TV SeriesSeries Premiere

Little Fires Everywhere: Season 1 Episode 1 “The Spark” [Series Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

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In its series premiere, “Little Fires Everywhere” takes us back to 1997 and gives us a socio-economic tale with characters ready to burst at the seams.


Created ByLiz Tigelaar
Directed ByLynn Shelton
Written ByLiz Tigelaar
Aired (Hulu)3/18/2020
Genre(s)Drama, Young Adult, LGBT
Introduced This Episode
ElenaReese Witherspoon
BillJoshua Jackson
MoodyGavin Lewis
TripJordan Elsass
LexieJade Pettyjohn
Isabelle Marie “Izzy”Megan Stott
MiaKerry Washington
PearlLexi Underwood

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Plot Overview

Sometime during the holiday season of 1997, perhaps early 1998, Elena’s house burnt down while she was in it. Now, she made it out alive, and her husband, Bill, is safe, alongside sons Moody and Trip, alongside daughter Lexie, but her youngest, Isabelle Marie, is nowhere to be seen. Which is a problem since Elena and Isabelle Marie, a rebellious 14-year-old, have a fractured relationship. One stemming from Elena not getting to be in her dream job due to getting pregnant with Isabelle Marie, Izzy.

But, before we discover if Izzy burnt down the house, we focus on Mia and her daughter Pearl. Two nomads, of which Mia is the artistic mother, who cleans places to get by, and Pearl a 15-year-old poet, that end up in a duplex Elena owns. One which they rent out and as Pearl grows close to Moody, and the families find their relationship going beyond tenant and landlord, that is when the drama begins. Especially since Mia has PTSD, from something which happened in the past, and Izzy finds herself drawn to her, and vice versa.

Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs

Can something be stolen if it was always meant for you?
— Pearl

Review

Highlights

Izzy

With Izzy and Elena having the kind of issues where she can be accused of trying to burn the house down and possibly murdering her mother, she is probably one of the top draws on this show. Especially since she is not like the other girls in a way which doesn’t seem inauthentic. There is truly something more to Izzy than rebelling against the perfection her mom advocates and strives for.

And when you add in Mia taking to her, perhaps as she loses Pearl to Shaker, it draws you into what possibly can happen over the four-month period before everyone meeting, to Elena’s house on fire.

Being Adjacent To Privilege

The life Mia has provided for Pearl is that of adventure, uncertainty, and lacks stability. All of which, for a young Black girl, naturally makes Moody and Elena’s world alluring. It is foreign, how the other half lives, and Pearl is invited into their homes, their halls, even their dinner table. But, as shown when the neighborhood watch came, and we saw Mia’s reaction, Pearl doesn’t exist in a fantasy. She is still a young Black girl in a world which will not see her as a child. So as Pearl navigates what she is against what she is given access to, it should be interesting to see how that friction plays out.

On The Fence

Mia’s Trauma & Elena’s Need For Control

There is just something about Washington and Witherspoon’s roles as Mia and Elena which seem too comfortable for both. Mia being someone dealing with trauma, seemingly queer, and a bit off, it just feels like something Washington can do in her sleep. Perhaps explaining why it seems she isn’t necessarily dialing it in but doing what needs to be done as if this is less about an opportunity to be seen or perform, but get a paycheck. One she wants to get without tarnishing her resume yet also not push herself to the point of hitting you with a significant impact.

Then, when it comes to Witherspoon, again, there is this vibe she is tapping into the same mindset she has entered with previous characters. In this case, her “Big Little Lies” character. Making it, so both of their children create a greater appeal than them, the seasoned actresses.

Overall

First Impression: Divisive

Perhaps the main issue with “Little Fires Everywhere” is that it pushes its high profile actors front and center, despite them giving not enough to maintain attention. For with them both seemingly reacting to their children, it makes their time on screen seem like the downtime in an action movie before something interesting happens again. Which, going forward, creates a bit of a worry about this show’s longevity. For even if this is a limited series of 8 episodes, I can’t say the premiere necessarily has the kind of hook needed to sit through two additional hours now, and 5 additional hours later. Even if you are subject to quarantine conditions.

 

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Izzy - 85%
Being Adjacent To Privilege - 86%
Mia’s Trauma & Elena’s Need For Control - 75%

82%

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Amari Allah

I started Wherever I Look back in 2011 and have aimed to be that friend who loves watching various forms of media and talking about it. So, from bias, strong opinions, and a perspective you may not have thought about, you'll find that in our reviews.

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