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‘Shrill’ Comes to an Abrupt Close in Season 3

Annie Eaton and Fran sit together on a bench in Shrill's Season 3 finale

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When Shrill first set out to tell the narrative of a struggling young journalist whose greatest insecurity–weight–turns out to be her strength in building her career, there were times when it felt like Annie Eaton’s (Aidy Bryant) character was going to fall flat and too one-dimensional. Although the series progressed, the character development continued steadily, and Annie’s trajectory toward Season 3, its final season, felt like it was finally finding its footing only to be cut short in an abrupt close.

Shrill Season 3 begins after Annie’s much-needed good riddance to her ex-boyfriend Ryan. The man she had been holding onto out of pure fear she wouldn’t find someone else. Leaving her relationship baggage in the past of Season 2, Annie seems to finally be joining the dating scene she never felt she deserved.

However, with the disastrous reality of the dating world, Annie’s completely over it after her first date goes south. Instead, she finds herself crushing on Nick (Anthony Oberbeck), an office cutie (if you look past the thick pornstache.) Nick is tall, handsome, and thin, all of which seems to be Annie’s preference if she thought she could land a guy like that, being as “big” as she is, or so she thinks.

Anthony Oberbeck as Nick and Aidy Bryant as Annie in Shrill. Photo credit: Allyson Riggs/Hulu.

Things seem to be fun and flirtatious with Nick, and Annie is truly feeling herself. She uses that confidence to push for bigger pieces at The Thorn as she tries to break out of the fat-girl columnist mold that put her on the map as a writer. With that confidence, she feels invincible and seems to lose sight of anything she considers less than idyllic.

Her newfound confidence peaks when Amadi, her work husband, sets her up on a blind date with Will. Annie immediately writes him off when she arrives at the restaurant and sees that he’s plus-sized. The entire scene puts Annie’s characterization at its peak, and we’re finally able to see how far she’s truly come. Albeit, at the expense of Will’s feelings, as she judges him on the pure basis of his weight, the very thing she’s fought so hard to change through her writing.

Meanwhile, Fran’s (Lolly Adefope) relationship with her partner Em (E.R. Fightmaster) is heating up. Em gives Fran the stability that a Sagittarius rarely finds and the spotlight and attention she needs to survive. This is the first time Fran’s character is shown to be in an exclusive relationship for longer than a couple of episodes.

In the seasons preceding, Fran was either juggling a few girls or trying relationship celibacy. Her own self-growth over Season 2 really put her in a good place to pursue an honest and genuine relationship with Em. It’s the first time Fran lets her two worlds collide–the Nigerian culture she has compartmentalized and her current out and proud self.

Annie and Fran sitting on their couch drinking wine. Courtesy of Hulu.

As Fran and Em are having their big “I love you” moment, Annie is downstairs trying to progress things with Nick. Only to be told that he didn’t see her that way. Why is it that the good guys are always the heartbreakers?

Annie’s job at The Thorn has never been smooth sailing, as she’s continuously fought to be seen as a real writer by her boss Gabe. Finally overcoming that hurdle, she’s been dubbed the fat-girl writer. To write more serious pieces, she takes on the controversial coverage of a separatist community, a nicer name for a group of white supremacists.

Her article receives a ton of backlash, despite the fault, Annie tries to place on Gabe for changing the headline of her article in an attempt to increase views. Annie’s forced to confront her own privilege. The privilege she seems to have forgotten as she’s too busy wallowing in her own self-pity for being fat. The backlash she receives is far worse than the trolls she had before, and she finds herself isolated and turning to the open arms of her deadbeat ex, Ryan.

Making the mistake of sleeping with an already boo’d up Ryan, she finally arrives at her lowest of lows. While making her way out of her own purgatory, she runs into Will at Amadi’s birthday party. The awkwardness of their initial reunion can be felt through the screen, but by the end of the night, their chemistry is flowing.

A month into Annie and Will’s relationship, they go on a couple’s retreat with Fran and Em. Fran and Annie recount the genesis of their relationship. The beginning of a co-dependent friendship. Something that Em points out. Just as the two are talking about moving in together. Initially, the conversation of taking the next big step is good, but somewhere along the way, Fran’s fear of commitment kicks in.

Lolly Adefope as Fran and E.R. Fightmaster as Em on Shrill. Courtesy of Hulu.

In preparation for Fran’s move out, Annie’s fear of singledom trickles in, and she tries to rush her two-month relationship with Will. Since Will’s still legally married, and because he’s genuinely a thoughtful man, something Annie’s not used to, he lets Annie’s move-in proposal down, gently reminding her he still needs to consider his ex Mikayla’s feelings.

Annie isn’t satisfied with Will’s response and does some sleuthing and confronts Mikayla at her bakery. The idea that Will’s good-guy tendencies are nothing to be worried about sends Annie in a spiral. And while Will’s busy considering everyone else’s feelings, Annie’s only thinking about herself.

With so much uncertainty looming overhead, it feels like the show ended too early. But, we’re left with Annie and Fran finally realizing that to let others in, they’ll need to stop solely relying on each other. And though the unknown is tricky and terrifying,  deep down, they know they’ll be ok. So we might as well pop a bottle of champagne alongside the duo to commemorate the “greatest love of all time.”

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Inga is an avid TV watcher and critic, focusing a majority of her articles around LGBTQ+ representation in the media.

The Cleaning Lady

The Cleaning Lady Review – Arman’s Velorio (3×07)

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The Cleaning Lady Review - Arman's Velorio (3x07)

With each passing week, The Cleaning Lady makes audiences feel the weight of Adan Canto’s passing more and more. 

The mark that Canto made on the series is evident—and moving on without him hasn’t been easy. We all feel cheated from a storyline that we deserved, but, as with loss, all we can do is relish in the moments that we carry in our hearts and grieve alongside all those he touched. 

Thony and Nadia are affected the most on the series as they were the two women that were closest to him. 

Thony feels responsible for his death, considering that he risked his life to save hers in the hide speed chase in the desert. She also feels the heaviness of the words left unsaid, a reminder not to hide your feelings from the person who means the world to you.

But even though we were all rooting for a Thony and Arman relationship, it’s hard not to feel for Nadia, who lost the love of her life for the second time. She didn’t get closure or a chance to say goodbye, which some might say Thony got through that brief exchange with Arman right before the car plunged off the cliff. 

As Nadia also admits, she lost Arman a long time ago when Thony entered their lives—and nothing she did was able to bring him back and restore their lives to how they once were. But she held onto that hope for so long, with his death now making his absence permanent. 

She might hate Thony, but in a way, they are also bonded for life as the women who knew Arman best. They share a connection, and now, with the uncertainty of who can be trusted lingering at every corner, I think they’ll be forced to rely on each other more than ever. Grieving together to keep Arman’s memory alive, while working together to keep each other safe. 

Arman’s family, Jorge and Ramona, can’t be trusted. It’s unclear where they stand with each step. They believed Thony when she showed them that Dante was responsible for Arman’s abduction—and Ramona even proved how ruthless she was when she executed her lover on the spot—however, after Arman’s parents arrived at the velorio and called her Marina, Thony realized it was the name Arman wrote on the table where he was held captive. This can only mean that his aunt was involved in his kidnapping, though it’s unclear if Jorge was also involved or if he’s being kept in the dark. 

Did Ramona kidnap Arman to get money from Nadia? And who called the feds ahead of the exchange? Was it Dante and Ramona? Did she ever actually care about her nephew or was it one big act?

And then there’s the Thony problem. She was handed an out on a gold platter—and she still refused to take it. Hasn’t she learned her lesson? You’d think after all that’s transpired, she’d call it quits on this lifestyle and prioritize taking care of her child. 

Instead, she feels the need to avenge Arman’s death by making the people responsible pay, which, in the process, is going to cost her and her loved ones. She just can’t let it go, but it’s such a dangerous situation to keep putting yourself in. 

Upon Arman’s death, the finger-pointing started immediately, and there’s no telling how far Jorge and Ramona, specifically, are willing to go to protect themselves. 

While some of the family and the “who called the feds” drama took away from Arman’s memorial, the creative forces still managed to pay their respects to the character that Arman built over the course of two seasons—the hero to Thony and her son. It’s why Thony feels responsible and like she owes him because he always saved her, up until the very end, never once hesitating even if it made things inconvenient for him. The significance of Thony wearing all white to his memorial—while everyone dressed in black—was also crystal clear as she was his guiding light in life, the one who tried to pull him out of the darkness that continuously enveloped him and, as a result, her. 

The moment when Thony gave Luca the model car belonging to Arman—which he held onto for all these years—and asked him to keep it safe is what really broke me. It was such a simple yet effective scene, paired with Arman’s final ride into the sunset, a scene from the season 2 finale that set up Thony and Arman’s power couple arc, a storyline that we also had to mourn and say goodbye to. 

There’s also the new men in Thony’s life that are a bit concerning. Jorge, of course, for many obvious reasons, but Jeremy, who was part of the chase that led to Arman’s death and who still has plenty of questions about what transpired. He’s the only one who can place Thony at the scene—and I’d imagine Nadia wouldn’t be pleased to find out that Arman might’ve survived if he wasn’t one again playing hero for Thony. I also don’t trust Jeremy’s intentions with the security cameras. Does it give him access to see what’s going on in Thony and Fi’s household?

What did you think of the episode?

Keep Reading and Supporting CraveYouTV: Vanessa Morgan Is Finally Getting the Recognition She Deserves With ‘Wild Cards’

 

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The Cleaning Lady

The Cleaning Lady Review Season 3 Episode 5 – All of Me

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The Cleaning Lady Review Season 3 Episode 5 - All of Me

The Cleaning Lady Season 3 Episode 5 thrives on keeping us—and Thony—in a state of constant anxiety.

Not only is it nerve-racking that she has a court date that will determine whether or not she can keep Luca, but when her interview with CPS’ Susan nears, Luca is nowhere to be found. 

Thony tries to play it off as though he’s just running late, but when Fi and JD return home without him, it’s pretty clear that something else is going on. Susan is not easily fooled, and she quickly catches onto the fact that Luca has gone missing. 

While finding Luca was Thony’s top priority, she knew that jumping the gun and putting out an amber alert would come with grave consequences—not only for her court case but also for her relationship with the cartel.

JD’s call to tell Susan about Dante, the man who picked Thony up earlier in the day, came from a good place as he thought he had Luca’s best interests at heart. It’s hard to be mad at him when he was just following his gut, but man, when he gave Susan all the information, as someone who understands the kind of people that Thony is in bed with, you knew that it wouldn’t end well for her.

Thankfully, Thony is like a cat with nine lives, and she always lands right-side up. She was able to find Luca at the aquarium (he previously said he wanted to be like a turtle and hide in his shell), and was able to convince Jorge to expunge the amber alert so that it couldn’t be used in court and against her. 

Jorge is proving to be a lot like his cousin—he has a soft spot for Thony and is swooping in to save her at every turn, even though she doesn’t exactly deserve it. She’s more trouble than she’s worth, quite frankly, but men can’t seem but to get invested in assisting her. 

Fiona, Jaz, and Chris all took the stand to attest to how good of a mother, aunt, and friend Thony is, but it was her own testimony about going to great lengths to save her son that pulled on heartstrings. 

The judge agreed to let Luca stay with his mother, with continually CPS supervision, which was a huge win. 

But one thing that really bothers me is that the court wasn’t there when Thony was running out of options for her dying son. The judge didn’t care that she didn’t have money for treatment, nor did anyone care that he would’ve died without it. It’s so easy to look at something after the fact and deem it wrong, but how can saving your child’s life at any cost be wrong?

Thony will never apologize for what she did because if she didn’t do it, Luca wouldn’t have been here. 

And the only reason Luca ran away in the first place was because he didn’t want to be taken from his mother. The court might think they are doing their due diligence, but look at the stress that this whole situation has placed on him.

It may have been a huge victory for Thony, but it also came at a potential price as the amber alert meant that Dante was in a prison cell when the call for a ransom exchange came through, meaning that they lost their shot at getting Arman back—and no one seems to know if he’s dead or alive at this point. 

Though, I have to say I agree with Jorge more than Ramon—giving into the ransom seems weak, so I hope she has a bigger plan in place for getting her nephew back.

I also find it strange how Fiona is constantly surprised upon finding out who Thony is working with. How did she think Thony managed to arrange her transport back to the States? Wouldn’t she assume that the cartel—or someone equally as dangerous—had to be involved? Thony has a lot of pull and resources at her disposal, but it comes at a price. 

Whether that price will prove to be worth it in the end, well, only time will tell.

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Chicago P.D

Chicago PD Review Season 11 Episode 8 – On Paper

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Chicago PD Review Season 11 Episode 8 - On Paper

I’ll take extremely frustrating Chicago PD episodes for $500. 

Because yeah, Chicago PD Season 11 Episode 8 was the definition of the word frustrating. The issue wasn’t with the storyline, as it was strong and kept viewers on their toes, but it was the characters’ poor decisions that made you let out a deep groan. 

If your infant goes missing, you damn well better tell the police everything you know and everything that can help them locate your child. The secrecy was irritating because it hindered any developments, plus, they seemed to think they’d be able to hide something from a unit of dedicated detectives. 

The truth always comes out, so when they located the infant’s kidnapper and found a picture of Trent, the father was forced to confess that he was—and still is—a serial cheater. 

If that wasn’t bad enough, the parents then came clean about the fact that they left their teeny tiny daughter home alone for a few hours while the mom confronted her cheating husband during one of his dates. I mean, just give these people the award for “Terrible Parents of the Year” because they deserve it. 

Regardless of the parents’ actions, Intelligence, with Hailey Upton in the lead, worked tirelessly to bring sweet little innocent Grace home. 

Once they learned of Trent’s affair with Terry—which resulted in a pregnancy and forced abortion—they had a motive for the kidnapping. The good news is that Grace was never in too much danger as Terry really wanted the girl and cared for her, however, anyone who has it in them to kidnap a child is also unhinged and their behavior is unpredictable so you have to approach with caution.

A huge focus of the storyline was Upton’s team-up with Petrovic, the SVU detective who assisted on Noah’s case, whose expertise was supposed to help them find Grace quicker. Instead, it proved to be a distraction as Upton quickly sniffed out that something was wrong and a whiff of her water bottle proved it: Petrovic liked desk duty because she was boozing it up at work. 

She’s essentially a high-functioning alcoholic, which, for most people, is a clear red flag, but even after Upton confronted her about it (that was big of her because she could’ve just reported it to Voight), she dismissed her behavior and made it clear that she wouldn’t be seeking out help, nor did she think there was any need for an intervention. She even went as far as comparing it to running, which just shows you how delusional she is. 

It put Upton in a really difficult spot as, I’d imagine, she’s legally obligated to report it. How will she handle it moving forward? Will this be the catalyst for her to leave Intelligence behind and get a fresh slate (so she doesn’t end up like Petrovic, who said she had 3 divorces in the past)? I don’t see Upton as the kind of person who turns a blind eye, especially as it poses a risk for those she works with. 

She may be “one of the best” in her field, but she can’t continue on like this for too long. 

Thankfully, when she took the shot to save Upton at the train station when Terry pointed a gun at Upton, it was a good and justified shot, but it could’ve ended way worse. 

Voight is still recovering from losing Noah and seems frustrated with the lack of progress on the case of figuring out the serial killer’s identity, but that’ll be the focus of a future episode. 

And next week, we’ll see Torres’ poor decision of pursuing a romantic relationship with his mark play out. How will it end for him?

What did you think of this week’s episode?

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