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Odelle Ballard stumbles upon encrypted files that prove a major American corporation called Societel also known as SOC is secretly funding terrorists. After an attack on her unit, she becomes the sole survivor and must make the grueling journey back home. Meanwhile, former U. Attorney-turned- B. Pete Decker uncovers corruption in the private sector at his new job. Also, G8 protest-organizer Harrison Walters suspects a government cover-up when Bob Offer hacks into Odelle's webmail account, finding her distress signal.
Ballard tries to avoid detection while traveling through the desert with Aslam, her young Malian companion and a caravan of hostile male Tuaregs who are forced to hand her over to Ansar Dine.
Meanwhile, Peter takes his suspicions about Societel to the Department of Justice and is later framed for the murder of Lieutenant Gentry. Also, after Harrison searches the city and finally finds Bob, he is ready to address the protestors with the evidence. However, Bob is reluctant to reveal Ballard's email proving that she is still alive and deletes it. On the way to Bamako , Odelle loses Aslam as he retrieves the flash-drive, being shot down as he does so. While a captive of Al-Qaeda , Ballard tries to prove her value to an Ansar Dine interrogator, who is willing to help her escape for the right information.
Mark Warren's Wyatt Earp: An American Odyssey books in order
The screenwriters name names whenever possible Bill Clinton, Blackwater, bin Laden, Occupy Wall Street, Twitter , and the military, legal, and political jargon is dense for a network series. Even more unfortunate is the way that Odelle and her odd-couple traveling companion, a barely adolescent soldier named Aslam Omar Ghazoui , take the viewer on a horror-movie tour of Mali that might as well be the Republic of Islamophobia. Are the producers trying to make another Traffic or Babel , or a modern version of a silent-movie-era cliffhanger about a virtuous white woman imperiled by sinister ay-rabs?
During desert scenes, American Odyssey feels like the latter posing as the former. Already a subscriber? Log in or link your magazine subscription.
American Odyssey Is Too Serious for Its Own Good (or Not Serious Enough)
Her knowledge of Bearden's life is first rate, even if it gained much from Myron Schwartzman's earlier, more exhaustive biography, Romare Bearden: His Life and Art The biography Campbell has written is astute, wide-ranging, and at times moving. Campbell narrates Bearden's life before and after the Projections series: his move north, his exposure to European modernism while in the military, his participation in artist groups like Spiral, and the afterlife of his work.
But it is the Projections series of black-and-white photomontages from far more than Bearden's watercolors or his other artworks that have assured his "legacy" within the history of American art. Campbell claims that they "came out of nowhere. Such an art historical reading, however, is reductive and it leaves us, as it usually does, knowing plenty about Bearden's life, but with few useful insights and concepts to encounter the artworks themselves.
In fact, tying the worth of an African American artist's work to his or her biography is a longstanding losing game.
The alternative is certainly not some anemic "art for art's sake" argument either. Instead, as some of the recent work that has comprised this "return to Bearden" attests, we need work that soundly argues for the singular affects that this work generates in its best form, which Campbell correctly identifies as the famous Projections series.
The most valuable and comprehensive work in the biography is Campbell's explanation of Bearden's shift from nonfigurative, abstract painting to photomontage. She frames this shift through a nuanced discussion of the artist collective Spiral, which Bearden formed with fifteen other artists including Norman Lewis, Hale Woodruff, and Emma Amos in July The Spiral group itself neither articulated a unifying set of principles nor did they agree on any form of collaborative work.