More than anything, I think the second episode did any amazing job of examining the trend in our culture to circle like vultures over the spoils of any "newsworthy" event. Not only were the winners of the lottery badgered and taped and made overly much of by the news, but of course everyone became fixated by the one mechanic who opted out on wasting money with the lottery, only to lose on the opportunity of a lifetime (by the way, since they let the winnings be split with one guy who didn't technically go in on the ticket, why on earth haven't they given the same chance ton Antonio?!).
This mass culture fascination with the ultimate victors and victims of sheer dumb luck is a great focus, since it really taps into something very timely in our current climate. It's a sort of escapism, both to imagine what it would be like to fly to such heights, as well as a way to feel superior, in that at least we aren't the chump who almost won the lottery. It was handled very well throughout the episode, showing some of the less kindly aspects of human nature without being outright damning. These writers get people.
In that line of getting people, I am really enjoying the trajectory of the character of Denise. Sketching out a portrait of a good woman who is struggling with all of the self image and trust issues that come with her current obesity is a brave effort, and one that could use a similar humane touch more often in network television. Her relationship with her cheating husband is particularly tragic, although I'll be the first to admit that my sympathies will stay with her only so much longer before I'll need to see her confront him. But in this moment, that feeling of hopelessness and wishful ignorance is really quite compelling.
My two complaints concerning plot are the brain tumor--it's bordering on too convenient of a plot crutch--and the big reveal of Leanne's character. I felt like the latter could have been drawn out for a few more episodes, building tension without losing interest. Sure, there's still a lot for her character to do, but I don't mind a certain amount of enigmatic elements that drive me crazy. It's a good way to hook people on a good story.
I don't know why, but this show is making me think wistfully of the too-soon-gone gem October Road. While quite different in narrative structure, I still feel like both feature a writing team that has a genuine interest in capturing the human condition with an ensemble of characters that don't have to win every beauty pageant . . . just every other beauty pageant.