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S01.E04: The Spider Web

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Please remember to keep all book talk in the Book Talk thread.  I've kept posts that have book information under spoiler tags, but from now on any posts with book information in the episode threads will be removed (even if it is under spoiler threads).

For the sake of the episode threads, please assume that the book does not exist.

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On 3/25/2020 at 11:48 AM, dmc said:

Ok but I feel like Elena’s motivations are easier to see in the story.  

Maybe because your perspective and hers are similar. Have you tried seeing this invasive woman from Mia's pov?

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Mia’s are harder to understand for me.  She’s clearly living a life where she has to keep moving yet she inserts herself into this situation.  She doesn’t like Elena but she accepts a job working there to keep an eye on Pearl.  She’s clearly the catalyst and that makes sense for the story to happen.  But as a character, I don’t get it.  

Why should she like Elena? Mia was trying to teach her daughter to be independent and advocate for herself and Elena interfered. Mia is savvy enough to realize banning Pearl from the Richardson's won't keep Pearl away so she took a job there to keep an eye on things. I think we've all encountered unscrupulous people like Elena who will quiz a child when the parent isn't forthcoming about matters that are none of their business to begin with so it was smart for Mia to make sure she can keep an eye on things.

Edited by Adgirl
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8 hours ago, Adgirl said:

Maybe because your perspective and hers are similar. Have you tried seeing this invasive woman from Mia's pov?

Why should she like Elena? Mia was trying to teach her daughter to be independent and advocate for herself and Elena interfered. Mia is savvy enough to realize banning Pearl from the Richardson's won't keep Pearl away so she took a job there to keep an eye on things. I think we've all encountered unscrupulous people like Elena who will quiz a child when the parent isn't forthcoming about matters that are none of their business to begin with so it was smart for Mia to make sure she can keep an eye on things.

I am not like Mia or Elena in my personal life.  But as an outside viewer, I get what drives Elena and Mia's decision making to me isn't linear.  Getting a job at Elena's to keep an eye on Pearl doesn't make any sense.  Pearl still could and did keep information from Mia until she was ready to share it. You can live with someone and not know what they are doing when they are not with you.  So no, this doesn't seem like a smart strategy to me.  In addition, I do not think that either Mia or Elena is obligated to like or understand each other.  However Mia has kept the connection with Elena going, not Elena. At any time, Mia could have distanced herself and chose not to until the last episode.   Mia's behavior is why Pearl isn't confident.  You can't tell children to be confident it has to be evident in your actions that they see.  Her lack of a home base, her mother's erratic employment, and the ambiguity in which Mia lives has made her daughter crave the stability of a life like Elena's despite what her mother tells her.  She is the reason Pearl acts like she does, she is in effect teaching her the opposite.  The same is true with Elena and Izzie. Elena keeps teaching Izzie to live a settled life but her unhappiness is evident to her daughter so she craves a life like Mia. 

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17 hours ago, Adgirl said:

Have you tried seeing this invasive woman from Mia's pov?

The family dinner scene was really interesting to me.   I felt so sad for Pearl in this scene.  She feels like she is really a part of this family, but already Bill is talking about evicting them, Tripp has moved all his guilt onto Pearl, and both Lexi/Elena see themselves as graciously reaching out to someone like Pearl.  

I was reminded of one scene in Roots where Missy Ann takes a liking to Kunte Kinte's daughter, Kizzy.  The mom doesn't like it at all, knowing that there is always an inequity between the two.  And at the end, it's obvious that Kizzy thinks they have an equal relationship and Missy Ann betrays her.  Mia's feelings reminded me of the Kunte Kinte's wife (can't remember her name)… particularly how it's better to be under the radar. 

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What a despicable, racist character Mia is. I have zero sympathy for her. She IS a horrible mother who just wants total control over her daughter. And the faces she makes....she has a constant sneer on her face.  Ugh.

Of course May Ling belongs with her mother. Painful as it may be, they should just bring her back to her mother. 

And Izzy is a mean-spirited, nasty teenager; no wonder she’s drawn to Mia. 

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Mia is just so hard for me to find anything likable or rootable about. But a lot of that I do think is mostly just because I don't like Kerry Washington's acting style.

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This is honestly the biggest reason why I hate Kerry's acting. I had to give up on Scandal mostly because I find her mouth acting completely distracting and horrible lol.

I'm trying to define if it's the character of Mia that I'm hating so much or Kerry Washington.  "Mouth acting" - I love this description!  Stop with the mouth acting, Kerry! 

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And Mia selling her artwork to help Bebe was dumb. I mean you'd think she would have sold it so her own daughter didn't have to live out of car. 

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And if she's really such a sought-after artist who can command $30k for one of her pieces (in 90s money), why doesn't she use that to create a more stable home life for Pearl?

This completely bugged.  She's such an in-demand artist that all she has to do is ring up her dealer and she has an instant $30k sale?  Not buying it.  

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Also, I was confused because I thought the picture the art seller lady was talking about was the one that Mia has hanging up that Elena wanted to buy but then it turned out to be a picture of a pregnant Mia. I don't know if I missed something or what.

I thought so too.  And to make it a further unbelieveable storyline, a naked picture of a random pregnant woman (I know it's Mia) commands $30k?  What in the world would make that picture special in any way to someone other than Mia?

I could see the fireplace picture having been featured and in demand in some way, but there was nothing unique about the pregnancy picture.  

Maybe it's because I hate Mia so much but I haven't seen proof that there's anything overly talented about her beyond the average Joe with a knack for crafting.  

After Elena put two and two together about the car and Mia being connected to Bebe, I was dumbfounded when she found Mia in her house and didn't kick her butt out then and there.  I was screaming at the t.v.!

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I cant say that I am an expert in photography or the art/photo scene, but would that picture really be worth THAT much money? Is Mia that hot of an artist? She must be pretty successful and high profile to net that much cash for a self portrait, so then why is she living out of her car half the time? Is it all because she is trying to be off the radar so that whoever she was surrogating for dont find her and Pearl? Then maybe she shouldn't be a prominent artist if she is trying to hide out!

I guess its because Mia just likes traveling around and living this rambling BoHo life? Then you would think she could at least find slightly nicer stuff for Pearl with the money she could apparently be getting as some kind of big deal artist. Like, you know, a house with walls for more than a few weeks? 

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6 minutes ago, tennisgurl said:

I cant say that I am an expert in photography or the art/photo scene, but would that picture really be worth THAT much money? Is Mia that hot of an artist? She must be pretty successful and high profile to net that much cash for a self portrait, so then why is she living out of her car half the time? Is it all because she is trying to be off the radar so that whoever she was surrogating for dont find her and Pearl? Then maybe she shouldn't be a prominent artist if she is trying to hide out!

I guess its because Mia just likes traveling around and living this rambling BoHo life? Then you would think she could at least find slightly nicer stuff for Pearl with the money she could apparently be getting as some kind of big deal artist. Like, you know, a house with walls for more than a few weeks? 

If she has a big name art dealer or agent, and has made a name for herself yes she could get that.  There’s a lot of art that you look at and think nothing special that people paid a lot for...

 

The weird part here is what you said.  If her work goes for this much why don’t they have money?  Also if her agent knows that she’s undercover with her life how did the sale get in the New York Times

 

The biggest issue with the plot of the show for me is Mia doesn’t act like somebody undercover but we are supposed to believe she is 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Kiki620 said:

This completely bugged.  She's such an in-demand artist that all she has to do is ring up her dealer and she has an instant $30k sale?  Not buying it.  

I thought so too.  And to make it a further unbelieveable storyline, a naked picture of a random pregnant woman (I know it's Mia) commands $30k?  What in the world would make that picture special in any way to someone other than Mia?

Spoiler

$400,000!!! That's how much the portrait sold for, per the New York Times article in episode 5. THAT left me completely baffled as to why Mia and Pearl were living in the car. If her work commands that kind of money, they could run off to a remote location where they'd never be found. Come ON!

 

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I'm struggling with Mia.  I feel like she throws fit like a 2 year old. 

Poor Moody.  

As far as Bebe I'm sorry but you left your child at a fire station

Elena has issues and is not perfect at all but still I personally find Mia to be worse. 

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On 3/25/2020 at 1:21 PM, dmc said:

 

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I know Mia is the person we are supposed to be sympathizing with but I just can’t get there.  First I think it’s large leap that birth mark and fire station means 100% May Ling.  

 

Checking for the birthmark was way over the top for me because that exact same scene happens in the 1976 movie "The Omen."

 

 

On 3/25/2020 at 1:21 PM, dmc said:

 

 

 

Edited by ReviewX · Reason: didn't post correctly

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On 4/3/2020 at 3:11 AM, Marci said:

Of course May Ling belongs with her mother. Painful as it may be, they should just bring her back to her mother. 

Why? So Bebe can abandon her for a second time when she once again decides parenting is too much work for her?

Bebe made a choice a year ago. Let her live with the consequences of that choice.

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On 3/25/2020 at 1:33 AM, Armchair Critic said:

 they have made Mia so unlikable.

 

Agreed.  Every time she sneers with her upper lip I dislike her a little more. I don't know Kerry Washington at all, so kind of wondering if that is a whole lot of Botox or filler in that lip.

Can anyone explain the flashback that started the show, with Linda and her husband at the hospital?  I missed or didn't understand what Linda had to "get through" - was it a D&C maybe?

 

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3 hours ago, MaryPatShelby said:

Can anyone explain the flashback that started the show, with Linda and her husband at the hospital?  I missed or didn't understand what Linda had to "get through" - was it a D&C maybe?

 

I got the impression that it wasn't just an early miscarriage / D&C, but that she was having to birth her stillborn baby. She looked pretty far along in pregnancy, and I think if the baby dies that far along the mother unfortunately has to go through the experience of childbirth for a stillborn.

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This episode ended it to for me.  Too many things happened which make no sense.  Among them:

  • Mia can barely afford to put food on the table or rent a hotel room (they slept in the car) but she is willing to sell her most valuable artwork and give $30,000 to someone else?  Also, if Mia is that poor how is she associated with an art dealer?
  • Did smoke alarms go off when she burned the art work?
  • Mia is depending on Elena for the bulk of her salary but she has no issue crossing her and basically asking to be fired.
  • How clever for one brother to like Pearl but Pearl wants to sleep with the other one.
  • How is it that the couple couldn't find another baby to adopt?  The one left in Cleveland was the only baby available?

I really like the actors they picked for this but the writing and storyline are embarrassingly bad.

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On 3/25/2020 at 2:33 AM, Armchair Critic said:

Poor Pearl for getting rejected. And poor Moody but we all saw it coming that she liked his brother.

 

Poor Pearl? When watching that scene I was like WTF Pearl! What are you doing girl. I know she's naive and inexperienced, but to go there with Trip after two seconds of knowing him? They haven't even dated. SMH. Again this goes back to Mia forcing her into a nomad life. Mia thinks she's teaching Pearl the ways of the world but in reality she hasn't. She's taught her nothing about life, and unfortunately Pearl is learning from her "friends" like Izzy, which is a disaster waiting to happen i.e. the situation with Tripp. 

Izzy going on and on about sex and her strong opinions about Bebe abandoning her baby screams I'm about to get knocked up. I will not be surprised if she gets pregnant in a future episode. 

 

 

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My feeling is that the same thing happened to Mia . They showed her pregnant in the flashbacks a few times , but my guess is it’s not a with pearl . I don’t think pearl is her biological daughter . Something probably happened to her bio child and She probably kidnapped pearl and this is the cycle she’s in . 

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I just started watching this and I'm on the 4th episode so some random thoughts. I'm already sick of Mia and her intense looks. She has the exact same look even when she says she is happy. I guess she is supposed to have gone through bad stuff in her life but for God's sake, just go to a therapist or just get over them. Second, I'm kind of tired watching Reese, I have watched 2 seasons of Big little lies and 1 season of The morning show in like 6 months, and now this. I think she has the same character again and again. Also her shows have something in common, they focus on female characters and the male characters are there to solve or create problems. I do like series for women so I don't complain but Reese please just let some other actress play.

Regarding the matter with Bebe and Linda, it's not fair but the moment the mother is back and she wants to raise the kid, she has the right to take it. I hope she does.

On 3/25/2020 at 9:52 PM, Empress1 said:

Usually the advice is "make a big, vaguely stalker-ish gesture!"

Or monologue them into liking you like Randall in This is us. 😛

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On 3/26/2020 at 3:40 AM, Armchair Critic said:

As for the adoption, I can empathize with both sides. That is a tough one.

I like this story too since it is fucked up complicated and I can easily see both sides. I mean Bebe left her kid at a fire station but at the same time if someone in her situation had their kid taken away by child services and thrown in foster care they would probably get it back.  Throw in cultural/language barriers and I can see why she might have some expectation that she could get her kid back. And it is not like there is a "all baby drop offs are final" sign outside the fire hall.

On 4/22/2020 at 6:43 PM, Dminches said:
  • Did smoke alarms go off when she burned the art work?

I was wondering the same thing. What kind of shitty building is Elena running where smoke detectors aren't being set off by the fire. Even if Mia disabled the ones in her unit, there is a second unit for the downstairs guy and a common stairwell I think. And that was a pretty big fire.

Edited by Kel Varnsen
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On 3/25/2020 at 1:48 PM, dmc said:

Ok but I feel like Elena’s motivations are easier to see in the story.  I don’t agree with them but I understand them.  Mia’s are harder to understand for me.  She’s clearly living a life where she has to keep moving yet she inserts herself into this situation.  She doesn’t like Elena but she accepts a job working there to keep an eye on Pearl.  She’s clearly the catalyst and that makes sense for the story to happen.  But as a character, I don’t get it.  
 

 

I think it depends on your life experience.  I don't necessarily agree with Mia's actions, but I definitely understand them.  

On 4/3/2020 at 5:11 AM, Marci said:

What a despicable, racist character Mia is. I have zero sympathy for her. She IS a horrible mother who just wants total control over her daughter. And the faces she makes....she has a constant sneer on her face.  Ugh.  

What makes you think Mia is racist?   It is not unusual for a black mother of a child living in a predominately white environment (particularly in the 90s) to be cautious with her kids around issues of race.   She doesn't tell Mia to associate or not associate with anyone based on race.  But she did need to teach her child to think and advocate for herself, and recognize others motivations towards her.   

 

 

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This is kind of a hard watch!  On the positive side, it does have me sucked in, wanting to know what happens, but none of the adult main characters are even remotely likable!  So far, the only ones with redeeming qualities are Izzy, Pearl and Trip.

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On 3/25/2020 at 6:20 PM, Ms Blue Jay said:

For me the fact that Elena thought that Bebe would so easily want the $10,000 over her own child means that Elena doesn't really see Bebe as human.
To make matters worse, Bill saying "Some Chinese...... PERSON" was so gross.

 

On 3/25/2020 at 6:42 PM, Empress1 said:

Also the adoptive mother whose name I can't remember spitting out that Bebe is an "illegal alien." The white people on this show remind me of the white people in Knives Out.

Ugh, I know. I've been disgusted through the entire episode, because they act like she doesn't deserve to have her child, at all. Because she's illegal? The woman was desperate, and wanted her baby to be safe. Then she misses her and wants her back. I can understand. Elena was so entitled and manipulative, and I'm glad that Bebe asked her how much she would sell her children for. 

As I'm watching this, I'm wondering if Ginny and Georgia was partially based on this show. Mia and her daughter remind me of the mother and daughter in that show. The constant moving around, the daughter making friends, and wanting to stay. 

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On 4/1/2020 at 7:41 PM, Adgirl said:

Maybe because your perspective and hers are similar. Have you tried seeing this invasive woman from Mia's pov?

Mia has invited that invasiveness. So no, I don't get her perspective.

On 4/2/2020 at 3:48 AM, dmc said:

Getting a job at Elena's to keep an eye on Pearl doesn't make any sense.  ...  However Mia has kept the connection with Elena going, not Elena. At any time, Mia could have distanced herself and chose not to until the last episode.   

Amen. Both characters have acted oddly, but Mia has escalated the situation.

On 4/3/2020 at 11:06 AM, Kiki620 said:

I thought so too.  And to make it a further unbelieveable storyline, a naked picture of a random pregnant woman (I know it's Mia) commands $30k?  What in the world would make that picture special in any way to someone other than Mia?

I think we'll see that its value is due to the artist (photographer) not the subject. Why a hotel would want that hanging in its lobby is beyond me though...

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