Unstable (2023) Analysis: 5 Key Themes and Messages

5 key themes and messages in Unstable (2023) include the topics of family, grief, ambition, identity, and innovation.

Unstable is a Netflix comedy series that stars Rob Lowe and his son John Owen Lowe as a father-son duo who work together at a biotech company. The series, which premiered in March 2023, explores the themes of family, grief, ambition, identity, and innovation.

Unstable follows the adventures of Ellis Dragon, a biotech genius who tries to bounce back from the depths of grief with help from his son Jackson, who works to escape his dad’s shadow and save the family business. Whether you’re a fan of the show or just curious about it, you’ll find some interesting insights and perspectives on various themes and messages in the series.


One of the main themes of Unstable is the relationship between Ellis and Jackson, who have to overcome their differences and resentments to reconnect after the death of Ellis’ wife and Jackson’s mother.

The series shows how family can be both a source of support and conflict, as Ellis and Jackson try to help each other cope with their loss, but also clash over their expectations and values. The series also portrays the dynamics of the Dragon family business, which includes Ellis’ CFO Anna, his old friend Leslie, and the Red Lab crew of young scientists who work under Jackson’s supervision.

Unstable depicts how these characters form bonds of friendship, loyalty and rivalry within the company.


Another major theme of Unstable is how Ellis and Jackson deal with their grief in different ways. Ellis becomes more erratic and eccentric, losing focus on his work and engaging in risky behaviors. Jackson becomes more withdrawn and insecure, doubting his abilities and aspirations as a flutist.

The series explores how grief can affect one’s mental health, self-esteem, and motivation, as well as how it can impact one’s relationships with others. The series also shows how grief can be a catalyst for change and growth, as Ellis and Jackson learn to face their emotions and find new meaning in their lives.


The role of ambition in the characters’ lives is also explored in the series. Ellis is a biotech genius who has created a successful company that aims to revolutionize the field of biotechnology. Jackson is an aspiring flutist who wants to pursue his passion for music and make his own name in the world.

The series examines how ambition can drive one to achieve great things, but also how it can create pressure, stress, and conflict. The series also questions how one defines success and happiness, as Ellis and Jackson have to balance their professional goals with their personal needs.


A fourth theme of Unstable is the issue of identity for the characters. Ellis is a charismatic and confident leader who has built his reputation on his brilliance and innovation. Jackson is a shy and awkward young man who struggles to find his place in his father’s shadow.

The series explores how identity can be shaped by one’s family, career, talents, and interests, as well as how it can change over time. The series also challenges the stereotypes and expectations that society imposes on people based on their age, gender, appearance, and background.


A fifth theme of Unstable is the concept of innovation in the field of biotechnology. Ellis’ company, Dragon, is working on various projects that aim to improve human health, longevity, and quality of life. Some of these projects include creating artificial organs, developing gene therapies, and enhancing brain functions.

The series showcases the potential benefits and risks of innovation, as well as the ethical and moral dilemmas that it poses. The series also highlights the importance of creativity, curiosity, and collaboration in scientific research and discovery.

Overall, the series in not perfect. There are both good and bad things about it. What it does have are these themes that we can introspect upon.

What are your thoughts on Unstable? What are some other themes and messages that you noticed in the series? Let us know in the comments below!

Saurav B.

Saurav is the main content creator at Film Finesse's blog and YouTube. He has six years of experience as a content writer, including writing screenplays for short movies and videos. He has 5 years of experience as a research manager, along with a degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering.

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