Season 1, Episode 8: “Heroic Dose”
Directed by Ti West
Written by Jennifer Yale
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Trauma Bonding” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “In the Gloaming” – click here
Rain’s pouring down. Penelope (Lilli Kay) rushes to her vehicle with a bag that has a wig inside. A light pole’s fixture explodes, then another. TJ (Griffin Powell-Arcand) comes running out of the mattress store with Sasha (Sivan Alyra Rose) in his arms. He goes into the laundromat, where Penelope attempts mouth-to-mouth. The paramedics soon arrive to take Sasha. When the ambulance leaves, Penelope smirks.
Love how that night’s pieced together gradually over the season. Good storytelling!
Sasha’s determined to do the DMT and figure out what Becky (Lilliya Scarlett Reid) needs before her own life goes totally to shit. She’s about to do it when Elliott (Nicholas Galitzine) stops her. He says she ought to go do it in the same place his sister did: “X marks the spot.” He shows her the marks on his arm, which fit perfectly with an X on the mirror in Becky’s room— making the same symbol Sasha saw in the bathroom and in her vision on TJ’s forehead. It’s the Gar Rune, symbolising “sacrifice” and “dignity.” It was a mantra for an equinox party the year prior at the Annex. Curiouser and curiouser.
And so Sasha goes with Elliott to the Annex, where she prepares the drugs to smoke.
Soundtrack note: “Porcelain” by Moby is playing
When Sasha smokes the pipe, she wakes in traditional Navajo dress inside plastic packaging like a doll. She breaks out and sees Marnia (Sarah Mezzanotte) and Penelope like dolls. A bunch of other doll-like girls come out and grab at her clothes, telling her she isn’t Becky. She stumbles through time, back to when she and Elliott were in Becky’s room. She recalls Elliott telling him about being “dosed with heroin” for the first time at the Annex. He woke up hearing voices. He can’t remember who gave him the drugs.
Then back to the moment Sasha smokes the DMT. She passes out, whereas Elliott sees a vision of his sister. Becky tells him: “She has to die.” Elliott freaks out causing a scene at the party. Nancy (Uma Thurman) thinks he’s high. He says Sasha’s Becky and takes his mom back to where Sasha’s unconscious. Nancy gets Evan (Matthew Rauch) and a few of the Annex’s people to haul her son off.
Sasha continues descending int the DMT high. She sees a heart on a table, served like food. After that it’s her head on the platter in a bed of lettuce. Becky has a carving knife ready to serve up the food, for Frank (Marcus LaVoi) and all the rest of the dinner guests.
Yvonne (Kyanna Simone Simpson) leaves the latest Annex party— where we hear that Deacon’s actually a member, hmm— and she winds up hearing Ben (Tony Goldwyn) talk to Ruth (Lili Taylor) in the parking lot. Dad wants to know where his son is, and he gets no answers from Ruth, whom he blames for the entire situation. “Fuck grace and gratitude,” he tells her.
Yvonne goes looking for Sasha. She sees a coyote run out the trailer door— it was on Sasha’s bed with a dead bird. Frank and TJ are tripped out. All three of them know things are fucked up. Yvonne finds a CD in her bag about “heart chakras.” She then notices the hole above her friend’s room. She goes up to take a look and finds a dead mouse, along with crystals in the shape of a person. Yes, but WHO’s been up there EATING MICE? It’s an old woman, hiding away. Is that the same lady who banged on Frank’s window while he and his niece were first on the way to the Lefevre place?
Sasha wakes up. She hears the Stone Roses playing. She walks into the bathroom, where Becky’s in the shower. She watches the girl step out and touch the mirror, before disappearing through it like a doorway. She looks into the mirror and sees torches burning. Then she sees herself as a girl, being left by her mother in a bathroom.
Out of nowhere, she’s hauled into the mirror.
We revisit the moment at the Annex party. Nancy has to watch her son taken away, refusing to believe he’s telling the truth. She’s convinced the Annex has her best interest in mind, as well as the best interests of her family. She then rushes to find Sasha, who’s gone off with Coach Jones (Michael Stahl-David).
Sasha comes to in that red landscape beyond the mirror. She sees Becky tied to a rock about to be part of a ritual. Wind picks up and dust swirls. Mice are at the foot of the stone, and the dust, like a monster, comes for Becky. It grabs her by the heart. Then Becky tells Sasha: “Just listen.” She hears voices chanting in unison. There’s a row of people in masks standing together. One of them looks just like the masks in Becky’s book.
Sasha returns to reality.
She’s taken out of that place by Coach, when Nancy sees them leaving. They head off together so he can bring her home. Only Coach passes the turn to her place, heading towards Antelope Valley. She notices the mask in the backseat, like the one she saw in her vision. He says “Becky was a mistake” and then “the universe” chose Sasha instead. He’s taken Sasha out into the desert. She runs and Coach tries to stop her. Nancy sees them struggling. When Sasha tries to get away, she pushes Coach over a cliff to the hard ground below. Sasha can barely comprehend what’s happening. In her hand, she sees the message KILL YOURSELF appear across her wound.
“You will go below with me“
Ti West delivers his second episode in the series and it’s a wild one! Possibly Father Gore’s favourite so far. Definitely near the top of the list. Some of the non-linear storytelling the show’s been doing may not appeal to certain people. To others, it’ll be a real treat.
“In the Gloaming” is next, and it’s the penultimate Season 1 chapter.