Discovery Canada’s Frontier
Season 1, Episode 4: “Wolves”
Directed by Kelly Makin
Written by Greg Nelson
* For a review of the previous episode, “Mushkegowuk Esquewu” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The Disciple” – click here
We start this episode in James Bay. Two redcoats spot a ship heading for land.
Lord Benton (Antun Armstrong) and Captain Chesterfield (Evan Jonigkeit) have a chat about dealing with the tribes; or, well, how they’ll dispatch of them. When they hear of a company ship approaching, they wonder exactly what’s going on. Hmm. Trouble abound?
Declan Harp (Jason Momoa), Dimanche (WiLlliam Belleau), Michael Smyth (Landon Liboiron) and Sokanon (Jessica Matten) are cast out into the woods, no longer in the good graces of the Lake Walkers, specifically the new Okimaw, Machk (Raoul Trujillo). For his part, Harp feels they need to go their own way, take on Benton with their strengths and a bit of surprise. There’s a lot tension between Dimanche and Harp, the former not wanting to follow the latter; he leaves telling Declan: “I‘m taking the men with me.” Truly on their own now.
In Montreal, Douglas Brown (Allan Hawco) goes to see Samuel Grant (Shawn Doyle). Although he only gets to meet with the murderous Cobbs Pond (Greg Bryk). He makes clear this is how business will be going, they’ll take what they want. Furthermore, Pond tells Douglas about his brother Malcolm (Michael Patric), what Cedric pulled involving Kitchi and the Lake Walkers. One thing I know: don’t fuck with Mr. Pond.
Captain Benedict Johnson comes off the ship into James Bay, meeting Chesterfield, who tries to get information out of the man. But Johnson only wants to meet Benton. There’s going to be some trouble here, definitely. They head on into Fort James, to the Ale House of Grace Emberly (Zoe Boyle). Chesterfield ingratiates himself to Johnson and his men, trying to keep an eye on him.
Out in the woods, Declan tries to figure out whether he can trust Michael. The young man says he can indeed. Harp obviously sees something in Michael, a spirit of fighting; something the Irish know all about. Will these two stay on the same side? Or, will they end up against one another? For the time being, Harp sends Sokanon and Michael off on their own little quest, as he pushes forward by himself.
Captain Johnson is brought to the table of Benton, as the two and Chesterfield sit for a meal of caribou. Turns out that Lord Fisher back in London is wondering what “strides” Benton has made all around. We start to hear more about “a proper Christian example” that London hopes is being set in Fort James. Ah, yes, the spread of Christianity. Like a god damn plague. But worse, we hear that Johnson’s brought Clenna Dolan (Lyla Porter-Follows) to Benton; what’s he going to do with her? I worry. “Let‘s see if the sugar attracts any wasps,” the dastardly lord tells Chesterfield.
Then there’s Father James Coffin (Christian McKay) – I keep trying to figure out his place in all this, what he’ll eventually come to do or mean in the grand scheme of things. Right now he’s merely a drunkard, worth a chuckle or two. At the back of the Ale House, Chesterfield goes to Grace for the company ledger, which she made changes to so they can protect themselves while slipping pelts out from under Benton’s nose. Grace claims Johnson is likely here to oust Benton, but Chesterfield’s too dangerous and greasy to let that go down. What Grace does is send Imogen (Diana Bentley) to lure Johnson back to the Ale House; they’re going to use his religious faith “against him.”
Michael sees Clenna being brought through the woods, as he and Sokanon hide away. This sends him into a fit, heading off to find her. Clenna’s brought to the Governor’s house, where Benton acts brutally creepy. She worries, as one would, about what may be expected of her. You can already tell Benton will use Clenna to try bringing Michael in, and Declan too, he hopes.
Declan goes to meet Grace, she tells him of Captain Johnson’s arrival. He needs gunpowder, a bunch, to take on Benton and whatever the Hudson’s Bay Company throws at them. They talk a good deal, about when Harp lost his family and stayed at the Ale House, how long they’ve known each other. Then Michael arrives to find Declan, telling him about Clenna. He thinks Benton is going to punish her. Harp decides not to do anything just yet, though knows the young Irishman plans on going after the girl on his own. “Michael Smyth would die for you,” Sokanon tells her fearless leader before heading out, as well. Lots of things happening. Now, Grace is helping Harp with the gunpowder, so long as he clues her in on the plans. I hope she won’t betray him to Chesterfield; I don’t take her as that type, but you never, ever know.
So Michael heads up after his lady. He locates her, asleep in bed. They reunite for the first time in a long time. A bit bittersweet with a hug and a slap from her. The young lovers are glad to be together again. Clenna doesn’t want to rush off right away, thinking they’ve got time to sit and have a wash and reminisce. Jesus, that’s not a good idea. But it’s because she is already being brainwashed by Benton, that Harp is a “savage” and all sorts of things. Michael leaves her there for now, heading back to his new friends, and Benton sees him go from the window. Uh oh.
Douglas Brown goes to see Mrs. Elizabeth Carruthers (Katie McGrath), wife of the recently deceased at the hands of Cobbs Pond. Brown brings the lady word that Grant would like to speak with her. She’s not so willing to meet: “You tell your Mr. Grant if he wants my company he‘ll have to murder me, too.” Tough woman. I dig it.
Imogen can’t get Captain Johnson in her clutches for Grace, so she puts Mary (Breanne Hill) on the case. She goes for “virgin” rather than prostitute, hoping this will make the man more susceptible to their ruse. Mary does a good job, talking of her prayers, his faith, lots of that. She quickly makes an impression on Johnson. The lure’s been set. The Captain ends up in a room alone with Mary, as she tells him about naughty thoughts in her mind, to which he replies he understands “the flesh is tempting.” And this puts the man right where Grace wants him; compromised fully.
The letter from Grace, by way of Jean-Marc Rivard (Paul Fauteux), gets to Grant in Montreal. Well, to Bond, anyways. Rivard talks of Harp as a “crazy person” and that he’s unpredictable to everyone else, which intrigues Bond.
A corporal sent to speak with the Cree comes back burned to death, laid at the doorstep of Lord Benton and his men. Not only have the Lake Walkers fallen out with Harp, they’ve got a real fire in them against Benton, the Hudson’s Bay Company, anyone encroaching on their land. Meanwhile, Clenna goes to meet Michael, but she’s been lied to wildly by Benton, promising her so many things. Sadly the girl is afraid for her life, appropriately so, and she doesn’t want to follow Michael any further.
Harp and Sokanon are about to leave when Michael gets back to them. They’re ready for action, as redcoats bear down on the Ale House. Then, a fight. Harp helps Michael get free, killing several men, before he’s arrested by himself.
Next episode is “The Disciple” and we’re about see some very intense emotions, fighting, and all out bloody madness. Let’s do this!