Hightown: Season 1 Episode 5 “The Best You’ll Feel All Day” – Recap/ Review with Spoilers

Renee all dressed up for date night.

With a season renewal and being more than halfway through its first season, “Hightown” ups the ante a bit.

With a season renewal and being more than halfway through its first season, “Hightown” ups the ante a bit.

Director(s) Eagle Egilsson
Writer(s) Jordan Harper
Aired (STARZ) 6/14/2020

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

There Are Consequences To Your Actions – Devonne, Jackie, Frankie, Osito, Junior

Rather than go through the steps and work her way back on the wagon, Jackie decides to get back on her BS, even when Junior offers to help. This leads to, after some additional shots of liquor, and a few bumps of coke, losing Devonne all over again. And, of course, in trying to deal with that, Jackie doubles down on self-medicating.

Something that Junior may join her in for Frankie is really testing his ability to stay sober. For with Krista letting the wrong people know what she saw, and Jackie amplifying things, Frankie wants Krista dead. An idea Osito is down for, since he has been murdering people since he was 15. However, for Junior, throwing a dead body in the water is one thing, never mind being a drug dealer, killing someone though? That’s a whole different story.

Osito in conversation with Frankie.

Playing House – Ray, Renee

On a happier note, Ray and Renee are hitting it off to the point where the lines are increasingly blurred. Renee, Ray, and Frankie Jr.’s have a movie night, Ray doesn’t flip out when Frankie Jr. pees on him, and Ray and Renee continue to have good sex. But, there remains this question of whether this is all too good to be true and how it may end.

Mind you, not “If,” but “How.”

When Your High Comes Down – Ray, Jackie, Krista, Osito, Junior

With Jackie forcing Krista to lose Anthony, she is close to hitting rock bottom. She is using again, and while not at the point of pulling tricks, that could be on the horizon. So, Krista calls Jackie, asking for help, and with coke in her system, and needing a way to be redeemed, Jackie does try to make her way towards Krista. But, thanks to her antics, she doesn’t beat Osito and Junior.

Now, originally, Krista was supposed to OD and just be another junkie. Junior, however, messes up the plan, which was to give Krista something to pure to even touch, so Osito beats her head in with an iron. Leading to, the following morning, Ray getting a call and Jackie learning that, if she wasn’t so messed up, she could have saved Krista from her fate. Which, hopefully, and likely, will be her latest wakeup call.

Also Worth Noting

  1. Hightown was recently renewed for a second season


Krista’s Death

Krista thinking about her life choices.

Krista is more of an asset to this show dead than alive. For one, Sherry has become an afterthought, and with us barely knowing a thing about her, she became a statistic. Krista, on the other hand, while she never gained much of our empathy, we did get to know her and recognize she had a sad story. Also, with seeing her desperation and recognizing her reaching out to Jackie could have saved her, you can see she was on that brink.

Which, if Krista was written or performed better, would make her death devastating. But, instead, it just helps remind you Osito, for all his charm, is still a killer. Mind you, a killer who does have nightmares about the people he kills, but a killer nonetheless.

Also, it renews the urgency of Ray’s investigation, which increasingly has become secondary to his relationship with Renee.

Ray & Renee Make Such A Weirdly Cute Couple

At this point, Ray’s relationship with Renee is second only to Osito as a character. Granted, there is this vibe something is going to go wrong if Renee and Ray legitimately love one another but, isn’t the danger and desperation what makes them cute? Ray is a captain save a hoe type, and while Renee is a sex worker, she isn’t sloppy.

Rather, Renee does what is needed to survive, and with Ray, it seems she is given the ability to actually enjoy life. I mean, him not making having Frankie Jr. with them on a date made her so happy and then add in not flipping out when Frankie Jr. peed on him? At one point, Renee might have been with Ray because it would help Frankie, but now it seems Ray is giving her the ability to see what a loving man could really be. Especially one who is legit.

Leaving you to wonder, what happened in Ray’s past relationships to lead to him being single? Is what Renee is experiencing just a honeymoon period?

On The Fence

Jackie As The Lead

In a recent Billboard.com article, “Pose” co-creator Steven Canals, in conversation with Todrick Hall, talks about how one of the issues Hollywood has is it wants to remake or duplicate well known white stories but now with diverse casts. In my mind, Jackie comes off like a white male character re-written to be a Hispanic or Latina.

Why do I say this? Well, because she doesn’t come off all that specific. Jackie feels very generic, and while they sprinkle in some Spanish here and there, you could easily imagine a white woman playing her, a man, just about anyone. Which does bring up the need to ask, “Well, how can you be specific?” to which I honestly can’t say.

One of the issues of having more diversity is that you can’t just bring skin tone and a bit of language, you need to also have culture. But the problem with that is, from one region of the country, if not world, to the next, cultures shift. With Jackie, it could very well be she grew up more so around Devonne types than Alan or Osito, so what we see could be authentic.

Yet, there comes what might be a growing issue, perhaps just for me, when it comes to the expectations of non-white leads. How do you both acknowledge the character isn’t white, beyond skin tone and the occasional nod, but also push against stereotypes and how certain people may want to be seen?

As of now, Jackie doesn’t have that balance, and it makes it so from Osito to Junior, and Ray, they eclipse her in every which way possible. I’d even say Renee feels more complex than Jackie. Which is a damn shame since, with “Vida” ending, Jackie is probably one of the few Latin or Hispanic women who are the leads of a major network show. Never mind a queer Latin/Hispanic lead.

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