Pearson Season 1 Episode 3 Review: The Union Leader

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Jessica may not have the stomach for Chicago. 

She has fallen on some tough times before, but we have never seen Jessica as vulnerable and lost as she was during Pearson Season 1 Episode 3.

It didn't stop her from doing whatever she had to do to get the job done and protect her family.

Sacrifices - Tall

It seemed everyone was partaking in self-reflection. Keri recognized what she became and didn't care for it. Nick knows what he is and whether he likes it or not is undeterminable, but he has accepted it for what it is.

Bobby is lost and drowning, but he's trying to be a better husband and family man.

And Yoli and Jessica are facing their limitations. The latter crossing a moral line she was trying to avoid since the moment she arrived in the Windy City.

Related: Pearson Season 1 Episode 2 Review: The Superintendent 

Two scenes highlighted how differently Pearson and Suits are. The first scene was Jessica's revealing message to Jeff. She was at her most vulnerable and helpless sitting in an empty apartment baring her soul to a voicemail.

Things are going well here. That's a lie. I know you warned me about what I was getting myself into, but now that I'm actually helping a man I truly despise, it isn't easy. And I'm doing it all for a family I'm not even sure wants me around. It's funny, right? In New York, I used to snap my fingers and make things happen, but that old trope doesn't seem to be working here. But I'm lonely, and I hate it, and I miss you. I miss you.


She knows Jeff was right about the trouble she would get into; he warned her, but she couldn't back down. Now, she's in over her head, and it's hard for her to figure out how to go about things in this new city where she doesn't have the upper-hand.

Getting Pushback- Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 3

As she said, she used to snap her fingers and get things done in NYC. For the most part, she always prevailed and could fight her way out of any situation. Her tricks and charm don't work as well in Chicago, and nothing is coming easy for her.

She's alone in Chicago with no real friends or family who she knows well. She can't trust anyone, and no one is there to fight with her or save her. Have you ever known Jessica Pearson to admit she's at a loss and lonely?

I don't work for Pat Mcgann. I work for the mayor.


The other scene was when she walked out of her final exchange with Kramer. She laid down the threat, pulled the ultimate card to get her way, and she could barely stomach her actions when she left him at the table.

She got her way, but at what cost? She left a piece of her integrity at the table, and on behalf of a despicable man she loathes.

Bobby's Girl  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 3

Jessica on the verge of an anxiety attack outside of the bar was such a raw moment.

She is the one who was always cool as a cucumber who could keep things together, but with the space to be explored further in a series of her own, we see these new, intriguing, and softer and vulnerable sides to her we never were able to experience before.

I don't work for Pat Mcgann. I work for the mayor.

Jessica spent many years in an office above the fray. She's more familiar with battling corporations and having power struggles with conglomerates who are trying to add more money on top of the money they have.

She's in direct contact with the "little people" now. Her family is "little people." She has to step all over good, hardworking, honest people to get what she, Bobby, or Pat needs.

Related: Pearson Season 1 Episode 1 Review: The Alderman 

Life is different when she has to look a decent person who did nothing wrong in the eye and ruin their lives.

It killed her threatening Kramer's son to get him to betray his workers whom he also considers family. Everyone has a weak spot, and while Kramer couldn't be bought off with the money, he would do anything for his family.

A Call for Help  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 3

Also, his biological family would always take precedence over his work family if push came to shove, and Jessica pushed and shoved.

I loved how Nick gave her a moment and didn't comment on it. The relationship between Jessica and Nick may be the most fascinating of all of her dynamics at the moment.

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She doesn't trust this man, and she has brought him into the fold to work with her so she can get to know him better and figure out what happened in the city.

Don't ask me to be that guy and then get outraged when I am.


However, the more she gets to know him, the more complicated the situation becomes. Other than coming off too much like the silent, mafia "yes' man, he doesn't seem as awful as one would expect.

Aunt Jessica - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 3

He doesn't trust nor like Jessica, but he also won't let anything happen to her and is protective of her. He takes his job seriously, but he's not above doing it by any means necessary.

Whatever happened with the case Jessica was looking into, there are two things we can glean from it: Nick did whatever he had to do to protect his family, and it may not have been something he wanted to do.

Nick is an enigma. He appears to be rough around the edges, but he also is well-mannered and shows respect to women in a way that almost contradicts how he presents himself. He doesn't seem like a horrible guy, but he does come across as a guy who does terrible things.

Nick: Are you asking for my advice?
Jessica: I'm just making conversation.
Nick: For conversation sake, if it's about family, I say do whatever you have to do.
Jessica: And it doesn't matter what lines are crossed?
Nick: No.
Jessica: Never?
Nick: Not for me.

I can believe at some point he got into law enforcement for the right reasons, and now, he's stuck dealing with the likes of Pat McGann.

He's loyal and family-oriented, and he has a moral code of his own. It makes him one of the more interesting characters of the bunch.

He seems genuine when he shares his scenes with Jessica. He may not have known how much he was revealing when he advised her during their conversation, but his advice was authentic all the same.

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He would do anything for family, and he saw McGann had Jessica trapped under his thumb too. He didn't say it, but you could tell he was watching Jessica try to spin her magic only to realize this is how it all starts with McGann.

Nick is an unusual confidant of sorts for Jessica. They don't trust each other, but there is an unspoken almost begrudging respect there. The relationships on this series are so convoluted.

Angela's Kids - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 3

How did Jessica think she would work alongside Bobby and never have to cross paths with McGann again? She could dream, but it was an unrealistic one.

Nick: He doesn't take no well.
Jessica: He'll get used to it.

They were in a power struggle trying to assert themselves over the other, but as much as I love Jessica, McGann is coming out on top and Jessica is out of her depth here. But what's interesting is how the relationship between Bobby, McGann, and Jessica plays out.

Shady Mayor - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 1

Sometimes it seems as though Jessica and McGann are playing tug-o-war with Bobby and trying to show up the other to see who has more control over Bobby, but other times Jessica is stuck between Bobby and McGann.

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McGann is not above sending messages and wanting his way. Jessica thought she did something removing the alderman, but McGann wasted no time trying to use the vacancy to his advantage.

He wanted Betsy Sullivan in the spot, and he was going to stop at nothing to get her there. He had his ulterior motives for it, and none of it has anything to do with serving the south side.

The Mistress  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 3

Bobby was mostly resigned to turning over and showing McGann his belly. How he submits to this man is pathetic.

Betsy Sullivan was an awful choice. She was from an upper-class neighborhood on the other side of town and spoke of serving the people of the south side as if they were a pet project. Although she mentioned guilt, she didn't even fit the "white guilt" narrative.

Her only interest was benefiting from the gig and serving McGann. Screw the people.

In Over His Head? - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 2

Jessica should have put the kibosh on that, but she should have expected McGann would retaliate by moving up the eviction for the tenants in the building her family resides.

Jessica had to figure out that McGann's main goal was to be able to use unsanctioned workers for his project. With Betsy in office, he could get his way, but it also would've put Bobby on the outs with the community who would have re-elected him.

Pat doesn't give a damn about Bobby, and he's only about whatever serves him, so he didn't care. Fortunately, Jessica was able to spell it out for Bobby.

That's how Jessica ended up negotiating with and then screwing over the union leader. She struck a deal with Pat to give her family the time they needed to move.

She protected Bobby in the eyes of voters, and Pat got what he wanted, but she had to screw over a good man and some of his workers to do it.

Tasha: Are you married or in a relationship, and if so, how do you balance it all?
Keri: Um, actually, no. I'm not. It gives me more time to conquer the world.

Jessica found a way out of the situation to get what she wants, but Pat got the upper-hand here in the long-run.

And Jessica lost something of herself; it's going to be hard for her to look in the mirror knowing she compromised her integrity, and that's how McGann won.

Angela is Upset - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 3

It's cool that Jessica could help her family again, and she made progress with Angela. Nevertheless, Angela is irksome and needs to grow up.

She threw a hissy fit because of Lillian contacting Jessica instead of her about the eviction. What exactly would she have done? Nothing!

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Isn't it common sense to contact someone who could do something about it? After all, Jessica was the one who saved their butts in the end.

I wonder if there is ever a time when Angela will be likable. Her speech appealing to the court wasn't even a triumphant moment for her. She has softened to Jessica for the time being, and for once, she seems grateful to her cousin, but I'm not convinced.

A Family Truce  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 3

She'll be running cold again in no time.

But for now, Jessica needed the reassurance she has family who does care about her in some regard. She's lonely, so she needed this win.

Keri is a lonely person also. She's better than someone's mistress, and it wasn't until the photographer flirted with her and the schoolgirls mentioned how inspired they were by her that she realized she's better than this.

Stephanie: Please don't suddenly make me a priority because I'm sick.
Bobby: I'm making you a priority because you're my wife.

Kids have a way of putting things into perspective. How could she stand there and accept being their role model when she was involved in a secret relationship with a married man?

Tearful Keri - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 3

It also was a painful reminder of where she fits into Bobby's life. He took the day off and was out of touch, and it was like she was lost without him. I'm sure it's not what she had in mind when she took the position.

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I doubt she's through with him though; she showed that when she popped up at his home to talk. I cannot make what her feelings are about the situation.

She knows now that Bobby took time off to be with his wife, Stephanie. She's sick with MS, and I don't know if it makes Bobby more sympathetic or more loathsome that he is cheating on his sick wife with his colleague.

The Family Man - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 3

A romantic relationship I wouldn't be opposed to is one between Yoli and Derrick. It's cute the way they're at odds with each other.

They banter and have a fun and lighthearted vibe. It's the closest the series comes to its predecessor except for a movie quote tossed in.

Related: Euphoria Season 1 Episode 7 Review: The Trials and Tribulations of Trying to Pee While Depressed 

Yoli is still trying to find her place in the office. It's going to take her a minute to understand how the political world works.

I can't die on every hill.


She was eager to compile a list of candidates for the alderman position, but she hasn't figured out how to separate what she feels is best and ideal for the people and a real choice they can get in.

Her pick was a Latinx candidate who is grass-roots and a man of the people, but with the dirty politics at play, it wouldn't be wise. Yoli is passionate, and she's still green enough to believe she can make the world better.

New Mentee- Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 2

Jessica was trying to get her in check, but after what happened, it wouldn't be a surprise if Jessica tries to protect that part of Yoli.

So far, Yoli remains the most likable of the bunch. She's probably the best and most trustworthy asset in Jessica's office.

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One of the best scenes of the hour was the bombshell ending. It turns out the person watching and taking photos of Jessica during Pearson Season 1 Episode 2 was an FBI agent!

New Assistant  - Tall  - Pearson Season 1 Episode 3

Jessica has unknowingly inserted herself into a federal investigation looking into Bobby and McGann.

With all the dirt happening in Chicago -- the coverups, back-alley dealings, and corruption -- these players have made it onto the whiteboard.

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Jessica can barely juggle her current position in Chicago. How the hell can she avoid an unknown threat in the form of the FBI coming after her? The deeper involved she gets in this administration, the worse off she'll be.

Over to you, Pearson Fanatics! For those of you watching, I would love to hear what you think of this series in the comments below.

You can watch Pearson online here via TV Fanatic! 

The Union Leader Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (3 Votes)

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Pearson Season 1 Episode 3 Quotes

I can't die on every hill.


I don't work for Pat Mcgann. I work for the mayor.