In the last two episodes of The Get Down‘s first season, “You Have Wings, Learn to Fly” and “Raise Your Words, Not Your Voice,” the Fantastic Four + 1 prepare for an epic battle in music with a DJ group known as “The Notorious Three.” Meanwhile, after a heroin fueled rampage, Mylene’s record producer Jackie Moreno (Kevin Corrigan) has finally managed to write the up-and-comer singer a great song. There’s just one problem, now he has to get it aired on the radio, an industry filled to the brim with people he’s wronged in the past.
As per usual, the cast performances in The Get Down are as on point as ever. The love story between Zeke and Mylene finally reaches its peak in the last two episodes, and the summation of their individual dreams is what carries the story along so well. Episode five especially focuses on the good and the bad of having such high stake dreams in 1970’s Bronx, with Zeke trying to juggle an internship and his DJ gang while Mylene has to come to grips with the drug rampant, sex dominant scene that is the music industry. This is where the show has always been strongest, in its leading characters, because their stories feel like they were meant to be the focal point of the show from the get-go, while everyone else’s narratives have just been tossed in at the last minute. And considering that this show is obsessed with tossing as many unnecessary plots in as possible, this can be a bit of a hindrance, even if episode five is otherwise good overall.
While episode five offers some good moments between our leads to keep the narratives flowing together and preparing us for what should be an epic finale, the actual season finale doesn’t have enough stakes or tension to make the narrative interesting. Sure, the DJ battle that occurs between the Fantastic Four + 1 and the Notorious Three is engaging enough, but almost every other plot point that occurs before that one great moment is mostly average and unengaging. Which is saying something, because the last episode tries to throw so much at you to create this sense of “Oh you should really be caring about this, he just did something horrific, you should totally be effected by this.” Perhaps this would have worked better if the same episode wasn’t so focused on switching between narratives so quickly that it just as quickly abandons those tense moments and never brings them up again. It’s a shame really, because in any other narrative such events would be pure gold. Here in The Get Down, it just comes off as filler.
Overall, The Get Down is worth watching. There’s a lot of talent running like blood through this show’s beating heart. Its biggest problem since the beginning, however, is not creating enough memorable side characters or grand enough stakes to make their stories grab you like they easily should. Aside from the leads, just about everyone else feels serviceable at best, providing little more than a caricature to deviate away from the few interesting people. In the end, the flash and musical thrills are strong enough here to keep viewers invested for the long haul, but there’s just not enough going on behind the characters to make The Get Down anything other than an average diversion.
Episode 5 Rating: 7/10
Episode 6 Rating: 6/10
Season 1 Rating: 6.5/10