Domestic Violence, Dogs, & Determined Women in HOUNDS OF LOVE

Hounds of Love. 2017. Directed & Written by Ben Young.
Starring Emma Booth, Ashleigh Cummings, Stephen Curry, Susie Porter, Damian de Montemas, Harrison Gilbertson, Liam Graham, & Lisa Bennet.
Factor 30 Films
Rated R. 108 minutes.


DISCLAIMER: This discussion contains major spoilers for the film, so if you haven’t actually seen it yet, turn back. Lest ye be spoiled, forever!

HOUNDS1There’s a horrifying real life feeling about director-writer Ben Young’s searing dramatic horror Hounds of Love. Despite the fact it’s a gruelling 108 minutes of cinema, the film brought me back to it, again and again. Because underlying all the terror is a well written story, the plot and its themes digging at the darkest parts of our humanity, the most primitive bits in the brain.
While this tale might feel familiar to those who know the story of Cameron and Janice Hooker, who abducted Colleen Stan, it isn’t actually based on that, and it’s easy enough to see how far the two are apart. Even if Young got the seed of the idea from this, which I’m not sure he did at all, there’s not much of a real connection outside those large themes at play.
At the core of the film is the question, what if some love is based in a dichotomy of power and desire? One lover, willing to do anything and everything for the other, despite how horrifically far things go. When a husband and wife serial killing team, John and Evelyn White (Stephen Curry & Emma Booth), kidnap young Vicki Maloney (Ashleigh Cummings) off the street, the girl is drawn into the psychosexual dynamic between them, and we wait to see if she can survive it, or if it swallows her whole.
HOUNDS3Love. Power. Obsession. Desire, or lust. Domestic violence.
So much comes together in the premise that Hounds of Love could easily get lost amongst its own thematic considerations. Yet it never does. We start out with normality, everywhere: late ’80s, in Perth, Australia, on a regular, slightly lower class neighbourhood where people come and go and nobody sticks their nose too far into the business of others except only for a momentary glance of their lives. This is where the everday-ness, the banality, the ordinary qualities of the evil we come to experience are lying in wait in these neighbourhoods, OUR neighbourhoods – this could be anywhere, not just the Land Down Under – right under our own noses.
This is where we cross into the domestic violence and the misogyny that’s everywhere, though particularly in smaller neighbourhoods, exactly like this one. To what lengths can the control of misogyny go? John and Evelyn’s relationship is the centrepiece. The misogyny internalises in Evelyn, whose treatment of Vicki is then reflective of his mistreatment against her as his wife. She has no power in her relationship, so the danger of Vicki being there is that Evelyn wields power only over her; she doesn’t even treat the girl as good as the dog.
This brings up an important parallel, considering the film’s title. Women are juxtaposed with dogs. We see that Evelyn wants a child, and John isn’t interested. He points out that her dog has shit on the floor, illustrating it as a symbol of her inability to take care of a child. In a way, he sees Evelyn as that dog, a helpless creature at the end of his whims, and when the dog shits on the floor it’s the same as if she’d done it. Moreover, the treatment of dogs here by John is also indicative of his inhumanity. As a society, we often gauge someone’s compassion for animals with their compassion for their fellow humans, something John obviously lacks. Finally, dogs and humans are very much alike, here in particular women and dogs, in that their loyalty can be undying, no matter how awfully they’re treated by those lording over them in the power-role of master. Just as the beaten dog wanders like a zombie back to its owner, so does a beaten wife like Evelyn never, no matter how mad or fed up or abused she is, leave her husband, coming back solely out of worry for survival, among other things.
HOUNDS4John sees women as interchangeable, and this is ultimately what ends him, as his psychological grip on Evelyn finally looses and lets go. Before that happens, Evelyn, as his wife, is figuratively chained to that bed. Whereas Vicki is there physically, the wife is caught there symbolically. Her shackles are invisible yet no less actual than those around the wrists of the girl. She’s likewise given the chance to have a child, symbolised by the kidnapping, forcibly confining Vicki in a sick, twisted, Freudian nightmare – rotten and bastardised visions of the father, the mother, and the daughter. Luckily, both Vicki and Evelyn are unwilling to let the power of a man hold them down. Despite the wife’s complicity in what has gone on, it’s still a testament to her innate strength that she’s able to do the right thing after all.
One of the most telling moments is a scene where John runs into a few local lads to whom he obviously owes money. What we witness is how, around other men, he is a pitiful creature. He has no power over other males, so he exerts a brutal power over women. This, like Evelyn with Vicki, is his only means of gaining control or power within his sad life, conflating his personality with misogynistic violence.
On top of all this is a minimalist setting and score, to an extent, the dialogue, as well, avoiding too much fat on the bones, offering only the meatiest bits to help the viewer gradually sink into the devastating characterisations. in addition, the minimalism is punctuated and thrown into a disrupted state of chaos when bursts of harsh violence explode across the screen, female bodies taking the brunt of wounded male ego and patriarchal control, unpredictable at times as much as it is savage.
HOUNDS2Hounds of Love is, hands down, one of the best horror films of the 2010s. Surprisingly, this is director-writer Ben Young’s debut feature, only making me more inclined to keep an eye out for whatever he does next. He’s a fascinating talent. He could’ve easily turned this into an exploitation flick, which isn’t always bad. And he certainly verges on it, teetering on the edge. But he hones in on the drama above the violence, though the violent elements remain in tact. This allows the characters, the performances of those characters, and all the aesthetic treats shine, rather than falling into a mess of blood and horrific imagery that serves no purpose. Young helps us take a look at the control within a dangerous, psychosexual relationship, inherent in domestic violence and the seduction of misogynistic men.
This is a must see, and no better time than Halloween! Watch this alone, in the dark, somewhere quiet. Let it sink into you, under your skin. If you aren’t affected, maybe check your pulse.


Mr. Mercedes – Season 1, Episode 10: “Jibber-Jibber Chicken Dinner”

AT&T’s Mr. Mercedes
Season 1, Episode 10: “Jibber-Jibber Chicken Dinner”
Directed by Jack Bender
Written by Dennis Lehane & Sophie Owens-Bender

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Ice Cream, You Scream, We All Scream” – click here
* Recap-reviews of Season 2 to come on release, as it’s been confirmed the show’s renewed!

A different opener for the finale. Suddenly, in the dark, former Dt. Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) wakes to “Danny Boy” playing. Nearby is a trail of blood smeared through the hallway, out into the kitchen, everywhere. The side of the house is covered in a streak of crimson. Outside is a wheelbarrow with an eviscerated corpse in it. In the trees, a bloody leg. The Mr. Friendly jingle plays. In the driveway, Bill sees his daughter as a girl, Holly (Justine Lupe), and Jerome (Jharrel Jerome) all eating ice cream with the ice cream man himself, Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway) who greets him with a pleasant, sinister smile.
Then there’s Ida Silver (Holland Taylor), she takes his gun, tells him to go “have some fun” while Mr. Mercedes serves him up his favourite fudge treat.
But then his daughter’s taken by Brady. When he goes back inside, everybody in his life is dead, murdered brutally. He’s quickly attacked by a rabid, beast-like Brady who tears him apart, ripping his flesh, eating him. Terrifying fucking nightmare.
Such a great contrast to the other episodes, all of those so similar, the same song, the record player, the breakfast. Now, we’ve come to the end of Season 1, and Bill’s in a vastly different, scarier headspace than he was before, worried for the safety of everyone near him.
IMG_0330At the police station, Dt. Pete Dixon (Scott Lawrence), Dt. Izzy Torres (Nicole Barré), Captain Brooke Hockney (Debra Monk), and Bill watch the confessional tape Brady recorded before the supposed end. As he rants about his delusions of grandeur, his mom, the “lead boots” of conscience against which his life raged, the lie that his mom died because she wanted to turn him in – he can’t even admit HE was the one who accidentally killed her, a pathetic human. He goes on about history as “scar tissue” and gobbles up a bottle of pills at the same time. Until it looks like he passes out, falling into the lens.
Bill’s thanked afterwards by Capt. Hockney for his involvement, as well as tasked with helping out more while they check for bombs at his place, other places Brady might’ve left a bomb behind. They also get a bit of help from Lou Linklatter (Breeda Wool) concerning where Robi might be.
At the electronics shop, corporate douche Josh (David Furr) realises the killer is the one who setup a display recently, to attract kids and their parents. Nothing’s found. However, better safe than sorry, right? Bill’s house is safe, too. He and Pete have a beer on the front step, chatting, the latter admitting they found an escape tunnel down in Brady’s lair. Quite possible he’s out, alive, plotting.
And yes, he is, of course. Like we all knew. So sinister. He’s got another bomb, he’s putting the finishing touches on it. He has a wheelchair, as well. Underneath which is where the explosives are neatly hidden, nobody any the wiser about its capabilities. Oh, shit.
IMG_0331Josh goes looking for Robi. When he notices his car’s there and nobody answering at home, he calls the cops again. Pete, Izzy, and Bill come to check the place. In the apartment they find no one, nothing. Although Josh notices after a moment there’s no rug near the kitchen like before. So Izzy begins doing minor forensics, spraying luminol around a few areas, locating the presence of some interesting fluids – a large splash on the wall, the floor, some reaching out to the kitchen cabinets. A macabre, fluorescent crime scene.
This is when they call the morgue, to confirm the corpses, and discovering that most likely it was, indeed, Robi left in bed with Mama Hartsfield. So Cpt. Hockney and the rest try determining what Brady’s next move is, what to do in the preemptive hope they can combat the killer.
Speaking of, Brady’s shaving his head, going with a new look. Is he planning on a suicide bombing mission in that wheelchair? Simultaneously, the cops are wondering which events might be targets, a gala, another career fair event, so on. Without a specific threat, they can’t cancel anything. So they add security, they’ll keep their eyes open. Problem is even the shaved head could throw them off his trail, for just enough time to detonate those explosives.
Poor Bill’s haunted, seeing the images of his nightmare over and over. He also believes there’s no way Brady is going for another career fair, just as WE see the killer in his wheelchair, wearing glasses, bald head and a suit to boot. Brady’s at the gala, same place as Holly. Dear lord, no. Bill knows something bad will happen, he rushes for the gala, calls Ida and tells her to get someplace safe; our former detective knows the killer’s going for people he cares about.
IMG_0332In a portable outhouse, Brady opens the wheelchair and produces the bomb. Out on a stage, a speech, a look at the Edmund Mills Art Center opening in the community. In the crowd Bill looks hard for his man, he stumbles onto Holly and asks her to get out of there fast. And Jerome, he’s there with his family. So many in peril.
Lou’s also kicking around, having a drink. Near the bathrooms, she runs into none other than Brady in his disguise: “Shouldve worn sunglasses,” he quips. He stabs her in the stomach before hopping back in his wheelchair. Right at the same time Jerome takes the stage, introduced for his achievements, his getting into an Ivy League college, as he himself introduces a young choir. THE TENSION IS KILLING ME!
The killer doesn’t finish Lou off, so she shouts for help. Bill hears her calls, finding her, and getting somebody to call for an ambulance. She tells him about the disguise.
And wheeling into the middle of the crowd Brady readies himself to detonate. Onstage, Jerome starts clearing people out after Holly alerts him. Bill points his gun into the crowd as they run, Brady holds the detonator ready. But before anything can happen, Holly cracks the killer in the face, beating him relentlessly, and Jerome grabs the device. All to “This Little Light of Mine” in the background. Amazing sequence.

In the aftermath, Holly and Jerome are heroes. Bill’s been vindicated already, as his hunches over the Mercedes Killer case turned out to be entirely warranted. Meanwhile, Brady’s a vegetable in the hospital, our former detectives goes to see him every day: “If he ever flatlines, Ill show up and cremate him myself.” He leaves the hospital after whispering into Brady’s ear, making clear he isn’t going anywhere no matter if the killer’s brain dead or what.
There’s still a flicker. We can hear The Pixies “Here Comes Your Man” playing, the radio in his brain hanging on and on. I wonder…
IMG_0336Loved this finale! Wow, just filled with atmosphere and suspense, tension to fill your boots. Season 2’s been announced already, so I’m very interested if they’ll take into account Finders Keepers, or if they’re going for a whole angle of their own. Exciting stuff to consider in the interim.

Alias Grace – Part 2

CBC’s Alias Grace
Part 2
Directed by Mary Harron
Written by Sarah Polley

* For a recap & review of Part 1, click here.
* For a recap & review of Part 3, click here.
Pic 1Dr. Simon Jordan (Edward Holcroft) finds himself dreaming about Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon), holding her close in the midst of the penitentiary’s yard. He’s quickly back to real life. In his office, Mrs. Humphrey (Sarah Manninen) collapses, she isn’t well. Neither is life in general going well. She hasn’t eaten since her husband left recently. And so the good doctor buys food for the house, advancing “two months rent” for her to take care of things in the interim. She’s a little affectionate towards him, naturally, making him uncomfortable. Whereas he was just longing in dreams for Grace.
Speaking of our lady, she’s at work sewing, taking care of things around the house where she works. When Dr. Jordan arrives, they speak of dreams. She tells him she doesn’t remember any, though we see a vision of Nancy Montgomery (Anna Paquin) near a rose garden, a cut ripping across her forehead; she begins falling, grabs her throat. Then quickly, back to reality.
Grace talks more of her good friend Mary Whitney (Rebecca Liddiard), a wild spirit, a free woman in her heart. At night, the two women play a game with an apple peel, a superstition-style game; peeled in one piece, Grace tosses it behind her as her friend asks “Who shall we marry?” But when Mary tries, she cuts herself on the knife while peeling, ending their game.
Saddest is how they’re young, yet their lives already revolving entirely around men. Not by choice. Even Grace, she was forced out of the house by a revolting father, but it was more a choice of getting abused constantly, or working and sending money back home eternally. An entire life shaped by the horror of men.
Pic 1AAnother free spirit, Jeremiah Pontelli (Zachary Levi), shows up to peddle his wares to the women at the Parkinson home, Mrs. Honey (Elizabeth Saunders) even in her experienced years not immune to his charm. He does a good magic trick, too. Had his “pocket picked” and his “heart broken” enough to learn some tricks of his own, he says. Afterwards, he looks into Grace’s palm, seeing something foreboding. Although he tells her: “You will cross water three times. You will have much trouble. But all will be fine in the end. You are one of us.”
Pic 1BWe see bits of how difficult it was to be a women in their time. Can’t even go to the outhouse at night without a partner, or else bad things might happen. And it’d be blamed on the woman if anything did. As Grace says, a woman can’t “let her guard down.” Juxtaposed with this harsh, tragic lesson of womanhood, she wakes one morning to find she’s had her first period, believing that she’s dying like her mother. Luckily, she’s got Mary to guide her. Yet it’s still a nasty life being a woman amongst men and their misogyny. As I write this recap and review, we’re facing the Harvey Weinstein situation, all its hideousness: things have changed, but not really, not for women.
George Parkinson (Will Bowes) had to stay at home for a long while, feeling ill. He was left with so much time on his hands, nothing to do. The whole house full of women waiting on him hand and foot. Suddenly, Mary’s also very cold towards Grace. Everything’s changed, they no longer have fun together at work, no more joking. Mary’s feeling sick herself. Because she’s up the duff with George’s baby. He’s turned his back on her, as well. So convenient for men, to do what they wish then walk away when it’s inconvenient. Mary’s left to try getting him to help. What does the man do? Hands her “five dollars.” So, she has to find work somewhere where they’ll allow her to work pregnant, likely in horrible conditions.
Or, an illegal abortion. She writes a note, claiming that if she perishes then all her things go to Grace. Her faithful friend goes with her to the doctor, but Mary heads in for the procedure alone. All the horrific bits of womanhood, the things women face because of men, thrown at Ms. Marks, so quickly, so brutal. It’s awful. Particularly when Mary’s screams are heard and she comes bursting out in a terrible state.
Grace: “It was either one corpse that way, or two the other.”
Our lady tried taking care of her friend. Until one day she woke to a cold, dead Mary in bed. A true tragic end for the young woman. Thus leading others to the discovery of the “bad business” involved in her agonising death. An even sadder moment is when Grace doesn’t know if her friend’s faking, having once faked a death-like moment with her in the laundry.
Later, Grace goes into a state of disembodied shock yelling to the others: “Where is Grace?”
Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 8.20.42 PMFor it is not always the one who strikes the blow that is the actual murderer.”
This series has started out so strong, at a particularly relevant time here at the tail end of 2017. When so many women are finally able to come forward without (as much) fear as before, that their stories might not believed. Grace Marks isn’t entirely the best historical example, as there are many questions about the factual authenticity to certain claims.
However, there’s so much in her story that plays out as a microcosm of what all women go through in the course of their lives. Being a woman is harder than being a man; any man who can’t admit that doesn’t understand history, the balance of power between genders, and likely feels a false sense of constructed masculinity that’s unwilling to let them see a woman’s perspective clearly.
Can’t wait for Part 3.

Mr. Robot – Season 2, Episode 12: “eps2.9_pyth0n-pt2.p7z”

USA’s Mr. Robot
Season 2, Episode 12: “eps2.9_pyth0n-pt2.p7z”
Directed & Written by Sam Esmail

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 2 episode, “eps2.9_pyth0n-pt1.p7z” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 premiere, “eps3.0_power-saver-mode.h” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 4.50.39 PMElliot (Rami Malek) is wondering about Tyrell (Martin Wallström), how he’s just suddenly showed up again after all this time, sure that the man is dead. We go back to an old moment between the two men: “Youre not seeing whats above you,” our hacker told him. Tyrell repeats a few lines of “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams, something his father repeated often when he was a boy; it’s a reminder of his father and the man he never wanted to become.
Back to present day, as Elliot’s being led somewhere by Tyrell. They go an unsuspecting building, a relatively decrepit-looking place inside. A worker in a white lab suit and goggles (Stephen Lin) takes them in an elevator. Our hacker heads onto a dark floor where he’s shown what the Dark Army’s helped them setup, though he doesn’t remember what Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) has been up to while he’s been… asleep. Tyrell fills him in again, and Elliot is a bit bewildered.
Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 4.59.58 PMIn an FBI interrogating room, Darlene (Carly Chaikin) invokes her “Fifth Amendment” rights. Although Dominique (Grace Gummer) offers condolences, for Cisco’s death. Agent Santiago (Omar Metwally) doesn’t have time for that shit, pulling out The Patriot Act and shoving that in her face, considering her an enemy of the country. This all prompts Dom to take some time alone with Darlene. She wants to get close, to make the young woman feel comfortable.
Except Darlene doesn’t want to do that. She bites back. Until Dom brings in the evidence from the Smart House – camera, tripod, the fsociety mask. And if they can link the camera to the videos made by the group, this might mean trouble. There’s also a bullet casing in the mix. The one linked to the Fun Society arcade. Shiiiiit.
Elsewhere in the city, Joanna (Stephanie Corneliussen) has tracked down Scott Knowles (Brian Stokes Mitchell). He’s the one who’s been sending the gifts, calling on the phone. She mocks him saying the sonogram picture made her “wet.” Really, she’s there to figure out why he’d do such a thing. So he talks about his wife, when she found she was pregnant. Joanna doesn’t care: “Fuck her and her fetus corpse.” Scott goes mad and tries to strangle her, then beats the shit out of her instead when she continues mocking. Wow, that’s ugly.
Darlene: “If you want any other details, the answer is suck a dick.”
Elliot’s lamenting the fact he’s the leader of the plan between Tyrell, Whiterose (BD Wong), the Dark Army, all by default. His father’s been pulling the strings, he’s been along for the ride unwillingly. Now, there’s a massive plan put together, a huge operation against Evil Corp.
Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 5.12.06 PMWhat does Joanna decide on after her beating? She wants her boyfriend to help her frame Scott for the murder of his wife, which will likewise get her husband off the hook, too. Hmm, so many things coming together. So many brutal things, too. And this poor dude, he’s wrapped around her finger. He protests, but not for long.
Dom keeps pressing Darlene, trying to get her to talk. Using any tactic she can think of to pull from her FBI back of tricks. Then she plays on the young woman’s curiosity, saying she has something to show her: “Youre a lot more special than you think.” As Darlene walks through the corridor, agents watch her, like people would a celebrity. Coincidentally, the brownouts flicker the lights as she passes while Aimee Mann sings. And Dom shows her all the work the FBI’s been doing, how difficult it’s been. That it was nothing of their own volition which brought fsociety into their web. Rather, an accident.
Elliot: “No matter what I do, he always finds a way.”
Our hacker doesn’t understand the purpose of Mr. Robot, or why he’s constantly fucking with him. No matter if he overdoses, goes to jail, dad is always around. Because they’re the same person, just different identities in one package, different iterations of an identical personality. It seems Mr. Robot is there to push Elliot to the end, towards his fate, towards whatever’s necessary; to distract him, long enough for things to get accomplished.
Elliot worries people will die if they blow up the E.Corp building. He pushes Tyrell out of the way, to take care of the malware. This prompts the disgraced businessman to grab a gun, pointing it at the hacker. Dad says walk away; the son won’t abide death. Elliot sees Tyrell and Mr. Robot as the same people, that it’s all a trick of the mind.
Is it? Is Tyrell actually there holding a gun, or is he a figment of his imagination?
Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 5.27.04 PM (1)While Elliot feels he’s taking back control, he gets a bullet put in him. Blood spurting from an open wound. Seems Tyrell is very real. In the background, dad flickers in and out of perspective; he’s the one who gave the gun to their friend, to stop anyone who got in the way. A full circle of vicious delusion.
Afterwards, Angela (Portia Doubleday) gets a call from Tyrell who hates what he’s had to do, saying he loves Elliot. She does, too. She heads out, already knowing what’s going to happen. Just as a large blackout strikes, lights everywhere shut off, and cars honk their horns, crashing together.
In another place, working at an electronics store, Frederick and Tanya talk about something on their break, about generating keys, so on. Fred doesn’t want to hear more, though Tanya is insistent. That’s because it’s Mobley (Azhar Khan) and Trenton (Sunita Mani), they’re okay, hiding away from the wandering eye of the Dark Army and anybody else looking for them. Yay!
And who else shows up to ask for the time? Leon (Joey Bada$$). Whoa. C’mon Season 3!
Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 5.33.59 PMPerfect season finale. Cannot wait for the new season, coming very soon. What’ll happen? How will Elliot move forward after this? What will Angela’s role ultimately be now that she’s integrated into the Dark Army’s plotting? And what will become of Darlene?

Mr. Robot – Season 2, Episode 11: “eps2.9_pyth0n-pt1.p7z”

USA’s Mr. Robot
Season 2, Episode 11: “eps2.9_pyth0n-pt1.p7z”
Directed & Written by Sam Esmail

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “eps2.8_h1dden-pr0cess.axx” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, “eps2.9_pyth0n-pt2.p7z” – click here
Pic 1Hes always a step ahead of me, because he is me.”
Elliot (Rami Malek) is still trying to solve the puzzle of his father, Mr. Robot (Christian Slater). Despite all he’s figured out, there’s so much more to unravel. His mind is an enigma. It’s not an easily life, being him.
Mr. Sutherland (Jeremy Holm) once again shows Joanna (Stephanie Corneliussen) the location of where the calls came from, and it seems she knows something more, obviously. Just from his reaction in the previous episode, this location is a place they know. But where the hell is it? Whose house is it?
Somewhere else, stuck in the back of a van, Angela (Portia Doubleday) is transported by two silent people in the front seat, a cage dividing them. They turn up the radio to drown out her protest, so she eventually gives up and sits back down.
Pic 1APoor fucking Dom (Grace Gummer). She’s lived through another shooting by the Dark Army, men around her telling her she’s “in shock” and that she needs time to decompress, blah, blah, blah. When you know if it were a male agent he’d be frothing at the mouth for revenge.
Even as a high-profile FBI agent, Dom deals with misogynist bullshit. Plus, she blames her superior, Agent Santiago (Omar Metwally) for not believing her. She considers this “an act of war.” He likewise brings up the fact China bailed out E.Corp, a $2-trillion no-interest loan. Highly suspicious, certainly. In light of this, Santiago is more inclined to start believing Dom.
Angela’s taken to a house, by the man and woman in the van. She’s led inside through a very upper class, modern kitchen, living room. Down a hall with some creepy photos on the wall; they look like certain faces are cut out, or scratched off. She’s brought to a dark room. In it is a desk by a fish tank. She’s locked in there alone. On the desk is a lot of old technology, like an office ripped out of the ’80s. Soon, a little girl arrives and begins typing on the computer. After that she asks: “Have you ever cried during sex?” Good lord! She reveals marks on her side, saying that if Angela doesn’t answer she’ll receive more of the same treatment. One question gives way to another, each morbid, weird, out of context. What’s going on here?
In his ivory tower, Phillip Price (Michael Cristofer) is angling to make eCoin the new currency, wanting to leave the old dollar, and Bitcoin, behind. This is all just a way for him to get richer, it isn’t about helping anybody, not even the economy. It’s about making sure he’s able to survive in whatever new world comes out of this fucked up revolution. He’s just another capitalist trying to save his skin.
Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 1.19.51 AMFurther and further, Angela is led through questions until the little girl hands her the red phone after it rings. More instructions from a computerised voice, similar to the early type-and-play games from the early days of computers, like Hugo’s House of Horrors and others. She has to answer more questions, guiding the game along. But no answers yet. After a little more she figures out the game, to an extent, and this at least moves things on to the next step.
A scene between Dom and her personal assistant Alexa highlights the loneliness in the former’s life, seeing how even the computer PA doesn’t comprehend loneliness, being utterly alone, without anybody. Whereas Dom must suffer through it, coming home after nearly dying in a shootout to nothing except an empty apartment and old takeout boxes.
Soon, Angela gets a visit from Whiterose (BD Wong). And, as usual, they only have an allotted time. Whiterose is prompt. Plenty of cryptic conversation to start, centring around the Chinese woman’s concept of doors and locks. All comes around to her not wanting Angela to give up her “sensitive information” and not wanting her to die, either. If it isn’t necessary, anyway.
Later that night Angela goes to her lawyer, telling her to forget about their latest legal chats. She also tells her to stay away, no more calls.
Mind awake. Body asleep.”
When Elliot comes to, he can’t remember how long he’s been out. And dad is back, as if nothing ever happened. It’s like they’ve switched places, too. Like Mr. Robot is the one of flesh and blood, and he’s the invisible counterpart. Dad has a cypher, somebody is trying to get in contact with him. Hmm. Now he’s going about decoding the message.
Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 1.26.51 AMA man in a cab is waiting for Elliot. They get going, but quickly Elliot is going nuts, wanting to know if the guy sees someone next to him. He’s falling apart.
Out of the blue, he’s dropped off and sees Tyrell (Martin Wallström) on the street. They’re ready for Stage 2, supposedly. Big things are happening. Is this real? Or is our hacker just hallucinating more? Hard to tell these days.
Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 1.50.30 AMGod, this series gets better with each episode. Leading up to the finale, this is all so tense, so exciting. Sometimes you think Mr. Robot has reinvented itself already, its not going to happen again. And yet, it does. Time and time again. A big reason why it’s such a fantastic show.
“eps2.9_pyth0n-pt2.p7z” – the finale – is next.

Mr. Mercedes – Season 1, Episode 9: “Ice Cream, You Scream, We All Scream”

AT&T’s Mr. Mercedes
Season 1, Episode 9: “Ice Cream, You Scream, We All Scream”
Directed by Kevin Hooks
Written by Bryan Goluboff

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “From the Ashes” – click here
* For a recap & review of the finale, “Jibber-Jibber Chicken Dinner” – click here
Pic 1Another morning for former Dt. Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson). Same routine, a little more guilt now since Janey’s death. Still, he gets the taunting messages from Brady Hartsfield a.k.a Mr. Mercedes (Harry Treadaway), he continually monitors his property. Every day is exactly the same. Just a variant of how shitty things can get for him.
Meanwhile, listening to “Here Comes Your Man” by the Pixies, Brady works out at home. Next to mom’s (Kelly Lynch) decomposing corpse, Band-Aids over her eyes. At the police station, Bill goes to see Pete Dixon (Scott Lawrence), who’s trying to do right by his old partner. However, he makes clear personal feelings for Janey can’t enter into the situation, everything needs to go by-the-book.
Brady’s got a new FedEx package full of toys. He’s got a new plan in mind. Uh oh.
Pic 1APete brings his boss Captain Brooke Hockney (Debra Monk) all the information he has about the bombing, the Mercedes Killer. She’s certainly surprised. She now wonders about Bill, so Dt. Dixon explains the situation. She doesn’t exactly like it, and he’s got to get forceful with her to get through the fact Bill has helped them, he hasn’t – so far – hindered their investigation.
When Bill gets home he finds Holly (Justine Lupe) there. She has his bulldog statue, it makes her “feel safe.” This all naturally drags up a ton of emotion for him, the links to his own estranged daughter. He wants her to keep the statue. Regardless, he doesn’t want her around. Simply for her safety. Except that Holly’s got a clue: Olivia had a business card for Supreme Electronix, the very store where Brady works. DAMN, GIRL!
At the store, Robi (Robert Stanton) is pissed with Brady for being late, staying in back packing away stock instead of being out front. He’s sniffing around, wondering why he’s back there, believing he might be stealing. So our killer talks the good talk, only serving to piss Robi off a little more who’s only worried about sucking himself further up the corporate anus. More good music, too: “Human Fly” by the Cramps.
Perfect shot where the killer pulls out from the store parking lot, as Bill pulls in. Right after, Pete and Dt. Izzy Torres (Nicole Barré) arrive to make sure he’s not out of line. They all head in to speak with Robi about Olivia’s patronage. Then they find out Brady did all her house calls, which he often does for older women; wonder why(wink, wink, gross)? This leads Robi to tell them about his “prejudices” towards the young man, believing he’s… off, y’know. OH, don’t we know all about that. When Bill sees a picture of him, he recognises the ice cream man from his neighbourhood, Mr. Friendly.
Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 2.09.38 PMNow we’ve got Bill heading over to talk with Brady’s mom. Yeah, the mom lying in bed, flies swarming around her, flesh rotting. She’s listening to her son talk about his “masterpiece” and making a “dent” in the world. His new plan sounds big; ugly big. He’s been psycho a long time. At this point, he’s beyond psychotic, he’s in another world entirely. Perfect time to have the retired detective hunting him down ringing his doorbell. Such a wildly tense few moments. The cops with Bill obviously won’t bust into the house, they’ve got no warrant, and they’re adamant on following the law. We watch as he peeks inside, unable to see anything, Brady lurking in the darkness.
Ken Brock (Tom Nowicki) turns up while Bill’s looking, he has a chat and winds up telling him about a friend of the kid’s, Lou Linklatter (Breeda Wool). Simultaneously, Holly calls her old buddy with a bit of urgent info, sending him back to see her and Jerome (Jharrel Jerome). They’ve sussed out an M.O. – job fairs, big gatherings. The misanthrope detective isn’t immediately inclined to believe it.
Lou gets a visit from Bill, asking about Brady. She tells him the basics, believing he’s a sweet guy, not willing to talk much about anything private. He lies a bit, though. Saying that Brady’s involved in a homicide; we know that, but it isn’t official. I hope this doesn’t start anything that’ll mess up the cops investigating. Eventually, Lou breaks and tells him about the apparent angina attack Deb had, Brady acting strange.
That night when Robi goes home, he finds Brady in his apartment. The young man wants to know why the police are asking about him, so Robi talks. The guy doesn’t know when to shut up. Then he gets murdered right in his kitchen. Bludgeoned to death when he figures out his employee is the Mercedes Killer.
Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 2.24.24 PMSWAT are gearing up. The cops are ready to head inside the Hartsfield home. Pete’s leading at the front. Bill shows up and wants a vest, wanting to go in, too. At the very same time, Brady is washing up, totally unaware. Once he’s finished he sits down with a camera pointed at himself. He records a confession, about the “what question” and the “why,” as well. He believes his story will be famous, he’ll be studied, wrote about, all those delusions of grandeur. But he has one chapter planned: “Things that go bang in the night.”
He turns on the ice cream truck in the driveway, it plays its music. SWAT officers head closer, beckoning him out, not knowing it’s empty. When they shoot it full of gas, moving inside, a pop-up toy ejects in the front seat and they fire. They all head into the house, slow, steady.
Downstairs is the killer’s lair, a countdown on the screen, explosives everywhere. Upstairs, Bill discovers the clown mask, a dead Deb in bed, possibly Brady next to her? Or a decoy? I bet the latter; Robi’s body. Doesn’t matter. The room’s set to light on fire, the place goes up. They all get outside in one piece, luckily. Could’ve been far worse.
That means there are bigger plans on the horizon.
Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 2.33.31 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-05 at 2.36.59 PMGod, what a tension-filled, insane episode! Just, wow. Love this series.
One last episode. “Jibber-Jibber Chicken Dinner” is next. And oh, I worry what sort of psychopathic madness is going to come down on Bill then.

Tin Star – Season 1, Episode 10: “My Love is Vengeance”

Sky Atlantic’s Tin Star
Season 1, Episode 10: “My Love is Vengeance”
Directed by Gilles Bannier
Written by Rowan Joffe

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 1 episode, “Fortunate Boy” – click here
* Season 2 to come next year
Pic 1In a home, Helen (Leanne Best) is being taken care of, a wasteland of a woman after the alcoholism and the drugs. She’s now medicated, looked after, as best as money can provide. Whitey (Oliver Coopersmith) calls her, then hands the phone over to Anna (Abigail Lawrie). He wants Anna to tell his mother who she is, the daughter of Jack Devlin a.k.a Jim Worth (Tim Roth), that he left numerous people in his wake of shattered promises and lies. The girl refuses, even with a gun on her.
Meanwhile, Angela (Genevieve O’Reilly) is cleaning the blood off her floors, the walls, digging bullets out of the plaster. Out in the woods, Jaclyn (Michelle Thrush) and Elizabeth (Christina Hendricks) are pulling Gagnon’s corpse to a proper spot where they’ll dig a hole, bury him for good. Constable Denise Minahik (Sarah Podemski) calls, noticing the cameras are out at the Worth place. She decides to come check on them. Not great when there’s blood smeared down the stairs, all across the front of the house. Literally everywhere.
What does Angela decide on doing? Letting the house fucking blow up, opening the propane tanks outside, turning on the stovetop burners, then walking out. She watches it go up, no time to take anything out. She gets a quick call from Jim before Denise then arrives. She plays up the idea of having left the gas on to cover. Denise calls in the fire to Constable Nick McGillen (Ryan Kennedy), who’s planning on taking their Chief in for murdering Roger Crouch a.k.a Reginald.
Pic 1AWhitey says he doesn’t “deserve to live” for the murder of Petey, he gives her a gun and tells her to shoot him. She won’t, though. Underneath it all she cares for him, because she realises the effect her father’s had on his life, in such a tragic way.
At Randy’s (Lynda Boyd) Roadhouse, Angela meets Jim. Her husband has a surprise. Well, her other husband Jack does. He’s tied Randy and Frank (Ian Puleston-Davies) to a chair each. Ready for a chat. Frank only talks about his sister’s “wet brain” after she discovered his undercover lie, he insists Jack was essentially raping her. When things don’t go the right way, the London gangster gets a couple pool balls cracked across his knuckles. Things get really serious when he goes to work on Randy. Eventually the man cracks, revealing it was Simon, Whitey, who killed their little boy.
Afterwards, Nick shows up to arrest Jim and gets a bullet in the leg for his trouble, because the Chief and his wife are off to find their daughter before anything else awful happens to their family.
Jack: “This is what you asked for, right?”
Angela: “I know
Jack: “Well thats just how it goes, love.”
In other news, Jaclyn and Liz are attempting to get ahead of the story with Gagnon. This is when Liz admits to having nearly turned Jaclyn in to the man back in Little Big Bear. Nearly tearing the whole thing down. But the oil executive asks for one last bit of trust, to get things finished. Upstairs, she presents everything to the North Stream Oil board, the murders connected to Gagnon, every bit of nastiness. She bargains herself into a new position, one that might allow her to pump a few ethics into their business on her watch. Change, from the inside out.
Elizabeth: “I answer to my conscience
Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 7.50.55 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-01 at 7.55.02 PMNow Jaclyn wants Liz to pay the reserve, or else she’ll tell the truth about Gagnon. So we’re seeing that while the executive woman wants to make change, feigning conscience and ethics, she’s really got none at all. She’s self serving, and I hope Jaclyn’s keen enough to know that for sure. If not, could get rough.
Angela and Jack track down their daughter. But the wife makes sure to trap him, so he can’t kill Whitey. She only wants to get their daughter back to safety. Yet she forgets, a locked contraption isn’t necessarily enough to stop Jack, he gets at the mechanism’s wiring in the police vehicle to unlock himself. Then he heads out for the cabin where Whitey and Anna are hiding, too.
Mom gets there to find her daughter near brainwashed by the young man, somehow forgiving him for killing her brother. Anna tries taking Whitey away, but mom puts a shot in his knee. This doesn’t stop Anna, she feels betrayed by both of her parents, not simply her father. Only mom lets her daughter take the shotgun and go; to stop Jack.
Jack gets to the empty cabin, only a spatter of blood on the floor. He heads into the woods, following the tracks. First, he comes upon Angela who pleads to “let him go.” They stumble onto Anna, Whitey in bad shape. So the daughter points her weapon at dad, calling him by the name Jack Devlin. She’s heard all his dark, dirty secrets, Helen’s miscarriage, every last little bit. And yet she doesn’t seem to care Whitey killed Petey. A tragedy.
However, Jack calls up old memories, he threatens to shoot. So Whitey pushes Anna out of the way, taking a bullet. After a few seconds, he takes two more in the chest before Jack tells him: “I love you, too, mate.”
When Jack walks away, his daughter calls to him before pointing a pistol at him and firing.
Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 8.16.56 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-01 at 8.30.24 PMNice cliffhanger that takes us into the next season. Wow.
I personally couldn’t get enough of Tin Star. Just weird enough, slightly over-the-top at times, gritty, darkly comic. Tim Roth and Genevieve O’Reilly were just so good, as were many of the secondary players. So happy this was already greenlit for a Season 2. We need it. Bring it on! Love me a modern revenge Western with Tim Roth set in Canada. How could you not?

Tin Star – Season 1, Episode 9: “Fortunate Boy”

Sky Atlantic’s Tin Star
Season 1, Episode 9: “Fortunate Boy”
Directed by Craig Viveiros
Written by Rowan Joffe

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “This Be the Verse” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 1 finale, “My Love is Vengeance” – click here
Pic 1Open on England, ten years before our current timeline. In a trailer out in the country, a young boy named Simon (Jack Veal) wakes to find Jim (Tim Roth) just waking up, too. His mother Helen (Leanne Best) likely still drunk, not wanting to deal with him. So he and dad work on breakfast together in the kitchen – crisp sandwiches this morning. They have a bit of a macabre conversation while they eat. We see that while Jack is more of a playful influence in the boy’s life, mom is an angry, pushy alcoholic. She can barely let the lad enjoy Saturday morning.
Would you rather know how youre gonna die, or when youre gonna die?”
Later, Jack takes Simon out to the barn where they’ve got a load of puppies. They fed them all, reciting their names, naming the ones who’ve not been named yet. What’s evident is that, while Jack is clearly an alcoholic, an addict himself, he’s the more positive influence of the two adult figures in the boy’s life. At least from what we can see.
Then we discover the truth: Helen is Frank’s (Ian Puleston-Davies) half-sister. This means Whitey (Oliver Coopersmith) is Frank’s nephew. It all comes together. So, we can see the betrayal coming for the little lad, once it’s discovered Mr. Devlin is an undercover copper.
So now we know, Whitey isn’t Jim’s actual child. But, boy, do they ever have a history!
Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 5.07.35 PMEventually Helen wants more, and to know more about Jack. He’s reluctant to talk, though. He’d rather fuck off. But his work means more than that, so he doesn’t leave. She has a husband, too. It makes the entire mess all the more complicated. She worries if her man finds out, he’ll cut her throat. Then she suggests talking to Frank, getting him to help. Leading our copper right where he needs to go.
Meanwhile, back in the city, Jack is Jim. Angela (Genevieve O’Reilly) waits in bed at home. His dual personalities on either side of the law don’t come into contact with one another. Except for the fact he’s gone for weeks at a time, undercover, no calls. He has to tell her truthfully about his work when she asks: “Do you fuck her?” He doesn’t need any words to tell her, she knows by his reaction.
But the next day, regardless, he’s back in the countryside at the trailer with Helen and Simon. The boy mentions to Jack his mother was talking to Frank, soon the uncle and the boyfriend will meet. Simon also wants to know if the man loves his mother, and if so why Jack has to leave all the time. A complicated situation for a little fella to try understanding. It’s also unnerving to see Jim slip into the Jack persona, in how he has to go undercover so deeply, pretending to love this woman, maybe actually loving her, in addition to getting close to the kid. Makes for a loaded situation.
Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 5.13.44 PMOne night, Simon goes to look for his dog, and men descend on the trailer. One of whom is Malcolm (Geoff Bell), dear ole dad, Helen’s husband. He wants to find out how long the boy knew. He’s a scary man, an even worse father. Simon gets away after stabbing dad in the leg, running back to tell Jack what’s happened. This sends Helen into a fit, but Mr. Devlin’s prepared to face the music.
When Jack comes to after a shotgun barrel to the face, he’s blood spattered, and Malcolm is ready to finish him off. “Take one for the force then, shall I, hey?” our copper grins through the pain. This gives Malcolm pause, so he goes outside to tell his wife that Jack is “Old Bill,” he’s the “Filth.” Now he’s wondering how much his wife told the copper about whatever nasty business he’s been doing.
He puts a gun in Helen’s hands, telling her to kill Jack. But she can’t do that. Frank eventually shows up asking about it all, wanting to know how a guy like that could’ve so personally infiltrated their ranks. He makes clear to Helen he could lose everything he’s built if the coppers come down on him because of Jack, their situation.
Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 5.27.30 PMThey’re keeping Jack out in the dog cages, bloody, beaten, while deciding on what to do with the cop in their midst. Malcolm and Frank are both a bit worried about killing one of Old Bill’s lads. So, they’ve got to put him down, then get away for a good, long time.
Malcolm goes out back to do the deed. However, before he can, Simon’s let Jack out, so the copper beats his father to a pulp with a board. After that he takes off into the night, even if the kid wails, begging him to stay. Jack promises to come back later. We know that after this night, he likely never ever came back.
And in present day, Whitey tells this story to Jim’s daughter, the truth about her father. Ever since he was put into a care home, the young man’s been trying to track down Jack, a.k.a Jim Worth. It doesn’t impress Anna, after realising this is the one who’s killed her brother. She’s left at the end of a gun, he won’t let her go.
Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 5.44.18 PMThis episode finally shows the truth, as well as gives us so much intensity, emotional agony, tension, that it’s one of the BEST of the series so far! Hands down.
“My Love is Vengeance” comes next, the finale of Season 1. Lucky to already know Season 2 is locked in, for those of us who’ve become huge fans in these initial ten episodes.

Tin Star – Season 1, Episode 8: “This Be the Verse”

Sky Atlantic’s Tin Star
Season 1, Episode 8: “This Be the Verse”
Directed by Grant Harvey
Written by Tom Butterworth & Chris Hurford

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Exposure” – click here
* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 1 episode, “Fortunate Boy” – click here
Pic 1Jim Worth a.k.a Jack Devlin (Tim Roth) is out back of Randy’s (Lynda Boyd) place. He’s found Frank (Ian Puleston-Davies). Asking why his son had to be killed, getting nothing in the way of concrete answers. At least until Jack puts a gun to Randy, threatening to kill her. Then they’re all interrupted by a blast out front. The bikers have set the Chief’s car on fire for his knocking over of the bikes. Willingly, Jim lays himself on the sidewalk to get a “shit kicking.” What I often forget is how, underneath all the morbid plot is a darkly hilarious show, too.
At home, Angela (Genevieve O’Reilly) can’t find Anna (Abigail Lawrie), she’s not in her room. Likely she’s with Whitey (Oliver Coopersmith). There’s a note on her door, telling mom she’s gone, someplace safe. Because you can be guaran-damn-teed the Worth house isn’t safe, not with dad drawing all kinds of madness down upon his family, as well as Little Big Bear as a whole, as if the town needed anything else to worry about with North Stream Oil’s cloud hanging over their heads.
Pic 1AElizabeth (Christina Hendricks) is taking Jaclyn (Michelle Thrush) to Calgary, wanting to help her get “justice.” At least a bit, anyways. The two women are from vastly different places, different backgrounds. Although when the Native woman asks her white, tenuous friend is she’s “for reals,” Liz replies she most certainly is, but Jaclyn doesn’t buy it yet. North Stream Oil’s already poisoned her land, white people have fucked Indigenous tribes over in Canada for centuries. This becomes an overall conversation about colonisation, its repercussions in the modern world.
Poor ole Jim, he takes the brunt of Jack’s nastiness. Such an interesting situation, a Jekyll and Hyde dichotomy in an alcoholic/addict. Partly Jim’s fault, yes. On the other side is a disease, a sickness that’s killing him, also putting those around him in that line of fire. Angela goes to see him at the hotel, noticing the beating he’s recently taken. We watch her get angry at him, then just recently, and likely again, she’s plying him with alcohol in order to get her other husband Jack to do the horrible things she wants done. I feel bad for her. I also blame her, partly.
Over the phone, Gagnon (Christopher Heyerdahl) is threatening Elizabeth. He mentions many intimate details about her personal life, her family. He speaks of a “nasty intersection” near her home in Toronto, that perhaps her ex-husband, her daughter might come across it soon unless Liz turns Jaclyn over to him. She tries warning her ex, to no avail. Worse still, Jackie’s starting to go into fentanyl withdrawals. Beginning to feel Liz’s ethics will give out again.
And what about Whitey? He’s pining away for Anna, who’s on her way to the airport, trying to get away from Little Big Bear, her father, even her mother. Angela’s searching for her, too. She goes to Whitey, seeing the girl’s not there, either. Both of them worry for her, so the young man offers to help and look.
Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 1.40.21 AMAnna keeps encountering one of the bikers on the road in his truck. He’s creepy; images of porno magazines plastered all over the inside of the cab. She sees the truck pulled over at one point, trying to avoid it. Feels dangerous. Then he pops out of the woods, casually threatening her. Luckily, Angela and Whitey show up in time. Mom threatens the biker with a shotgun, putting it in his balls, then his chest. She makes him promise to leave teenage girls alone. BAD ASS MAMA!
Out behind Randy’s Roadhouse, Liz calls Gagnon to let him know Jaclyn is there buying drugs. The head of security tells her to leave the woman, walk away. Will she? At the last minute she calls her ex, telling him to leave, untraceable. She makes the decision to run with Jaclyn, as Gagnon watches them leave.
When Jim gets home he’s got Whitey in his face, not letting him in. The kid steps quite far over the line. When dad starts beating on him, he accidentally elbows his daughter in the face. Sending her and Whitey off together. Oh, my. Accidental, entirely, but awful for them all. Drives mom mad, as well. Finally, though, Angela admits her part in unleashing Jack Devil, their own Mr. Hyde.
This is right about when Liz turns up at the Worth house, Jaclyn in tow, Gagnon on their trail. What a turn of events! Like a comedy of errors, except wrapped up in a violent genre tale. The irony of Jaclyn being brought to the house of the man who slept with her in an alcoholic, drugged fugue is too much. But such is the way when a psychotic Frenchman is after you, no?
Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 1.49.46 AMGagnon and his silenced pistol take out the power at the Worths’ place. Inside, Angela guards with a shotgun. Totally suspenseful, tension-filled sequence throughout the darkened halls and bedrooms. Out of the dark, the Frenchman comes, disarming the wife. He then stares down the barrel of Jaclyn’s handgun, losing part of his hand for his effort. From behind, Liz plants a knife in his back before Angela finishes him off with a shotgun blast. I especially love Gagnon’s last line to Liz, sort of an unintended, timely insult before three women have finished him off. Fuck you, patriarchy. I’m with the nasty women!
Gagnon: “Youre a nasty woman
In a cabin, Whitey and Anna stow away together. This is when he reveals to her the picture of him, her father, his mother together in that family photograph. The truth comes out. No telling how it’ll fracture things even further.
At the cemetery, Frank takes shots at Jim who’s drinking by his son’s grave. A perfect fitting, if not grim irony in the setting. He doesn’t kill the Chief, both of them taking fire. Sending Frank into a random house, causing a scene. The London gangster doesn’t get far, Jim finds him in the driveway, wanting to know the full story. He’s gotta keep the guy alive to figure it out.
Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 2.12.08 AMThat’s a story for next time. Good Jesus, I love this series. If you don’t, fine. The rest of us are strapped in, ready to roll. Characters are solid, some strong female characters specifically, and performed well by strong actresses. Roth and O’Reilly are two phenoms together, a perfect fictional married couple.
“Fortunate Boy” comes next, and it’s our penultimate Season 1 episode. Get ready.

Tin Star – Season 1, Episode 7: “Exposure”

Sky Atlantic’s Tin Star
Season 1, Episode 7: “Exposure”
Directed by Giles Bannier
Written by Tom Butterworth & Chris Hurford

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Cuckoo” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “This Be the Verse” – click here
Pic 1A molotov cocktail’s been tossed onto North Stream Oil property. A fire starts. Knocking on a door inside is Jim Worth (Tim Roth). He doesn’t wait long before kicking in the door.
But wait. Not yet. Let’s head back 24 hours prior. At Randy’s (Lynda Boyd) place, strippers dancing onstage, Elizabeth Bradshaw (Christina Hendricks) meets with Jim, who’s crawling as far back into the bottle as he can manage. She says she’s looking into the accusations he made against them. She’s found out things about a town named Reverie, where there were some mysterious deaths. Jim warns her: “Your boss is a murderer and theres a witness out there.”
Things get uncomfortable for Jim when his daughter Anna (Abigail Lawrie) is coming up to see him at his hotel room. Because he also finds an unconscious naked woman on his floor, along with one in the bathtub, a note from Jack Devlin on the mirror to find Reginald’s buddies. He manages to keep things sensible for all of a minute and then Anna stumbles onto the scene in the bathroom. She wakes the women, helps them gather their things. What a thing for a daughter to have to do. Can’t help her perspective on men much.
Pic 1AIn the meantime, Constable Denise Minahik (Sarah Podemski) calls Chief Worth to let him know of a crime scene on a desolate road, an SUV with a burned body inside. Obviously he knows. Simultaneously, Constable Nick McGillen (Ryan Kennedy) still has a shit opinion of his current boss. Well, he and Denise have to question Jim about being seen leaving with a man matching the corpse’s description, so, y’know, things at the station are tense.
Liz has made her way out to Reverie, heading for the First Nations police headquarters. Hoping to dig out more information, and dirt, on Louis Gagnon (Christopher Heyerdahl). She meets with the Chief of their department, he’s cryptic. Although she notices an expensive watch, wondering if there’s corruption in their neck of the woods. This gets her no further than when she started.
Angela Worth (Genevieve O’Reilly) goes in to give an alibi for her husband. She claims he was home all evening with her. They “made love” – or, sorry, they “fucked,” she corrects herself. Nick asks if he’s a violent drunk, Denise questioning her, too. They show her Roger Crouch, a.k.a Reginald; the ID she’s seen, covered in blood. Naturally, she wants the men who killed her boy dead, so she gives the alibi, wondering if her husband’s still got any control left over the situation.
Creepy to see Whitey at the grave of Pete, his half-brother, with his half-sister who’s mourning, and whose hand he’s holding. All so strange. Particularly when he says the bullet was meant for Jim. She doesn’t necessarily see that as an admission, just common sense: dad’s always the target.
Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 11.07.13 PMGagnon finds out Frank bought himself a viper on his way into town, among other things. He warns the London gangster that he must be careful, to not buy weapons from the wrong people, to not get caught. They’ve got work to do and the tall Frenchman wants the copper dead. If not, he’ll also wind up the same way.
On her way out of Reverie, Elizabeth keeps asking questions. She also runs into none other than supposed-to-be-missing Jaclyn Letendre (Michelle Thrush). Hmm. This alerts the Reverie First Nations PD, in turn they alert Gagnon. This is getting worrisome.
In other news, Jim’s busy trying to track down clues Jack, his second self, has left him. He finds a phone number to a private investigator on Reginald’s ID, a case number beside it. But he also has to Denise, still curious about the truth. She did find a Wild Buffalo bottle of liquor in the burned out vehicle, she knows. There’s a part of her that wants to help the Chief.
So, he takes her over to the hotel where he explains his past, as an undercover cop, a “criminal, really, licensed by the state to catch other criminals.” Two years in the game, a long time for a UC. All this only make Denise more inclined to stay on his side. Now, Jim is up at North Stream Oil, looking for information on Reginald, his trailer, so on. Gagnon stops him, piling a threat on top, too. Y’know that ain’t gonna stop our copper. It’ll only put more logs on the fire. And, will Jim be the one to show up next time? Or will Jack?
Whitey and Anna get physical. Her first time having sex; he treats her like utter shit because of it. Is he feeling guilty for having sex with his half-sister? At home, Jim and Angela are unaware, discussing what he’s doing next in the search for their boy’s killer. That’s when he makes her aware it’s most definitely linked to Mr. Devlin. This also brings about the realisation they have bring Jack out, on purpose. Because “he gets things done.”

Back to the beginning, once more.
Jim, controlled by Jack and the booze, goes to North Stream. He tosses a molotov cocktail to start a fire. In he goes, to find Reginald’s old room. There he finds a biker’s cut, which after he talks with Denise about; he wants to know about the bullet in her shoulder, if he can make a match. Following that, he heads down to Randy’s Roadhouse, where he knocks over all the biker’s hogs, causing shit. He tries getting a bit of info from Randy, though he doesn’t realise she’s in bed and in business with Frank. Randy’s worried the “debt of honour” her new man talked about might involved the Chief. This gets the London gangster on edge.
So Randy starts helping Frank, trying to throw Jim off the scent. That’s until she starts hearing more about young Petey’s death, how the boy was killed instead of him. Will she continue helping? Or will guilt swallow her whole? Because Jim, Jack, they’re too smart to let any of this go.
Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 11.36.24 PMAnother spectacular episode. Others have a different opinion – Father Gore loves every second. Tim Roth is fantastic, as are Genevieve O’Reilly and others. What a tour-de-force for Roth. Gets more intense each episode, as well.
“This Be the Verse” comes next time.