Sneaky Pete: Pilot
January 24, 2017 9:49 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

After leaving prison, Marius takes cover from his past by assuming the identity of his cellmate, Pete. He moves in with Pete's long-estranged, unsuspecting family and is roped into the family's bail bond business. He's a criminal taking down other criminals and, in the process, he'll discover the family life he's never had.
posted by komara (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My wife and I stumbled across this tonight thanks to an ad that came on one of the broadcast channels - NBC, I think. We like Giovanni Ribisi and the commercial made it look good, so we gave it a whirl. Turns out it was one of the most interesting pilot episodes we've seen in recent memory. I'm hoping the rest of the episodes hold up this well.
posted by komara at 9:50 PM on January 24, 2017

Just finished watching the whole series. Really enjoyed it, interesting to see what you thought.
posted by lloyder at 3:37 AM on January 25, 2017

I'm halfway through, and fully engaged to finish. The show manages to create good tension around "Pete's" efforts to keep a lot of balls in the air vis-a-vis his fake identity. I love every new character that comes in, and how they all fall around the stories of Pete and Marius.

I actually would like to see more of this:
> He's a criminal taking down other criminals and, in the process, he'll discover the family life he's never had.

But that's not really a strong element in the show, from what I've seen.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:54 PM on January 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

I saw the pilot, and I knew I wanted more, but I have other shows to finish first. Giovanni Ribisi can do no wrong in my book.
posted by numaner at 9:42 PM on January 25, 2017

> He's a criminal taking down other criminals and, in the process, he'll discover the family life he's never had.

But that's not really a strong element in the show, from what I've seen.

I don't think that the family life of this particular family is meant to be that great. Marius calls Pete's BS within the first scene, and he's correct. Pete needs to believe that his happy memories/stories matter, so Marius apologizes for that truth-bomb and Pete goes right back to repeating them. But Marius wasn't actually wrong.

And he was counting on the family not being that great, too -- if the family were actually the loving idyll that Pete was always talking about, then there's no way that some random conman could just show up and claim to be one of them. But Marius makes the gamble that Pete's stories were over-exaggerated, and that his family didn't really know or miss Pete as an individual enough to realize (or care) whether some man off the street is really him or an imposter. And Marius was right about that too; his gamble pays off.

What I do think is a strong element of the show is how much lying everyone is doing in order to maintain their relationships with each other. Marius and his brother do pretty much nothing but lie to each other, even though IMO it's clear that they have a strong bond. Really, everyone is always lying to each other -- to charm each other, to keep from rocking the boat, to scheme their way into getting what they want, etc. Within Pete's family, too, it turns out that people are constantly lying to each other or at least misrepresenting themselves to each other -- I guess to keep the family from splintering apart, but maybe just to get by.

I also think that a strong element of the show is how shallow people's relationships are with each other. People can fake each other out, because they don't really know each other well, even if they've known each other a long time. And everybody seems very desperate, enough so that they're willing to go out on a limb, and enough that they're (understandably) very self-absorbed.

It's hard to tell if the characters even want any more depth to their relationships, though. I think that, more than anything, everybody is just trying to find a soft place to land.
posted by rue72 at 12:02 AM on January 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

I saw the "Pilot" about 18 months ago, when Amazon ran a test run of a handful of shows, including this one, to see what worked with audiences. Is that pilot the same as this pilot?
posted by China Grover at 5:26 PM on January 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Great first episode (and great show), but it really should have been a one and done, with the last couple of minutes cut off of episode 10 to leave out the set up for season two.

TBH, I probably won't even watch the second season unless/until other people tell me it is every bit as good as the original. The first was too perfect an example of a well done complete episodic story (excepting the 60 seconds or so at the end with the hook for S2) for a second to be anything but a disappointment. I made that mistake with Bloodline and would prefer not to do it again.
posted by wierdo at 3:46 AM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Just to update my prior comment: the "Pilot" episode of Season 1 is extremely similar to the one they released 18 months ago. There were parts of it that I don't recall, hints at backstory, for example, but that the meat of the episode was substantially the same to the one they released to see if they should do more.

Really enjoyed it, and look forward to watching the rest of Season 1!
posted by China Grover at 2:17 PM on January 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

I commented before when I was halfway through, and I'm really happy with how it turned out-- terrific show. Frankly, after that epilogue, I'm a little gutted that I've gotta wait another year to see the next season.

I mentioned I wasn't really seeing this:
> He's a criminal taking down other criminals and, in the process, he'll discover the family life he's never had.

rue72 followed up with some good comments about the second half of that statement, but it was really more of the first half that I wasn't seeing-- the family stuff I did see early on.

This show was not taking the form of a lot of episodic shows that rely on that as the formula, criminals hunting criminals; for example, Brimstone. Even the current show The Colony (which I just started) seems to be the same sort of thing. Now that I've seen the whole series of Sneaky Pete, though, I can say that I do see both halves of that statement; it's just less episodic and more series-long.

Great showing by Margo Martindale and Peter Garety as the grandparents, but there was no character I thought was bad. Cranston did some major scenery chewing later one, but it's because it's in character-- he's a showboat who fancies himself a cinematic crime boss. And Michael Drayer (Eddie) just can't win with crime bosses. Between this and Mr. Robot he's getting a lot of torturous injuries this year.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:53 PM on February 1, 2017

Most of the way through now, it started a little slow/precarious for me but I've really enjoyed the cascading reveals and revelations.

Also, I'm a huge sucker for 'con' stories, and there are lots of little ones sprinkled throughout the main storyline.

I've not been much of a Ribisi fan, but he's won me over here. The supporting cast is good and Brian Cranston gets to go full on bad hombre.

As a Netflix dump (and like most regularly scheduled programming is harder to FanFare follow for latecomers), it makes it a little harder to discuss individual episodes especially when questions raised are presently settled/revealed.
posted by porpoise at 6:28 PM on February 5, 2017

I didn't mind the S2 hook, but that last episode felt rushed, and the surprise con seemed unnecessary (or perhaps obligatory), and obvious (saw it coming for quite a while), and some elements of it don't seem to hold up to scrutiny. That subplot seemed the weak part, the family was much more interesting and real.
posted by joeyh at 8:14 PM on February 5, 2017

Season 2 was just released. I saw the first three episodes as part of a preview about six weeks ago and they were pretty good. I'll definitely watch the rest of the season.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:14 AM on March 9, 2018

We watched the first two episodes last night, and I'm not sure we're going to go back for more. There just wasn't anything there that grabbed us. We like all the actors, but the characters all seem to be people we've seen in various guises before. Overall, it was...servicable.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:40 AM on March 31, 2018

I watched the whole second season and I felt like the end payoff was worth it the slightly slow start, but I also really really enjoyed the first season.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:54 AM on March 31, 2018

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