, Jeff chose to put some distance between himself and Jessica. And if while he’s gone, she leans on other people, well, he can’t exactly blame her, can he?
Just saying, I’m interested in that. I’m interested in everything…that doesn’t involve Bobby Novak.
THE INMIGRATION STORYLINE
If you’d told me a year ago Pearson would be the show doing this story-line, tacking it head on, I’m not sure if I would have laughed or I would have scoffed in disbelief. But here we are, and I’m not sure if it’s Gina behind the scenes, the right casting, or actual commitment to telling authentic stories, but every second of Yoli’s anguish over her mother, hell, of her relationship with her parents, feels real AF.
There are millions of stories about DACA kids, millions of stories about ICE checkpoints and the pain and the desperation that comes with just the possibility of losing the life you’ve built. TV hasn’t even scratched the surface with this topic, and that is part of the problem with the reality we live in.
It’s easier to fear something we don’t understand, and if entertainment does something, it’s bringing people together by telling their stories. What Pearson is doing with Yoli is making people like her seem normal – they’re idealistic, they go to work, they have a hard-ass boss, they do dumb things, smart things, and oh yes, their parents might be undocumented.
Because that is as much part of the American story as the idea of opportunity, and I’m damn glad this show is going there. May others now dare to follow in their footsteps.
Things I think I think:
- Look, I’m not saying I’m digging this quasi-love triangle, but I AM saying I dig it.
- And it’s something they’re bringing up in the PREVIOUSLY ON, so you know it’s a thing.
- If Jessica had lied to Jeff, I would have said she actually thought that moment between her and Nick was about more. But, she didn’t.
- Yoli’s mom just called her bebita and I’M LIVING.
- My eyes are leaking right now.
- AND SHE SAID PAPI.
- God, this is so normal and so necessary.
- Angela being all like good for you, cousin, is my aesthetic.
- “I don’t want you putting your life on hold,” he says, but that’s exactly what he wants.
- You shouldn’t listen, Keri.
- My favorite thing about Yoli and Derrick is they clash a lot, and not in the usual ways. I feel like one of these days they’re going to become the best of friends, but it also feels like if/when they get there, it’ll be organic.
- Why so worried, Jeff?
- And what are you worried about?
- I don’t like even one second of this Bobby and Keri nonsense.
- I like you Jeff, I do, but this is a very different tune than you were singing in the Pilot and I just don’t know that I trust it.
- Yoli calling her dad viejito, and that look.
- My eyes are leaking again.
- Well, look who grew some balls. Bobby!
- Yoli is going to end up going to Jessica, but I kinda understand why she doesn’t yet.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think about “The Donor”? Share with us in the comments below!
Pearson airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on USA Network.