Sky Atlantic’s Tin Star
Season 2, Episode 8: “Wild Flower”
Directed by Justin Chadwick
Written by Nathaniel Price
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Metanoia” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, “The Unseen” – click here
Jack (Tim Roth), Angela (Genevieve O’Reilly), and Anna (Abigail Lawrie) are all being taken into custody, their mugshots taken. Oh, my. Something rotten’s happened.
First we go back a little bit. Jack’s getting his family fake IDs so they can escape from the Liverpool lads— not without committing yet another murder to cauterise any ties to their escape. On their way out of town the family comes upon Rosa’s truck. Jack has a closer look and finds her corpse.
Meanwhile, at the Prairie Field Colony, Rosa’s horse comes running back onto the Ammonites’ land worrying Johan (John Lynch) and Sarah (Anamaria Marinca) greatly. Little do they know. Angela has to break the news to Sarah as the woman’s daughter is brought back to her dead. It’s a tragic moment for the mother. Perhaps even worse for Johan, only because his actions have brought this on his family. His involvement with the Mexican cartel has effectively murdered one of his children. In the aftermath, Friedrich wants to take action so their community can have revenge: “Bloodshed follows bloodshed” (this is from Hosea 4:2). He wants to take up arms.
Poor Anna feels those she cares about wind up dying. Mom assures her life is simply “fucking cruel” at times— it doesn’t always make sense, neither is it forgiving. The daughter’s concerned about what’ll happen to her parents, seeing they’re on the run in more ways than one.
Jack’s found by Constable Denise Minahik (Sarah Podemski), who’s there to deliver him a message dropped off at the station anonymously. Inside an envelope are pictures of the people Jack cares about most. He advises Denise to get away from him. “Nothing‘s worth this,” he tells her. So she heads back towards Indigenous land, leaving behind the police vehicle and badge.
Soundtrack note: The devastatingly beautiful song playing while Johan, Sarah, and their little boy Thomas say goodbye to Rosa is “Bird of Sorrow” by Glen Hansard.
Afterwards, other Ammonites come to pay their respects, filling the house with company and food and ritual. Angela stays with Sarah. Johan feels the heavy guilt of what’s occurred and can’t bear to face prayer. He goes down to Rosa’s horse instead. Inside, Sarah’s not interested all the rules about “prolonged grief” amongst their people. The women tell her it “isn‘t acceptable to grieve in public” now that the ceremony’s through and she’s absolved. Then they get kicked out. The bond between Sarah and Angela’s compelling here. They’ve both lost a child. More than that, they’ve each lost a child due to their husbands’ private lives. They’ve paid the cost of another. In the barn, Johan decides to put a rifle to the horse and kill it. Somehow a symbolic gesture. Not enough of a gesture— it doesn’t erase his guilt.
Friedrich and several of the Ammonite men stand by Johan, hoping to help him take revenge for what’s been done to his family. They’re going to get medieval on the cartel. Certainly doesn’t hurt to have ole Jack kicking around, albeit not entirely welcomed. When has that stopped him? He shows the package of pictures he received to his wife. They discuss some of that past nipping at their heels. What comes next requires a lot of trust in Jack by Angela, and definitely more murder.
Theory: Jack killed someone Angela used to be with, or there was someone they were both involved with at some point, and they did something drastic to get away. He says a “dead man” is coming for them.
Somehow Johan decides he’s going to lump Jack in with the cartel: “Men like you murdered my little girl.” The ex-copper isn’t inclined to take any of that shit, not from a drug smuggling pastor. An awful high horse the holy man’s riding. He puts the screws to Jack, wondering if he’s haunted by the men he’s killed. Then he says he wants to remember all the men he’s killed after his revenge is done. At least Jack doesn’t pretend to be anything other than himself. Sure, he has a family and wants to be a decent dad, which he usually fails at, most of the time, but he never denies the other shitty side of himself. He simply tries to be better, regardless if he fails relentlessly. Unlike Johan’s delusions of somehow being a better man when everything he’s done has resulted in terror for everybody else.
Then again, Jack would never call himself a good man anyway.
What an episode. Very intense finish. It’s incredibly fun to watch Jack be scared for a while. Something tells me it won’t last forever.
“The Unseen” is next, and it’s the Season 2 finale. GODDAMN! Buckle that belt.