Foxtel’s The Kettering Incident
Episode 1: “Anna”
Directed by Rowan Woods
Written by Victoria Madden
* For a review of Episode 2, “The Lights”, click here.
In August of 2000 we find ourselves in Tasmania, in the midst of the Kettering Forest. Young anna (Maddison Brown) rides a bike with her friend Gillian into the trees, down a quiet path. Soon the forest emanates odd sounds, not quite human or animal. Followed by lights flickering around the woods. When Jillian disappears, Anna is left alone and calling out into the darkness.
Cut to the present day and things have changed a good deal. Dr. Anna Macy (Elizabeth Debicki) is drunk and laying against a dumpster in London. Whatever happened sixteen years previous obviously shattered her proper.
Love the opener, as well as the title sequence and theme. Excellently eerie, subtle. Excited to see what’s in store.
Anna’s life isn’t too organised. Someone named Tim Edwards (Nathan Lovejoy) calls, leaving messages and waiting for her to show up at some meal that likely won’t be happening. She writes in her journal about all sorts of details. I assume those are related to maybe losing time, or something similar, all tying into that event back in 2000. Either way, Anna is an interesting character. She struggles privately with what appears as addiction, though she’s also the type to ride a bike to work. And then she spends her day trying to help others instead of helping herself. There’s a patient in treatment to whom Anna feels especially drawn, a little blond girl; she buys her things, reads her books.
We watch Anna suffer a nosebleed out of nowhere. She gets her head checked then reveals she’s lost 7 hours. Ah, yes, the lost time. This starts to bring us back to 2000, the last time she lost any time that way. Later, she meets with Tim and gets some bad news, on several fronts. Especially when he produces some security footage; the kind she ought to watch privately.
Then Anna sees herself, walking into the hospital, tap dancing in the hallway. It shocks her. Everything is disoriented and she flashes back and forth to various events of her life.
When Anna comes to again, she’s back in Tasmania. She has her passport, a board pass for a flight. A terrifying loss of time. All the way back home she is now lost in her own head and the place of all her old fears.
Out in a boat, Chloe Holloway (Sianoa Smit-McPhee) and Dane Sullivan (Dylan Young) are out meeting another boat crew for some drugs. They see lights on the horizon, curious ones. Then after they get the drugs, Chloe starts having a nosebleed.
Cut quick back to poor Anna. A man finds her stalled out in the middle of the road, acting strangely. He helps get her into the town of Kettering, the old stomping ground. As she stands in front of a place called the FOUR LEAF CLOVER, only the letters OVER blink on and off. Also, we begin to discover there’s lots of stuff going on concerning the Greenies, those dedicated to environmentalism, so that’s likely to play into the story and various plots in some way. Furthermore, Anna runs into people that know her, and the mood changes swiftly. She’s uncomfortable, thrown off. Some people are less than welcoming while others try their best to be nice, such as Chloe. “You got a bloody nerve comin‘ back here,” one man says ominously before Anna runs out of the diner.
We find that her father Roy (Anthony Phelan) is retiring. Anna goes back to the home of her father where relics of her old life sit around every room. Roy’s surprised to see her. Not exactly thrilled, but not altogether unhappy, at all. They embrace, albeit awkwardly. There’s so much history in their family and I’m looking forward to seeing all those little secrets and dark nooks to come to light.
Barbara Holloway (Sacha Horler) and her husband Max (Damien Garvey) have their own troubles. Mostly him. He receives a troubling letter suggesting he’s done something awful. Of course his wife has no idea.
Roy goes to see Renae Baxter (Suzi Dougherty) to tell her about Anna coming home, apologising for the sudden arrival. For her part, Renae says she’s happy for him. Is the mother of Gillian, the one who went missing nearly two decades ago? If so, there’s more to rear its head yet.
Anna begins trying to piece together bits of the past, in order to help her present unify and become more stable. In the garage of her father’s place she looks through Missing Persons cases, some of which involve strange lights. We also see a newspaper clipping that possibly relates to her own incident – a man arrested over a missing teenager in Kettering, is this perhaps some of what makes the town feel strangely about Anna? Well, she has another fit of sorts, flashes of events and weird images.
She loses more time, waking up in bed. Chloe’s there to pick her up. Again we hear “Crimson and Clover” playing, which Anna says reminds her of her mother. Moreover, she also doesn’t like to have her picture taken. We’ll see more of that, no doubt. For now Anna finds that her car is no longer where she left it. Chloe soon reveals she’s also seen the lights around their town. She has a tattoo of a moth because they go towards the light; similar to a moth Anna recently envisioned during one of her episodes. Such intriguing little threads all setup to pull apart and together eventually.
Now we meet Dt. Brian Dutch (Matthew Le Nevez). He receives Anna about the stolen car. She then comes across another familiar face, Fergus McFadden (Henry Nixon). They’ve not seen each other in many, many years. Simultaneously, the car turns up. Except not in the way Anna may have hoped. The Greenies are out protesting and her car’s ended up in the midst of it all, burning to bits. Max Holloway is out there – I expect he’s a logger, or something similar. The police are trying to get things under control, though the whole thing is gone pretty wild.
There’s a dark side to Mr. Holloway. He’s gotten more letters than just that one. For some reason, he keeps them. Although they’re hidden away nicely. What lurks in his closet with all the skeletons? Bits and pieces of the story come together in nice, slow burning methods. The exposition doesn’t slap us in the face, and in this way keeps things interesting. Many are comparing this to Twin Peaks, but it isn’t at all. Maybe echoes at times, but overall completely different. Though honestly, the level of storytelling so far is on par.
Max and Roy are close friends. The former acts strangely like a creep around his buddy’s daughter: “Remember me?” he asks eerily. But Anna’s off with a bottle of liquor, staring up into the sky. She meets up with Chloe afterwards, asking to be taken to where she those lights. Meanwhile, a man named Dominic Harrold (Neil Pigot) is tuning into radio frequencies, headphones on listening in the darkness. What’s he up to? Oh, and Dt. Dutch, he’s banging Mrs. Holloway. All those small town lives are heading for collision.
And Anna, she’s out with Chloe, taking drugs – not the smartest thing in her condition – and heading to where the lights were, supposedly. It mostly turns into a rave, which is what the place is anyway: a massive rave in the woods around a fire. Until Anna and Chloe wander out into the forest. Is this the beginning of an unfortunate event just like that one 16 years ago? The lights in the woods come out again. Anna watches as Chloe heads towards them. Just like Gillian. Just like before.
Wow. What an intense opening episode. This one aired together, so I’m finishing the recap/review here. I’ll continue Episode 2 shortly, so stay tund with me. I’m loving the show already, even in the first hour. What great suspense, mystery, tension. All the ingredients for a great 8-episode series.