Screen / The Divide

Christine actually gets interesting in the The Divide‘s “I’m For Justice”

Going into this episode I had worried my interest in The Divide was waning. It’s a solid show, but nothing’s reached out and grabbed me as hard as I’d like. Thankfully this week’s “I’m For Justice” solved this problem. I didn’t realize how many gaps had been left unfilled in its most basic premise until it filled them in this episode. The show abandons its attempts at keeping Eric and Stanley Zale shrouded in mystery, thrusting both of them into the forefront of this episode.

Strangely enough it’s Christine that gets to take home the prize for Most Interesting Part of the Episode. The longer her attempts at proving her father innocent go the more convinced I become that he’s not innocent at all. At this point I’ll be very disappointed to learn differently, and with the introduction of Christine’s maternal side of the family it only adds to this suspicion. While Christine’s roughing it in Maxine’s bar, the Danners host posh parties for their matriarch’s birthday (where even Stanley Zale is in attendance). Prior to this I can’t remember if we got any indication that this side of Christine’s family was more well-off than her father’s, but this new information adds to The Divide‘s apparent theme of wealth, and the power that comes with it, being a source of villainy. That is until Victor has a violent outburst when learning that Christine saw the Danners.

If there was any question about how violent Victor is, this took care of that. There’s little reason to question why he dislikes them so much since they believe wholeheartedly in his guilt, but his screaming at Christine for going to them and even striking a few guards in the process wasn’t at all in line with the innocent man Christine thinks he is. Throw in his string of assault charges after Christine’s mom left him and it’s looking very likely that Christine’s going to be very disappointed when the truth comes out.

In their own bubble, the Pages are dealing with Jenny’s suicide attempt. Though unsuccessful, it leads to some changes in their dynamic. Jenny’s alive and in a rehab facility, and it’s good because she’s a strong emotional touchstone for the show. Until this week, which was effective in showing Christine’s devastated response to her father’s ranting, The Divide‘s been having trouble building up anything emotionally resonant outside of the Pages and Jenny. Her suicide attempt has exposed the depth of her vulnerabilities to the family, and Trey’s own reaction draws him deeper into the fold as he turns to his grandfather for answers.

Trey’s chat with Isaiah is illuminating as Isaiah recalls the difficulties of his ascent to police commissioner. Though I’m hesitant at the seeds of discontent being planted between Trey and Adam, their scene offered some shading to Isaiah. It makes me wonder how Isaiah ended up working alongside Stanley Zale, but I have my suspicions. I don’t think Isaiah considers himself to be the bad guy he’s looking like, since he makes good and valid points about the way race continues to work against him and even other powerful people despite the public misconception that racism is no longer an issue. If Isaiah had a difficult hold on his position then I can see him accepting some kind of bribe from Stanley Zale in order to make sure he remained in his place. And I can also see how Adam trying to undo all his hard work and jeopardizing both Isaiah’s and Adam’s own positions is a problem for him.

Moving onto the Zales, The Divide seems to be doing better with them than I originally anticipated. The show’s full of families (Christine’s, the Pages and now Eric and Stanley), and it does a fine job of making them all three-dimensional. It would be easy to fit the Zales into an oft-seen template of a wealthy but overbearing (perhaps borderline abusive) father coming to the aid of his disappointing son out of some self-serving need. That‘s been seen before, and though the Zales undoubtedly had a despicable hand in what happened to the Butlers the show makes them into a caring and affectionate pair, and it’s immediately clear that Stanley didn’t bury Eric’s involvement in the Butler murder out of desire to protect himself or his business but because he genuinely wanted to save his son.

Which makes it worse that Eric, at least presumably, murdered an entire family himself. Family’s incredibly important on this show, and an entire one was murdered for the killers to go free because of the work of a more powerful man protecting his family.That protection extends to threatening Christine’s family as she’s accosted by retired cops who moonlight as enforcers (presumably for Stanley or perhaps even for Isaiah). It’s a relatively small moment in the episode, but an important one as it establishes just how far this conspiracy goes as Christine tiptoes out of the precinct when she realizes how unsafe she is there. Stanley and Eric (and I suppose even Isaiah to an extent) are emerging as a third faction in The Divide‘s conflict, especially if we continue to follow their moves against their opposition in an attempt at preserving their lies.

Stray Observations

  • Can we take a chill pill on Kucik and Christine because I don’t need it. Nor do I want it.
  • Why did we have to spare time to watch Maxine send Kucik to the grocery store? That was a waste of five seconds.
  • Christine: “You’ll never die. God doesn’t want you.” The fact that she said this with a smile on her face and her grandmother didn’t even seem offended made me like Christine so much more.

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