Who knew an assignment to cover the giant cabbage competition at the local state fair in Alaska would unravel an eco-terrorist plot?
Alaska Daily is pulling out all the stops to hook viewers, but that’s the thing—they don’t have to.
They have a stellar cast—lead in part by Hilary Swank, Jeff Perry, and Grace Dove, along with a compelling mystery involving the murder of Gloria Nanmac.
I expect the series to tackle “stories of the week” as the newsroom is bustling with bodies eager to tell important stories, but those side stories shouldn’t take precedence over the show’s main goal: getting justice for all the indigenous women whose murders have been largely buried and ignored. And yet, Swank’s Eileen was sidelined for much of the hour as Gabriel took the spotlight with his first-ever assignment.
It’s kind of sweet to see Eileen become a mentor to him as he really trusts her judgment and was struggling to find the “story.” Eileen reminded him that it was not a shocker that the story was boring considering it was about cabbages, but she also pointed him to where the real meat would be—the farm. Every good journalist knows you have to follow the story where it leads, even if it’s out of your comfort zone, especially if it’s out of your comfort zone.
While visiting the farm, Gabriel connected with Erica, who opened up about her father’s shift in behavior almost too eagerly. She mentioned that her father, Brandon, was anti-tech ever since her mother died, that he’d been going to “secret meetings,” and that he wouldn’t let her go into a barn where she hung out for much of her childhood.
She confided in Gabriel in part because she identified that he was someone she could trust, but also because she didn’t want her father to do something stupid. And her gut was telling her that whatever he was getting into wasn’t good. Though mostly, it seemed like she needed to vent and most of the stuff she was telling him was off the record and unusable. I felt bad that Gabriel was building a story around it because it seemed like Erica just needed a friend.
Then again, Brandon was deeply involved with some dark organization. As Gabriel pursued the case even further, Erica turned over her father’s sort of manifesto about eco-terrorist group, Genesis, who preyed on his damage, exploited it, and tried to radicalize him to incite violence to “make a change.”
And this is where it got a little murky; Eileen was convinced that they had a story, but the truth is, Stanley and Bob were 100% right by holding off on publishing. Eileen was ready to pull the trigger and make the same mistake that cost her her job in New York City.
The story wasn’t airtight as they had no proof that Brandon planned to act on any kind of threat, but it was something that they could flag for the FBI. Stanley informed Gabriel that while the outcome wasn’t what he was hoping for, he quite possibly saved a lot of lives by chasing the story wherever it took him. And honestly, that was good enough–I’m glad they killed the story for Erica’s sake. Exposing the truth is important, but sometimes, it’s not worth the risk or the casualties.
Not every story will be a winner, but Gabriel proved he could do the job, so he was officially welcomed on as a reporter, and I truly can’t wait to see what else he accomplishes. Not all of the state fair stories could be as juicy, though Meredith and Yuna did consider that the pigs in the races were doping. You have to consider all the angles with light journalism!
Eileen and Stanley don’t always see eye to eye, but it’s good to have both of their perspectives.
The lull in the Gloria investigation can be attributed to the simple fact that it was the weekend. Also, lulls happen. They aren’t going to reel in a big fish every single day.
Eileen can’t stand weekends, which just tells you everything you need to know about her. Her entire existence is wrapped up in the job. It’s not healthy, and it’s manifesting as panic attacks that got the best of her this time around. While she can typically breathe through it when she’s having one, this time, a call from Rushmi at her old publication, made her collapse and hit her head hard enough that she landed in the hospital.
The fact that she also has a target on her back isn’t helping. Eileen likes to pretend that nothing shakes or rattles her, but it’s not human and adds to her abrasive and robotic nature. Any sane person would be caught off guard and a little terrified receiving a bullet in an engagement ring box—a threat followed shortly later by a call from a “concerned citizen,” who informs her that the next bullet will be aimed at her. It’s unsettling to know that someone out there is so brazen when it comes to threatening a powerful female journalist, but it also means she has to keep digging because the mystery person has something to hide.
Alaska churns out small-town gossip, and Eileen’s arrival is not lost on anyone. They know what she’s up to, they know why she’s there, and a lot of people don’t like that she’s trying to unearth the truth about what happened to Gloria. There’s very clearly a story there, so, while I wish she acknowledged that she was affected by the threat, I am glad she’s not deterred from digging into the case.
After Eileen essentially escaped the hospital—and Aaron Pritchard, who was the “first on the scene” and stuck around to take care of her because he was worried—she helped guide Gabriel’s investigation while connecting with Meade’s former sheriff, Conners.
Conners was pretty straightforward with Eileen and Roz about why Gloria’s death became a cold case: he was a drunk that had no leverage to force Durkin to investigate any further.
However, when he read their piece exposing Durkin for turning a blind eye to blatant crimes, he was motivated to reach out and give them the little leg up they needed in the case—the unredacted police report.
He also informed them that Gloria’s killer, because I think he’s the only police officer to call it that, feels safe in the fact that he’ll get away with it, which is their advantage.
The unredacted report included the names of two potential suspects, Ezra Fisher and Rega Horn, so you know that’s where Eileen and Roz’s investigation will take them next.
- While this wasn’t my favorite episode of the series, it’s nice to see the other reporter’s experience “firsts” and grow their craft.
- Eileen might not have a personal life, but Roz happily took the weekend off for her basketball tournament. And it’s proof that you need to make time for yourself so you can come back to the drawing board with a clear head.
- Aaron definitely has a thing for Eileen, but I’m not certain he can be trusted, especially as Stanley decided to look into him.
- I still think pilot poet is involved with concerned citizen. The person just knows too much about Eileen for it to be random. Then again, they don’t like outsiders, especially white women coming in to exploit indigenous women’s pain for personal gain, so it could be anyone.
- Meredith asked Yuna about her relationship with Austin, and I’m glad the other reporters in the newsroom are picking up on the vibes!
- Is it possible Durkin knows who the killer is and is protecting them?
What did you think of the episode? Were you happy to take a break from Gloria’s case and give another character time to shine? Or did you want more Swank action?
Alaska Daily Fall Finale Review – You Can’t Put a Price on A Life (106)
Alaska Daily wrapped up the first half of its season with a compelling episode that capped off with a cliffhanger involving Eileen Fitzgerald’s anonymous stalker, Concerned Citizen.
You know Eileen had to hit a nerve for someone to go this far, but unfortunately, we have no idea who this man is or what he wants with her.
Why is he so determined to silence her?
I was convinced that CC was going to end up being Jamie, so part of me was a little bummed when that wasn’t the case, however, on the other hand, I can rest easy knowing that there are good men in this world.
There are a lot of questions surrounding CC’s identity and why he’s so triggered by Eileen. The person who would have the most to gain from silencing her would be someone involved in Gloria Nanmac’s disappearance since that is Eileen’s top story. But then why aren’t they after Roz Friendly?
In the final few moments of Alaska Daily Season 1 Episode 6, Eileen and Roz figured out that the second person identified on the police report that they couldn’t locate, Rega Horne, may have actually been Reed Gallahorn, a pastor from Gloria’s church. And though it may seem too obvious, there’s a huge possibility that CC is Reed.
There’s still plenty to uncover in Gloria’s case, and Eileen and Roz are doing their best with the tools they have while also working on other stories in the meantime.
However, the disappearance of Henley, a 25-year-old Texas woman, who fell overboard and sparked massive and costly rescue efforts, still fed into Eileen and Roz’s overall mission of bringing awareness to the missing indigenous women.
With media from all over the nation trying to cover Henley’s disappearance, The Daily Alaskan needed to cut through the noise with a local story and angle. Claire actually suggested that they do a comparison piece about how much funding is going into the search for Henley, who very clearly fell overboard due to her own carelessness and likely didn’t survive, as opposed to the lack of funding going into the search for Jade Jacobs, a Yup’ik woman who went missing two days prior and whose case got absolutely no attention.
The episode brought up some crucial points when it came to the value of a woman’s life, with one getting priority over the other, but I also thought it was interesting when the Commissioner explained that much of the reason goes back to public perception. When they don’t go above and beyond for a white woman, everyone is up in arms, including the media, but no one seems to bat an eyelash for the native women. The Commissioner was clearly trying to skirt blame and responsibility with her reasoning, but there was also some truth to what she was saying. Journalism tends to lean into the clickbait-y stories—the ones guaranteed to bring in the page views. It’s an unfortunate reality and another example of why local journalism is better. They are able to tell the stories that matter in a way that’s oftentimes better and more connected to their audience.
As Roz, her boyfriend Jindahaa (who I hope will be more involved in the outlet), and Stanley joined the search efforts for Jade in order to bring awareness, Eileen followed the money all the way to the gala, as Pritchard’s date no less. She made sure to underscore that they weren’t doing the romantic thing, but she needed to take advantage of the invite to confront his father about his PR company, which was eating up most of the budget for the governor’s MWIW task force to find indigenous women. Instead of using the money to find women, they were using it to promote the cause, which was a huge disservice to everyone. It was a PR stunt to make it seem like they care when, in reality, they are all profiting off of these missing women. It’s disgusting, and it gives you just a glimpse into the kind of man Conrad Pritchard is.
Unfortunately, it’s also a case of biting the hand that feeds as Conrad is Aaron Pritchard’s father. Aaron may or may not be like his dad (from what we’ve seen thus far, he isn’t), but regardless, it’s complicated and messy. Aaron was also a little thrown off by Eileen’s ambush on his father, but that just proves he’s in way over his head with his crush on her. She’s not like other women, so what was he expecting? She’s ambitious as hell and always doing whatever it takes to get the story. Did he really think his charm was going to work on her? Does he even know her at all?
While Eileen made it clear that her relationship with Aaron was going to be strictly professional, he did get a little handsy and Claire took notice. She also gave her a warning about small-town gossip, as Eileen’s romance with Aaron would be the talk of the town. I wish Eileen was more receptive considering Claire was simply calling it like she saw it, and likely how a lot of people would see it, and looking out for a colleague. She doesn’t have to have her defenses up all the time.
During the gala, she also reconnected with Jamie, who, again, is not the Concerned Citizen threatening Eileen ever since she arrived in Alaska. It’s unclear how their relationship will progress, but there’s clearly chemistry between them.
For now, however, Eileen needs to survive her altercation with her stalker. Teaser footage from the winter premiere in February reveals that it’s going to turn into a hostage situation with all of her co-workers, including Pritchard, hoping for the best possible outcome.
When Eileen faced the armed assailant, you could see the fear and anxiety come over her; it was the first time she was genuinely scared or faced any true blowback from a story she’s been pursuing. She knows the risks that come with the job and territory, but it’s one thing to be aware of it and another to look it dead in the eye.
I have no doubt that Eileen will come out of this alive, though it’s probably not going to do very well for her panic attacks. But it’s also a reminder that the stories they write and the people they expose come with very real consequences. And most importantly, it means that they’re closer than ever to figuring out what happened to Gloria, so I hope this doesn’t freak Eileen out and force her to retreat.
What did you think of the episode? Are you hooked on Alaska Daily? I’ll see you on February 23, 2023, for more new episodes, Cravers!
What Day Does ‘Alaska Daily’ Come On?
Alaska Daily is ABC’s newest drama starring award-winning actress Hilary Swank as disgraced reporter Eileen Fitzgerald, who leaves her cushy and high-profile life in New York behind after getting “canceled” professionally. She accepts a job at a local paper in Anchorage, Alaska with her first story focused on solving the death of an indigenous woman.
The synopsis notes that the journey leads her to “find both personal and professional redemption.”
The series first premiered on Thursday, October 6, 2022.
When and how can you watch Alaska Daily? The drama airs every Thursday night on ABC at 10/9c! It’s also available to stream on Hulu the next day.
Alaska Daily Review – I Have No Idea What You’re Talking About, Eileen (105)
Alaska Daily has truly found its groove, delivering gripping storylines and twists ahead of the fall finale in just two weeks.
Alaska Daily Season 1 Episode 5 managed to make headway on the Gloria Nanmac case while uncovering another case of abuse of power and even having Eileen face her boogeyman from the series premiere, Secretary of Defense Green.
Remember when he said The Daily Alaskan was a step up above the yearbook and underestimated local journalism? I bet he’s regretting that now as the story Eileen brought to light was now making national headlines.
Even though Stanley told Eileen to lay low, she couldn’t help but attend the General’s spontaneous speech at the base. She knew that he was likely covering for something, and when Yuna mentioned that airman Greg Choi was missing, Eileen took the opportunity and ran with it, without knowing if she had something there.
Eileen once again became a national story and the butt of the joke, but she has tough skin, and her face splattered on the internet no longer phases her, especially when she knew that they hit a nerve with Green. Even the fact that he requested to talk to her, made fun of her publication and didn’t deny the allegations she made about Choi proved that she was onto something.
Eileen’s move may have been reckless, but that’s why there’s a saying to do first and ask forgiveness later. She saw her opportunity, and she was ready to pay the price if it didn’t work out, but it was worth it for the off chance that it did.
The internet chatter took a turn almost immediately—from mocking Eileen to questioning why Green and the army decided to cover up Choi’s death after his denial prompted the Russians to release the information publicly.
And since Eileen did her due diligence by investigating Green before, she knew his involvement with the F41s, so she was able to steer the story to victory. Yuna had a connection with Choi’s parents, and the established trust meant that they felt comfortable confiding in her about the emails Greg sent about the flaws in the aircraft commissioned and sold by Green while he was on the board. Green was trying to bury the story any way that he could, even blaming it on the dead guy and suggesting pilot error, when in reality, it was a faulty product that everyone turned a blind eye to.
This is why Eileen does what she does. Much like another powerful TV character, Olivia Pope, she trusts her gut and takes the leap.
And this is only the beginning of her takedown of Green. The victory was the first step in restoring her credibility publicly, but it’s not why she’s doing it—she’s determined to expose the man that thinks he’s invincible and that relished in her failure.
Eileen also proved to everyone in the newsroom that while she might not be everyone’s cup of tea, she knows what she’s doing and is a huge asset.
With Eileen preoccupied with Green and the base for much of the episode, Roz was on her own to gather information about Ezra Fisher, one of the suspects listed in the official police report following Gloria’s death.
But honestly, the bigger story that unraveled was ADA Barnett pressuring victims that he was defending into romantic relationships. I didn’t see that one coming, especially when Eileen seemed impressed with how he vouched for native women in the courtroom to get his case to trial. Unfortunately, he had a personal involvement in the case as he wanted to bring Ezra down because he was sleeping with Ezra’s ex, Taylor.
Honestly, I don’t know what’s more disgusting—the men who are upfront about who they are and how they treat women or men like Barnett who hide behind their fancy job titles and suits. Barnett was abusing his power, preying on victims, and re-victimizing them. He was no better than the men that he was trying to take down. It was slimy.
And he thought that his charms would work on Roz, so it was quite a wake-up call when she wasn’t phased. Unlike the women that he was defending, she didn’t have anything to lose. The reason his reach was so great with the victims is that they were terrified that if they didn’t keep up the sexual relationship, he would no longer defend their case.
Roz, however, was fully aware of the implications of taking down Barnett. Once she wrote her story and brought his disgusting behavior to light, it would overturn many of his cases, which wasn’t ideal for the victims like Taylor as Ezra’s domestic abuse charge would be dropped. Ezra, who was taunted as dangerous, seemed remorseful for his abusive behavior, which doesn’t excuse his actions but it’s at least nice to know he’s aware of the damage he caused.
Unfortunately, she didn’t have much of a choice. Exposing Barnett would protect a world of women in the future.
He did make a valid point about why so many cases get dismissed and overlooked, especially for women, and it’s because of the strain on the prosecutors. Too many cases will make people numb to what’s right in front of them, which is why the job of a journalist, particularly a local one, is so important.
Ezra did provide some insight into Gloria’s case. He recalled seeing her at Skeeter’s party that night because she was trying to score Oxy for frostbite, but he left before she did. It wasn’t a lot of information, but a lead is a lead, which means Roz will now try to track down any dealers who may have gotten busted shortly after her death. Someone has to know something, and their job is to find the people who will finally talk and blow this case wide open. And preferably, before more native women become victims of a broken system and abusive men.
It’s one of the reasons that I love that this show champions two very headstrong and determined women. Roz and Eileen both have a lot of fight in them, even if their approach tends to vary. They never got off on the right foot, but they’ve been working seamlessly together, with Roz even appreciating Eileen’s determination to cover the speech at the base despite being told to stay away.
While Eileen didn’t get a call from Concerned Citizen this time around, she did get an unexpected visit to her hotel room from Pritchard. Who else isn’t surprised that he’s totally trying to ride the Eileen train? The sparks were definitely flying, but Eileen knows better than to get involved in this kind of situation because it undermines her integrity. No one is going to take her seriously if she “sleeps her way to the top,” whatever the top is at a local strip mall publication. Either way, Pritchard should know better as well, but I also don’t buy out when they promised that this was the first and last time.
The episode was jam-packed with quality television, which included Operation Hairy Potter. Every series, especially one about journalism, needs a little lightheartedness to break up the tension. And the smelly little ferret who escaped and was later found in Bob’s desk drawer was just that. It also offered up some necessary scenes between Bob and Claire, with the former admitting that Eileen makes him uneasy and that his wife, Colleen, is sick. Meanwhile, Claire was the standard mom who feels like she was failing in every aspect of her life because she can’t give 100% of herself to any one thing. It’s the classic mom trap… and we moms handle it with grace… most of the time. Unless we lose our ferret.
What did you think about the episode? Are you shocked we’re already coming up on the fall finale?
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