Sky Atlantic’s Tin Star
Season 2, Episode 2: “Something Wicked This Way Comes”
Directed by Chris Baugh
Written by Rowan Joffe
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “Prairie Gothic” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Resist Not Evil” – click here
At the border between Canada and the United States, a preacher, Pastor Johan Nickel (John Lynch), is heading up from his time in Mexico, where his mother was born. A border agent checks the pan of his truck. Is the preacher hiding something? “Guide me with your spirit,” he prays to God quietly. He lets a bill fly across the parking lot into the hands of a little girl, right before he’s cleared to leave.
In Little Big Bear, Chief Jim Worth (Tim Roth) is in a cell while Constable Denise Minahik (Sarah Podemski) tries to figure out what to do with him. If he agrees to go to rehab things won’t work out so harshly. This prompts him to go to a meeting, or else he’ll lose absolutely everything in his life. He believes rehab’s a “load of bollocks.” He only stays long enough to slip out from under Denise’s nose.
Pastor Johan is headed to the Prairie Field Colony, where Rosa (Jenessa Grant) – his daughter – his son Thomas, and his wife Sarah (Anamaria Marinca) live, and where Anna (Abigail Lawrie) is hiding. Johan’s not happy. We see Rosa unwilling to give up her new friend, knowing what she went through at home. The community’s pretty closed off, which leaves Johan to keep a lid on his family business.
“Be who they expect us to be”
Angela (Genevieve O’Reilly) and Elizabeth (Christina Hendricks) are trying to get along out at the latter’s house, without essential services like water, when Jim turns up to have a talk. He thinks he’s “off the hook” for ruining things, seeing as how Whitey killed their child. Doesn’t fix a thing. Afterwards, the chief goes for Ammonite territory hoping he’ll be able to find his daughter. When Rosa sees Jim she makes a run for it, going to warn the daughter. What does dad do? Stands in the middle of town and fires off shots. Soon, he’s at the Nickel house. Pastor Nickel lets him inside to look around while his daughter and the chief’s daughter hide in the attic. Jim finds nothing. It isn’t only Anna being hidden by the Nickel family, there’s something more to Pastor Johan than we’ve seen yet.
What’s he hiding behind the quaint facade? Drugs. He’s smuggling. He’s scared about the cops getting so close, and he takes his stash out to a well off the colony to keep it hidden from any prying eyes.
Jim steals a trailer to sleep in and stays on the edge of Prairie Field to keep an eye on the Ammonites. The next day, Sarah gets talking to Angela in town about the troubles. We see Angela starting to soften on her husband’s transgressions, though knowing the drink is poison for their relationship. Up at the colony, Anna wants to be baptised into the Ammonites’ faith. “I hate my old life,” she tells Johan, but he says things aren’t as perfect there as they may appear. Anna believes the man’s good and pure, unaware of his smuggling under the community’s nose.
Jim goes up to try and talk to Anna. He gets himself inside determined to, somehow, mend the relationship with his daughter. “You‘re a murderer,” she spits at him, then cracks him a good one in the jaw. The chief leaves, threatening Johan. Yikes. This leaves the pastor feeling his drug trafficking will be affected, that he could wind up getting caught. He wants to give Anna over, whereas his wife’s not keen.
In the woods, Elizabeth and Angela are heading for the well on the former’s property. YES, YOU GUESSED IT: the same well where Johan stashed his bricks of drugs. This is starting to turn into a very bad situation, for everybody. Suddenly, Angela gets a call from Sarah to let her know the community’s out looking for Anna, to kick her out.
In the barn, Johan finds Anna. She begs him not to send her home. He offers her an Ammonite baptism. They go to a frozen lake nearby and the pastor anoints her. They’re found by Angela and Jim as the ceremony’s complete. The wife convinces her husband they must let their daughter do what she wishes. Later, Jim goes right back to the bottle, sitting down for a drink at Randy’s (Lynda Boyd) Roadhouse, where the owner is more than scared to see him again. Will things get rougher from here? When it comes to Jim, the answer’s often ‘yes.’
And he wastes no time, either.
Chief Worth speeds right into the Ammonite community, busting straight through the front of their church and nearly takes out a row of pews along with the people in them. He’s a destructive force. Nobody connected to him is ever really safe.
“Turn your head, your cheek, your thoughts away from the aggressor. Resist not evil— that is the true revenge.”
Fantastic follow-up to the first episode. Season 2’s off to a fresh new start! Great to see the family dynamics change with the inclusion of the Ammonites, and seeing John Lynch turn up is ALWAYS great.
“Resist Not Evil” is next time.