Stan’s Romper Stomper
Episode 4: “The Dark Heart of Things”
Directed by James Napier Robertson
Written by Omar Musa
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Poetry” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Chaos” – click here
On a pier, Patriot Blue, led by Zoe (Sophie Lowe), says goodbye to their leader, Blake Farron (Lachy Hulme) after his death. Certainly Kane (Toby Wallace) is there, too. Nearby Antifasc gear up against the “Nazi scum,” and Cindi (Markella Kavenagh) is there with them. This whole thing could erupt into something terrifying.
Behind the back of Petra (Lily Sullivan) we see Cindi send a text to her brother. Although Kane doesn’t warn anybody. He simply steps out to the front of the crowd. Already Petra realises something isn’t right. They’re being setup. Vic (Dan Wyllie) is bringing in a load more Patriot Blue lads for the fight. And so a massive brawl erupts. In the process, Mr. Farron’s ashes are accidentally scattered. Lots of broken, beaten, blood bodies left in the aftermath. I once imagined there was good left in Kane. It’s clearer now there is no chance for redemption in him. Nor Zoe, either.
“Blake wanted to Make Australia Great Again”
In hospital, Petra sits with Danny (Tysan Towney); he’s in a horrifying state, under an “induced coma.” The shocking reality of the brutality of this lifestyle they lead, even if they’re fighting against neo-Nazis, is tough to take. Petra has to confront it now with eyes wide open.
“A snake always acts like a snake”
The violence has affected all of the Antifasc group. They’re left without their leaders for the moment. Laila (Nicole Chamoun) shows up at the request of McKew (Philip Hayden), as well. The plan is while Jago Zoric (David Wenham) is out giving a speech soon, they’re going to break into his house, fuck it up, and post a video of it online. Who volunteers? Young Cindi.
At the Farron home, Gabe (Jacqueline McKenzie) turns up, to Zoe’s surprise. Mom wants to talk to her son. She tries talking her son out of going down the “white power” road of self-destruction. Not as if he’s going to listen. He has a hatred for his mother, and he sends her off. Later, Gabe is pissed, and she asks Marco (Jeremy Lindsay Taylor) to help find out more information. She knows somebody is manipulating her boy into the white nationalist structure.
Poor Farid (Julian Maroun) worries for his brother Malik (Jamie Abdallah), and what happens if the guy his brother hit in the street that night dies, how long he could spend in jail for just defending himself. It’s also curious that Gabe spends lots of time in the care home with her formerly sexually abusive father, where Farid works. Their stories could intertwine.
Some Patriot Blue boys are hanging at a store when a couple of black guys turn up. Right away there’s tension. Lots of white nonsense about “not your country” and all that. One of the men, Jonathan (Autiak Aweteek), nearly pulls his gun, but his friend Adam (Peter Barac) convinces him to leave. So close to violence on both sides, all initiated by Patriot Blue’s ugly racism. This gets Kane hot, so they’re bound for Magoo’s (John Brumpton) place. They need weaponry.
“You never know what‘s at the end of a labyrinth: minotaurs or treasure.”
Ole Jago is ranting against the white man’s perceived threats – political correctness, multiculturalism, and the rest of that horse shit. Most interesting to see they’ve cancelled his latest talk at the university; could that put Antifasc’s plan at risk? Either way, Jago meets with Kane and Vic, suggesting more things to help benefit the cause: cameras and online presence. He wants to help promote them.
Meanwhile, Vic doesn’t have time for it and walks out. Yet Jago’s another chicken hawk-type at the top of the food chain, manipulating from within his crypto-fascist world of media. He wants to divide Kane and his mentor. If that weren’t enough, simultaneously Vic, alone for a smoke, gets a quick visit from Marco. The cop sows the seeds of mistrust in his own right, too.
It’s really interesting when Laila and McKew talk about the Antifasc movement. He acts as if the movement is bigger than the individual. We often hear this, that the good of the man is better than the good of the few. And in terms of disparate wealth amongst societies, this is true. However, in a social movement(etc), you still can’t lose sight of the individual, because the individual is who makes the sacrifice to help the many. You lose sight of that, it becomes no better than an authoritarian state.
Jonathan and his buddies take one of the Patriot Blue boys hostage. The white man finds himself far less full of racist vitriol when alone and at their mercy. Worse, he’s about to have a box cutter taken to his face.
The Jago plan is still going ahead. Cindi’s scoping out the house with Thomas (Louis Corbett). But she also sends a message to her brother. So, is this her way of helping him and feeding information to Patriot Blue? Or, is there something hidden in Kane’s narrative we don’t yet know about? My guess is, so far, the former.
So, Antifasc are breaking into Jago’s, and they have no idea he’s upstairs taking a bath. The group start spray painting and beating the shit out of everything, all the while capturing it on video. Cindi is, of course, along for the ride. The party is over once Jago clues in. He catches them in the act, and he sees Cindi, particularly, without her mask. But when he goes to run, he slips cracking his head on the floor; really fucking bad. It’s going to look like Antifasc not only broke in – they did leave their symbol there, after all – it’ll look as if they brutalised Jago.
Except for the fact Kane shows up after, spray painting evidence to implicate it was Muslims. Yikes. Not unlike the news in America of a cop station being covered in Black Livers Matter graffiti, and – not unexpected – it was later discovered that, yes, white people did it. All to instigate more hatred in the public.
An intense chapter in this series. Romper Stomper has proved itself to be an impressive piece of work. “Chaos” is next. There’ll be lots more intensity to come.