Showtime’s Escape at Dannemora
Directed by Ben Stiller
Written by Brett Johnson & Michael Tolkin
* For a recap & review of Part 3, click here.
* For a recap & review of Part 5, click here.
The escape plan continues on slow and steady inside the prison’s tight walls. David Sweat (Paul Dano) takes his time working in increments, though it’s discouraging. He keeps at it despite the cramped, hot conditions, no matter how badly he tears his hands up working in such close quarters.
At home, Tilly Mitchell (Patricia Arquette) fends off horny husband Lyle (Eric Lange) as he tries to keep their marriage going with every last breath. Things aren’t good with them. Doesn’t help he believes he bought “the deed to that ranch” – a.k.a I can have sex with my wife whenever I want – and even if his wife weren’t screwing another man that’d piss any woman off rightfully.
Back in his cell, David soaks his mangled hand and worries about getting caught. He’s assured by Richard Matt (Benicio del Toro) they’re on the right path. He’s into Oprah and her recommendation of The Secret. Y’know, the power of positive thinking and all that garbage. Richard tells his friend: “For once in our lives, man, we‘re winning.” Delusions of grandeur? Or a man utterly determined on his path forward?
Nothing’s great at work for Tilly, either. She’s getting shit on for quotas, not to mention people are already talking about her habits in the workshop with the inmates. She and Richard continue their quiet relationship, but she’s longing for a time when he’s out of prison. She’s suffocating under the weight of her normal life thinking of when they’ll “make it to Mexico.” For his part, Richard’s filling her head with possibilities of houses on the beach and love triangles, and Tilly plays right into the palm of his hand. Although guard Dennis Lambert (Jeremy Bobb) keeps nearly catching Mrs. Mitchell up to no good, which will cause problems sooner than later.
Behind the prison’s walls, David is paranoid when he hears other bangs and noises, worried it’s only a matter of time before he’s caught. He goes to the space near inmate Matt’s cell, asking him to come back there with him. He shows his friend a steam pipe that’s obviously “off for the summer.” They can cut through it as a way out. It’ll only be a month or so before they can make their grand escape. First, they start checking where the pipe leads in order to do more planning. This also means Richard lets Tilly know things are progressing. But she’s worrying about her husband and “the glitch” he’ll throw into their hopeful getaway. Lyle’s desperately trying to figure his wife out, resorting to asking their grown son if his mom’s told him any secrets he should know about and wondering how to better their relationship.
Escort guard Gene Palmer (David Morse) is suspicious of the relationship between Tilly and inmate Matt. He asks Richard about the deal with the ground beef, getting nothing but lies from the prisoner. He knows something else is going on and he doesn’t like being lied to, which prompts him to start taking a hard line with Richard.
Meanwhile, David’s through the steam pipe and one step closer to leaving prison behind. He slips inside the pipe to have a look and to begin making the next cuts. Except he starts to get claustrophobic in there. He gets turned around, not even sure of where he is anymore, and panic sets in. He makes it back to the original opening before either freaking or passing out. Nobody ever said it’d be easy!
“Are you ready to step into your future?”
More great soundtrack with a cover of “You Rascal You” originally from the late 1920s (written by Sam Theard) performed by Hanni El Khatib. We see a bit of trouble in the workshop when one of the inmates gets hauled out by the guards. They kick the shit out of him in the stairwell, leaving Tilly without a supervisor. On top of it all, her relationship with Richard isn’t going unnoticed. Yet she longs for David, and inmate Sweat’s worrying how much she’s been told by his partner without him knowing. Richard keeps on assuaging his pal’s concerns, confident things are going their way. He says Tilly will do whatever they want so long as she believes she’ll have a life with David once they’re out. Oh, and ole Hacksaw Matt’s being targeted for snitching, which means he wants to get out of there ASAP.
Tilly’s busy trying to get in shape and having her hair done. Her husband is none the wiser, even if he isn’t so sure their marriage is doing well. He’s taking care of reservations for their anniversary to make things perfect, and all the while she’s in the workshop getting off +drinking with Richard as he recounts their impending escape to her until she orgasms. And poor Lyle’s left alone for their anniversary dinner. He’s waiting with fast food for her after she gets back. She feels terrible but he just sits there and takes it mostly. He pulls out the dog painting, believing it’s his present, which only seems to make things worse. While Tilly wonders how her life will go from here David is continuing his work in the pipe. He’s through to the other side already. But freedom’s still a long way off.
Another fantastic episode. This series is a slow bur in the best kinds of ways. The payoff will no doubt be worth the journey. Part 5 is next.