Pearson Season 1 Episode 6 Review: The Donor

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Bobby Novak is feeling himself. 

For the first time, Pearson Season 1 Episode 6 presented us with the Bobby who put on his big boy pants and was ready to be an active participant in his campaign and mayorship.

He wasn't sitting off to the side leaving Jessica, Keri, and the others to do his work.

Mr. Mayor - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 6

Finally, Bobby's backbone replaced his wishbone. For so long it felt like he was sitting back, and everyone else was fighting his battles and putting in more work than he was.

It was easy to forget how well Bobby and Jessica work together when they're on the same page since Keri and his relationship monopolizes most of his screentime.

Related: Pearson Season 1 Episode 5 Review: The Former City Attorney

Bobby is over the tug-of-war happening between Pat and Jessica. He was encouraged to pick a side by both of them, and he did. He chose Jessica.

He knew Pat longer and best, but part of knowing Pat is understanding who he is at his core, which is not a decent person.

Badass Bobby - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 6

So far, Bobby knows Jessica has his best interest at heart. It was due time for Bobby to take steps toward getting from beneath Pat's thumb.

The problem with someone having leverage over you to blackmail you and use at will is that you'll always be under their control as long as they can use it against you.

Bobby: I told you, if you can't pull your weight, I'd go elsewhere.
Pat: Pull my weight? I own you.
Bobby: You don't own shit!
Pat: What did you say to me?
Bobby: You don't own your buildings. You don't own the land they're on. But most importantly, you don't own me.
Pat: You're forgetting a little something.
Bobby: I'm sick and tired of you holding that over my head. You want to drop that bomb and blow yourself up, then be my guest. But for now, get the fuck outta my office, I got a city to run.

At this rate, the best thing Bobby could do was call Pat's bluff. If Pat wanted to use what he had against Bobby, then bring it on and ensure mutual destruction.

The best way to separate himself from Pat was to cut ties financially. Pat finances Bobby's entire campaign, which means Bobby is a bought politician at the beck and call of Pat.

Pat McGann Plots - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 6

We also found out there is family history there. It was alluded to before, but Pat and Pete Novak go back. Bobby grew up around Pat, so it adds another layer to the hold the older man has on Bobby.

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He is like family, and family means something to this group.

It was smart to seek alternative monetary backers. Thanks to Jessica's brief meeting with McGann, she figured out it was the best time to make a clean break.

Pat: Banks have tightened their belts since '06.
Jessica: Yeah, for regular people. But rich people can always get more money. That's why they're rich.

For all of Pat's bluster, he doesn't have as much power as he lets on. He's not financially secure, which is why he reached out overseas in the first place.

If he comes across like a sinking ship with no money, it was enough reason for Bobby to exit left.

New Backers - Pearson

Pat hoped an almost tribal form of blind loyalty is what would keep Bobby loyal, but Bobby is learning it's about the people who want to protect him with no strings. It was a refreshing change to see Bobby bare his teeth and have some bite.

Derrick's idea of finding a new backer was going to Steiner. If Steiner got on board with Bobby, others would follow.

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There's a pattern where we hear more about Bobby and who he is or was than what we see. We're given enough crumbs to conclude he was a bleeding-heart who was passionate about social justice and reform, but we don't see it.

Jessica: This is your chance to hit the reset button. If you secure campaign funds from other sources, you can finally buy your freedom.
Bobby: It's not that simple. I wouldn't be here without him.
Jessica: What's the point of being here if he controls you? I see how it eats away at you every day. It's time to be your own man. Take away his money, and you take away his power. Unless of course, this is about something else. Is there something else, Mr. Mayor?

Bobby doesn't even come across like the working-class guy that he presumably was before all of this. It's like a fill-in-the-blanks that happens with Bobby's character that makes him hard to grasp.

Overworked - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 6

Steiner loved who Bobby used to be, but he felt Bobby getting into bed with McGann spoke to his character, and it's something from which Bobby can't recover.

Whatever Pat did to turn off Steiner (and maybe it has to do with Tommy Diehl), Steiner wants no part.

He wasn't as blunt about Pat as Tom was; Tom called Pat a thug. It doesn't get more ingenious than going to the enemy of your enemy. It was the best angle to take, and despite Tom's reservations, he loved Bobby's acknowledgment of being a McGann puppet.

You have to admire a politician who admits to being a puppet.

Tom

Tom doesn't want a rehash of whatever happened with Tommy Diehl (who was his friend).

Bless Bobby's heart, everything goes above his head, and it seems he rarely knows what the hell is going on.

Mr. Mayor - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 6

He didn't mind letting Tom believe McGann had anything to do with Diehl, but he was confident Pat had no part in Diehl's death.

Jessica needs to know everything; otherwise, she can't fix their problems effectively. Bobby is out of the loop, though. He's unaware that his brother killed Diehl.

The conversation between Bobby and Jessica visibly rattled Nick.

Jessica: Who's Tommy Diehl?
Bobby: Ancient history.
Jessica: It didn't feel like ancient history to that man back there.

He knows Jessica can't let sleeping dogs lie. The truth about Diehl will come out sooner rather than later.

Pat's last-ditch effort to harangue Bobby with the cassette tape could have something to do with Nick's involvement with Tommy's disappearance/death.

Nick's Guilt  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 4

It would be interesting. Nick's stance on family is abundantly clear. He would do anything for family, and the situation with Diehl may be another case of that.

But Bobby isn't as clear-cut, so if Pat's latest leverage is against Nick, we don't know without a shadow of a doubt if Bobby won't let his brother go down or succumb to a remorseful Nick who could volunteer to protect his brother and absolve himself.

Just so you know, Jessica tells me everything. Sometimes I wish she wouldn't, but thanks for looking out for her when I'm not around.

Jeff

It would add another layer to Jeff's conversation with Nick. If Nick's in trouble, his best bet is to confide in Jessica, and he always has her back; so why wouldn't she have his?

Jeff's pissing match with Nick was so polite and one-sided. He doesn't trust Nick, and he probably sees through him regarding his kinship with Jessica. He has faith in Jessica, though.

Jeffica - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 6

It was such a polite flex; it was humorous. The message was received, Jeff. It wasn't lost on me that Jeff did his gentle Alpha thing in the same hour where he landed himself in the dog house with Jessica. 

Jeff extending his business card could come up down the road, especially if Nick lands himself in trouble.

Jeff: You must be Nick.
Nick: And you are?
Jeff: Jeff Malone. Jessica and I live together.
Nick: How'd you know who I was?
Jeff: Oh, Jessica described you to a tee. Good looking Chicago cop with a striking resemblance to the mayor.
Nick: I'll take good looking.

It's funny that what Nick and Jessica have in common that Jeff doesn't understand is the willingness to do anything for family.

Jeff came on too strong, and he was neither warm nor receptive to Angela. It was offputting.

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He was putting Jessica in a position where she felt she had to choose, and while he's her family too, he doesn't supersede her blood relatives she's trying to get to know.

First Impressions  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 6

Her relationship with them is of the utmost importance. It's best not to come between people and their family.

However, Jeff made points many of us were probably thinking ourselves. It has been frustrating to see Angela play hot and cold with Jessica.

She has a hangup about Jessica having more money and wanting to help them, but the pressure she puts on Jessica to halt the housing development deal is ridiculous.

Walking to School - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 6

She had the gall to be pissed off when Jessica told her there was nothing else she could do to stop them from moving forward with the development.

Angela came across as a user, and she can't go from thinking Jessica's job is disgraceful to hoping Jessica can wield her power to serve Angela's interest. 

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Angela can't have it both ways, so Jeff trying to stand up for Jessica makes sense. He doesn't want his girlfriend to be taken advantage of even if it's her family doing it.

Yoli: You're Jeff! Yoli. I'm the one you spoke to on the phone.
Jeff: Oh it's nice to meet you.
Yoli: It's nice to meet you. You're just like I imagined. Very Morris Chestnut.
Jeff: Thanks, I think.

The final moments between Jessica and Jeff before he left again were intense, though. I hate to see them at odds.

Jessica's guilt about taking the job and over the sins of her father will eat her up. She's putting too much on herself. Nevertheless, her struggles are visceral. 

In so many ways, from her actions to her existence and simply being who she is, she feels like she sold out her family and even that she's a sellout. 

Knock, Knock, I'm Here - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 6

It pops up on occasion with Yoli, as well, pertaining to her heritage. There is no age limit on figuring out yourself and questioning and doubting who and what you are. With Jessica's every action, she's taking steps toward defining herself.

It's hard to decipher Jeff's intentions when he gave Angela his key. On the one hand, it could be viewed as a sincere gesture to help Jessica connect with her family.

Jessica: They're family. I should have done more to help them.
Jeff: They've been your family for like 15 minutes.
Jessica: What's that supposed to mean?
Jeff: It means they're strangers. You don't know them. They don't know you, and you're trying to make up for something your father did, and that's not your responsibility. You want family. Your family is sitting right here in front of you, and you can't see it.
Jessica: I know you're my family.
Jeff: Do you?
Jessica: If you're my family, then they are your family too, and if you can't accept that then we have a bigger problem then whether I can get to Miami or not.

On the other hand, it sends a message of "be careful what you ask for." They're moving in with her until they get on their feet, and boy, that's a lot.

The familial theme carried over to Yoli. She and Derrick were able to bury their hatchets and make amends with each other.

It was the best timing. Yoli needed emotional support after finding out ICE mostly likely detained her mother.

Concerned Beau - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 6

The peek into Yoli's home life was nice, and it supported what we knew about her and explained her passion for social causes. It was an organic way to incorporate a timely issue without it feeling forced.

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Jessica likes Yoli, and Yoli is beginning to understand how much Jessica values family. Jessica gave her more than one opening to share, but Yoli wasn't ready.

It was distressing when she ignored the unknown calls and cut off her phone. It's like she doesn't want to face it.

Yoli Gives Advice - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 4

She's also upset with herself for forgetting about her mother's meeting and not picking up how worried her mother was that morning.

Yoli spent the day trying to avoid her problems, but the reality sinks in no matter what.

Keri doesn't have a family, I guess, so the theme of family, as per usual, went back to her relationship with Bobby.

Bobby: My guilt is over you. I don't want you putting your life on hold.
Keri: I'm not putting my life on hold.
Boby: You're talking about men?
Keri: Do you really want to have this conversation right now?

It's disappointing how everything about Keri goes back to this.

Lenz is magnetic, and I wish she had more material beyond this. Please, let us know below, are any of you remotely invested in Bobby and Keri's romantic relationship at all? 

The Mistress  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 3

Jessica and Jeff have the romance covered. They're grown, headstrong adults who often battle it out because of their inability to cave, and even though it's not in every installment, it's more entertaining. 

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Jessica and Nick have something, whatever the heck it is, that is appealing for viewers without necessairly falling into the catergory of full-blown romance or affair territory. 

Bobby: Why aren't you dating him?
Keri: Because something is wrong with me, and I said I was in a relationship.
Bobby: We are in a relationship. I need you, Keri.

The chemistry between Derrick and Yoli is adorable, and they have an innocent "will they/won't they" vibe that neither detracts from the show, nor does it consume their respective characters. 

Then there is Bobby and Keri. 

Romance isn't essential to every series. Pearson can still have hints of it if that's what they're angling for, but it's sexy on its own. 

Reunited Again - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 6

It's unfortunate how the romantic relationship between Bobby and Keri eclipses both characters' development in other aspects of the series.

Keri has often mentioned she doesn't want to be "that girl," but she is. That's what she has been reduced to for most of the season. 

It's a shame because of how fantastic Keri and Bobby's scenes are when they aren't entangled with each other.

It was a great hour for Bobby for all the reasons that didn't have to do with his love for Keri. 

Tearful Keri - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 3

Meanwhile, Keri, on her own, has endearing moments and vulnerable ones, but then we get the woman who scoffs at how puritanical Chicago is compared to California.

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People don't care about where Bobby sleeps so much as they care that he's cheating on his sick wife with his city attorney. It's an image and respect thing.

No, Bobby isn't in a position to be jealous of anyone Keri may or may not be dating. No, it's not cute to claim they're in a relationship when he has a family at home.

The Family Man - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 3

Stephanie suspects Bobby is cheating, and he's missing out on time with his children when he's doing naked push-ups on Keri.

Is anyone rooting for these two or finding them remotely endearing? It's having the opposite effect.

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If they make a lover's weekend out of this work trip, then so be it, but leave us out of it.

Additional Notes:

  • R.I.P. to Jessica's beautiful apartment with the kiddies running around. 
  • How long before we get an update on the federal investigation? 
  • Why did they keep referring to Pat as a butcher? What exactly does that mean?
  • Jeff was so damn territorial during this installment. It was almost shocking! 
  • Yoli compared Jeff to Morris Chestnut, and I don't know whether to laugh or groan. It's a compliment; both Chestnut and Woodside are hot. 
  • Pat called Derrick "Barack," and that deserved a groan. 
  • I'm biased, but Nick needs more screentime. But shoutout to Simon Kassianides who kills this role. Nick doesn't even have to say anything, and he conveys so much in one facial expression. 
  • Free Yoli's mom! My heart is broken. 
  • What is on that tape?! 

Did you love Bobby taking a stand against Pat? Did Jeff overstep with Angela? How about with Nick?

What do you think will happen if Bobby and Jessica find out about what Nick did to Tommy Diehl? What do you think is on the tape?

Hit the comments below!

You can watch Pearson online here via TV Fanatic!

The Donor Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Pearson Season 1 Episode 6 Quotes

Bobby: My guilt is over you. I don't want you putting your life on hold.
Keri: I'm not putting my life on hold.
Boby: You're talking about men?
Keri: Do you really want to have this conversation right now?

Was that him back there? Nick D'amato? You two seem pretty familiar.

Jeff