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'The Mayor' recap: Fort Grey is having 'Buyer's Remorse'

For The Baltimore Sun

We’re three episodes into “The Mayor’s” first season, and it’s becoming clear that each episode follows more or less the same pattern:

Mayor Rose identifies a problem that needs fixing in Fort Grey. He and his team (a.k.a Rose’s chief of staff, Valentina Barella) think of a solution. Somehow, we learn that the problem will not be so easy to fix after all (usually, this part involves foul play by Rose’s opposition, Ed Gunt). At this point, Rose and his team are feeling discouraged. So, Rose’s mother steps in with advice, more or less telling Rose to find the answer within himself. He does, and all ends happily ever after in Fort Grey.

Keeping this pattern in mind, I’ve decided to try something a little different for this week’s recap. Hopefully the following outline will include all you need to know in less than half the time.

The problem: Rose and his team learn that he has an extremely low approval rating — only 23 percent. Basically, this means that the public response to Rose’s election is “really really bad.” Even his own team has its doubts; when asked on the news if Rose has what it takes to be the mayor, T.K responds, “who the hell knows?” Real smooth, T.K.

On top of that, a City Hall employee enters her office dripping wet after getting rained on while waiting for a public bus. Rose realizes that none of the bus benches are covered.

The solution: As Barella puts it, “Until [Rose] proves that [he’s] more than that, people aren’t gonna believe in [him].” Rose decides to launch “the covered bus bench initiative” to show that “he has what it takes to get things done.” He goes on a popular political talk show, “The Grey Area,” to share the news.

The SECOND problem: Rose’s opposition, Ed Gunt, remains determined to derail the covered bus bench initiative. In his words, “As long as I keep you from getting anything done, you can kiss your reelection goodbye.”

Gunt calls into “The Grey Area” and tells viewers that there are serious safety concerns involved with covering the bus benches. To make matters worse, Rose is completely unprepared for his interview and is caught speechless by even the most basic political questions. According to T.K, he’s doing “worse than white people with dreadlocks.”

Things aren’t looking good for the mayor. But then again, at this point in the episode, are they ever?

The SECOND solution: Rose’s mother tells him, “You try to compete on other people’s terms, you are going to lose every time.” The key, she says, is identifying what he’s good at. “You are a good guy Courtney. You’re a generous guy,” she says. “That’s your weapon. Use it.”

Rose decides to put up a billboard that gives both him and Gunt credit for the covered bus bench initiative. He presents the idea to Gunt and, surprise surprise, he accepts it.

The episode ends with Rose and his two best friends driving past a covered bus stop. The lady sitting under it asks to take a picture with them, but as she walks over to do so, she falls in a pot hole. “When you gonna fix these damn pot holes?” she asks Courtney, who sinks down in his seat before speeding away.

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