First, Adriana gets into hot water with the two men in her life, even as her election looms. Then Lacey and Edward both get rejected, right when they need support the most.
Dee Dee is having housing issues. And Steve and Amanda need some space, as do Shay and Mahira. And frankly, so do I. This frustrating show just keeps on going to uninspired, unearned places.
Dear Edward recap: ‘Music’
Season 1, episode 8: In the episode, entitled “Music,” 12-year-old plane crash survivor Edward (played by Colin O’Brien) is mad at his dead brother, Jordan (Maxwell Jenkins). Ever since he met Jordan’s secret girlfriend Mahira (Jenna Qureshi), he’s been obsessed with her. (Mahira was Jordan’s biggest opposition to moving to the West Coast, and it was the flight to their new home that killed him, their parents and the relatives of everyone else on this show.)
Edward and Mahira text all the time, and now she wants to “talk” about something on Sunday. Jordan’s ghost and Edward’s only other friend, Shay (Eva Ariel Binder), both try to warn him it’s not about how Mahira wants to be in a relationship with him. But Edward won’t be swayed.
Mahira also endures a mini-crisis when he tries to play the piano and freaks out about it. The former prodigy hasn’t played since the crash. His aunt/foster mom Lacey (Taylor Schilling) tries to talk to him about it, but he’s not in the mood. In fact, the little imp has been nothing but rude to her since she took him in. And now that her husband John (Carter Hudson) has left her, she’s finally pushing back a little.
Edward ignores her when she asks him not to eat in his bedroom. Then he throws a kind of tantrum. Good. Let the little monster have it. I know he’s suffering the worst crisis of his young life, but he was a selfish little creep before the crash, too, so it’s not like we’re dealing with linear cause and effect.
Edward also doesn’t want to admit that Lacey also lost someone in the crash. Everything’s always about Edward. (Schilling’s pretty good in these scenes, by the way. These types of performances usually don’t prove very interesting, so it’s good to see her do some real acting.)
Fresh trouble on the campaign trail
Congressional hopeful Adriana (Anna Uzele) is still running for the seat that belonged to her deceased grandmother (who was on the plane with Edward’s family). First, Adriana finds herself in hot water for an unearthed speech. And then she runs into more trouble over recently unearthed documents that show her grandmother was paying her way more than the rest of the staff.
I’m not exactly sure why that would be news or merit much in the way of a response, to be honest. They were related. That’s just the way the world works. Anyway, because we’re on this show, people are calling for Adriana to drop out of the race. When she meets up with her old priest boyfriend Eric (Joshua Echebiri) for advice, he suggests she shake it off if she’s serious about helping the community.
The paparazzi catch her at lunch with Eric, and the pictures make it to the internet. Her campaign staff asks her not to say anything confirming or denying that she and the priest are an item, because he’s good for the community and thus good for her campaign. She then holds a press conference where she announces she will donate the money her grandmother overpaid her to charity. Plus, she manages to dodge questions about her and Eric.
Everybody’s dealing with past bad actions
Elsewhere, Amanda (Brittany S. Hall) is still sleeping with her dead husband Brent’s (James Chen) brother, Steve (Ivan Shaw). That’s despite Steve’s impending nuptials to his fiance, Daphne (Clara Wong). He’s still processing his rejection of his brother before he died. Steve didn’t trust that Brent was actually getting sober, and kicked him out a few days before the plane crashed. And now he’s taking it out on Amanda by making his grief her problem.
At Steve’s urging, bereaved socialite Dee Dee (Connie Britton) sets out to sell her house. But she’s blowing it on purpose — acting creepy whenever prospective buyers come around to tour the place. In reality, she doesn’t want to let the house go. She’s got memories there.
Before he died in the plane crash, her lying husband Charlie (Ted Koch) and she enjoyed many good years there, raising their daughter Zoe (Audrey Corsa). Now it’s all going away. She gets Steve to come over and explain to Zoe that Charlie lied about his finances, but Zoe doesn’t want to hear it. Her dad was a saint to her, and no amount of facts will change that.
Their screaming turns physical, and Steve winds up with a bloody nose. The scuffle feels about as believable as anything else on Dear Edward. Dee Dee finally agrees to sell the house (while a Nico song plays in the background — unearned needle drop there) and move into an apartment, having a little moment of reflection before doing it.
Sorry, Edward …
As suspected, Mahira wants to stop seeing Edward. She wants to move on with her life, which seems pretty rich considering how hard she lobbied to have the little boy in her life in the first place, but whatever … kids are stupid.
So Edward doubles down on his Shay friendship, building her a golf course in the middle of the night so she can take up the sport because her deadbeat dad told her to. I’m not sure supporting your friend’s disappointing dad’s browbeating is the way to go here, but whatever.
Edward apologizes in person later, and Shay accepts his apology. But she says he can’t stay at her house anymore anyway. She got her period. She doesn’t want a boy sleeping in her room anymore, so she gives him his stuff back and says they’re not friends anymore. (This is pure projection from the show’s writers to make Edward’s life the worst thing ever, but it’s not like he didn’t earn it by being selfish.)
Finally, Edward runs up to the school’s music recital rooms, grabs the piano, and throws it down a flight of stairs in anger. Your show about a preteen who survived a plane crash probably isn’t supposed to make you actively root against the little boy in question, but I’m not getting much reason from the writers to hope Edward will have a happy ending. At least if they throw him in juvenile hall, that would an unexpected twist!
Watch Dear Edward on Apple TV+
New episodes of Dear Edward arrive every Friday on Apple TV+.
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Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.