High Desert – Season 1 Episode 2 Recap & Review

Two Knockers and No Boyfriend = A Felony

While on her way back to the Pioneertown office, Peggy stops and recounts how she used to have fun playing Drag Bingo with her mother, Roslyn. It is a deft moment that is manifested partly due to her grieving and being high from drugs. When she reaches the office, a police officer is taking prints off the safe, among other things. Owen, Peggy’s boss, is missing $3000 from the safe and is worried about the person who stabbed him in the back. Even though he is accusing Peggy, deep inside he knows she isn’t responsible.

Peggy is quite calm, collected, and borderline suave in how she turns the situation over. She uses reason, observation, and deduction techniques to arrive at the conclusion that the robber is one of the employees. She takes a hunch that the safe code is the alarm code for the place and she is right. Every employee knows the alarm codes, so it could be anyone. Almost everyone comes into Owen’s office to use Keurig coffee cups as well. The combination is Owen’s mother’s birthday, bringing to the surface one of Peggy’s critical problems about her past with Roslyn.

She then goes to Bruce’s office and confirms that she has got the security contract for Pioneertown for the firm. Peggy has assured Owen that she will find the robber. Bruce asks Peggy to focus on her classes for the time being and go through the entire process step by step. In a hilarious scene, we see the life being drained out of Peggy as she watches the old teacher taking the class move almost in slow-motion. Her addiction anxiety kicks in and contributes toward her storming out.

While on the phone with Carol in her car, Peggy notices a woman looking exactly like Roslyn boarding the bus. She thinks she is hallucinating and does not pay much attention to the woman. Peggy is late for her barmaid dance rehearsals. She is not quite good at it either but Roger, who plays a part in the entire show, adores her. Peggy reciprocates his feelings, respecting him as a person and showing interest. It might indeed become something in this season.

Amidst all of this, Peggy notices Tammy is back to work after quitting arrogantly last week. She was confident that her boyfriend, Guru Bob (a.k.a. Bob Scarborough) would support her but now it seems like he has dumped her. But Peggy notices something we all do – Tammy’s plastic surgery in her chest area. If Bob had previously promised to fund the surgery and has now dumped Tammy, where did she get the money to get it done?

While performing the act of a customer, Peggy confronts Tammy and cleverly gets her to confess. She also assures Tammy that she will help her sort out the situation. Peggy reaches Bob’s house to confront him and get Tammy’s surgery money back. He is in the process of convincing a wealthy client to buy the Picasso painting that Peggy is after. But the client isn’t interested, partly due to Peggy’s downplaying of the piece after jumping into the conversation uninvited. Bob does not cede to Peggy’s threats of giving Tammy money for the surgery.

She writes her number on his arm anyway and uses the bathroom. She also locks Bob’s bedroom to get something that she can use to progress in the case. Bob gets agitated but has bigger problems to deal with. Peggy finds tablets in the bathroom cabinet with Donatella’s name on them. Now here is something Peggy can work off.

Bob is being harassed and held at knifepoint by two thugs who find out that a painting he sold to them was fake. They want their money back but he doesn’t have much liquid.

Peggy also informs Carol about the new information, who vows to help her. Peggy sits outside the Grand Oasis, the hotel where she played Drag Bingo with Roslyn, and breaks down crying. But she doesn’t even have enough money to play. Carol consoles her and encourages her to figure something out. Peggy sells the tablets she stole to a lady to make up the numbers and reminisces about the old days with a strange lady, who doesn’t seem to mind her company.

Bob is physically assaulted by the two thugs and one of them, Heather, cuts off one of his nipples. Bob calls Peggy while he is being assaulted but she is too high to make any sense of it, before accidentally backing her car into a truck parked behind her.

The Episode Review

Arquette’s portrayal is quite immaculate. It is on the fringes but not exactly tacky. She seems comfortable characterizing Peggy with her flaws and strengths. But in a likeable way that extracts sympathy from the viewers.

Episode 2 has a bit of everything – emotion, crime-solving, and the kind of thuggery that takes a life of its own. It further sets the stage to unravel High Desert’s cinematic universe and get past the introductions.

Some shows take longer to get going but it is mostly lost opportunities while trying to make the package more fancy. High Desert has bucked the trend and stayed true to the old-fashioned cinematic values of entertainment in episode 2. This can be a special show, albeit with some more courage.

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