The Pilot Podcast - TV Reviews and Interviews!

Stumptown (ABC)

Episode Summary

Join us as we watch the ABC crime drama, Stumptown, on The Pilot Podcast. This show covers it all - car chases, unhealthy coping mechanisms, what you’d do to clear a gambling debt, how to react when you meet Michael Ealy, and more. Do you think Dex will find some healing? Check out our review!

Episode Notes

Dex Parios is a sharp-witted army veteran with a complicated love life, gambling debt and a brother to take care of. Her skills make her a great PI, but her style puts her in the firing line.

Transcript available on our website.

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Episode Transcription

BJ 0:09
Welcome to The Pilot Podcast

Mitu 0:11
Where we watch the pilot episodes of TV shows and recap other shows to answer your question, should I watch this

BJ 0:17
My name is BJ

Mitu 0:18
And my name is Mitu.

BJ 0:19
And this week we're checking out the new ABC crime drama Stumptown.

Mitu 0:23
So stay tuned to the end to find out why it's called Stumptown.

BJ 0:27
We could tell them now it's a nickname for Portland, Oregon, the setting for the series.

Mitu 0:31
Yes, welp.

BJ 0:34
Well, we're done with that. Thank for listening. [Both laugh]

Mitu 0:36
There you have it, listeners

BJ 0:38
But really tho Mitu how about you tell everyone about the premise for Stumptown.

Mitu 0:43
So as BJ said, the show is based in Portland or Stumptown, and it is inspired by a series of graphic novels also set in Portland, we see Cobie Smulders play Dex, a damaged private investigator who has a gambling issue, potentially an issue with drinking and also probably suffers from PTSD - I think that's what they're getting at in the show. She takes care of her brother Ansel played by Cole Sibus and the actor and the character have Down syndrome. Her potentially enabling bar owner best friend Grey is played by Jake Johnson. And we also see her have this we'll call it push pull potential romantic relationship with Detective Miles Hoffman played by Michael Ealy. Dex herself survived five tours at war in Afghanistan, which is what led to a lot of her problems and so a lot of her conflicts on the show stem I think from that past. In this first episode, she is tasked by the casino owner Sue Lynn Blackbird played by Tantoo Cardinal to find her granddaughter, which is her ex boyfriends daughter from college and the relationship there is a little bit complicated, which we learned pretty early on in the episode that Sue Lynn did not let Dex and Benny get together but seems to be taking advantage of and pulling at those heartstrings in addition to the massive debt Dex owes her from gambling to have her find her granddaughter Nina, who has we believe initially run off with her boyfriend. Beej, how'd you feel about it?

BJ 2:14
I think we quickly dive into a very developed world that Dex is living in this part of Portland.

Mitu 2:21

BJ 2:22
And I think a lot of that comes from her background as a marine and fighting in Afghanistan. And we see many of her flashbacks throughout the episode, where there are stressful moments that make her think back to even more stressful moments that she went through while serving in the military. I think that really frames this whole show, because it's really important to have a show that discusses how trauma affects people afterwards. A lot of shows take advantage of traumatic events for excitement or to garner interest. But then we don't spend enough time exploring what happens to these people afterwards. So I do like that we're seeing how Dex is coping with her life, even though it's unfortunate to see what she's going through. So my first impressions where I really like what they're trying to do with Dex his life story and journey.

Mitu 3:19
I actually think that's a really great point that I hadn't considered Beej. I was wondering what the visceral reaction to the show came from. And it's having that up close look at what surviving trauma might look like, or what coping with trauma might look like. Albeit I think in Dex's case in unhealthy ways.

BJ 3:37

Mitu 3:37
This is a bit random. But it made me think of the latest Spider Man movie because after the snap in Avengers, all those people popped up. So you think these people that you've loved in your life were dead, but they're not but you've aged and they haven't basically, it was like a comedic plot point in Spider Man. Whereas I actually think it would be really strange and devastating. Yeah, because five years is also an amount of time you've done a pretty healthy moving on, hopefully, so to have that person thrust back in your face not to get into the plot of Spiderman. I actually loved that movie, but those sorts of action movies and shows often disregard the trauma that comes from these very intensive things that we see.

BJ 4:24
I think our listeners will notice we do pick on Marvel sometimes where they don't always show the death and the trauma and the aftermath of all this massive destruction to entire cities.

Mitu 4:34
Yeah, seriously, I think Cobie. Smulders does a really great job in this role. It was almost a little too developed for me in that I would have liked to have maybe not been so thrust into action without knowing anything, but she really draws you in

BJ 4:51
Very different than her Spider Man character.

Mitu 4:54
Oh, yeah, she is in Spider Man.

BJ 4:57
That's not why you brought that up?

Mitu 4:59
Go ahead and on those connections for me.

BJ 5:01

Mitu 5:02
Maybe that's why I did that. Speaking of trauma, Mama surrounded by people that I think enable her How do you feel about her relationship with her best friend Grey played by New Girl's Jake Johnson, because I don't like that he plys her with alcohol. I get that he owns a bar, but she doesn't seem to have a very healthy relationship with it.

BJ 5:20
Yeah. Although I will say I had a friend who managed a bar and he would always give free drinks without you asking.

Mitu 5:27
Yeah, it's a common thing that happens. I just think if I knew my friend had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, and he calls her on her unhealthy coping mechanisms.

BJ 5:38
Yeah, it's worse that he's aware of her problems.

Mitu 5:41

BJ 5:42
So it was interesting seeing him as I was mentioning to Mitu. While we were watching. I have a hard time seeing Jake Johnson in roles without also seeing his character from New Girl. But I think he did a good job here. Do you feel like he has a crush on her?

Mitu 5:59
I can't tell if he's being the quote unquote, nice guy, where if he is being nice enough to her, she'll eventually be like, "Oh, how polite. Here is my love and affection" or if they're actually best friends. I hope that they're just best friends.

BJ 6:15
I'm getting vibes that it's both that they actually are best friends. But he his intentions are "one day you'll see me as the right guy for you."

Mitu 6:25

BJ 6:25

Mitu 6:26
Then we bring in the actual right guy, Detective Hoffman played by Michael Ealy.

BJ 6:32
Which is also interesting, because right now, dex is just literally using him for physical pleasure and coping

Mitu 6:39
and investigating,

BJ 6:41
He is just a means to an end right now. Even though he is a very nice guy who would probably provide her with a healthy relationship.

Mitu 6:49
I don't think that she is in a place to actually be in a relationship with anyone.

BJ 6:54
We do see from her continuous looping of a cassette tape playlist from her ex that she has not begun the moving on process.

Mitu 7:03
I don't want to do spoilers, so we won't, but we'll learn why it's especially difficult for her to move on from her ex in this pilot episode, which I think is cool that they give it to us immediately.

BJ 7:15
Yeah, it helps to know that what did you think of her relationship with Sue Lynn and basically the whole casino family.

Mitu 7:24
It's a further testament to her unhealthy coping mechanisms or this closeness that she needs to feel with her ex that she's morning. Because if I were in a relationship with someone, and then their mother broke us up, I don't know that I would then gamble and build up a huge debt to her at her casino. I don't know that. That would be my step one. Step two,

BJ 7:45
We all have our own steps. But I agree with you.

Mitu 7:48
I would step away from that is what I would do.

BJ 7:51
That's good advice.

Mitu 7:52
So I think it's just a testament to some of her unhealthy choices. I think that will see more of Sue Lynn because of the complicated relationship between federal enforcement, law enforcement and native lands. Sue Lynn is a Native American casino owner, I think we'll see more of the complicated nature of that dynamic.

BJ 8:13
Yeah, and I think Sue Lynn and her casino are going to play the role of the money behind the man where they are going to be providing resources to Dex as she goes on new investigations throughout the season.

Mitu 8:28
True, I was surprised that the mystery in this pilot episode was resolved and that there was a little bit of a tease of a longer arc but I think that this show is basically going to be a procedural

BJ 8:41
The Find someone this week find this thing this week.

Mitu 8:45
It was interesting that she went from finding enemy combatants to a teenage girl

BJ 8:51
A little bit of a difference. You one person you can find them all is Sue Lynn's perspective.

Mitu 8:57
How did you feel about that central mystery of this pilot episode did it grip you?

BJ 9:01
You know, I struggled to relate to a wealthy teenage heiress who wants to run away and elope with her boyfriend and live off their grandmother's money.

Mitu 9:14
Oh, you can't relate to that?

BJ 9:16
Well, despite what you may know about me, I can't relate. I do feel that it's a pretty generic plot for the first mystery or investigation for Dex. But the generic aspect also provided a lot of opportunity for a nice twist. And I was actually really satisfied with the way it was resolved.

Mitu 9:37
There were some really good red herrings. How do you feel about her brother? I'm nervous about if he'll be kidnapped or used as leverage against her to make her do something.

BJ 9:47
Oh, I never considered him as her weakness.

Mitu 9:51
He is her weakness. He's the only thing she really cares about.

BJ 9:54
Now that you mentioned it. I do see potential for that as a plot point. I initially was just seeing him as words of wisdom or the light in her life.

Mitu 10:03
Oh true.

BJ 10:04
Where he is very positive. And he can always at least give her some sort of hope when she's reaching those darker points.

Mitu 10:13
But he also gives her that real. In the opening scene, she loses a bunch of money in the casino. He stayed up when she got home and she was like, What are you doing out of bed? And he was like, I wanted to know how much money you lost. So he gave her that real. He said Dex are we in trouble?

BJ 10:26
I mean, he's probably the only one who can honestly check her like that.

Mitu 10:30
I feel like Grey can check her to some extent but her brother has free reign. I think this Detective Hoffman character may be coming up as someone that she'll bounce ideas off of as well.

BJ 10:40
You think she'll take his feedback?

Mitu 10:42
I don't know that she would willingly take it but you know often in shows you'll have the straight man and the person that colors outside the lines if you will, and they'll begrudgingly take each other's advice and expertise. I could see that

BJ 10:55
Yeah there's room for that

Mitu 10:56
One thing that you really liked Beej as this is more in your genre wheelhouse were the action scenes.

BJ 11:04
Yeah, I was quite impressed with the scope of some of the action team. We had some nice car chases some fights in those abandoned I don't know, quarries? You always find these really convenient empty places to have a fight.

Mitu 11:20
That's true in my murder mysteries that I always watch on hallmark movies and mysteries channel, there's always an abandoned farmhouse where things are able to go down. If you paid me I don't know that I could find one short of googling abandoned farm houses for fights.

BJ 11:35
I mean, I guess bad guys just kind of have a list that go to abandoned location. There's also a really cool car seems not a car chase basically Dex get kidnapped and stuffed in the trunk of a car and she breaks out and all I'm going to say guys, because you just need to watch it to understand the car ends up in the air, but no one dies even though they should have.

Mitu 11:57
Everybody in that car should have died.

BJ 11:59
But that was really fun. What did you think of the action?

Mitu 12:01
I love that Cobie Smulders gets to play this truly developed exciting character. I think she's often - in the bigger roles that I'm familiar with - on the sidelines a bit. Even on How I Met Your Mother, it felt like Ted and Barney's stories in relation to her and not her own and then on Marvel she's not a main character, so it's cool to get to see her really sink her teeth into this role and she is taking it seriously.

BJ 12:30
Speaking of her character, one of the defining characteristics of her graphic novel counterpart is that she's actually bisexual. Do you think ABC will explore that side to her?

Mitu 12:43
I hope so. And I hope they do it in a responsible way not to plug another podcast but Still Processing just did a great episode on this latest season of MTV's Are You the One where everyone on the show could have been attracted to every other contestant on the show.

So people were bisexual pan or identified as queer basically anyone could have gotten with anyone and it made for a good reality show and really good conversations about sexuality. On ABC, I hope that Cobie and Dex get to portray bisexuality on a major network because bisexuality often experiences erasure both in conversations just generally but also when we talk about the LGBT community. My only concern though, is sometimes bisexuality, which they talk about much more eloquently than I am now on the latest episode of Still Processing is portrayed as people who just want to sleep with everyone or are quote unquote greedy.

BJ 12:59


Mitu 13:39
And I'm also nervous that bisexuality would be portrayed as I'm just sleeping around until I make a decision

BJ 13:46

Mitu 13:46
on the gender I'm attracted to when it doesn't have to be like that you can be married to someone of your same gender, a different gender, whatever and still be bisexual. So I hope that they portray her bisexuality responsibly. A show that's doing that wonderfully right now is Brooklyn Nine Nine with Rosa. So you know, maybe take some notes and then go from there. Yeah, watch the latest season of Are You the One

BJ 14:12
To our listeners, it's not confirmed that the TV counterpart to Dex is a bisexual character. And unfortunately, like Mitu mention with bi erasure with the way it's now set up with her ex, they are presenting her as a heterosexual woman, so we don't know yet what direction they'll go

Mitu 14:31
True. So far, we've only seen her interact with men.

BJ 14:34

Mitu 14:35
I hope ABC uses this opportunity in this character's background to portray bisexuality because you know, everybody deserves representation.

BJ 14:44

Mitu 14:44
On that note, Beej, what would you rate ABC Stumptown?

BJ 14:49
Would watch while doing laundry, I tend not to be drawn to crime dramas that often. It's a very crowded genre so it really takes a a unique premise or some special quirk or ideally a sci fi supernatural element. And this one is very realistically set in Portland, but I do like the character of Dex so I can see myself checking in on another episode or two, but I don't see this as a regular viewing show for me because it doesn't stand out enough in the entire field of crime dramas.

Mitu 15:25
Two reviews in a row that we agree I am with you. Listeners, I don't think this is better than other procedurals. So if you're watching other procedurals, I don't know that I would choose this one instead. But if you need something to watch while you're cooking, or doing laundry, something that takes about 40 minutes, then I would suggest the show I think it's interesting enough that it'll distract you while you're doing something. But I don't think it's so interesting that you would miss a step in your Blue Apron recipe for example.

BJ 15:56
I agree.

Mitu 15:57
All right Beej. Where can people find more episodes of The Pilot Podcast?

BJ 16:00
All you have to do is head to our website at the pilot podcast dot com and you can subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher Radio and Spotify, and be sure to leave us a rating and review. It helps others discover us. And a recent development: We've started a patreon. Head to and you can support us, get access to exclusive content like never before heard episodes, as well as exclusive merchandise and polls and ama's and a lot of cool fun stuff.

Mitu 16:29
Oooh I want to organize your AMA

BJ 16:31
I don't trust you. Where else can they find us?

Mitu 16:34
You can follow us on Twitter and on Instagram @thepilotpod, you can like us on Facebook at thepilotpodcast. You can send thoughts, feelings, suggestions, questions, feedback to Thanks for listening.

BJ 16:48

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