Stan’s Wolf Creek
Episode 3: “Salt Lake”
Directed by Tony Tilse
Written by Peter Gawler
* For a review of Episode 2 “Kutyukutyu”, click here.
* For a review of Episode 4 “Opalville”, click here.
After two episodes in this mini-series, I’m hooked.
This episode begins in May 2009. Setting, the Outback. A couple people are camping in the woods. And certainly you know what’s about to happen. Out pops Mick Taylor (John Jarratt), stabbing deep and fatal with his long buck knife. A car then burns in the daytime, out on Salt Lake. Nearby as we fade into the present, Eve (Lucy Fry) reads police files concerning the unsolved disappearances out in the area of Mr. Taylor’s stomping grounds. I love how this series contains a lot of different elements, ones that pop up in both films. But here they have the chance to expand into something more.
Then from out of nowhere comes Kevin (Matt Levett), the creeper that’s been watching her. He tries assaulting her in a broken down van. Though, again Eve proves her strength. First she pulls a gun on him. Second, she puts a bullet in his leg to make sure he knows she’s serious. Good person she is, Eve then fixes him up and leaves him by his car on the highway. Kev’s a real chauvinist pig, saying she basically asks for it looking how she does. Enjoy how they’ve written her consistently as a woman who takes no shit.
Eve (to Kevin): “Shoulda shot your dick off”
An act of shedding her skin sets Eve off slightly. For the first time really since her tragic first meeting with Mick in the wilderness, she shows emotion and breaks down. Only in a vacuum, though. Because determination keeps her on track. As for Kev, he gets picked up by the one and only Mr. Taylor.
Detective Sergeant Sullivan Hill (Dustin Clare) meanwhile is professionally and personally troubled. Eve is out on the run trying to find a serial killer, at the same time his wife feels a distance growing between them because of his work. He seems like a real man of duty, not some guy using work to escape his home life. So hopefully they don’t fall apart in their relationship that’d be sad to see.
Well Eve’s at the Madonna Cafe along the highway. There she meets the woman in charge, Bernie (Deborah Mailman), an awesomely sassy woman, and straight up, as well. They chat it up, of course Eve asks about the blue F100. Outside, Eve witnesses a cop have a seizure and helps him while he thrashes on the ground. What a turn of events. Will this come in handy for her some time down the line? Or is this setting up something else altogether?
Kane (Richard Cawthorne) and his buddy Ginger (Eddie Baroo) are still kicking around. The latter’s sort of pissed off with Kane and his little crush on Eve.
It seems Mick was jealous of the lies Kevin told him, about having supposedly had sex with Eve. So now Dt. Sgt. Hill gets a call out to where Kev’s body hangs naked from a tree, bled out, no dick. Yikes. What’s interesting about this is how we’ve seen the slight jealousy of Mick over women come out in different ways, increasingly aggressive. In the last episode, he toppled a man’s vehicle into a lake over being thwarted with a couple helpless women (luckily for those women though even if they ended up with a sleazy dude looking to bang them). Now it’s evolved into a more savage approach of castration.
Over at the Madonna, Bernie meets Mick. He’s searching for his little “American Sheila“, but she plays dumb. And out on the highway, Eve sees the blue truck pass heading deeper into the Outback.
Further on the highway, the officer Eve helped earlier seizes while driving some prisoners. The van topples sideways off the road. A prisoner named Johnny (Jake Ryan) gets himself free, and when one of the cops shoots at him he blows the vehicle to bits. So now there’s not only a serial killer out in the wild, there’s a criminal roaming about, too.
Bernie receives another visitor. This time, very late at night. It’s Kane, and he’s paying; for gas and for information. More of the great writing here, as all the threads of these stories start to come together. Because meanwhile out in the bush, Mick is doing his thing and now Kane via Bernie knows about him looking for the girl – plus, they met in the bar last episode, remember? Well all these different angles are being played at.
And the plot thickens, as injured convict Johnny comes across Eve in the broken down van. She’s obviously sceptical of his appearance, the leg irons and all. Although, she helps him out. We find out Johnny was in on an armed robbery, things went bad, so on. He’s out on a quest for revenge to find the man who put him away. He helps her out a little with the van’s wheel before heading off into the dark. So glad this wasn’t another semi-rapey exchange between Eve and a man; perfect how it was an actual convict and yet he never once advanced on her creepily. Instead, he simply walks away and says: “See ya down the road somewhere.”
Then down that road Even finds a grim totem, an animal’s head on a stick. For those who don’t remember, Mick likes to make heads on a stick. Mostly with people, but any kill will do, hey? Regardless, Eve paints herself like she’s heading into tribal warfare.
At the van, Kane surprises Eve. Uh oh. He gets the better of the poor girl, knocking her out cold. He zip ties her, and even a couple driving on the highway can’t help. “I need a woman to give me kids,” he says. Wow, that’s almost even creepier than regular rapey behaviour. But nothing goes on too long. She ends up shooting him in the guts after getting her hands on the gun again. Then not too long after he dies. A shocking turn of events. Once again, the woman wins out. Love that. But Ginger is waiting for Kane – they’re brothers, actually. A big man like that with a dead brother? Can’t be good news.
Madonna Cafe is seeing lots of traffic lately. Hill tries to get information out of Bernie, but she mostly just collects information from his questions. He’s looking for Mick, even has a nice composite drawing. He’s also looking for Eve. Now Bernie knows there’s just a whirlwind of shit flying around.
Out in the bush, Hill’s called out to where Kane lies dead. So many deaths all within close range of one another. There’s madness in the hills. More madness and marital troubles now at the Hill home. Sullivan finds a man in bed with his wife, so he appropriately beats the shit out of him a bit, while the dude is still naked. Then he zip ties him up and leaves. Jesus, that’s bound to cause a ton of bad things.
Kane’s friends and family mourn him. This can’t be good, either. Eve is already chasing down a serial killer. Now she’s got a cop and a clan of bad ass bikers to deal with, as if it weren’t all fucked up enough. Ginger’s setting everybody after Eve, knowing it’s her that did the deed. So who’s about to run into each other first?
And Bernie lets Eve know about everyone asking after her. She finds out about Mick heading to Opalville where he’s got a contract “shooting pigs” – the perfect setup? Or did Bernie set her up? Because on her way out to Opalville, Mick shoots the tires from under her. Once again Eve is about to be back in the grasp of the ruthless murderer.
Wow. This series has impressed me one episode after the next. It gets better with each chapter. Next up is the aptly titled “Opalville” and I cannot WAIT to see what it has in store! So much excellent cinematography, practical effects, as well as spectacular performances through and through.