Stan’s Romper Stomper
Episode 3: “Poetry”
Directed by James Napier Robertson
Written by Malcolm Knox
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “If Blood Should Stain the Wattle” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Dark Heart of Things” – click here
We watch Jago Zoric (David Wenham) get a nice manicure, though he doesn’t look the man doing it for him in the eyes. We see Jago put on his expensive suit and tie. He’s a fancy crypto-fascist, though on the absolute edge of full blown fascism.
“White supremacists gone all hearts and minds”
Kane (Toby Wallace) has come to the attention of many, particularly now with his leadership role in the ranks of Patriot Blue following introduction of their foot patrols on the streets of Melbourne. When you’re in a neo-Nazi-styled group, all publicity is not necessarily good publicity. Meanwhile, Kane has to deal with his fugitive sister, Cindi (Markella Kavenagh), having broke out of juvenile detention, and do the regular jobs setup by Zoe (Sophie Lowe). Although not all the jobs are exactly what you’d call legal.
At a restaurant, Gabrielle (Jacqueline McKenzie) meets Australian Federal Police officer Marco (Jeremy Lindsay Taylor), with whom she’s having an affair. They’re not exactly keeping it totally secret. Then there’s the fact he’s bringing her information, surely about her son.
Laila Taheer (Nicole Chamoun) runs into Petra (Lily Sullivan). The two women go for a drink together. Immediately, Laila knows there’s a reason Petra is interested in her. No matter all the social media chatter in support of Laila, she has a healthy scepticism about Antifasc and their intentions. However, Petra, and the rest of her group want to help her, as well as the general “fight” for truth, justice, immigrant rights, and everything else. Maybe they’re genuine.
At work, Gabe deals with Drs. Majid (Dushan Philips) and Kinza (Sonya Suares) Alameddine. She reveals some of her own prejudice, in terms of woman-to-woman social relations – how some women can be sexist or misogynist in their own rights against other women.
Blake Farro (Lachy Hulme) uses hideous racist terms in reference to Jago’s employee An (Ann Truong). Yet Jago doesn’t say a word to him. So, more and more, we see how the other white people around these racists enable them with complacency and by ignoring it. Yes, Jago is more aggressively racist than the casual racism we see in people who perceive themselves as liberal; crypto-fascism by any other name stinks just as bad.
“God loves us all the way he made us”
There’s also, in Mr. Farron, a great example of toxic masculinity. You can be masculine without being toxic. These leader-types in white nationalist movements, though, they’re often aggressively violent, and they have problems they perceive as linked to masculine, which in turn makes them more aggressive. Such as Blake’s misuse of steroids + his obvious erectile dysfunction. An angry little boy trapped in a big man’s body.
Farid (Julian Maroun) watches his brother Malik (Jamie Abdallah) fight in an MMA match. Unfortunately we see that Malik is continuing to have guilt-related trouble. After having to use his fists brutally in self-defence, being in the ring doesn’t exactly feel the same; there’s a dissonance in the violence now. Then, following the match, police arrive.
Most interesting is Blake has a connection to Marco; they meet in private. Marco’s asking more about young Kane, his role in Patriot Blue, and whether he can be trusted. The white nationalist leader clearly is staying sceptical about his newest soldier. The cop’s advice? “Watch your back.”
Big question for me: who exactly is Kane’s father? And what are the implications? Gabe mentions to Marco that she can’t take “this all over again.” Makes me believe that her husband must’ve been involved in some horrid shit, too.
Compelling to see Cindi somewhere between the two political sides. She makes friends with some of the Antifasc cats, who are always out at night serving and helping the homeless and the poor, particularly Thomas (Louis Corbett), who’s taking a liking to the girl. Might lead to interesting or dangerous places.
“It‘s yours, it‘s ours; it‘s nobody‘s.”
The fascists are gone hunting. Blake can’t even go out in the woods without making it about immigration, ranting over the “introduced species” brought to Australia; he relates animals to immigrants, in a typically unsurprising racist move. All the while, Blake and his man Lyno (Fletcher Humphrys) are keeping a keen eye on Kane.
They’re all out to see Magoo (John Brumpton), one of the so-called “founding fathers” of the movement. Another familiar face from the original film. He’s got a charming collection of guns and Nazi flags and grenades and plenty of mad shit. Especially dangerous considering it’s all in the hands of white nationalist, neo-Nazi maniacs.
Out in the woods they go, far too armed. It’s interesting, though, to see the juxtaposition of how Australia is with guns v. America. Even Blake chastises one of his lads because they’re only going out to the bush, not “securing the Middle East.”
Nevertheless, it isn’t just about hunting today. For Blake, it’s partly about testing Kane. He wants to see the young man kill with his hands. He goes on about beheadings and other bullshit Islamophobic rhetoric. Kane refuses. At night by the fire, Lyno and Blake each take their verbal shots at Kane; the former definitely suspects Kane is having sex with Zoe. They put a knife to his throat, cutting a slight bit across.
Why? First, Blake realises the infidelity behind his back. Second, in Romper Stomper the film, Dan Wyllie played Vic aka Cackles; I imagine Vic’s the one who told Kane of his heritage. And so Patriot Blue as a whole wants honest transparency from this new soldier about himself. What will Kane do? He takes the opportunity to push Mr. Farron over a cliff while they’re alone pissing in the woods. Looks like an accident in the light of day.
This has been a plan all along, though. Instigated by not just Kane and Stix, but also Vic. What’s the motivation? I’m beyond interested now. “The Dark Heart of Things” is next. Can’t wait to see what other developments arise from these new revelations.