Previously on Pitch
It could be argued that the second episode of a TV series is even harder to get right than the pilot. The work a premiere puts into getting viewers just hooked enough to come back for a second week could easily be undone with a lackluster follow-up. Luckily, Pitch is showing no signs of hitting any such slump. In fact, “The Interim” was a step above the already fantastic pilot – the dialogue went from a bit overdramatic to realistic, and it proved Pitch is not a show that needs to rely on the same device every episode in order to maximize emotional punch. As much as I loved the Dad Twist, seeing him week-to-week in “ghost” form, or having another twist thrown in the mix, would have quickly turned this beautiful bit of storytelling into a cheap gimmick.
The reveal of Ginny’s father’s death was put to much better use in exploring the relationship between her and her brother, Will, through flashbacks. After the way their father treated him as a child, it would be reasonable to assume he and Ginny’s relationship would be strained. Instead, Will stood by Ginny’s side, acting as her manager to help fulfill both his sister’s and his father’s dreams. This devotion, and strong sibling bond, made it all the more heartbreaking when Will realized he wouldn’t be able do everything necessary to get Ginny into the Majors. His support still influences her to this day, however, by helping Ginny reassert herself as the boss with Amelia. B.J. Britt’s portrayal of Will was instantly charming and I hope we haven’t seen the last of him.
Where the flashbacks fell short, was in the somewhat hurried fashion of telling Amelia’s backstory. The scenes between her, Ginny, and Will were great, but the rest left a little to be desired. I can completely understand how her abrupt divorce might radically change her world and motivate her into shifting gears career-wise. The problem, though, was with how quickly all of this information was presented to us. Amelia’s sudden desire to represent Ginny felt somewhat hollow – she saw Ginny on TV and, presumably, that was all she needed? An extra scene exploring Amelia’s newfound goal would have given us a better understanding of who she is and, therefore, a stronger connection to her character. As it stands, Amelia seems like she has some, possibly shady, ulterior motives.
Mike’s development, on the other hand, was offered a little more space, which resulted in some nice insights into his character. His story isn’t that different from ones we’ve seen before – an aging sports player who shields his vulnerable side with a tough exterior – but it managed to steer clear of plunging into any overly clichéd territory. Even his classic clubhouse-rousing speech was enjoyable, though I do believe it was elevated because of how the scene cut back and forth between him and Ginny; a beautiful way to illustrate pitcher and catcher rallying their team from off the field.
The core focus of “The Interim” though, was on the frenzied media circus constantly surrounding Ginny, and the resulting consequences from that. It’s causing tension between her and the team, it’s distracting them from playing the game, and it’s putting a great deal of pressure on Ginny to be more than just a pitcher. She tries her best to be “just one of the guys” and she holds her own. However, let’s be honest, there’s only so much Ginny could do in the face of such abundant male fragility. The persistent buzz of sports news journalists and their incessant opinions in the background of nearly every scene was an excellent way to generate and maintain the friction running rampant throughout the episode. It’s a wonder Ginny didn’t completely lose her shit when Rachel, one of the many journalists, tried to pull that “woman to woman” nonsense on her. I am in awe of Ginny’s ability to remain so composed.
The most striking moment of the episode, and more proof of Ginny’s levelheadedness, was during her appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Kylie Bunbury is a joy to watch in all of her scenes; she’s hilarious while crushing her teammates male fantasies about hooking up with other players, charismatic when interacting with almost any other character, and intensely captivating when standing on the pitcher’s mound. But the raw and genuine sincerity she brings to Ginny in the scenes with Kimmel is simply stunning. What’s better is how it never felt that the writers were using Ginny’s character as a mere mouthpiece to talk about the show’s parallels to gender politics in the real world. Everything Ginny said felt very authentic to her current experience; to the new world she is trying her best to navigate through.
Listen, I would be ALL IN for Ginny being an outspoken feminist who uses her platform to talk about those issues. I think it’s a total boss move when any athlete uses their status to speak out about racism, sexism, etc., but those individuals are certainly under no obligation to do so. Just because Ginny is the first woman to play in the majors, doesn’t mean she should have to carry the weight of all other female athletes on her shoulders. In a short time, Pitch has made it clear that Ginny is a ball player first, so to have her be so suddenly outspoken would have come right out of left field. The way in which she did end up commenting on sexual assault was perfectly in line with her character. She chose to forgive Al knowing it would benefit her team, and she connected the current rape case to her own experience of having to use an alternate change room. I’m grateful for Ginny’s awareness – that this is a problem men need to fix, not women – but it means that much more because every word of the statement felt true to who she is.
- Blip & Evelyn are shaping up to be an epic TV couple. Evelyn’s dedication to her husband is unshakable, and Blip is grateful for every bit of it. Considering how great Pitch has been so far at exceeding my expectations, I shouldn’t be worried that they’re going to screw this relationship up, but I still am. Long live #Blyn (or #Evelip.)
- Al says that life passed him by after the Internet was created, but his “apology” was so similar to those we see on social media all the time. “I’m sorry IF I offended you.” Nice try, Al, I don’t blame the higher-ups for wanting to get rid of you. Ginny is a much more forgiving woman than I am.
Pitch S1E2 = 9/10