“Unstable” would have benefited more from being a sitcom than it has from being a short, eight-episode series. Everything about it, right from the eccentricities of the characters to the plots, screams sitcom material, but we suppose Netflix did not sanction that. It wasn’t a wise move since that reduced what could have been hilarious into the absolutely mundane. It was still a fast show, one that you can watch when you are just in the mood for something that gets over without being very heavy on the brain cells, but we are just stuck on the fact that it could have been so much better. Either way, this is how “Unstable” Season 1 plays out.
Ellis Dragon is a genius, a billionaire, an overbearing father, and a recent widower who has been struggling to deal with the death of his wife. He hit the jackpot when he created an enzyme that could turn sugarcane into plastic-like material. Now, he needs to figure out how to turn greenhouse gases into concrete, and unless he does that, he will lose control of his company. But figuring out a suitable solution does not seem to be his first priority, even though he claims that it is. He works with a landscaping crew in hopes of being inspired creatively, but it reads more like a distraction than anything else. He also seems to like collecting artefacts from around the world, but other than the occasional entertainment, they don’t really accomplish much.
Essentially, Ellis is facing a mental block, and he has been unable to work on his project or make any breakthroughs, much to the angst of his CFO, Anna Bennett. Looking at his mental health, the Board of Directors had appointed a therapist for him, but that led nowhere—that is, until Ellis confessed to Anna what had actually happened. Right before a board meeting, Anna finds Ellis naked in his cabin. She offers to postpone the meeting if he would like, and Ellis agrees, but he also tells her that he kidnapped his therapist. His therapist, Leslie, was going to send a report to the board saying that Ellis was not well enough to work, and to avoid that, Ellis had given him money. But when Leslie demanded more, Ellis locked him in the basement. Once Anna comes to know of this, she sends Malcolm to bring Jackson back from New York. Jackson is Ellis’ son and the only person who can keep his father grounded after his mother passed away. Jackson is giving flute lessons to kids in New York while struggling to make ends meet. But he still refuses to go with Malcolm because he does not want to deal with his dad. But Malcolm, who is Jackson’s childhood friend and schoolmate, convinces him to come to LA.
In LA, Jackson is just about done when he finds that everything he dreaded about his dad still holds true. He had come for a day, and his dad had insisted that he come to the karaoke. But when Jackson successfully performed a song, his dad acknowledged his talent yet downplayed it for its lack of relevance in the world. Just as he is about to leave, Anna has no choice but to tell him about the kidnapped therapist in the hopes that Jackson will stay to take care of his father. The trick works temporarily, and Jackson stays back for another day, only to find that the therapist is not as much kidnapped as he is comfortably housed in their sea-facing bungalow. Since his wife left him, Leslie has been chasing his own escapism in Ellis’ house. Things are hanging in a delicate balance, and finally, the board meeting happens, and neither Ellis nor Anna is able to put it off. But Ellis deals with it by being honest with the board and telling them that he will figure out the carbon project, but on his timeline. The board agrees with it, given his track record of groundbreaking innovations. Even the twins, Chaz and TJ, have no comeback for this.
Meanwhile, Jackson, who studied engineering before turning to the flute to get away from his father’s shadow, decides to stay back in LA as he has some unfinished business. Whether this was because of his feelings for one or both of the scientists in the lab, or his renewed interest in science, or just the fact that he wanted to be there with his father, is a matter of debate. The Love Triangle Between Luna, Ruby, And Jackson
When Jackson is getting a tour of the labs on his first day, he meets Luna and Ruby, two of the scientists who work there. There is some instant tension between Ruby and Jackson, but since he is leaving that day, he avoids it. That night, outside the karaoke bar, contrary to everyone’s expectations, Jackson really hits it off with Luna, and both of them find that they are able to converse easily, better than they could with others. But before anything can happen between them, Jackson decides to stay, and Ruby asks him out. Ruby suspects that Luna might have feelings for Jackson, but the latter vehemently denies it, constantly reminding herself and everyone that she has a boyfriend, Brian, whom she doesn’t like very much.
Ruby offers to back out if Luna likes Jackson, but upon her encouragement, she goes on a date anyway. It doesn’t go well because Jackson takes Ellis’ advice about “not caring” a little too literally. However, Jackson and Ruby patch things up soon enough and go on another date, while Luna is still fighting her feelings for Jackson. Though things are going well with Ruby and Jackson, the situation triggers Ruby’s commitment issues. Her mother was married seven times, and since then, Ruby has had a hard time trusting people, and she believes that Jackson is catching feelings too fast. She wants to tell him that she wants to stay friends, but he beats her to it. Ruby is surprised but is able to say her piece, and the two of them decide that they cannot date. Meanwhile, Luna also breaks up with her boyfriend, and she is free to pursue her feelings for Jackson, which she does after a reasonable amount of time. When it looks like he might leave for New York, Luna asks Ruby if she will miss Jackson. Ruby understands what Luna is going through and assures her that she will not miss Jackson as much as she will be happy for Luna. Jackson and Luna get together in the final episode, and this was really a while coming. With these two, we felt like there was some scope for chemistry if the script had allowed for it to build up. But it was still a sweet arc.
Anna is not just the CFO of the company; she is the one who runs the entire thing. Anna can come across as a robot to many, but she faces more pressure than anybody else as she has to balance too many things, often without getting her due appreciation. The scene where she reprimands Malcolm for drinking too much coffee is as painful for us as it is for him when he can’t figure out if what she is saying is a joke or if she means it. But Anna also acts as the primary caretaker of Ellis, and to be honest, if it weren’t for her stable leadership, Ellis would have lost the company long ago. We think it might just be a reality that she schedules a 12-hour crying session every year. When she leaves to deal with Chaz and TJ, asking them to stop trying to take down Ellis, she is almost successful, but things reach a stalemate when they discover that she writes fanfiction.
Except, it is not sappy; it is the kind where she is given importance and appreciation for doing her job. Thankfully, Ellis appreciates her, even though he doesn’t make her life easy. However, the twins are not the only ones who know about her fanfiction. Malcolm knows it too, and he tells Ruby and Luna about it. When Anna finds that Ruby is looking in her office for the fanfiction, she plants some fake ones with the help of Malcolm as a form of petty revenge and compares Ruby to a cow in her writing. However, when tensions escalate between Ruby and Luna since the latter was compared to an eagle, Malcolm tells them the truth about the fake fanfiction. The girls feel bad and get her a tin of biscuits to show their appreciation, and though Anna is glad for it, she says that she is going to kill Malcolm. Anna had a tough childhood with a father who abandoned the family and a mother who turned to alcohol after. But Anna has persevered, as she does to the very end, and she tells Ellis that, despite everything, she would still make the same choices in her life.
‘Unstable’ Ending Explained: How Do Ellis And Jackson Get Over Their Differences?
We would say that two incidents, in particular, helped Jackson and Ellis get over their differences. The first was when a professor that Jackson really looked up to asked him to get his father to speak at a conference. Jackson had always admired that professor, and he was disappointed when he found that he was just being used to getting to his father. This was a pattern exhibited by a lot of people he met. When he finds out that his mother’s friend Jean, who is also a member of the board, might just be taken away from him due to his father’s inclination to make things about him, Jackson asks him to consciously stay away from Jean. Ellis initially scoffs at the idea, but an incident at his landscaping job makes him see things differently. A man named Eduardo comes to the workplace and is something of a landscaping expert. Ellis wants to be able to do what Eduardo does, but when he fails repeatedly, he realizes that there will always be someone better than him, which prompts him to understand his son’s feelings. While they still come from a place of superiority, he listens to his son for once.
The next instance is when he takes Jackson to the landscaping job, and he keeps roasting Ellis. Ellis is not used to this since he has always been the boss and does not know how to deal with it. Juan tells him that if he wants to be friends with his son, he must realize that roasting is a normal part of friendship. Therefore, Ellis tries his hand at it but ends up taking it too far. Jackson is miffed with him, but they learn to communicate with each other and move on from there. Ellis’ roasts of his son become considerably lesser. Now, both of them just have to work to oust Leslie from their house since he has become something of a parasite, and they try to do so by placing some really smelly substance in his room. However, Leslie catches them and leaves the house by himself. But that is the start of a huge problem for both the son and the father.
‘Unstable’ Ending Explained: Do Ellis And Jackson Save The Company?
After Leslie leaves Ellis’ house, he goes straight to Jean and tells her that he is ready to tell the board that Ellis has kidnapped him. Jean has been betraying the Dragons so that she can be the CEO of the company. When the board calls for a meeting, Ellis and Jackson are at their wit’s ends as to what to do. Jackson decides to handle Leslie while Ellis works on the carbon project.
Jackson goes to Jean’s house to ask her to postpone the meeting but finds Leslie there, who tells him that Jean is responsible for everything. Jackson is heartbroken since this means that even Jean had been using him to get something from his father. He tries to adopt another route of dealing with the situation by setting up Leslie with his estranged wife for dinner, but that backfires when the wife comes on to Malcolm.
As for Ellis, he must figure out two things to perfect the project: the first being how to solidify the concrete and the other being how to fix the terrible smell of it. While Luna and Ruby solve the smell part of the problem, inspiration hits Ellis at the absolute last moment, and he is able to figure out how to solidify the concrete. At the board meeting, when Jean calls Leslie, he denies that he was ever kidnapped since Jackson has told him that he can move back in with them if he keeps the secret of his kidnapping hidden. But when Jean points out that Ellis has still failed to come up with some development in the project, he walks in the door just in time with his new innovation, getting the approval of the board while saving his entire life from collapsing. But unknown to the others, it’s not all cool with Ellis since he has set Jean’s car on fire for what she did to Jackson.
Can We Expect ‘Unstable’ Season?
A Season 2 of “Unstable” is likely, with the father and son dealing further with Leslie living in their basement and Jackson and Luna figuring out their romance around their awkward personalities. We really hope that if there is a Season 2, there will be some personal happiness for Anna as well. As for the villains of the story, Jean is sure to retaliate in some way or another. She is not the type to take things lying down, and there will be repercussions from Ellis burning down her car, probably the kind that cost him his company. Overall, it has been a moderately engaging series that has lasted just the right amount of time. Despite its lack of even a single laugh-out-loud moment, we can say that it is a decent watch for a few short hours. We recommend supplementing it with a scroll down Rob Lowe’s Instagram and a look at the comments his son leaves under his posts.