Remember how in the previous episode of The Idol, Jocelyn changed her expressions as per the cameraman's command? In the second episode of the HBO show, the character is again offered the chance to show multiple emotions: Grief, happiness, satisfaction, excitement, ecstasy, fear, and sadness. In a way, this episode is not so different from the first one. Jocelyn, once again, with background artists, dances to the beats of her newly-composed song and doesn't get the choreography right the first time (or the second or the third). Jocelyn's team continues to cheer for her from the sidelines. They encourage the unstable pop star to give her best performance when they are not busy inspecting or commenting on her mental health, personal life, and professional skills. Moreover, we again have a journalist who is present to write an article about Jocelyn, and the singer has sex with Tedros during the final scenes.
Another common thing between the two episodes is the presence of chaos. The mood becomes almost unhinged when Jocelyn thinks she is not getting the steps right. She demands multiple takes, filling the director with frustration and herself with physical and mental exhaustion. The show slowly builds tension, and you feel it will all be released through an explosion. But the energy is deflated feebly, which is what happened in the first episode too. And as far as Jocelyn's takes are concerned, all of them look the same. Her best performance seems similar to her missteps, though the show insists on telling us that this is Jocelyn in excellent form by focusing on cool postures and shots.
Some dialogues sound artificial as if the series merely wants to trigger the audience. If in the previous episode, there were lines like "Mental health is sexy," here we have a discussion regarding someone's skin color. Thankfully, the actors deliver these words with a mixture of solemnity and humor. They make The Idol hugely watchable. I liked how Nikki (Jane Adams) criticized Jocelyn's music at the beginning of the episode. You feel as if a mother is scolding a child after finding out that he/she wants to enter a creative field, say, writing (Jocelyn, suitably, like a kid, becomes unhappy and goes to her bedroom). I also chuckled when Destiny (Da'Vine Joy Randolph) looked at Jocelyn while the latter moved her body to the rhythm of her new tunes. However, I am not sure what to feel about the fact that a marvelous actor like Rachel Sennott has been mainly providing reaction shots till now. I hope she gets to do more in the upcoming episodes.
The Idol's style lies somewhere between amateurish and seductive. It's exciting to see how the series swiftly changes frequency and moves from one conversation to another. For instance, we first watch Tedros talking to Jocelyn on the phone, and then the camera notices a man sitting in front of him and starts listening to his phone conversation with Leia. You see, the camera is mostly restless and smoothly moves here and there. It's alert and keenly listens to the characters. Overall, the second episode of The Idol is as good and as flawed as the first one. Let's see how much it opens itself up in the future.
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