Friday, May 6, 2022

Round Two: Gaslit

Gaslit: Season 1, Episode 2 “California” (B+)

I wasn’t sure how much this show was actually going to focus on Watergate itself, but that was the meat of this episode. Though it’s an event I’ve heard about so much and which had such an incredible impact on the United States government, leading to the only presidential resignation in the history of the country, it’s still fascinating to see the simplicity – and stupidity – of how it played out. The effectiveness of the dramatization here was aided considerably by the performances from Shea Whigham as Gordon Liddy and Chris Bauer as James McCord. It’s fun to see them in these roles since I think I know them best from playing polar opposites of their characters here, Whigham in much more buttoned-up parts on “Boardwalk Empire” and “Homecoming” and Bauer as the wild and unfiltered Andy Bellefleur on “True Blood.” Frank Wills really came through in his first night on the job noticing that tape and calling it in, and there was some real drama when Dean called in from the rain to report what had happened to John. Seeing more of the dynamic between John and Martha is interesting, as well as how they talk to others, like Nate Corddry’s Michael Deaver, who was rather shocked by Martha clarifying that she wasn’t comparing Jesus to Nixon, but saying that he wouldn’t make it through the Republican primary. Being sequestered in her room and not allowed to watch TV or make a phone call was made even more ominous by the casting of Brian Geraghty from “Boardwalk Empire” and “Big Sky” as the man guarding her who got less nice as the conversation went on.

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