Sky Atlantic’s Tin Star
Season 2, Episode 1: “Prairie Gothic”
Directed by Giles Bannier
Written by Rowan Joffe
* For a recap & review of the Season 1 finale, “My Love is Vengeance” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Something Wicked This Way Comes” – click here
When we last saw Chief Jim ‘Jack’ Worth (Tim Roth) and his wife Angela (Genevieve O’Reilly) they were at the edge of a snowy cliff where Anna (Abigail Lawrie) was protecting Whitey (Oliver Coopersmith), before her father shot him to death. This prompted Jim’s daughter to shoot at him.
We start on the Prairie Field Colony, where the Ammonites live— a religious community, similar to the Amish in some ways. A young lady tends to a horse while others work inside the barn. She’s preparing the horse for the night when she stumbles onto the body of Anna, hung from a rafter by a noose.
Skip back ten hours prior, when Anna shot her father hitting him in the thigh. Jim lies in the snow bleeding out while Angela ties a belt around his leg to tourniquet the wound. Anna runs off leaving her parents. That’s when Angela undoes the belt, kisses Jim goodbye, and goes after her daughter.
At the bar, Elizabeth Bradshaw (Christina Hendricks) is dealing with her messy family situation. She wants to spend time with her kids and it’s not going well. She spies a handsome dude across the bar, suddenly forgetting about her ex. She chats with him and he recites lyrics from “The Long Black Veil” by Johnny Cash. They go upstairs to fuck. Not long later North Stream Oil delivers a letter to let Elizabeth know: “You‘re fired.” She heads to North Stream in the morning trying to extort them, only to realise she’s up against much more than she knew.
Jim’s left to his own devices out on the mountain, so he drags himself to Whitey’s corpse. He weeps. It wasn’t easy shooting him— now, he’s lost two sons. Jim cinches the belt around his thigh, picks up his gun, and tries to make it out of the forest alive.
Soundtrack note: “Blood of My Blood” by Tricky plays as Jim bleeds around the cabin, drinking rubbing alcohol/disinfecting his wounds, before lighting the place on fire to draw help. He’s found by a couple Indigenous men who come across the blaze and pull him out of there on sled by snowmobile.
In the trees, Angela searches for her daughter. She gets a call from Elizabeth about the situation with North Stream, who’ve called in detectives. Everything’s been complicated by what the women had to do because of Gagnon’s violence. The two women go look for Anna together in lieu of calling in any police yet. On her own, Anna winds up stumbling onto a hunting ground, where a cougar’s just killed its prey. She doesn’t know exactly what to do and screams at it: “Kill me!” She takes on the role of aggressor, driving the animal back into the woods.
At the hospital, Constables Nick McGillen (Ryan Kennedy) and Denise Minahik (Sarah Podemski) aren’t doing so hot. Their relationship’s slightly rocky given all that’s gone on in Little Big Bear. He’s not thrilled about being shot by Jim. But, as always, Denise is willing to give their chief a chance.
After a while Anna sees a barn and gets out of the cold. Her mother’s continuing on up the mountain without Elizabeth, after the latter turns back from the harsh conditions. Angela can’t stop and may be putting herself at risk of hypothermia.
“Have you ever ridden one of those?”
At that same moment Anna’s throwing a makeshift noose over the barn’s beams. It isn’t long before the young woman comes into the barn and sees Anna hanging. She chops the girl down, calling for help. While the daughter’s being rushed to the ER, her father’s on the reservation having the bullet taken out of his leg. An Indigenous healer does what she can for Jim— he hallucinates seeing his wife, though she’s with Elizabeth.
Angela’s busy worrying how Jim will feel about being left to die. The good news is at least their daughter’s alive. She goes to the hospital with Cnst. Minahik, telling Denise her husband’s “a monster” and the reason their daughter tried killing herself. Angela and Elizabeth also have to deal with their nasty business. They’re sisters in blood now.
Over at Randy’s Roadhouse, Frank Keane (Ian Puleston-Davies) talks to Cnst. Minahik about Jim’s psychopathic behaviour and what happened at the bar. He claims having “a touch of PTSD.” But Denise knows the Englishman’s lying and refuses to entirely abandon Jim regardless of what she’s discovering.
When Jim makes it to Denise’s place he can’t even remember shooting Nick, and Denise is surprised to see the chief again. He doesn’t have a lot of explanations for his behaviour, other than protecting himself and his family. Jim’s glad to know Angela and Anna are safe. His constable thinks he might have to leave town. He goes to the hospital to see his daughter anyway. She wakes and tries to get away from him. He’s horrified to see what she tried doing to herself in the aftermath of his mistakes. Neither does Anna want to see her mother. Mom doesn’t realise her husband’s alive until her daughter tells her. Anna goes with her friend from the colony, leaving her parents to sort out their issues.
Soundtrack note: Mick Flannery’s “I Own You” plays as Anna flees, then Jim comes face to face with Angela, as he causes a traffic accident. The EPITOME IMAGE of Jim’s life: walking into the middle of the road and causing an absolute shitstorm, leaving wreckage in his wake everywhere he goes.
That night, Elizabeth wakes and can’t find Angela. She’s paranoid of the fallout between the married couple, seeing as how they’re all incredibly dangerous people in their own right. She finds Jim, then Angela appears holding a gun on him. They’re going to handcuff him and call the cops.
“There’s no undoing what you’ve done…”
Great start to Season 2! Father Gore loves this series to death, through and through. Excited to watch the latest batch of episodes unfold, especially with all the new plots brewing and all the tension lingering.
“Something Wicked This Way Comes” is next time.