Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Emmy Catch-Up: Pen15

Every year, I watch the six submitted episodes of every series I don’t regularly watch that’s up for one of the Emmy series prizes. Last year, I started watching the entire season of each show to get a better idea of the quality I missed, and I’ve decided to continue that this year.

Pen15: Season 2, Episode 4 “Three” (B+)

I actually liked this episode so much more than the three that came before it, which is strange given that it was theoretically even more cringe-worthy than all of those. The difference may have been that, for the first time, Maya and Anna weren’t embarrassing themselves, but instead being sought after by someone who was apparently motivated enough to win the “Best Best Friends” superlative that she was ready to invent a lifelong relationship and bribe every student with a ring pop. What was most jarring was the way she spoke to her mother, which of course influenced Maya and Anna to start doing the same thing with their own mothers. I didn’t realize how much I would appreciate the opportunity to see Mutsoko Erskine’s Yuki and Melora Walters’ Kathy interact and bond over the fact that their daughters were being terrible to them. I enjoyed Yuki’s initial response that they didn’t need anything before she saw what Maya was doing, and how the two moms affirmed each other after their daughters indicated how little respect they had for them. Yuki trying to conference in Maura’s mom at the end was entertaining too. There was nothing subtle about that three-piece heart necklace, and, while Maya is starting to catch on to Maura’s nefarious behavior, Anna seems blissfully unaware in a way that’s sure to provoke tension very soon. Finding out that she bribed people to vote for them isn’t likely to be a problem since they would do the same thing, but she’s rewriting history in a way that just won’t work for these two best best friends.

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