‘Briarpatch’ 1×01 Review: Where’s The Tiger?

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from Briarpatch’s pilot, officially titled “First Time in Saint Disgrace,” or from the series in general. What I do know is I didn’t expect this episode to revolve around escaped zoo animals. What I did expect, however, was for Rosario Dawson to blow me away. She always does.

To be clear, the show is slow at times and borderline confusing at others. It is, of course, the “ First Time in Saint Disgrace ” and we still don’t have all the pieces we need to even begin to assemble this puzzle. But one thing is for certain, this is a big ass puzzle that needs assembling.

Not that that’s enough – we need to care about the puzzle we’re trying to assemble, and I’m not sure we exactly do yet. I will say this, however: we care about Allegra Dill. We care about what makes her tick, about her job with the Senator she might or might not care about, about what happened 12 years ago and how that involved her friend the war criminal, Jake.

We care, because Rosario Dawson’s raw, emotional and frankly captivating performance makes us care. We care because she compels us to, despite the fact that the other characters don’t quite click yet.

For now, that’s enough. We’ll be asking the plot to pick it up later. But hey, I’ve watched pilots for worse reasons than this one.

BRIARPATCH — “Pilot” Episode 101 — Pictured: Rosario Dawson as Allegra — (Photo by: Scott McDermott/USA Network)

FIVE THINGS TO MENTION ABOUT “FIRST TIME IN SAINT DISGRACE”

  1. Rosario Dawson in those pantsuits is a dream. I’m still trying to decide which one was my favorite, if the white one or the red one. Who can even pull of that red pantsuit? Like how? Is there some type of magic involved?
  2. This isn’t a typical WOC-led show. Dawson plays a seemingly harsh character, except she’s allowed vulnerability from the start, something rare in WOC-led shows, as WOC are often expected to conform to certain stereotypes. Just the fact that this show is willing to break from that expectation in its first episode speaks well of what’s to come.
  3. What is this, exactly? A mystery? A procedural? WHY ARE THERE ZOO ANIMALS AROUND? Are they ever gonna catch them or is the tiger gonna be like, a staple of the show? Is this even more meta than I have realized?
  4. You know what IS meta? Rosario Dawson playing a character who works for the Senate – a Sub-commission, at least, thank God she didn’t mention which one, and is involved with the Senator. You know what they say about fiction imitating life and all of that. Except I’m not exactly sure I’m supposed to be rooting for Alexa and this Senator.
  5. War criminal? What in the world is up with Jake, because those are BIG words? Also, what is up with that beard? Is that the standard bad dude look? Because it looks very James Bond movie type of villain. And I’m guessing Jake IS the villain. Right?

Agree? Disagree? What did you think of “First Time in Saint Disgrace”? Share with us in the comments below!

Briarpatch airs Thursdays at 10/9c on USA.

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