I was teaching at a variety of schools in New York City when I caught wind of an interesting opportunity called DREAM SCHOOL that seemed exciting in a number of ways.
The end is always sweet when you can see the change — when you can feel it. The kind of holistic experience DREAM SCHOOL offers works in mysterious ways.
Perception. Often how people see things when not given the full picture is a skewed reality that they can either run with or investigate more.
Your judgment can change when you have a month instead of a week to make a difference.
Issues. There are a lot that can be found in this episode, from staff to student, that reflect today’s educational system.
The tardy issue that seemed to start with Camille eventually trickled down to a good deal of the students. I bring this up because this would start to cause division among them as students, as well as the staff. It also points to the process and how the students adapted to it.
The true moment DREAM SCHOOL: NYC started, in retrospect, is quite easy to pin down. When the students were gathered in a circle, sitting on the floor, with Chuck D and myself facilitating, they began to open up and share a deeper part of themselves. There was emotion, truth, pain and the beginnings of an initial trust that they could share things with each other. To reach deeper meaning and understanding, that wall of protection and distance needs to come down. For this group it happened rather quickly, which would eventually prove to be a positive and a negative.
Sir Hugh shares his theories with Dame Julia, suggesting that Samir Meshal was a go-between for the US and the Palestinians. Hugh proposes that when Meshal called a Palestinian contact to confirm the Secretary of State’s agreement to an unknown plan, he inadvertently alerted the Israelis to the plan’s existence via the wiretap on Shlomo’s cables. Since the CIA was piggybacking on the Israeli tap, Hugh theorizes, they were able to take out Meshal before the Israelis could abduct and interrogate him. Dame Julia suggests that the Secretary of State might have been agreeing to Nessa’s assassination, but Hugh expresses doubt, guessing that Monica Chatwin independently arranged the attack on Nessa to curry favor with the CIA, ultimately gunning for Julia’s job.
These days marriage is outdated, sex is reshaped by porn, cigarettes are forbidden, weed is legal and the Pope can be barely considered Catholic.
The burned man and the mysterious contact who came to his aid, revealing herself as Monica Chatwin, rendezvous in a hotel room. When MI6 agents bug the room, Chatwin starts a fire and the duo escapes.
Sir Hugh tells Nessa he knows she’s collaborating with the terrorists to get Kasim back. She tells him the Israeli national MI6 spotted Monica meeting with is actually a Palestinian terrorist (the burned man) and then confesses the truth about Kasim’s parentage.
What you didn’t see in Monday’s episode but which you will see in the 45-minute version of THE APPROVAL MATRIX “#WorstPeopleEver”, which airs on Thursday night at 11:15/10:15c, is Mandy Stadtmiller predicting the future: “Someday we’re going to elect a president who… [pause] we’ve seen his d**k.”
Nessa is bludgeoned and raped by a sadistic stranger during a one-night-stand. Her MI6 tail brings her to a discrete medical facility, where Sir Hugh meets with her and asks if she wants the man arrested. She says no to avoid publicity.
Sir Hugh tells Nessa an Israeli extremist group has claimed the killing of the whistleblower who exposed the Stein Foundation academy’s selection process as biased. When Nessa denies the corruption, Sir Hugh theorizes aloud that Ephra made a deal with the Israelis to hide military intelligence programs in the academy without her knowledge.
“Who’s cooler–” Neal asks in an un-aired segment from THE APPROVAL MATRIX, “Taylor Swift or Daft Punk?”
In their Gaza cell, Nessa mourns her ruined future, knowing the scandal of her pregnancy will infect any work she tries to do to aid the peace process. Atika tells Nessa to give her the child and allow Atika to raise it as her own as thanks for saving her life.
“I think we’ve learned one thing from this story: You’re not that famous,” Neal jokes with panelist Judah Friedlander (30 Rock), cutting him off in the middle of a long story about that one time when he was followed and wrongly profiled by Walmart security detail outside Chicago–they didn’t recognize him (though he’s semi-famous), accused him of being homeless (which is fair, he admits), and stopped him for questioning on his way out. Why? All homeless people are also thieves–that’s the stereotype at least.
At the motel, Daniel wakes up in Tawney’s arms and tells her he’s leaving Paulie. She says she’s leaving, too. He then tells her that he assaulted Teddy but doesn’t think Teddy deserved it.
Littered with off-color jokes about motor-boating Kate Upton, references to Helen Mirren as a “POA” (“piece of ass”), and a punchline that cites Liberace “before the AIDS,” our taping of THE APPROVAL MATRIX: “Fame Monster” felt like a hilarious bonus reel from a buddy-reunion comedy about a group of frat brothers who are all grown up, but only sort-of matured…
From the kitchen, Ted Sr. glares at Daniel in the backyard. At the doctor’s office, Tawney learns that she’s had a miscarriage. Ted Sr. reprimands Carl for telling Sen. Foulkes about Teddy’s assault and putting him in the position of deciding whether to tell Janet. He worries Janet will never recover if she finds out…
Nessa receives a call from the kidnappers asking if her secret is safe. Nessa asks the man on the phone to tell her something that proves he knows her terrible secret. The kidnapper tells Nessa, “You burned my face,” confirming her worst fears.
Nessa and Atika debate going public with the truth about their abduction in Gaza, but Atika insists on keeping silent. Rachel asks Atika to share the story with the police, while Ephra defends Atika’s right to privacy.
As Neal Brennan and the crew made final preparations before the cameras started rolling for the first-ever episode of SundanceTV’s new series, THE APPROVAL MATRIX, “Big Jay” Oakerson, a comedian and friend of Neal’s, kept the crowd revved up by vamping with a slew of off-color jokes. Big Jay is typical low-brow brilliant. He skewered people in the audience for what they looked like, where they were from, what they do. Among his targets were a couple of college kids from Jersey, a middle-aged writer of erotic fiction, and an attractive blonde in the second row. No one was safe.
Daniel wakes up in George’s trailer and finds that Trey has left without him. He starts biking back to Georgia.
Eight years ago. In a holding cell in Gaza, Nessa and Atika wake to the sound of a man screaming.
Cut to present day. Nessa sleeps with a bodyguard filling in for injured Nathaniel. She then reveals she has deduced the new bodyguard’s identity: an undercover MI5 agent working for Sir Hugh.
A still shot of open shutters creaking in the wind. The sounds of children talking, a baby’s cry.
A man disguised as a waiter at Westminster Palace serves bread to Zionist arms dealer Eli Stein and his young children Nessa and Ephra. He then assassinates Stein before the children’s eyes.
In a dream, Daniel stands in the forest and watches a scene unfold around a campfire. He’s joined by Trey and George.
Daniel borrows Jared’s bike from the garage and rides off.
After partying at Lezley’s house, Daniel wakes up naked in Marcy’s bed. Marcy chats with him in the kitchen and kisses him good-bye.
Daniel sees Trey at the gas station and confronts him. They stare each other down.