Represent – Season 1 Episode 1 “Under Way” Recap & Review

Under Way

The opening moments of Represent episode 1 reveal a nervous crowd gathered in a room. They are all eagerly awaiting the results of the first poll of votes and the names that will contest for the second round of votes.

It is a significant post too; the Presidentship of France. As the winners are announced, the crowd erupts into joy. Stephane Ble, who is present among them, will take on Corinne Douanier. France will either have its first black president, or its first female president in two weeks’ time.

We go back about three weeks into the hoods. Stephane is a monitor for a youth programme in the housing projects. He has pupils under him which includes troublesome Lamine. Stephane is planning a child with Marion, his wife. They have chosen to go the IVF way to get her pregnant. The race currently has four candidates, which does not include Stephane. The favourite is Eric Andrei, the reigning Mayor of the town with the best approval ratings. Ble takes offence to Andrei’s campaign promo when the mayor says he has “significantly invested” into youth projects.

The truth is that youth clinics in the area have shut down due to a lack of funding from the city council. Lamine is missing classes but Stephane keeps him in line. Suddenly, there is news that Andrei is visiting that centre. Ble goes out to meet him and disrupts his charming interactions. He calls Andrei out for cutting funding and not being connected with the reality of his pupils. Andrei is left red-faced as the crowd cheers on Ble.

Right after this incident airs, it goes viral. In the next polls, Andrei’s approval ratings fall by as much as 4%, roughly 2 million votes, in favour of Ble. Simon, Ble’s mother, reprimands his actions at dinner. His actions might end up costing him his job and Simon asks him to focus on having a child first. Marion runs a salon and says that she is more focused on paying off the loan she took to establish it. Ble watches the news segment and is inspired.

The next day, the streets recognize him everywhere he goes. Hordes of media follow him around and inquire about his intentions. Ble is taken away from the crowds by William Crozon, who sweeps in out of nowhere. He is a campaign manager and Ble’s popularity has caught his attention. It is like Gary Zimmer (Steve Carrel) searching out Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) in a small town to run for his party. Crozon is experienced and good at his job. He encourages Ble to run for the Presidentship and says that he will help him run the campaign.

Ble realizes he is late for the clinic appointment and takes his leave, not giving him a clear answer. Ble spots Lamine selling drugs and reprimands his cousin, Desiree for giving Lamine the job. He asks Desiree to make an exception for Lamine and let him concentrate on school. Andrei is pissed about the incident and laments his lack of power in the interior to push Ble out. His manager calms him down and says that Ble will pass with time and does not pose a great threat to him. Lamine is arrested by cops and Ble goes to bail him out. He is uncouth and he was taken into custody.

Crozon comes to fight for Ble’s release and gathers a crowd outside the station. The police use tear gas to disperse them but Ble seems convinced he should run.

Lamine gives his go-ahead and Marion too agrees to support Ble, if he does not forget his familial responsibility. He announces his candidacy publicly. Crozon gets a call from Durandeau, another contestant in the race. He is actually helping Ble because he wants to cut Andrei’s votes and clear the path for Durandeau to win. Crozon asks for a job in favour and Durandeau says he will make it happen. The episode ends with a viral video of Ble rapping to an obscene and expletive song that references women in a derogatory light.

The Episode Review

Represent establishes its parody elements right from the first scene. Ble is an interesting character and is representative of the voice of the marginalized. He is imperative to validate the statements creators are making throughout the show.

Episode 1 was brief and crisp with details, swiftly rooting the narrative prominence at the start of Ble’s campaign.

But like Angels do not fall from the sky, William Crozon might do more damage than helping Ble in his efforts. Although we know that Ble still gets to round two, it will be interesting to see how Crozon tries to work him and how Ble breaks free. Represent has our attention all right!

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You can read our full season review for Represent here!

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