ABC premiered its new Sunday night offering, hoping to entice fans with a drama packed with plenty of danger and romance.
First thing’s first—it’s really, really nice to see Milo Vfantasticlia back on our TV screens, and while Jack Pearson will forever have a place in our hearts, it’s awesome that the role did not pigeonhole him because he’s too damn talented.
In his new role, Ventimiglia’s Charlie (who looks dashing in a suit, by the way) is a hopeless romantic who dabbles in a life of crime, but much like Jack, he also has a close connection with his family, which is the driving force behind everything he does.
At the onset of the episode, we see him get his heart broken when his fiance Tina (Bridget Regan), steals the family’s latest score of $10 million and jets off, never to be seen again… for now, at least.
Not only does Charlie feel terrible about being blindsided, he also feels like he owes it to the family to make up for the loss, which motivates their second con of taking down a preacher of a megachurch that’s laundering money. The storyline allows us to see Charlie’s family in action a bit more—and they are shamelessly good at what they do, but the case isn’t the main draw of the episode. They quickly find a way to bring down Pastor Earl, get enough money to make up for the initial score that they lost, and debate whether it’s time to hang up the hat and get out of the game for good.
However, Charlie’s sister, Birdie, was seemingly right in feeling anxious on taking on such a big case at the kickstart of the episode. The man in charge of the syndicate that Charlie’s family tried to stiff during a warehouse deal is Patrick McGuire, described as the Jeff Bezos of fentanyl, who is looking to expand distribution and has been on the radar of not only the FBI but also the CIA—naturally, Charlie’s new romantic interest Emma (Catherina Haena Kim) that makes him believe in love again. A little bit on that in a minute.
The botched job allowed Charlie to get in his feels and find solace in the arms of the beautiful and down-to-earth woman he met at the bar, who was also newly single after confronting her cheating ex. Both Charlie and Emma bonded over the fact that they were in relationships that were based on a complete lie, and spent 36 hours living a “fantasy” together. They have no idea how much weight that word is going to hold once they both realize that they are deeper involved than they could’ve ever imagined following their random meet-cute.
The botched job also put Charlie on the CIA’s radar, and while they haven’t identified him just yet, the FBI was able to take down Patrick, which means that they are one step away from uncovering the truth, which will be a huge shock to Emma.
And it comes just as the family was discussing getting out of the business for good. Charlie’s whole world came crashing down with Tina’s departure, and it’s only going to unravel even more.
Admittedly, it was a bit hard to follow the plot at times while trying to figure out who the main players are, but there’s no denying that Charlie and Emma’s chemistry is off the charts. That alone has the potential to carry this series. How far will Emma go to protect Charlie once she realizes her feeling are real and true? The start of their relationship was built on lies, and once the truth starts coming out, it’s not going to be pretty or easy to handle, so she’ll have to decide what’s worth it. Is love worth losing your whole career over?
There’s also the hook of family, and the bond that they all have despite running high-scale crimes to bring down bad people doing bad things. One bad thing doesn’t negate the other, but it’s hard not to root for them, especially when it’s loosely revealed that Charlie’s father’s memory is in decline. The family is a tight unit that will do anything and everything to protect each other, with his parents making that abundantly clear as they still hold a lot of guilt for the first time he took the wrap and ended up in prison.
In the final moments, as the FBI jumped the gun to nab Patrick before his whole crew was on board the flight, Emma chased down Daphne (Felisha Terrell), who initially advised Patrick not to make a deal with Charlie in the first place. Emma was involved in an accident—she was fine—as Daphne managed to get away in the pursuit.
My guess is that Daphne and Tina were working together, and Emma will have to take Charlie on as her informant so that they could bring them down.
And as they begin working together, sparks will fly as she realizes that Charlie makes a damn good CIA agent, con’s aside. That’s my optimistic take on the show, at least.
What did you think of the pilot?
The Company You Keep
The Company You Keep Review – All In (104)
The Company You Keep is proving to be a delightful new addition to Sunday nights, hooking in audiences with a heaping dose of chemistry and cons.
The chemistry between Emma and Charlie has been palpable since day one, but the cons are the glue that holds it all together, providing an intense and thrilling hour of television.
The how, the why, and the will they pull it off grips viewers, as does the fact that both Emma and Charlie are running their personal cons by keeping secrets from their loved ones—and each other—and living secret lives.
It has to be exhausting to keep walking on eggshells the way Charlie does all the time, around everyone. He may know the right thing to say to get out of every precarious situation, but I’m not surprised that he’s realized he can’t go on living like this.
If he wants a real shot at Emma, who he has genuine feelings for, he cannot keep playing this game.
Of course, that’s underscored by the fact that working a con isn’t as fun when it’s to repay a debt to someone else. Daphne is lingering and putting everything at risk, forcing Charlie to take some big shots and promise to deliver a one lump sum payment of $10 million to get her off the family’s back.
It’s a tall order—and a decision he made rogue without the family’s approval—but they fall in line eventually, even coming up with a winning plan to guarantee they walk away victorious and minimize danger.
While I usually don’t care much for the mechanics behind the con, I’ll admit that this one was smooth, even if Leo briefly broke cover, and enjoyable to see pan out. This family really knows what they are doing.
Leo’s declining health is another layer that adds to the already-tense situation, leaving fans on the edge of their seats.
Thankfully, Charlie was able to save face and the plan went off without a hitch. But with anything of this caliber, there was some unexpected turbulence, which in this case was Connor and his men, who surrounded Charlie and stole all the yacht money that he was going to use to repay Daphne. Not ideal, but hey, he did get away with his life, so I’d call that a success.
The saying “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” applies in this situation think Daphne and Charlie/fam are going to have to team up in order to nab Connor. Connor doesn’t trust Daphne, calling her the “boss’s bastard,” which means Daphne needs Charlie and his family. They were so close to shaking her, but now, they’ll be more deeply engrained in each other’s orbit.
Of course, Daphne’s presence jeopardizes Charlie’s relationship with Emma, so it isn’t ideal.
There’s also the little fact that Emma is trying to identify Daphne’s new revenue stream, which puts a target right on Charlie and his family, and after witnessing the ambush, she thinks she got a lead when she saw the little tiff with Connor.
The duo locked eyes for a moment as he was driving away, but I doubt he got made. It was nearly impossible for her to be able to make the connection. Not only does she have blinders on because of her feelings for him, but it was dark, he was far away, and he had a ski mask on. There’s just no way for it to be believable. And any weirdness she’s getting from his could be chalked up to being abducted with a black bag over his head.
Charlie now has the upper hand because he knows everything about Emma’s case—including that he’s her target—while also having information that she works for the CIA. I’m kind of surprised the CIA would reveal that to someone while doing a background check because of a red flag. It seems like the kind of thing you’d like to keep quiet about, especially since she’s an undercover agent.
So far, Charlie’s name isn’t on their radar, but I don’t expect that to ring true for long considering Emma and Charlie’s romance is heating up. She’s bound to see or hear something. And since the series revealed her secret to him so early on, it means they aren’t dragging it out as some kind of big reveal—there’s a larger plan in place to integrate what some other shows may have considered to be cliffhangers in order to keep the mystery afloat.
Either way, things are only getting more and more complex as Charlie and Emma’s feelings deepen, which also means there’s more potential for them to get hurt, heartbroken,
Emma’s father wasn’t convinced by Charlie’s “act,” and props to pops for seeing through the bullshit, even if Charlie wants to be the guy deserving of Emma’s love and trust.
It’s also a pot meets kettle situation because politics is a dirty game, and if Emma’s dad knows Claire, who promised to help David’s campaign, then that means he’s done his fair share of questionable things as well. And now David needs to play Claire’s game if he wants the funding and support, otherwise, his political career will be over. Wouldn’t it be intriguing if Claire somehow connected back to Connor and Daphne?
Charlie and Daphne are both skilled and resourceful—their strengths are being underutilized. But what if they were to put them to use for the CIA? If you can’t beat them, join them, right?
What did you think of the episode? Do you think Charlie and Emma are in over their heads? Should Leo be pulled off of the cons? He’s definitely a liability at this point, especially when the stakes are so high.
Share your thoughts in the comments, Cravers!
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