While watching The Company You Keep, I asked myself whether this show could have worked better if we had the option to binge-watch the whole series. One of the problems with binge-watching is that the show - if mediocre - leaves your system as soon as it's over. On the positive side, you are aware of all the characters and the plot points and are able to easily follow the narrative. The Company You Keep, though, follows a weekly release format, which means one episode will be released per week. Now, this approach has its own advantages. One of them is that this format allows the show to live in our memory longer than those you finish by binge-watching in a day or a few hours. However, the series should be exciting enough to make you return to it every week.
Created by Julia Cohen, The Company You Keep has your attention as long as it's running. I watched the first four episodes without stopping in between. However, as soon as I was done with it, I struggled to remember some portions of it. No, I don't have any medical condition like Leo (William Fichtner). It's just that The Company You Keep is a show that enters from one side and exits from the other. You can compare it to fast food. You enjoy the show as long as it's playing. But when it's over, you soon forget about it. And given it follows a weekly release format, I hope people remember the events from the previous episode before walking into the new one. These problems have popped up recently due to the rise in content and consumption. We are overloaded with so many options that you can be forgiven if you end up forgetting specific details from certain shows or movies you might have watched a few days back.
The Company You Keep has bland aesthetics. I had to open IMDb to confirm if the show was released in 2023 or 2003. With nothing pleasing to look at in the background, your attention automatically shifts to whatever action that's unfolding in the foreground. Given that the series is about cops and crooks, you expect surprising twists. But The Company You Keep is more interested in exploring the foundation of a dishonest relationship, and I am not complaining. Charlie (Milo Ventimiglia) is a criminal, and Emma (Catherine Haena Kim) is a CIA agent. The two of them fall in love but are unaware of each other's real profession. Their initial phase of romance goes through a predictable motion. At first, Charlie hesitates to get into a meaningful relationship with Emma. Once he becomes sure about what he wants, she shows signs of hesitation. Some beats are slightly similar, so it seems as if the writers are simply recycling and tweaking specific ingredients. For instance, when Emma meets Charlie's family, Charlie's sister, Birdie (Sarah Wayne Callies), feels unsure about her brother's girlfriend. When Charlie meets Emma's family, Emma's father, Joseph (James Saito), feels uncertain about his daughter's boyfriend.
One of the threads in The Company You Keep concerns discordant familial relationships. Things are not so smooth between Emma and her mother, Grace (Freda Foh Shen). Emma also finds it difficult to open up to her family members. Daphne (Felisha Terrell) wants to prove herself to her father and hopes to get a seat in the family business. She has a stormy relationship with her brother. Charlie, too, hides the fact from his folks that Emma is a CIA agent. Emma and Charlie live with their parents, but the family members are not necessarily always on the same level.
The Company You Keep shows Charlie and his angels committing scams with swagger. However, in one of the episodes, the series also displays how sometimes scams break the victim's heart. Another enjoyable aspect of this series is its dialogues. Sample: "Don't judge a crook by their cover," and "What's that smell? Agenda?" The actors are in fine form. They share an infectious camaraderie, which immediately pulls us close to them. The highlight is undoubtedly the chemistry between Kim and Ventimiglia. They work so well together and add a sense of spontaneity to their witty conversations. I really want to know what will happen in the upcoming episodes. Ask me my feelings a few days later, and I don't know if I will give you the same answer.
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