Episodes Review: "Episode One" (Episode 2.01)
Four months have passed in the Episodes world, and tension is running high between Matt, Sean and Beverly as the trio awaits the big premiere of Pucks. Since Matt has slept with Beverly, the married writing duo has become separated, but continues a professional writing relationship as well as a semi-romantic personal relationship.
On the eve of the American version of their hit show, they read through a series of reviews that call them uninspired and claim that the show simply is dreadful. One review puts it rather bluntly, reading, “Pucks Sucks.” Sean and Beverly, who have long been adamantly against the Americanized changes, are torn between their feelings of “I told you so” and being genuinely distraught. After all, even though it isn’t really their idea, it still is their idea.
The show seamlessly blends British humor with Hollywood filming. It remains a simple, yet elegant show that explores the characters and without over-the-top exposition like other dramas on television. Matt LeBlanc (the actor) continues to do a superb job of playing Matt LeBlanc (the character). When this show first premiered in the U.S. last year I shrugged and didn’t want to watch it. But I did, and I, like many others, felt mixed about the show as a whole. Episodes grew on me as the episodes started to blossom and I stopped worrying about the whole LeBlanc-playing-LeBlanc aspect and realized just how good Joey Tribbiani is as an actor.
This first episode back takes a while to get into the swing of things, but everything shakes itself out during the viewing party and continues to build momentum as the rest of the show unfolds. Stephen Mangen’s Sean has slowly started to rival LeBlanc’s LeBlanc. His moodiness and general British awkwardness continues to build into something special.
Story-wise, Episodes does indeed unfold a lot of plot even though the pacing is still slow. It may be easy for American audiences, who are used to zombies, serial killers and mockumentaries, to overlook the show and cite how “boring” it may be, but the show continues to be about the tiny moments in a scene.
One such clever moment was a discussion about a show’s cancellation. While this may have just been an easy scene of dialogue to set up a kiss, it subtly is more than that and mirrors what Hollywood is actually like now. Early ratings and reviews mean nothing. It’s all about substance.
Episodes itself proves that it has substance with the second season premiere, and if the U.K. ratings (the show is about to wrap the season across the pond) are any indication, it is worth sticking around for.