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Roadies - Carpet Season & The All Night Bus Ride Review: "Rise and Fall"

Roadies Season 1 Episode Guide
1.01. "Life is a Carnival" - Review!
1.02. "What Would Phil Do?" - Review!
1.03. "The Bryce Newman Letter" - Review!
1.04. "The City Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken" - Review!
1.05. "Friends and Family" - Review!
1.06. "Longest Days" - Review!
1.07. "Carpet Season" - Review!
1.08. "The All Night Bus Ride" - Review!
1.09. "The Corporate Gig" - (Aired August 21)
1.10. "The Load Out" - (Airs August 28)

Roadies 1.07 Carpet Season - Review:
Directed by Julie Anne Robinson & Written by Cameron Crowe

Carpet Season saw the arrival of Abby Van Ness, a rock photographer who is one of the strongest new additions to the show that we've seen so far, thanks to a great performance by Rosanna Arquette, who wants to try and shoot the band for a Vanity Fair project. This is big, big news for Kelly-Ann, who is a huge fan of Abby, and she views her as her inspiration. It turns out that Abby is not happy though with the ten minutes that she is given, claiming that she got fifteen with the Rolling Stones, and on top of that wants the band to pose inside a diorama.

There's two problems though, and the chief among these is that Christopher House is missing again, having gone on a drunk bender, and has now been incredibly uptight about his missing iPad which he used for some songs which are currently unrecorded. He needs it back, and things will only get worse if Abby finds out, especially when Shelli is already not especially keen on her being there in the first place.

Abby herself isn't too keen on Kelly-Ann as well, insulting her photos and not really displaying any tact at all. This causes Shelli to confront her again and warns her after Kelly-Ann's downward spiral that if Abby insults another member of the group, she's no longer welcome here. Abby herself is struggling to keep control of the band during her shot, leading to her comeuppance where Kelly-Ann gets the perfect shot of the band destroying the diorama, which was a pretty great moment and once again reminds us that yes, Roadies is capable of giving us some great scenes, and is only a few tweaks away from becoming a really good show.

Bill attends an AA meeting in Seattle following the Janine incident, and confesses that Shelli brings out the best in him but is scared where the relationship will take them especially as they're technically cheating. Shelli herself is still trying to get over the fact that she did actually cheat on her husband, who hasn't done anything to hurt her. She's struggling to avoid her upcoming birthday as well, making things all the more complicated. In turn Bill has faced problems by the return of Phil, who has arrived just when Bill is starting to get the hang of things. it's also problematic for Reg, who was responsible for firing Phil in the first place, which earned a gun being pulled on him in return.

We also got a brief subplot with Wes this week where he's asked to join Halsey on tour and he knows it's a chance that he shouldn't turn down. His heart is torn though, much like Kelly-Ann back in the pilot, who wanted to leave the band for film school to stay on tour, and he feels like he should stay around especially as he's still looking after the annoying kid Wintson. It seems like the reliance on home and importance of family is one of the main themes of this show so far, and it's been a mostly effective one, feeling very typical of a Cameron Crowe drama.

It turns out that the person responsible for taking the iPad was Mike Finger, the band archivist, who also stole the yearbook, solving that problem and making for a good resolution to one of the many subplots addressed in this episode. This show seems to have upped its game as we reach towards the end of the season, especially in these last few, with Crowe looking at various characters involved with rock and roll such as the photographer and the journalist that we've already had. There may still be several hit and miss moments but there's still promise here, and if the show gets a second season (which admittedly, is doubtful at this point given its lack of renewal announcement when Showtime announced that they had renewed a bunch of other shows earlier this month including Ray Donavan and Homeland), it gives the writers an opportunity to iron out a few cracks.

Overall Episode Verdict: C+
+Rosanna Arquette
+Wes' dilemma

Roadies 1.08: "The All-Night Bus Ride" Review:
Directed by Jon Kasdan, Written by Cameron Crowe & Winnie Holzman

Flashback-heavy episodes is something that every other show does, but not many can flashback to Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Rolling Stones. That's what Roadies did here, and I'm not talking about using the overused Sympathy for the Devil to announce the arrival of a morally ambiguous character, but instead explore a story of Phil's past whilst the group have to stay up all night on their titular all night bus ride to their next destination. This was the episode that showed us what Roadies is capable of, and whilst it may have taken eight episodes to get here, it was an excellent hour that was well worth the wait.

In order to kill twelve hours before the band can arrive at their next tour stop, Phil tells them the story of how he became Phil. This explains how he met Lynyrd Skynyrd during his days spent in his father's cigar smuggling business, after delivering an order to their tour manager. However their tour manager isn't exactly pro Phil, and he's forced to stand up for himself in the toilets later on when they meet again. It turns out that Ronnie Van Zant is there as well to make sure that Phil gets his money, and believes that he's standing up for Phil because he was honest. This leads to Phil becoming involved with Lynyrd Skynyrd in a way that the show hasn't really given us before and no doubt would have drawn some inspiration from Crowe's life as a journalist, where he worked with - surprise, surprise, the same band. This is why Crowe is probably one of the best people to work on a show like this because despite its inconsistencies, when he's on form, he really can be on form.

The crew also have some troubling news in the present as well, because with the upcoming European tour looming, finances are becoming an increasingly more troublesome issue and Reg is realizing that he may have to cut some people from the group. However, he ends up, much like the rest of the group, getting hooked on the show within a show, Dead Sex, and comes to the same realization that its main character learned in the episode and that everything he's doing is essentially pointless, because he's never going to meet his financial target despite every target that he hits. He realizes that he was essentially sent in by Preston to break up Staton-House which would provide the momentum for Tom to go solo, and essentially end the band for good.

And to make things worse, Donna tells Kelly-Ann that Halsey is trying to get the crew away from Staton-House, which would further cement the band's end, especially as Shelli may have to leave the tour anyway due to the death of her father. Told at the same time as the rise and fall of Lynyrd Skynyrd through Phil's eyes, this really worked and gave a pressing, looming deadline of the upcoming European tour over the group. It'll be interesting to see how things get wrapped up over the course of the next couple of episodes (episode nine is already available to watch now, but I haven't had the chance to watch it yet) which will hopefully lead to a Season 2 renewal, because based on this episode's strength alone, we could be heading to great indeed.

Overall Episode Verdict: B+
+Lynyrd Skynyrd flashbacks.
+Reg being sent in to break up the band.
+The ending.

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, The 100, The Americans and Person of Interest. He reviews Black Sails, Hell on Wheels, Murder in the First, Narcos, Preacher, Roadies, Star Trek Discovery, The Shannara Chronicles and Veep for Spoiler TV as well as books, films and games for his own blog The Fictional Hangout and contributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic.
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