This week’s episode of STAR delivered some of the biggest moments yet. But that doesn’t mean it was a good episode. I am now certain that there is no vision for this show, and so, here we are, with now only two episodes left and a mixed bag of strange events to go through. Let’s start with the biggest moment hands down: the band-yet-to-be-named just got named. And it is… Big Trouble. Yes, after weeks, and weeks of referring to the girl group like they’re Voldemort, the name we’re given is underwhelming and makes no sense. What’s big trouble? The episode? Season? Carlotta’s wigs? I wonder if they renamed the band week-to-week if anyone would notice? Did anyone even notice that we only now got a name for the girl group? Am I alone in the universe?
The structure of this episode is completely off. It entirety hangs on a number of third act reveals and random occurrences while pretending to be the first episode about music. It’s not, and don’t fool yourself into thinking that Star finally decided that they are a show about a girl group trying to make it. That was only the pilot, which might as well be a different show. We are told that the group is finally going to perform at Atlanta Next Fest, the competition that they’ve been chasing since episode two. We are then led to believe that a guy from Next Fest comes by to tell the group that, because Jahil signed them as a four person group, that kicking Eva out would disqualify them. It’s insane when you really think about it, but why would anyone really think about anything on Star?
We’re also played into believing that this episode will take on Cotton’s drug abuse, as it potentially ruins the girl’s chance at Next Fest. But for some reason, in the last second, they shy away from this and go to a much more obvious reveal in the third act. So all we really have for the first two acts are motions that don’t amount to anything. It should come as a surprise to no one that Big Trouble wins Next Fest with little to no effort at all. They are perfect musicians that need nothing but competitions to devour. They’ve never experienced failure or rejection in their personal goals or life choices because that would mean real conflict and Star would rather do dumb, messy stuff.
With that in mind, the first Act III reveal is Eva and Jahil. Simone overhears Eva congratulate Jahil on hiring an actor to pretend that Next Fest had a group requirement in order to bring her back into Big Trouble. I honestly did not see this coming, but honestly if I had focused, I probably would’ve guessed it. This show has such a bad track record with assumptions and things just falling together magically, that I saw this as nothing more than a lame plot device. Instead it was a setup, and for this one I gotta clap it out. Star got me, and not only did I find the reveal unexpected, but it also explained a lot of problems I had with this plot. Good reveal.
If only the rest followed suit. This one isn’t bad, it’s just so obvious. Jahil escorts Cotton home, and as Cotton is hitting on Jahil (with Jahil rebuking her advances) Carlotta runs outside and tells Cotton to stop hitting on her… father. Yes, Jahil is Cotton’s father. It’s unclear if Jahil knew he was her father, but I think it’s fair to assume he does. What is clear is that everyone is extremely angry at this situation. After yelling at each other, each character goes their separate ways. And all I could think of in the moment was, “My God this was the most predictable reveal. When Jahil scolded Cotton at the beginning of the episode? Of course he’s her father – I literally have a note that says, ‘I think it’s fair to assume from this point on that Jahil is Cotton’s father.’”
Now for the truly bad. While Alex is driving home with her boyfriend, for contractual reasons or just to confuse the plot, they decided to kill the boyfriend off. You need to understand, that’s a lot of plot thrown out the window because of a car crash. And I get it, car crashes do come out of nowhere, they are unpredictable and deadly. And I don’t know if Alex or her boyfriend are alive or not, but I think it’s safe to assume that he is dead and she, though brutally injured, will live. The disappointing thing is that it’s cheap move. Just because it’s always a sudden tragedy in life doesn’t give you the OK to use it as a plot device unless it’s right after a Tommy Lee Jones speech about the nature of Justice, you are the Cohen Brothers, and Javier Bardem asks a kid for his shirt.
The last, the worst, and yet the most believable of the bunch, is Star getting a house from Hunter… in her name. Yeah, there’s no typo. She got a house, from her boyfriend of six weeks, in her name. I am very torn about this, because in so many ways it is the worst thing in the episode, but maybe that’s what secretly makes it the best? If I’m giving all the undeserved credit to Star then this is what that scene looks like: after hitting his girlfriend, crazy, impulsive Hunter buys Star a house, thinking that the material girl with no material in the world will love her forever. She does, because she is vapid and young and doesn’t have the foresight to see him beating her again. She literally says, “Nobody’s ever done this for me before,” AFTER THE DUDE BOUGHT HER A MCMANSION! Yeah nobody has ever done that for me either, Star. But this is all a setup for a very dark moment when he hits her again. I’ve never rooted for a man to hit a woman, but honestly if Hunter doesn’t do something very shitty to Star this scene will be nothing short of atrocious.
And there you have it, next week’s episode is the penultimate. I can only expect it to deal with the massive fallouts from the last act, but more than that, it’s hard to see this show as anything more than a journey to nowhere.
Season 1, Episode 10 (S01E10)
Star airs Wednesdays at 9PM on Fox
Arman is a Seattle-based writer who often lives in LA and wants to be in New York. He has worked on Billy on The Street and Black-ish. He also loves sandwiches.
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Arman Mohazzabfar | Contributor