Westside season 1, episode 2 recap: Survival


Episode 1 of Westside showcased four music videos and a fight between James and Austin. But don’t worry, James continued to bring drama in episode 2: Survival.

The cold open for this episode of Westside shows Austin mid-photo shoot. Leo drops in on his way to work to drop off part of an outfit he had for a Prince tribute for Austin to wear.

They, of course, talk about what happened in the workshop as Leo encourages Austin to stay true to himself. Leo dons a fur and hops in for a couple of photos before the scene cuts out.

Refocusing on his goal of a live show at 1Oak, Sean sits down with Keith, a music director briefly shown at the open mic night in episode one, in a coffee shop. Sean talks with Keith about joining the group to be the musical equivalent of their acting coach Susan Batson. Keith expresses some hesitation, not having done something quite like this process before.

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Elsewhere, Arika sits with her father and discusses the events of the acting workshop. While Arika is reluctant to confront the issues she has with her mother, her father encourages her to go deeper and let that inform her writing.

Back in the coffee shop, Sean explains his passion for the project to Keith. He also tells Keith about an upcoming workshop at Capitol Records where everyone will be bringing monologues they have written about who they are and a song of their choice.

With under two months left, Keith emphasizes that they need to make sure to get everyone on the same page.

A conversation between James and Yas (his fiancée) shows James trying to come to grips with what happened between him and Austin at the workshop. He says he regrets what happened and admits he was a little jealous, but he also still expresses frustration at the fact that Austin didn’t do the exercise as assigned.

On top of managing all of the personalities within the group and setting up the show, Sean is also prepping for his wedding. Pia sits down and gives him some advice as someone whose career pulled her away from her husband soon after their wedding.

As they prep for the studio workshop, the two say the ensemble needs to be there for each other and hold each other accountable for how good each of them can be.

Heading into Capitol Records, James is shown drinking while everyone else goofs around and enjoys hanging out with each other. Keith takes charge once the workshop starts. James, showing a different side of himself, is much sillier and more relaxed in this workshop.

The first person up is Pia who performs her song “Belong” with Keith at the piano. Everyone is rightfully blown away by her performance.

As they prepare for Alexandra to perform her song next, the scene shifts to her and her boyfriend, Indy, fishing as she talks in the workshop about having to leave him to move to Los Angeles.

(The style of these are all very similar to how American Idol and others show interviews and clips from people in their hometowns before showing those people perform.)

This moves into a music video starting with Alexandra singing about her experience setting out for a new adventure and leaving the comfort of her life behind. The video blends clips from the life she and others left behind with stage performances of the song. Also featured is Caitlin, who left a job to take her chances on this career.

James, donning his “special invisibility glasses” (aka sunglasses), steps to the mic next to perform his song “Bad Motherf*cker.” This is combined with James driving through Modesto, California talking about the struggles he faced in his childhood.

After his turn at the studio mic, James breaks down and sheds a few tears talking about how much the song means to him and how much he wants people to be able to have that song that he knows people will identify with.

Arika follows with her emotional song “Go,” which is a direct message to her biological and stepmothers who both left her.

After wrapping up the singing portion of the workshop (the rest were shown in quick clips under voiceover without hearing their songs), Keith tries to transition the workshop to the prepared monologues. I say “tries” because no one actually prepared a monologue.

This leads to a tense exchange between Sean (who, as the producer, has to call out the lack of commitment) and James (of course). James, who spent the end of the last episode complaining that Austin didn’t follow directions, tries to justify the fact that he didn’t follow directions because of an email Sean sent. The email supposedly downplayed the importance of the monologue.

In the midst of this, James mocked Sean for “putting on his producer’s hat.” As Sean tried to justify his need to step up by saying he’s the reason James was a part of this group (since the group was his idea), Austin took it as Sean threatening James’ job.

It was very awkward.

As the episode moves on, thankfully, it goes to Alexandra, Taz and Arika hanging out. They all express wariness about how easily James gets set off. The conversation ends as they talk about how glamorous Pia’s life seems to be in comparison.

Pia, on the other hand, doesn’t see it that way as she’s shown in Long Island singing as part of her old wedding band. She flies back and forth to perform with them just to pay the bills.

Over a game of pool, Leo and his girlfriend Carly discuss how uncomfortable Leo feels during the times where everyone is sharing their emotional background stories. Leo was in at 90’s boy band, Youth Asylum. In voiceover, Leo speculates that he might be afraid of success.

Elsewhere, a conversation between James and Yas gets off to a rough start when she says she hasn’t seen him sober in over 24 hours. The two clearly don’t see eye to eye about how bad his drinking problem is.

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She’s not the only one with James problems, as Sean and Caitlin sit down to discuss what happened at the workshop. Sean works to parse through what needs to happen for him to have the respect he needs to have as the producer while also being in the show while also having this friendship with James that predates the ensemble coming together.

Sean is starting to feel the pressure of needing to deliver a great performance at the live show. The episode ends with a Sean music video about his desire to succeed and his desire to be “more.”

Will Sean and James work things through? At some point James will get it together, right? What’s on your mind after this episode? Let us know in the comments.