This led to the following discussion - how long does it take for any show to find its creative footing? I say it takes, on average, 6-7 episodes before a show truly finds its footing; she says it takes shorter (i.e., she is more willing to give up early on a show).
It may simply differ based on the show. Someone watching the first four episodes of "The Wire" might have found the array of characters incomprehensible. Some say "Big Bang Theory" or "Seinfeld" didn't reach its peak until season 2 or 3. The powerful opening pilot of "Lost" started the series off with a bang, but some say it became transcendent with its fourth episode, "Walkabout." Similarly, the Sopranos started to become the critical favorite with its fifth episode when Tony took Meadow to college only to spot a familiar enemy now in witness protection.
So, what does this have to do with HR? What is your escalation to commitment with an employee? How long are you willing to stick with a mediocre employee before severing the relationship? Are you ending the relationship before the employee has an opportunity to become transcendent?