Boss ‘Choose’ – Season 1, episode 8

Samuel Breen

boss1 300x225 Boss Choose   Season 1, episode 8SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 8, season 1 of ‘Boss’

One of the moments of reflection in this episode allowed time for thoughts of the tone of power struggle. There has been bangs, shouting, gunshots, punching, ear severing, crying, and live burials, but when the axis is crossed it’s with a whisper. At the epicentre of all the trauma there’s a serenity.

Ezra Stone’s betrayal could have been seen from space, or at least the mayor’s office. There could be a great debate had on who spotted it first, but the bottom line is that Kane didn’t see it coming at all – surely he’s read Macbeth? When Kane does find out, there’s a calm discussion – an understanding. Where were the fireworks?

Well, this way felt great. Not only was this a fresher angle than most shows risk taking but it felt more real. It’s rare to think all work disputes are carried out like boxers, that every injustice reveals itself in rage. That no matter how inflamed we are, restraint can’t be shown, or so I was lead to believe.

This tone carries throughout the episode quite brilliantly. What we are given is the suspended reality of an election, hearts in mouths waiting for the punchline. A moment where everything stands still. That calm. That despite all the terrible actions taken by the individuals, that no matter how debased politics has become in this reality, there’s still something great about elections and democracy. This last episode says this, and it says it well.

We don’t hear the bang of the gun as Stone is shot in the stomach, nor the zip of Meredith’s dress as it is removed, not even the screen cleaner being ingested (none of which I had anticipated). Furthermore we don’t even see these things. Because power doesn’t take place before us – only the pomp. What we do see is Ezra taking to his armchair, blood staining his shirt front and back, calmly taking in the fact he has been shot. This is a heavily stylised ending to a series that has only been stylish when it wants to be.

For all the talk about religion, for all its devices there is a morality that has shone through the series. For all the apocalyptic doom-saying about the city falling apart, for all the talk of vermin and slums, of hell on earth, there’s no fiery pit awaiting the end of the series. Rather we are given a slow, tranquil downward slide, which is much closer to home than most.

Indeed not all is negative. Sam Miller the journalist eternally unstuck has found the Editor’s chair. The gleaming fourth estate has a hope in a new man at the top. This uplift is the root cause of the balance between progression and degeneration. That is, of course, if you still maintain the power of the daily rag (which I do, blindly).

If there is a horror to be unveiled in Choose, it is that what we have been shown throughout that the series is a fantasy, no matter how terrible it is, we’d rather see it than not. Much like The Wire, The West Wing, and to some extent House of Cards, it feels exciting and positive to be given an insight into a fiction of politics. It is a process that is above all quite empowering, a feeling that is comparative to reading Charlie LeDuff’s Detroit – An American Autopsy or similar tales of post industrial decline in Mid-West America.

Equally, and what has been to the series’ credit is that we have almost total resolution. Sure there are issues that are incomplete, most notably the Kane marriage and the domestic story, but everything else seems quite complete. I know, and I’ve been avoiding this mentally and articulately, that ratings slumped rapidly when the series was broadcast in the States. So maybe there was a reluctance to leave too much in suspense for another series.

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