Sky Atlantic’s Tin Star
Season 1, Episode 6: “Cuckoo”
Directed by Grant Harvey
Written by Rowan Joffe
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Bait” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Exposure” – click here
Louis Gagnon (Christopher Heyerdahl) is as quirky and strange as you’d expect, that special type of person who smokes on the toilet but squeezes fresh juice, makes himself a proper breakfast, cleaning up afterwards. He also keeps the Quebec spirit alive, listening to French radio.
Out back, in his garage workshop, the place is full of knives, tools, draped in plastic. He gets into his vehicle, starts up. Then he finds electrical cord wrapped around his throat, Chief Jim Worth (Tim Roth) in the seat behind him, choking hard.
Cut back to the Worth home 24 hours earlier. Whitey (Oliver Coopersmith) walks in through an open door. He finds the bloody rags, the bowl of bloody water from Jim being cleaned up. He dibs a finger into the rags, tasting the blood. Suddenly he feels a gun at the back of his head, Angela (Genevieve O’Reilly) wanting to know his name, why he’s there, and luckily for him Anna (Abigail Lawrie) explains: “He saved my life.” Don’t mess with mama bear, though. She’s locked, loaded, trigger finger ready to rock. All the while Anna’s struggling with the complicated relationship her parents are locked in together; two wild animals fighting one another, not sure if they want to fight or fuck, a dark paradox.
Alone together, Anna and Whitey get a little bit closer, though we’re never quite sure whether he’s plotting to kill her. One minute he has his hand on his gun, the next he’s telling her that he cares about her. This dude is messed up, man. There’s an uncomfortable history somewhere in his past, waiting for us to unravel it. All I know is I worry more the longer Anna spends around him.
Constable Denise Minahik (Sarah Podemski) gives the Chief a nice pop in the mouth for putting her in a position to get shot. Strangely, she has this loyalty to him which doesn’t waver, no matter if he’s boozing, drugging, fucking up consistently. I guess, at least he’s consistent in that he’s pretty unreliable while off the wagon. It’s dangerous, for everybody, in particular for his family who’re in the crosshairs at all times.
Gagnon has Elizabeth Bradshaw (Christina Hendricks) knocking at his door. He’s busy making sausage, but he has the time; “a man of many hobbies.” She’s there to talk about why Louis is so interested in the Chief, a small town cop. There’s no care for “zero tolerance” concerning the employees, any gambling, prostitution, excessive drinking on their part, he’s only interested with surveillance on the cops. He pretends to take her concern under consideration. Liz ain’t no slouch, she doesn’t take shit from men.
Jim explains to Denise he’s quitting. He doesn’t want to put his family in further danger. But she’s not having that. At the station, he’s gathering ammo, readying himself to take off. Also, Jaclyn Letendre (Michelle Thrush) is “still missing.” Something Gagnon picks up over the wire.
Frank (Ian Puleston-Davies) is pushing Whitey about the Worth girl. The young man calls her a “frigid bitch” in an effort to make himself sound hard. In the bathroom mirror at the Worth house, he calls himself a pussy. What’s his deal? What’s his previous connection to Jim and why’s he so confused? There’s an awful danger lying under the layers of mystery. No time for that – in the woods by the house, Angela’s head goes into a bout of pain, knocking her unconscious, so Whitey cradles her in his arms as Anna rushes for her medication. So awkward and eerie at once. Worse when he goes to disconnect the propane tank in their garage, letting it fill the place. Uh oh.
At North Stream, Elizabeth is getting help digging into Gagnon’s past. She may bring his sexist comments to management. Then she uncovers there was a run-in involving him and a First Nations police serve in “Reverie,” a place further north.
Finally now, Jim comes face to face with Whitey, after all this time of the young man avoiding him. The father watches over his family, keeping a close eye on this mysterious new face at his table. He drives Whitey off sooner than later, which pisses off his wife and daughter. Prompting Angela to lacerate him with this raw, truthful line: “You lost the right to dictate who does or who doesn‘t sit at this table when you fucked another woman while I was in a coma.” Simultaneously, outside, Anna and Whitey share their first kiss; making me cringe, for a couple reasons, one being my theory on his real identity. Could be yucky.
So why does she go see Jim where he’s staying after, pouring him a drink? Is there as much an addiction on Angela’s part to the darkness? Their history as a couple intrigues me to no end. Because maybe it isn’t Jim she’s entirely attracted to, rather a mix of Jim and Jack Devlin. This is the case, when she sees that other husband arrive: “Hello, Jack.” Most of all, it’s revenge. She wants Jack to avenge their murdered son.
Back to the start, where Gagnon’s being choked by electrical cord in his SUV. He shakes the copper off, after which they both lay down their guns for a fair brawl. Well, slightly fair. They both fight, hard. Jim nearly drowns his opponent in animal blood. They decide this is enough. The Chief shows him Reginald’s fake ID, wanting to know if he was hired by North Stream on the low. They sit, have a chat. Seems the oil villain knows lots about Jim, his former life as an undercover cop, his alter-ego Jack, the whole shebang-a-bang. Likewise, he knows there are people the copper’s “fucked.” So many under the influence Jim surely doesn’t actually remember them all. Such is the reason Whitey, somebody obviously linked to the man, can go undetected.
Speaking of, Frank is cutting ties with Whitey. We hear about his connection to the young man’s mother, that he loved her once. Now the kid is all alone. That won’t help his fragile, fractured mental state. Bad things will most definitely happen.
And what do we see on his wall? I knew it: a picture of him as a boy, his mother, and Jim – or was it Jack Devil? – with them both. A family portrait.
Wow, we got a lot here, and in the end a theory’s confirmed. So, is Whitey the biological child of Jim? If so, he’s dipping into the incest with his half-sister Anna. Yikes.
“Exposure” is the next episode, promising more thrills, chills, laughs, and violence.