Thursday, April 19, 2018

Mosaic - Moving Forward, Not Back



*** / ****
While I can’t really say I connect emotionally with the characters so far on the HBO/Soderbergh series, Mosaic, particularly when Olivia (the murdered artist with an overextended resort, realizing she’d have to give it up due to an ever-incurring debt) rips into the younger artist-protégé, Joel, for supposedly not being honest with her regarding a girlfriend when renting out an apartment while doing menial chores for her at the resort. Olivia just tears into him for being a “sneaky, sneaky boy”, flirting with her, appearing disingenuous, giving her mixed signals, and later going on the attack on New Year’s Eve, telling him he owes her rent (despite all the chores he committed to, including cleaning her septic tank!) and isn’t progressing in his artistic craft. Olivia just shits all over Joel the entire episode to the point that he has every right to be pissed off at her. I don’t think Olivia comes off very well in the episode, although that isn’t to say I didn’t consider Sharon Stone any less astounding. Olivia is a mess, emotionally wrung and just left distraught by the end because Eric Neill comes clean to her about his con job, hired to foil her into selling her property to the clients wanting the land. To know that his client is someone she is not too fond of just sends Olivia over the edge. She contacts Neill’s client and lets him have it. Neill, who had fallen in love with Olivia, told his contact (who paid him cash for use to work his con and influence over Olivia) it was over and he’d no longer be a part of preying on her, and sat her down to tell her the whole truth, isn’t quite anticipating the rage directed his way. But Olivia had tried and tried to find *the one*, believing it was Neill, only to realize he also was deceiving her. It didn’t help that a few nights prior, Olivia’s friend, JC (Paul ‘Pee Wee Herman’ Reubens) toasted Neill, believing he was finally the right man to keep her happy after a lot of bad relationships that ultimately went bust. JC is one of the final people Olivia would contact before going missing. Her studio, where the heated exchange between Olivia and Neill went down, certainly bears the signs of a violent encounter. But where is Olivia? That should eventually come to light. Neill is interrogated by deputy, Nate (Devin Ratray), regarding his whereabouts and timeline during her disappearance, while Joel is just among a member of those questioned. But the first episode reveals Nate preparing Joel for arrest, so eventually the investigation will implicate him. Joel’s intense encounter with Olivia prior to her meltdown in the studio when Neill admits to working a con early in their relationship might set up a return to finish what they started…and Joel had a bruised and battered hand looking as if he had been punching someone or something repeatedly. Joel was increasingly boozing back in his apartment while his girlfriend pleads with him to just leave. The episode recognizes Joel leaving his apartment supposedly towards the studio to perhaps give Olivia a piece of his mind for demanding extra rent pay. Who arrives isn’t revealed although Olivia addressed whoever it with vitriol. So there are certainly suspects, but Neill doesn’t seem to be the most likely. Neill’s behavior once he commits to Olivia no longer  posits deception. If anything, Neill gives Olivia space after begging for her to just listen. The Olivia meltdown itself has Sharon Stone giving a complete come-apart in grandiose fashion. The devastation and rage won’t allow for any apologies to penetrate the tumultuous response, volcanic and persistently stubborn. Neill can’t break through, no matter how much love-you proclamations he tries to bestow upon Olivia. Beau Bridges as the sheriff appears briefly and shows immediate signs of frustration and dread in being handed such a case of an area celeb missing with a crime scene indicating murder. Nonetheless he commands his officers and still gets to work.





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1_the title of the episode refers to Olivia laying out to Joel his two options after telling him he hasn't improved as an artist and should reconsider his career. That obviously, along with the rent demand (due to her debts on the resort), was enough to incur his anger. And her response, a blowoff to Neill when Joel storms off, reveals Olivia as a woman seemingly losing everything, emotionally staggered by insecurities regarding her age, supposed rejection by the young man she tells was hired because he's handsome, and feeling the ensuing effects of losing her property.

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