Monday, April 12, 2021

Round Two: United States of Al

United States of Al: Season 1, Episode 2 “Repair/Tarmim” (B-)

This show definitely doesn’t get a lot of points for its writing or creativity, but there is a certain heart to its content that makes me want to stick around to watch more of it. That final scene in particular suggests the depth to the relationship between Riley and Vanessa that means they are meant to be together, something Al is completely sure of even if both of them have accepted things and moved on. There’s evidently fault to be placed not just on Riley but also on Vanessa, and it was entertaining to learn that, after continuously denying that anything was happening with Freddie, Vanessa was in fact now dating the man, something that she knew would anger Riley. After some initial poor reactions, he did come around to it and approached it in a surprisingly mature way, something he almost immediately undercut by acknowledging their positive communication that in his mind still shouldn’t lead to sex. Al’s failure to respect any boundaries is going to push buttons but also lead to unexpected dialogue between people who have no interest in talking to each other. Art’s love affair with his metal detector was a bit much, but it was nice to see him step in right away to help Lizzie search for Michael’s missing dog tags and then go back out to look the next morning after a very lengthy and unproductive first attempt. The Lizzie we saw happily engaged to Michael at the end of the episode was very different, and I think it will be interesting to see more of who she was and who she is now.

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