Westside season 1, episode 3 recap: Structure


With two episodes of James popping off at people in the books, let’s find out if episode three of Westside can finally show that James can keep it together.

The wedding of Sean and Andy (Sean’s fiancé) opens this Westside episode. From them both getting each other the same surprise gift through the ceremony, it’s beautiful. Caitlin and James are both in attendance. James is constantly drinking and at least at one point, he’s double fisting drinks, one beer and one cocktail.

James then wanders the streets where he points out liver cancer billboards and admits he’s been drinking for four days straight. After peeing on a dumpster and doing some coke off his keys, he heads back to the wedding reception where he dances the night away with Sean and Caitlin.

Shift now to the third ensemble workshop, this one in Jim Henson’s Studio A in Hollywood. To open the workshop, Sean discusses entitling the show “Naked” based on the vulnerability and openness the group has brought so far.

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After they easily accept the new title, Keith has the group write down five stories they want to tell in the show as a way to start the songwriting process. From there they all write their story topics on the whiteboard at the front of the room.

During this process, the episode shifts to show a moment Sean alluded to in episode 2 where he pulls James aside to talk to him about what happened during the confrontation at the Capitol Records workshop. James’ first response? He was drunk, he’d started drinking first thing that morning.

The conversation shows that the drinking (coupled with insecurity and depression) has definitely started to put a strain on James’ relationship with Yas as well. As James discusses how unhappy his decisions have made him, the episode shifts back to the whiteboard as James finishes writing that he’s an alcoholic.

After they’ve all written their stories on the board (45 total, 45 potential songs), Keith has them go through and read their boxes and talk a little about them. Taz starts it off by saying that she’s the person who always messes up in her family.

As Keith asks about a specific situation, the scene shifts to Taz performing at a bar. Her voiceover explains that her family has begun to doubt her music career.

Back in the workshop, everyone else mentions one of their stories, including James talking about his time at Alcoholics Anonymous the day before. Keith starts to get into the next steps and talk about the songwriting process, but first, the episode goes back 24 hours.

Caitlin talks about her struggles with ADHD and insecurity preventing her from writing consistently and successfully. Taz, while shown boxing, talks about how her process has gone from just wanting a hit to now wanting to be honest in her songs. There are also brief looks into the creative processes of Leo, Arika, and Alexandra.

An extended stop with Taz’s family, who she still lives with, shows that they’re still supportive even though Taz feels like she’s disappointing her mother.

Elsewhere Caitlin hangs out with her friend to play guitar and talk songwriting…or maybe write a song. They’re not sure which. But this transitions to a Caitlin music video about her frustration trying to find the right words to say.

Finally returning to the workshop, Keith, after mentioning future one on one sessions with each singer, gets everyone to work together on one song they’ll all sing together. To do this, they’re all supposed to throw out lines the pop into their heads and everyone will write them down.

Somehow that’ll be finessed into a song.

Thinking this is a strange process, Austin decides to just write the song himself and “gift it” to the others. As he sits by himself working at the piano, the rest of the group gathers around the whiteboard to work on lyrics together.

But slowly, Austin wins the group over one by one with the concept of a song based on “9 lives” (both a cat death reference and a reference to the number of people in the group). Once the group has migrated to the piano, Keith plays the chords Austin has written and sends them off to spend some time listening to the chords and finding lyrics and a melody that feels right with them.

While everyone else is putting themselves to work, Austin, in his own little world, seems much more concerned about getting credit than collaborating.

After the group comes back together, Caitlin and Taz, fighting through their songwriting insecurities, sing their interpretations of the potential song around the piano with the ensemble humming background harmonies.

Next. Westside season 1, episode 4 recap. dark

But Taz stumbles through her verse and makes a hasty exit from the workshop session, asking security for directions to the nearest liquor store on her way out.

The episode ends with a Taz solo music video talking about resiliency and learning from mistakes and backslides.

Is it over for Taz? What’s it going to take for her to get her confidence back and rejoin the Westside group? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.