Pearson (S01E0203) “The Union Leader”

The Superintendent and The Union Leader

NUP 184604 0426 FULL - Pearson (S01E0203) "The Union Leader"
Source: Courtesy of USA Network

In the second episode of Pearson, which brought along some of the very welcomed (and turns out also very fitting) lightness and warmth to character interactions, Jessica got her way in the end. Not only did she manage to close a loop hole which funded the police department and ensured her family’s neighborhood was protected by the forces, but she also managed to spin her own story as to why she now works for the mayor in a way that benefited them both. To top it all off, she also got the quick witted and passionate woman whom was fired for online slander against her… to be her assistant. That is definitely the Jessica Pearson we know. That being said, episode 3 not only worked on further deepening the character dynamics, but also increasing the severity and complexity of the situation Jessica got herself into by making herself an employee of the mayor: “what did you do?” “whatever I had to.”

Early in the morning (after that cool work out sequence!!!!) Jessica was picked up by the ever intriguing Nick who, without much notice, took her to see Pat Mcgann. A seat was now open for one of the 50 alder(wo)men, and of course, used to the mayor being his servant, Mcgann had his own suggestion: Betsy Sullivan, a white racist privileged woman. However, being “only” one of 50 people on the council didn’t mean Jessica wasn’t going to do her due diligence, despite Bobby’s readiness to accept Pat’s suggestion. And thank god she did, as Betsy turned out to only be suggested for the position because she was going to help McGann’s construction company with a union work loop hole. Because Jessica just wasn’t having it, she took the liberty of asking Yoli (who is a genius that called Donna for information on Jessica and I already LOVE her) to draft a new list of potential candidates for the position… one that definitely did not include Mrs. Sullivan (“he is a she”, I SCREAMED). However, despite Jessica’s experience with getting the job done, this time her delegation did not come without consequence. Used to the mayor’s readiness to work under his hand, McGann decided to push the eviction date and notified Jessica’s aunt and her daughter Angela’s family that they must leave the property in 7 days, practically pushing them to live on the street.

While Jessica took the job with the mayor fully intending to do good for her family and make change, she was thus once again pushed into a corner and forced to make a decision. What she valued more: getting her job done for McGann herself and blackmailing the otherwise fair working union leader or let her family lose everything. But, if there is one thing we know about Suits and apparently also about this spin off (Same DNA and all), is that family always comes first. Therefore, Jessica made the decision to blackmail Mr. Cramer into accepting the union work loop hole in order to have Pat McGann change the eviction date to 90 days. While that put her close to square one in her quest to not bend the knee to the truly problematic man who was just as much of a mayor as Bobby himself was, it acted as a step closer to connecting with her family. Angela saw that Jessica was trying and broke down some of her walls, resulting in one of the most touching scenes yet, where the two finally clicked. However long overdue that moment was for Jessica, it did not take the weight off the moral compromise she had to make that day. In fact, in her final few scenes of the episode, you can see her struggle with both mental and physical sickness at the thought of what she was forced to do to fight for her own. This vulnerable and conflicted Jessica was really painful to watch, because Gina’s talent is truly unmatched, but it was also very much needed. We are already starting to peel off the layers of this fascinating female powerhouse and I am here for it all.

NUP 184604 2186 FULL - Pearson (S01E0203) "The Union Leader"
Source: Courtesy of USA Network

And speaking of fascinating females, Keri’s storyline this episode largely focused on her inner struggle and the complexities of her own headspace. Despite the fact that it has only been three episodes, the affair between Bobby and her has been very clearly and thoroughly presented to us as complicated. Because it is not about escaping the world together, or filling a void, it is also not about a power struggle or hidden agendas. The affair they have seems more complex than any of that. As such, while Bobby was spending time at home with his sick wife and trying to be there for her, Keri was struggling to process – not that fact, because she seemed very in touch with the truth – but  her own reaction to it. While during the day, she had spent time with girls from her almamater, discussing balancing life and work, being a badass and the city attorney, by the night, her mind was haunted by her own reaction to the absence of him. An interesting way to explore the character through this relationship, without (thus far) leaving a bitter taste in the viewer’s mouth when it comes to the position that puts her in as a young career driven female. It is a balancing act, and you can be both. In a climate where many times show-runners promote “strong females” that are, in reality, only strong but not layered women, to see attention being given to exploring how it is to be strong, ambitious, confident, fulfilled, but also lonely and wanting of love is what I would call good writing. Where Keri and Bobby will end, especially now that his spouse has also been introduced, remains unclear, but here is hoping that the show continues to use this trope that one may call “stereotypical” in its nature, to make it into something captivating and multifaceted.

NUP 184602 0849 FULL - Pearson (S01E0203) "The Union Leader"
Source: Courtesy of USA Network

And I can’t finish this review without talking about THAT scene. The first two episodes both gave hints about a parallel storyline happening in the future and/or the background of the plots we see. First, we saw Jessica destroying evidence of a murder in which Novak was allegedly involved. Then, someone was taking pictures of her outside her home. And most revealing thus far, this week’s installment showed the Federal Bureau of investigation collecting all that evidence and building a case. What is happening??? I am hooked. All in all, not only is Pearson in season 1, but also only a third into it. However, what the writers and the cast offer to the viewer in these three episodes is plenty already. By the end of the third episode, the fans already get to understand and feel the characters, enjoy their different dynamics (Jessica and Nick!!! Yoli and Derek!!!), and also invest themselves in the plots. That’s a hard task to accomplish, but in my opinion, much like Jessica, the show is rising to the challenge and coming out on top.


Pearson returns for 1×04 next Wednsday at 10/9c on USA Network in the States. In Africa, you can catch it starting August 8th at 21pm on TGE.