The Premise – Season 1 Episode 3 Recap & Review

The Ballad of Jesse Wheeler

Episode 3 of The Premise begins at Victory High School as Jesse Wheeler returns to where he studied. He’s a bona-fide popstar and returns to make good on his promise to donate $1 million for a new library.

When this announcement receives zero cheers though, he spices things up with an all-expense-paid trip to his next concert for the student who becomes the school’s valedictorian. And after touring his mansion? Well, he’ll make love to them.

This announcement obviously causes shockwaves, as the students hurry out the hall to go and study. After a rousing round of applause of course.

Jesse’s manager worries that this is sending the wrong message out and warns Jesse not to get ahead of himself. Given there’s a religious schoolboard in charge, and Jesse is oblivious to the moral ambiguity here, this situation is just waiting to blow up.

One of the students, Abbi Miller, begins to challenge the established order in the wake of this competition. She speaks up in class, discussing the “white savour” trope that Jesse Wheeler has offered himself up as. This is particularly amusing given Abbi is the one who actually wins the competition.

Caleb manages to get an A+ on his history project preceding this but it’s Abbi that blows the competition away. She manages to create a VR video about the future of history.

When Abbi arrives at Jesse’s mansion, they take some time away to discuss school and how Abbi has memories of him from before. Jesse used to be rebellious in school just like Abbi but along the way he grew up and changed. The whole reason Abbi was so dead-set on becoming a valedictorian was so she could speak to him about this, and in particular their shared memories as kids.

Before we see what they actually did together, the scene cuts to show Abbi back at school, accepting her prize and confirming that she did sleep with Jesse. As the crowd erupts into applause and woops, she gives two middle fingers to the world.

The Episode Review

The Premise returns this week with a provocative episode, one that hones in on the education system and how sex can be used in a perverse way to incentivize and motivate people. The entire episode is designed to shock and stimulate conversations about this, with Jesse Wheeler doing a good job encompassing the traits of a “real” pop-star who used to be a rebel just like Abbi.

While there isn’t a lot of depth to the supporting characters, a part of me wishes that Caleb actually won the contest. It would have added something a little different to the story and included a slight edge to what’s otherwise a pretty straightforward angle toward the end.

Although we’re told at the end that Abbi slept with Jesse, we don’t actually see them kiss or anything. Given how they were both sitting at the pool, a part of me would like to believe they didn’t do anything and she’s just lying as her own persona F-U to the school and hierarchy.

Although the episode isn’t as hard-hitting or dramatic as what we’ve seen last week, there’s enough here to deliver a pretty enjoyable chapter certainly does its job of shocking its audience.

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3 thoughts on “The Premise – Season 1 Episode 3 Recap & Review”

  1. I am utterly shocked at how terrible this episode was. Filming, directing, dialog, and the actual story line and ending. They were all so horrible that I am in disbelief.

  2. This episode was extremely frustrating because it brought a lot of questions and social commentary but often times took the easy way out and made decisions to conform to Hollywood ideals for the sake of keeping intrigue. What made this so provocative was the thought of a total stranger having intimate relations with a celebrity, however, Abbi reveals she has a prior relationship with Jesse which undermines the intriguing concept. Another frustrating aspect was the choice to have Abbi win. The other male contestant was introduced to add stakes and provide some consequences for Jesse (having to engage in intercourse with a gender he isn’t attracted to). By not following through with this notion, it completely took away a lot of intrigue and relied on conforming to society’s zone of comfort. I don’t necessarily have qualms with the fact Abbi wins, but more so the lack of character depth/development and incorporation of the opportunity of Caleb winning. They could have avoided disappointment by specifying it could only be female, but chose to incorporate the false sense of possibility for the sake of being provocative, which came off as almost queer-baiting. Caleb had more intriguing reasons for trying to win the contest and ones that would have been interesting to see influence the private dialogues with Jesse. This all specifically frustrates me due to the messages the show tries to deliver which is sex and modern society, but it chooses to ignore many potential outcomes for the sake of remaining with past ideologies.

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