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The Brink

‘The Brink’ Review: Struggling to Survive

The Brink
Season 1, Episode 3: “Baghdad, My Ass”
Air Date: July 5, 2015

Through predictable HBO audience pandering techniques, The Brink tries to maintain a edgy image, but inevitably falls flat with its predictably lazy writing and plot scenarios each time.

In the third episode, Alex (Jack Black) has been released from the Pakistani spy agency (that waterboarded him in the previous episode) under one very specific condition: he must get General Raja (Bernard White) in contact with the U.S. Secretary of State, Walter Larson (Tim Robbins). If he fails, Raja promises Alex over a game of virtual golf in his office that he won’t just kill him, but will also kill Alex’s best friend Rafiq (Aasif Mandvi) and his entire family.

It’s one of the more serious moments in the show, and although the attempt at satire is there, the facetious nature of the way it plays out strikes more as juvenile antics and amateur plot development than an actual attempt at a satirical portrayal.

On the other side of the world, Larson is about to board a plane to India to try and prevent the threat of war breaking out between their country and Pakistan after the moronic, drug abusing Navy pilots from the first episode accidentally fired a missile at one of India’s drones.

Before this can happen, though, Larson has to walk in on his politically ambitious wife having sex with their personal trainer.

To give credit to HBO where credit is due, there’s not one close up of tits or ass, but there is a decently long close up of the personal trainer’s extremely large, certainly abnormal, “You should go get that checked out, dude” defining penis.

This scene is probably supposed to be hysterical, but again, the set up for the joke just wasn’t there and the entire thing falls flat.

The only interesting aspect about the entire scene is Larson’s nonchalance about what he stumbled into and the revelation that the two are married for purely politically advantageous reasons. It doesn’t do anything to move the story along a little more, other than his wife announcing she was going to take a Pentagon job instead of running for a Supreme Court position, but it is the first piece of satirical writing executed properly.

The biggest disappointment is the lack of progression in between episodes.

The story lines seem to move at a snails pace, and the characters haven’t developed at all. Even Alex, who without a doubt goes through the most transformative period, is still his gullible, terrible, government employee self.

The show only has eight episodes. Next week will be the halfway mark for the series, and nothing has particularly happened that’s convinced audiences it’s worth returning for week after week.

Much like the American government portrayed in the show, there is a total lack of direction occurring that has become detrimental to the show’s success.

The hurdles The Brink has to overcome within the next couple of weeks are jarring, but despite all of the negativity, I’m still holding out hope for what this series can be.

If it can find its voice and a way to do satire properly, The Brink could become an utterly fantastic series.

It just needs to prove to its audience that it can do that before it loses it all.

About Julia Alexander

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