Sky Atlantic’s Tin Star
Directed by Justin Chadwick
Written by Rowan Joffe
* For a recap & review of Season 2’s finale “The Unseen,” click here.
* For a recap & review of “Commitment,” click here.
After all the violence and the terror, Jack, Angela, and Anna have to face what they left behind in Liverpool. Because they can never escape their past, no matter how far away they go. They have a list of names, and they’re going to kill everybody on it. Angela and Jack have to explain with no-nonsense everything that’s going on now; no more secrets, whatsoever.
First, let’s skip back 48 hours prior.
Perfect soundtrack of Cilla Black here. Jack’s making his way back towards Liverpool, disguising himself briefly as a truck driver before getting a taxi. Quite the return for Jack, after escaping years ago. That means there’s also some terrible memories coming back to him, too. Like tossing a man off of a roof. First place Jack goes is, naturally, the pub. A place called The Dragon. He sits with three pints on the bar, each with a coaster on the top, and one with a ring on top of the coaster. He sits there all night, watching. And waiting. For who? Angela. Reunited after their trip across the pond. Now they wait for their daughter. Anna’s still on her way through the streets when Jack and Angela figure they should go looking. The parents start searching through various pubs. They find their daughter at a place called The Drag Inn instead of The Dragon. She’s up onstage in the midst of drag queens singing some Spice Girls. Another wonderful reunion.Catherine and Keith McKenzie (Tanya Moodie & Mark Womack) are sitting down for supper when she receives a call. She heads to the other room to take it privately. The man on the other end tells Catherine about Jack and Angela returning. She asks if they’re ready, and the man says they are, indeed. Oh, my. Only a few hours in town and already the Worth clan are on the radar. Not good. Meanwhile, Jack, Angela, and Anna are looking for a hotel room in a less trendy spot so as to not arouse suspicion.
And so we’re back to the opening scene, a family preparing to work on their kill list.
Michael Ryan (Ian Hart) is the man who called Catherine. He’s also a local developer. Could it be that he’s worried his new legitimate identity would be threatened by Jack’s return? Anna mentioned that her parents know things, and that’s why Liverpool wants them dead. Sounds like a likely scenario. Michael’s got a big business deal about to go down. Wouldn’t be good to have someone like Jack in the wind with everything he clearly knows. We also see Jack remembering all those horrible memories, seemingly around every corner.
Jack takes his family with him to a flat looking for an old familiar face, Mary James (Joanne Whalley). Jack and Mary met in 1997 with “a stolen Picasso“—Jack claims it was merely “forged“—and it starts to fill in lots of backstory. He was actually wired up as a cop. And thus their friendship was born. Mary’s quite the character with a house full of young people to feed and a bedroom full of guns to sell. She’s getting Jack and the family geared up for their coming work on the list of names. Afterwards, Jack goes out to get himself noticed. Another perfect soundtrack choice with “Brass in Pocket” by The Pretenders while Jack watches Anna and Angela try on clothes, spending money that’ll get them on Liverpool’s radar, just like Jack getting his face on the CCTV at a money-counting shop. All of which gets reported back to Mr. Ryan, who passes along what he knows to Catherine.
Then, once Catherine’s on the move, the Worth family are right on her tail. Jack, Anna, and Angela follow Catherine inside a building. They come to an elevator where Angela gets lured inside by a doll inside a bag, likely conjuring the image of her own dead son. When the elevator goes up and stops, Michael comes at it firing. But Angela’s escaped up into the elevator shaft. Anna and Jack go after Catherine, dad teaching his daughter a few things about gunplay along the way. It’s a proper gunfight through the halls, as yet another gunman joins Catherine and Michael. The Worths make it to the roof and have to take a leap, going right through the ballroom ceiling. No worse for wear, though, and they’ve slipped out of sight.
We see that Catherine is a copper. She’s a Black woman in a position of power, hoping she can use her time as constable to help victims of hate crimes. Good work. However, she’s hiding things about her past obviously, and she’s willing to kill a whole family to keep those things quiet. Very interesting then to see Jack stroll into Catherine’s press conference after reports of gunfire are brought up by a reporter. Jack then asks if his family nearly being murdered “constitutes a hate crime,” doing so in his trademark dryly hilarious way. It’s all captured on TV, as well. A bit later, D.I. Sara Lunt (Kerrie Hayes) sits down with Jack and Catherine. Quite awkward, no? Ole Dt. Worth won’t stand down. He keeps pushing. Catherine gets a bit of time with Jack alone, trying to throw around her power and talking him down as an addict/alcoholic with PTSD. The sad thing about Catherine is she’s trying to be progressive while being part of that old oppressive club she so shamefully, publicly rages against in public and to Jack.
Jump back to 1999.
Danny Ryan (Jonny Lavelle) was being pressured by Michael, his brother; he was given a gun and told to go do a job. So, off Danny went into an apartment building. Angela had Anna with her and was on her way out, scared to death. She was intercepted by Danny, chasing her to the roof. This is the scene we saw briefly in flashes as Jack returned to Liverpool. Jack made it to the roof, and we now know the rest, as well as how it all came about just by looking at Angela’s face. That’s when the Worth family started running.
In present day, Anna’s told everything about her real father and how he died. She’s also coming to terms with how it feels to take a life. She says it felt powerful. Maybe not a great thing to teach your kid. Although, the Worths are no regular bunch. It’s probably best if she knows how to kill, and maybe it’s best if she faces the reality of how it makes her feel, regardless of the moral implications. I don’t know. I’m no parent. And, y’know, it’s a fictional show! One thing’s for sure: Anna needs to know what she knows because Michael and the rest of his Liverpool pals are gunning for them.
“… a dirty little secret from our prehistoric past.”
An exciting start for this Tin Star swan song. Will be a wild one, no doubt.