Flesh & Blood, Ep. 5: “Family Ties”
Directed by Adam MacDonald
Written by Lucie Pagé
* For a recap & review of Ep. 4, click here.
* For a recap & review of Ep. 6, click here.Liv runs into Vincent, asking where her mother is and what’s been done to her. She understands why he’d be angry, but she says it doesn’t excuse murder. That’s not going to anything for Vincent, who was kidnapped, handed off like a “package of meat.” He decides to take it out on the daughter, attacking Liv, but she’s a bad ass and she holds her own against Vincent, putting him in a submission hold. They’re interrupted by the rest of the family. Liv demands to know where Birgit is, or she’ll break Vincent’s arm. She lets him go, getting called a “feral little cunt” by Florence. But she still wants answers. Florence thinks it’s all about blood and that Liv is just as bad as Birgit, however, her own son Theo doesn’t believe it, though he isn’t surprised by what he’s learning about his own bloodline.
Liv and Theo head out to the woods, going to search for Birgit. At the house, Vincent and Florence are closing ranks, trying to get O’Keefe on their side. They hate Liv simply because she’s Birgit’s daughter. I think I hate Florence the most of all the characters this season. What a horrible person. Birgit did a terrible thing, yet that doesn’t condemn her to being murdered, and it certainly shouldn’t pull Liv into it, in any way.
Down at the beach, Theo sees something horrific and soon Liv does, too. They discover Birgit buried alive, dead beneath the sand. Of course poor Liv’s devastated. Now she’s really all alone, even if Theo’s somewhat on her side. Grace is feeling pretty alone herself, after her son’s death. She gets a little comfort from O’Keefe, one of the only level-headed folk amongst the family. O’Keefe offers a few kind words about Jayden which help Grace, if only just a little. The two of them bond a bit further, making a Moroccan omelette together. Doesn’t thrill Florence, who wants to keep a strong grip on all her children.
Flashback to artist Florence in her workshop. She cut herself while trying to cut up a Ben Franklin. Grace came in to see if she was okay, only to receive sass and bullshit. Florence, a bourgeois white woman, looked down upon Grace, a working class type who just ‘married into wealth.’ So, in present day, it really pisses ole Flo off to see Grace getting along well with O’Keefe. Just a terrible human being. Another flashback later shows us the failed artistic life of Florence, playing “desperate artistic dressup” and being rejected by an art gallery curator. Perfect!
The pantry keeps filling up with corpses. How many more before it’s all over? Liv’s desperate to get off the island, but Theo thinks it’s dangerous, as if it’s not dangerous being in the midst of the terrifying Galloway clan. She’s starting to convince him, she just has to prove the boat can make the trip. In the meantime there’s an awkward family meal before it’s time for another one of Spencer’s games in the literal family feud.
What’s next? Paintball guns. Yet Grace knows “there‘s always a twist.” The winner of the game gets to stay in the bunker with whoever comes in 2nd until the next game. Lord, it sounds ominous. They’re not even out of the house before Aphra accidentally shoots Theo with a paintball. This is also when they discover the paintball guns aren’t filled with paintball pellets; they’re loaded with rubber bullets. Liv’s got an advantage, having been in the military, which makes her a target for everyone else but simultaneously makes them all her targets. Aphra seems a bit undercover psycho to me, so there’s no telling what she might do out there.
Thus commences the game with everyone moving into the woods, ready for family war. Florence sends O’Keefe to hide, saying they’re not cut out for the game, then goes off alone. Liv’s off being Rambo somewhere. Then Grace, Florence, Vincent, and Aphra come together. They’re going to get Liv out of the game first, then deal with each other. First Flo and Vincent talk shit about Liv to Theo, who says they’re not a family but a “fucked up conglomerate of people,” a company, not kin. Vincent takes the time to shoot Theo with a rubber bullet, pushing his brother away.
The Galloways get hunting, searching for Liv. The ever demeaning Flo makes it into a class war, throwing in a nasty dig at Birgit’s death. Ugly stuff. The more I see of the Galloways and Co., the more I can’t wait for the Gentleman to murder most of them. Aphra takes a bullet to the knee, and Vincent gets a few bullets, including a double tap to the throat. None of them can keep up with Liv’s expertise, except Grace, who sneaks up on Liv and pops a shot off in her leg. Grace gets double crossed immediately afterwards when Flo puts a rubber bullet right into her face in front of Vincent and Aphra. Jesus Christ, this bitch is ruthless.
That leaves Florence and O’Keefe as bunker-mates.
So Grace will probably lose an eye. Aphra’s limping around and also taking a lick of blood, y’know, to see how it tastes; what is this girl’s deal? Vincent is icing his throat, lucky to not have choked on his own spit. And things are getting so bad at the family reunion they’re “running out of gauze.” Theo can see the game’s being manipulated to turn the family against each other, while most of the others appear happy to just engage in slaughter.
In the bunker, O’Keefe and Florence are drinking champagne. We also get a flashback to Florence showing Theo a new art piece she’d been working on. She brought him in blindfolded, standing in sand, then played tapes of Theo recounting the story of Vincent’s kidnapping. Weird and cruel. Theo removed the blindfold to see TV screens with his crying mother, surrounding a glass case containing a child mannequin. Flo triggered a sprinkler that pours blood red liquid over the mannequin. She urged her son to face it, when Theo had clearly always blamed himself. A terrible person and an awful mother.
A TV comes on with Spencer greeting O’Keefe and Florence in the bunker. The old man explains the need to make difficult decisions whenever necessary. He says only one person in the bunker can win. Then the place starts filling with gas, and they’re locked inside. O’Keefe starts freaking out, but their mother says they have to look for oxygen masks or something similar that must be hidden in the room. They find a tank and one mask. Florence hooks it up and takes a breath, sharing some with O’Keefe, while outside Vincent and the others are trying to break in. The oxygen’s dwindling so Florence makes sure to get her fill, refusing to give O’Keefe any more, letting their child die in her arms. Tragic hearing O’Keefe choke “Mommy” as they start foaming at the mouth. Florence is fucking evil.
When Florence comes out of the bunker alive, with dead O’Keefe, it’s not exactly a shock to anyone, other than Theo, raging over the death of his sibling, tearing apart the bunker. Mom keeps repeating there was just a single mask, like it’s supposed to make sense that a mother would allow their child to die instead of doing everything possible to keep them both alive. Just another family member dead to Flo.
So Theo drags his mother through the woods by the hair, intending to put her “on trial.” Vincent helps his brother put Florence in the stockades, using mom’s own funeral art piece from earlier in the season. They’re going medieval on her ass, and Theo’s using this as a way to get back at his mother for torturing him with her art. They’re going to leave Flo out there all night. Maybe she dies. Maybe she’s the killer. More likely she dies.
Great flashback shows Florence getting her “kidnapping art” accepted at a gallery, gloating at the breakfast table with her unimpressed family. Spencer, most of all, was grossed out at her “parading the family tragedy.” He was disgusted completely by his daughter. Back to current day with Florence caught in her art stockade, left by the others to spend the night alone and vulnerable.