Fresh Off the Boat | Episode Nine: Quitting is worse than losing

Posted by Cherry Lam & filed under Pop Culture, Television.

Jessica Huang and her loved Chipwiches
Jessica Huang and her loved Chipwiches

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Jessica Huang, as portrayed by Constance Wu, has spent the past eight weeks generally bossing everyone around and showing off her fearless survival techniques. She pushed to work at Cattleman’s Ranch when she thought she was needed and retaliated to Golden Corral’s sabotage on Louis’ billboard with her own can of spraypaint. With her irreplaceable role in the family and comedic significance in the show, it seemed like nothing could bring her down – until now.

Brimming with confidence after her first (accidental) house sale, Jessica continues going around trying to sell houses despite her lack of a realtor’s license. It’s not until a rival realtor brings in the police that she finally decides to take the exam. Jessica’s lack of experience and knowledge doesn’t faze her in the slightest as she walks into the exam room. But what does get to her is meeting Kim McKennen, realtor extraordinaire. It’s Kim and her 358 sold houses that finally cause Jessica to lose her confidence.

Next to Kim, Jessica starts to see herself in a different light. Suddenly, she’s aware that she’s a mother of three who’s going to have to struggle across seemingly insurmountable obstacles to be the best. It’s the first time that we get to see such a vulnerable side of this fierce mom and it helps us connect with her on another level. If seeing Jessica waver over this challenge didn’t click with me, her love of Chipwiches certainly did.

This situation also gives us a chance to see the supportive relationship that Jessica and Louis have. She backed him in Episode Seven, when he revealed that his restaurant had essentially copied the popular chain restaurant Golden Corral.

Warning: if you haven’t seen this episode yet and don’t like spoilers, stop reading now!

Embarrassed by her failure, Jessica starts pretending to her family that she passed her exam and it’s not until Louis finds out the truth from Honey that she gets called out. His reaction shows a great understanding of his wife’s character. Rather than getting angry or judgmental, he gives her the motivation to try again by reminding her that she can set an example for their children. After all, quitting is even worse than losing. Jessica, being Jessica, bounces back from this momentary hiccup of confidence and passes her exam with no problem. She’s already reverted back to the ruthless Jessica that we’ve come to know and love, with a game plan in place to usurp Kim’s position as top realtor.

In other news, Eddie and Nicole’s relationship continues to progress. While initially, I found the manner in which Eddie seemed to objectify his crush difficult to accept, it seems that the more recent episodes are moving in a different direction. Slowly but surely, they’re connecting through some genuinely shared moments. It’s interesting that Eddie only eases up on his thug life style of courtship when Louis imparts some fatherly advice about trying to show interest in the things that Nicole enjoys as a way of getting closer to her.

In an attempt to create a connection with Nicole, Eddie reluctantly allows her to pierce his ear and henna his hands. This, naturally, doesn’t go down too well with his parents. However, instead of simply berating him, which is probably what my own parents would have done, they turn the situation into a great teaching moment. Eddie realizes that he doesn’t have to become an entirely different person just to get the girl and his last interaction with Nicole in this episode have him posturing considerably less than any other time. Hopefully this will act as a turning point for Eddie and we will be able to experience a more genuine side of his character.

Watch Fresh Off the Boat on ABC on Tuesdays at 8/7c.

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