Sky Atlantic’s Tin Star
Season 1, Episode 1: “The Kid”
Directed by Marc Jobst
Written by Rowan Joffe
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Fun and (S)Laughter” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Comfort of Strangers” – click here
With Angela (Genevieve O’Reilly) unconscious and in the hospital, Jim (Tim Roth) and his daughter Anna (Abigail Lawrie) are stuck waiting, wondering if she’ll make it through. The boy’s dead. His mother took a portion of the bullet, lodging in her brain.
At the same time, the men who tried setting up Chief Worth’s death are worried about the fallout, after “the kid” – Whitey (Oliver Coopersmith) – has botched the job. These guys came from out of the past to take Jim out for good. One of whom is Frank Keane (Ian Puleston-Davies). They’re all relatively stressed, wondering how best to move on from here. Their answer may lie in going to work for North Stream Oil, to blend in, or else they’ll stick out like “cocks at a cuntfest.” Meanwhile, North Stream is burrowing its way into Little Big Bear, recruiting workers from all over to come and help them erect the refinery, get business pumping.
And in the wreckage are Jim and Anna, both rocked by their loss. That other side of him is threatening to come out, almost inescapable. Will he fall back to who he was before in order to find a way to revenge? Or will he stay strictly within the boundaries of the law?
Mrs. Bradshaw (Christina Hendricks) is more sensitive to the death of a child than is the head of security, the forceful and slightly creepy Louis Gagnon (Christopher Heyerdahl). He is ALL business. He oversees the workers coming onto site, making sure things move along promptly. This whole time we’re also inundated with the bullshit commercials they use for recruitment, all that foolish rhetoric; I know it all too well, having worked on the oil sands for a couple years. Love the way this is setting up to be an excellent thriller with overtones of the socioeconomic troubles that often find their way into small towns after the oil industry seizes its grip on their natural resources.
What Bradshaw does, for her part, is to offer a reward for those who killed Jim’s son. His response? “Fuck off.” He doesn’t want any part of her pity, as it’s mostly predicated by worry for her business, getting the road clear. The Chief has bigger fish to fry.
He and Constable Denise Minahik (Sarah Podemski) begin digging into Dr. Bouchard’s death, partly for justice, partly to keep his mind occupied during this tumultuous period of time. Worse still, he’s asking for anxiety drugs. Not a good road to head down for an alcoholic.
And what’s up with the kid, Whitey? He has serious issues, but there’s no telling yet exactly what they are, though I’m sure we’ll soon discover more. It’s obvious he has a connection to Jim, some sort of past, as he’s there with the men from the UK who’ve tracked the Chief to his new post. The lads nearly wind up in police custody after a bit of a scuff in the bar. This winds up putting Anna, accompanied by an officer, in the bar where Jim comes to find her, and she looks almost infatuated with Whitey.
That night, Whitey sneaks into the Worth home. He sniffs the pillows on the bed. I’m already wondering, is there a possibility this young man is an illegitimate son? There’s this eerie quality to him, yet when he sees Jim at the bar, he turns away. Not wanting to be seen. Here, looking at the pictures of Peter, whom he killed, the family, there’s this sweetness inside him; a lonely sweetness. Just blocked by his creepiness.
Anna makes her father promise never to drink again, he’s also quick to remind her there were “lots of drugs” involved. Her mother talked about Jim becoming a whole other nasty person when he’s intoxicated. His daughter doesn’t want that to happen now, they need each other. Problem is, the memories. Memory is like an alcoholic’s ultimate kryptonite, apart from the actual booze itself.
While hiding in the house, barely escaping the notice of the Worths as they pack things to take for a while, Whitey notices a cigarette butt. Left by Johnny (Stephen Walters), one of Frank’s lads. Shitty part for them is that Anna took the butt. Now, they’ve got to figure out how to get it back. But Whitey insists: do not touch the girl. In addition, Anna’s already wondering about the cig, how it got there, and she’s suspicious after her father denies having started smoking again. Wonderfully labyrinthine.
Right on the edge, Jim is almost back to alcoholism. Although a call from the hospital takes him away before he can dive in: Angela is awake. However, she’s unaware of what happened to their son. Thus he has to break the news to her, so devastating.
In the meantime, Anna’s experimenting with alcohol, a bag full of those mini hotel bottles she helped dad clear out. One after another she downs them until she’s got a handful gone. But after that she hears a whistle nearby. She follows it and the sound of a bell into the woods, until she reaches a vehicle she flags down; inside is Whitey.
Oh, and dad’s back on the bottle. Yes, sir. He’s had enough. Because he needs that other side of himself, to do whatever comes next. Whatever that may be.
Good follow-up to the premiere, adding bigger mystery, deeper issues to the story, the various plots, and the well-acted characters. Tim Roth continually fascinates. There’s so much more to uncover.
“Comfort of Strangers” is the next episode, sure to pack a mean punch.