Little America season 1, episode 1 recap – “The Manager”

By Daniel Hart
Published: January 17, 2020
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Little America Season 1, Episode 1, “The Manager” is a sweet but sad little story about a man and his deported parents who run a motel in America.

This recap of Apple TV+ Series Little America season 1, episode 1, “The Manager” contains significant spoilers.

Episode 1, “The Manager” is a sweet, small story about a boy called Kabir — it’s a story of a son of deported motel owners in America and his patience in waiting for them to return.

“The Manager” begins with Kabir riding a trolley, collecting leaves from drains with his father and cheekily answering at the reception of the motel — Economy Value Inn, Green River. Kabir is good with words — his father promises him a Trans Am if he learns all the words in the dictionary by 16. As he gets older, Kabir becomes a spelling genius.

But one day, Kabir’s life turns upside down — a woman named Miss Dubeck visits the family at the motel. Kabir overhears conversations about deportation.

The whispers become reality; the next day a taxi arrives to pick Kabir’s mother and father up. With his parents deported, Vijay, their friend, will be looking after Kabir as he runs the motel. Kabir spends his days writing letters to Homeland Security and Skyping his parents — Kabir gets frustrated not knowing timescales of getting his family back.

A slightly old Kabir puts his spelling knowledge to good use by competing at the state competition to get into the nationals, which is at Washington, DC, with the opportunity to meet Laura Bush. While competing in the nationals, he thinks of his family to motivate himself to get through it.

Thirteen finalists are asked to go to the White House. Kabir finally meets Laura Bush. He frantically reads her a letter, more like a plea about his parents. She’s not very reassuring and he breaks down in tears.

Episode 1, “The Manager” fast forwards years later with a young-adult Kabir. He’s still managing the motel, hosting parties with his friends and getting drunk. It’s a sad existence almost, witnessing a man that had his innocent years removed from him due to his parent’s deportation and now he spends years hopelessly waiting while trying to retain purpose.

Little America Season 1, Episode 1, “The Manager” ends on a positive; one morning, Kabir gets a phone call. He heads to the airport and his mother and father appear and they rejoice. As a family tradition, they head to KFC before returning to the hotel; the mother scopes out the changes Kabir has made. In the middle of the night, Kabir panics and rushes to his parent’s room believing they may not be there but he finds them both watching TV. He tells his mother that his life is “fine” and when Kabir asks the same question to his father, he says “it’s better now”.

The story felt bittersweet to me, with a happy ending.

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