Stan’s The Gloaming
1×08: “The Night of the Mothers”
Directed by Greg McLean
Written by Victoria Madden
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Mark of the Witch” – click here
* Will there be a Season 2? (Wait and see.)
Grace and others, including the woman who surely poisoned Freddie and gave him a heart attack, sit around a table calling out to Valerie. And from beyond the grave the girl calls out to her mother. Suddenly, Stephanie runs up looking for her child only to discover it’s gone. What does Auntie Grace do? She locks Stephanie up, to protect her— from what, though? Is this a special night? Perhaps one meant for… sacrifice.
Or maybe something more.
At home, Molly’s being held by Gareth. The truth has finally come out, he used Ricky as a fall guy for his crime, killing Valerie. There’s more backstory, too: Molly found her own father hanging out in the shed, similar to how she found Daisy. Dad was a cop once, like her. Gareth uses this info he dug up to get at Molly. He tries to twist this into a conversation about Elizabeth and how Molly’s “life is a mess.” Things get more complicated when Lily drops by, so Gareth leaves.
And poor Alex looks tied into a strappado device.
This has Molly and the others wondering where he’s gone.
Grace goes to Eileen, who has the baby, and the two argue about how their faith has changed. She wants to bring Valeria back, but she needs “the strength of our bloodline.” Her sister agrees, so long as Stephanie will come back to her. Grace agrees. Although you can all but tell things won’t go as planned. Right away, Eileen goes to her daughter and gets one of those little blue wooden hands. Stephanie decides to go with her mother, too.
A ping on Alex’s phone has Molly headed for the waterfall. She calls Lewis. He knows where the detective was going, not willing to let Molly go by herself. They’d better hurry, because Alex is in the grip of the cult. Their wicker masks, reminiscent of the masks in Ben Wheatley’s Kill List, are horrific, and they stare silently at Alex from the darkness behind a candle. William’s the only one without his mask on, obviously. He advises Alex not to move too much. They discuss what was suggested in the previous episode: that William was the one who shot Jenny that day. Alex calls out their “pagan rituals” and their bullshit, whereas the old man’s convinced in a “higher power” controlling destiny. Plus, tonight is the Night of the Mothers. The cult are engaging in a ceremony, full of strange masks like those from Wheatley’s film to stuff like something you’d see in Robin Hardy’s folk horror classic The Wicker Man.
While a ritual’s begun at Grace’s command, and Lily is one of the girls in the cult’s procession, Lewis and Molly, along with a couple cops, are surrounding the place. Molly won’t rest until she finds Alex, rushing off towards another part of the property. She’s able to stop them in their tracks along with the inspector and backup. Not everything goes as expected. Lewis mourns his friends lost in the web of the cult, putting a gun to William’s head. He stops short of pulling the trigger, punching the old guy’s face instead.
In the distance, Gareth pulls off his fox mask and runs. Alex gives chase along with Molly. They run through the foggy woods until Alex stops him with a gun drawn. Gareth talks about being put on “the stretcher” by mum when he was a boy, going without food for days on end. He says he doesn’t mourn his mother’s death whatsoever. Gareth manages to get a gun off Alex when they wrestle. Molly shows up, getting in the middle of things, and Gareth turns the gun on her. Just as he pulls the trigger Alex jumps in front of the bullet with flashes of Jenny’s death in his mind.
Simultaneously, Eileen takes the blade and sinks it into Grace.
And finally police swarm the place.
“The old ways have to adapt”
Gareth rushes off deep into the woods. There, he hears laughter from a child’s voice. He finds Valerie there watching him from the trees. She disappears seconds later, laughing more, running through the forest like they’re playing a game of Hide and Seek. She approaches him and he backs away, slipping off the edge of a cliff and dropping away into the darkness below somewhere.
Will Alex survive?
Doctors and nurses try to save his life. In the meantime, Alex walks through that hallway again in the old house, heading towards the blue door. He opens it and sees a bunch of pale, cold children in the darkness. In the emergency room, his vitals come back and he’s back amongst the land of the living. Children’s bones are later found in the old house.
Soundtrack: a version of “Eriskay Love Lilt” plays here.
In therapy, Molly explains her earlier “Memory Game” she played with things bundled up in a cloth. Her father would play it himself, once getting up to 20 things. She says she can only get up to 5. She also believes his memory is “what killed him in the end.” Dad was unable to forget all the horrible things he witnessed and experienced in the line of duty. The therapist questions whether Molly feels she’s like him. Molly isn’t so sure entirely, even if she wants to live for Lily. She doesn’t so much want to live for herself. Later on she goes to see Alex in the hospital. When he wakes up he’s seeing one of the Gloamers on the edge of his vision, after coming back from close to death, similar to how Freddie saw them. Might make for an interesting detective life.
Will we get to see more of Molly and Alex?
Not sure if there are plans for Season 2. Father Gore would love another round of episodes with these characters. Not sure if there’s another story as gritty and Gothic as this to tell, yet Victoria Madden is far more than a capable hand when it comes to this type of tale (if you’ve not seen The Kettering Incident, do yourself a big favour and get on that QUICK). Would be fascinating to watch more in the future because this was an unforgettable ride. Even this early on, The Gloaming will absolutely be in the Best TV of 2020, at least on Father Gore’s list.