Foxtel’s The Kettering Incident
Episode 2: “The Lights”
Directed by Rowan Woods
Written by Victoria Madden
* For a review of Episode 1, “Anna” – click here
* For a review of Episode 3, “The Search” – click here
Fergus McFadden (Henry Nixon) is out in kayak. He comes across a bunch of dead birds in the water. Then, a piece of wood with writing on it; a part of a boat? Who knows.
We cut to Dr. Anna Macy (Elizabeth Debicki). In the background it sounds like a plane going down over the radio. When she comes to Anna only hears reports on the radio about lights in the forest. Her hands look like they’ve been digging in the dirt out there, too. Her boots on the porch are full of mud, clumps of earth. Worse, she has no pills left.
But worse than that even? Chloe Holloway (Sianoa Smit-McPhee) isn’t home. Her mother Barbara (Sacha Horler) finds her room empty. Nowhere to be found. In the middle of the woods sits Chloe’s abandoned cellphone.
At home, Renae Baxter (Suzi Dougherty) gets phone calls filled with static, the sound of someone saying “Mommy” over and over. Pranks, laughter at the end before they hang up. That is awful. Moreover, Renae worries over the lights in the forest. It’s becoming clear she believes there might have been something strange happening on those woods; last night, and 16 years ago, as well.
Last episode we saw Dominic Harrold (Neil Pigot) briefly. Now, Renae goes to him: “It‘s happening again,” she says. Ah, they’re kindred spirits believing in the existence of alien life out there, UFOs, and whatever else. Looking forward to seeing more of this relationship.
Anna talks with Barbara briefly saying that Chloe talked about getting out of Kettering. But we get more of the idea that not everyone in Kettering is so pleased with Anna being back. Not in the slightest. Not long afterwards, Anna has another episode. Flashes of strange images. She sees herself in that security footage tap dancing. Then she finds herself spaced out, watching a bunch of tap dancing young girls. The instructor calls out to her, surprised to see Anna – is this her mother? I’d bet a good lot on that one. Because Anna runs off in a frenzy.
Max Holloway (Damien Garvey) is having more and more trouble. The fact things with the Greenies hasn’t been solved puts a bunch of the hardline thugs in Kettering out in a mood to rage. They trash the protesters camp, as Max and his buddy Jack discuss how things might go from here on in.
At the same time, Fergus is out looking for Chloe. He checks in with Liza (Tilda Cobham-Hervey), who reports the reluctant truth. She also tells Fergus about Anna and Chloe spending time together. This naturally is leading to more suspicion to be thrown Anna’s way. We find out more concerning her, as Liza’s mother Sharon says Anna threw her through a window. But Fergus sheds light on it, calling that incident an accident. Probably just more prejudiced fear about Anna when something far more sinister is going on around Kettering.
Dt. Brian Dutch (Matthew Le Nevez) is up to no good. Turns out the stuff Chloe and Dane Sullivan (Dylan Young) were picking up, the drugs, belong to Dutch. Or at least he’s a part of it all, near the top. I knew immediately when we saw him last episode there was something off. I didn’t expect the corruption. With missing stash, Dutch puts the screws to Dane: find the drugs, or else. And the plot of the little town of Kettering thickens. One of the many plots.
Out to try and get more pills, Anna stirs up trouble. She sees a boy with a possible serious illness in the waiting room. Then she manages to slip out a prescription pad from the belongings of a Dr. McKenzie, who has obviously been let go, fired, something from the hospital. This is a nice, weird little scene. Fits right in perfectly, as well as adds more and more intrigue by the spoonful. When Anna gets to the pharmacy, though, the gig on the pills is up.
Fergus is still searching for Chloe, from land to ferry. Papa Max is out doing the same while also getting word from his men: further measures need to be taken. In town, the fear of Chloe disappearing is becoming more real. Barbara starts wondering about the influence of Anna, as do others. This can only mean bad things for Ms. Macy.
Speaking of her, she sits in the Four Leaf Clover drinking coffee. Jens Jorgenssen (Damon Gameau) meets her, giving back the present from her patient she dropped at the party. He’s soon driven out by the loggers, as is Anna: “You should go too, little bird,” Craig Grayson (Ben Oxenbould) tells her.
Over to see Roy Macy (Anthony Phelan), Fergus meets up with Anna again. Everything is fairly awkward, tense. Outside, Anna asks Fergus if there was a Mayday earlier, that she heard on the radio. A brief mention. I want to know more about what she heard. For now, Anna dances around the truth. She talks of being home at 11, saying Chloe partied hard. She further mentions the girl wanted to leave town. This won’t do Anna any favours. But it’s probably best, as this is a mystery she ought to try solving herself. Her father, for his part, is worried. She wasn’t home until after midnight. Ah, the lies. There’s only so long she can fend them off. And being linked to another missing girl? Kettering might swallow her whole yet.
A picture of the old Sullivan house intrigues Anna, captivating her attention. So many various plots, events, images. They’ll all link up, soon enough. It’s fun to watch them pile high. Keeps me glued to the screen.
The Holloways are arguing. Max is heading out to do mill business, but Barb isn’t happy about that. They’re both still believing she’ll turn up. There’s more to Max that we’re still not seeing. Just yet. I’m highly interested in whatever creepiness he’s holding in that closet full of skeletons.
We’re back with Renae and Dominic. They have a meeting together with others who have experienced the lights, other strange events. There’s a mention of the old Sullivan place. Lots of others know there is something odd in those woods. Something otherworldly.
Liza listens to a message on her phone that seems to depict Chloe, terrified, trying to get away from someone. A harrowing call to hear.
And there’s more to Roy. He meets with Grayson and Max. They discuss what to do about the Greenies, what’s next. None of them wants to see the mill get sold or closed up. They each have their own ideas, but Grayson’s more inclined to blame Anna for stirring everybody up. Whatever they’re planning now seems drastic.
At the station, Dt. Dutch is starting to worry about how close Fergus is getting to the drug operation in which he’s involved. On top of that, Fergus found a piece of a fishing trawler that disappeared a decade ago. Further than that he finds out more about Anna stealing the prescription pad at the hospital, that she’s on anti-psychotics; just as her mother was once.
On her own personal investigation, Anna finds the sick boy from the hospital earlier in the middle of a dirt road. He runs into the forest somewhere, as she tries following. Except it’s up Mother Sullivan’s Ridge. She’s out near the old Sullivan place. Will she follow, or no?
At home, Barb looks through Chloe’s things. She finds a bunch of interesting stuff, such as a hidden flash drive, a picture of Dt. Dutch. On the drive is a video of Chloe talking about ghosts, of convicts and Aborigines. Of more secrets and dark, dirty things going on in Kettering. “I swear one day I‘m gonna tear off all their masks and disappear,” says Chloe in the unsettling clip. Even further, Barb discovers her daughter knew more about her than she let on.
Anna soon comes across the Sullivan house. She hopes to find Chloe, but no such luck. She does find her own lost jacket, along with her pills. That’s one good thing. In a nearby room there are sleeping bags, camping equipment. A fire’s embers still glow in the living room in a fireplace below almost ancient-looking photos. And then Anna spies the chair from her visions. Then she has more of them, descending into a savage fit.
She comes to looking out at the nearby mountains. Lights zip around strangely by its peaks. Down at the local diner Anna talks with Barb, saying there were lights in the forest and generally creeping her out. “You should never have come back,” her father scowls at her.
Liza then shares the message she got from Chloe with the Holloways – all the fear, the screaming. This only deepens things. Both the suspicions and paranoia of Anna, as well as Max wondering if something is coming back to bite him badly. Fergus has the phone Chloe used, but all he can do, or anyone can do, is think of Gillian Baxter. They all wonder if this is just another horrific event wrapped up in Anna’s return to Kettering.
Very good follow-up to the first episode. Love them both! Tasmanian Gothic is a great genre of literature, even better on film at times. There’s so much more to hope for, and to which we can look forward. Next episode is titled “The Search” and will, I assume, dive further into the workings of the town, Roy and Grayson and Holloway working together, among many more plots. This is a fantastic series. Stay with me and we’ll follow this through to a suspenseful conclusion! I’m sure of it.