The Night of the Mothers is upon us. A ritual begins.
Nobody can escape the past
Foxtel’s The Kettering Incident
Episode 6: “Roy”
Directed by Rowan Woods
Written by Victoria Madden
* For a review of Episode 5, “The Forest” – click here
* For a review of Episode 7, “Madness” – click here
Dr. Anna Macy (Elizabeth Debicki) only continues having more visions of her childhood friend Gillian, that red jacket running through the woods. We see the yellow triangle carved into a tree. Gillian appears in a chair with the military night-vision goggles on.
But it’s only visions. Anna’s not really seeing it, her mind is simply fractured a bit. Has been a long time. Out at Mother Sullivan’s Ridge, she searches for more answers. Although she doesn’t notice there are terrible things lurking up there to this day.
In a nearby crater, she finds a red truck sitting abandoned in the wilderness. Inside it’s torn up a good deal.
Constable Fergus McFadden (Henry Dixon) is bringing the charges against Detective Brian Dutch (Matthew Le Nevez) to his superiors. However, not everyone is exactly pleased. Even if the evidence against Dutch is pretty suggestive, suspicious. Speaking of suspicious, Max Holloway (Damien Garvey) is trying to juggle both his secrets and his business. The mill’s in danger of being sold to who knows what sort of outside business. In the meantime, that moss is growing all over Kettering, and not everybody’s paying attention.
Still out searching Anna makes her way to a barn where a red ribbon is tied on a door latch. There, she finds a long, thick streak of blood: “Chloe,” she whispers to herself.
Dutch is stuck on Mother Sullivan’s place, as Fergus wonders where Travis Kingston (Kevin MacIsaac) has been; nobody’s heard from him in a couple days. All the same, they both keep on discussing Chloe. And we’re left to wonder if Dutch knows yet what Fergus has been discussing with the bosses. I’m betting he does.
Out in the crater, Fergus meets Anna. She also shows him the barn, the blood. This certainly doesn’t bode well having her be the one to have found all this, but she forges on trying to help discover the mystery of Chloe and her death. Moreover, she tells Fergus about what Roy did those years ago, blaming Lofty (Nathan Spencer) and covering it all up. Only the poor constable has seen enough deviousness in his department, it’s likely almost too much for him to handle.
Suddenly, Anna sees someone in the woods. Then her mother Wendy (Sarah Wood) appears in the window. When Anna finds her she’s covered in blood, talking again: “And someone called me by my name. It had become a glimmering girl. With apple blossom in her hair. Who called me by my name and ran and faded through the brightening air.” Whoa. She talks and now she’s reciting Yeats’ “The Song of Wandering Aengus” to her daughter.
All this now makes Dutch suspicious, as well as leaves Fergus in the dark, too. While he does care about Anna, at least supporting her when nobody else wants to, he’s still a lawman. Through and through. He wants to know for sure what’s happening. Afterwards, Dutch does his best to search the truck and find the stash of drugs left behind. He does, and only deepens the deceit. To make it look good he also finds an e-mail suggesting Chloe was tipping people off about the logging plans at the mill. Hmm, curious.
Barb Holloway (Sacha Horler) argues with her sister Renae Baxter (Suzi Dougherty), distraught over the murder of her daughter. Both have lost plenty. Barb wants to talk with Travis, yet even Renae’s got no clue where he is, though we do. Not sure what sort of state he’s in at the moment. The situation with Barb and Renae is deteriorating, as the latter tries to tell her: “You just have to have faith.” Barb wants none of that bullshit.
Meanwhile, Dane Sullivan (Dylan Young) and Liza Grayson (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) walk together before he heads off to work. She clearly is lost completely without Chloe in her life. She reaches out to him, only wanting a hug: “So that I don’t disappear,” she almost weeps. He’s good enough of a man to give her one, to assure her she’s not going anywhere.
The craziest yet happens when Anna stops the doctors from giving her mother AB blood. Not the right type. But the hospital says she has a different type than she did previously; it’s AB now. Roy arrives to try and get more information out of Anna. We also find out that Roy reads his wife Yeats, so that’s something else.
Things get troublesome when Barb won’t back up Max’s alibi. Dutch and Fergus know he owns Mother Sullivan’s Ridge, they know about the radiation poisoning. Nonetheless, Max won’t give up any kind of information. What exactly is up there giving off radiation? A pile of waste? Or is it something more disturbing?
Everybody’s talking about Fergus and Anna, saying he’s “rooting” a murderer. They all want to judge her, and him, before any real evidence.
Over with Dr. Fiona McKenzie (Kris McQuade), Anna examines her mother’s ‘new’ blood. Fiona worries about something “happening again” that’s become clear with all the cancers, the personality changes, even blood now. But when Anna wants to know more, Dr. McKenzie won’t say much.
Furthermore, we discover a young girl is making calls to Renae. Those aren’t real transmissions coming through. Only a little bitch giving Renae false hope.
Again, Anna sees the van with a triangle on it. She sees Jens Jorgensson (Damon Gameau) getting in, a woman with red hair walking away. Before she can reach it, once more, it’s gone. She goes to see Dr. Dominic Harrold (Neil Pigot) giving a speech on magnetic force and other related subjects. All in regards to Kettering, things happening there for so long, and picking up recently: “Science doesn‘t have all the answers,” he tells them.
While Fergus is talking to Lofty, Dt. Dutch goes out to the man’s boat for an illegal search. It’s messy, filled with a bunch of crap. However, there are also a bunch of pictures of Chloe; alone and with Lofty. In the back of his truck, there’s blood streaks. But he helps with injured animals, nursing them back to health, so on. Fergus tries to make a case for him. You can be sure Dutch isn’t keen on that.
Once Fergus talks to Dane, he starts believing it’s possible the lying detective may have had a hand in Chloe’s death. We still cannot be sure, in the slightest, what happened to her, either way. Especially with Roy always seeming to be rushing around and hushing things up.
Sadly it’s clear Wendy is dying. Both Anna and Roy are by her side, as she drifts off into a permanent sleep. Simultaneously, Dr. McKenzie is out driving, heading for more answers. She ends up seeing lights behind her, chasing. This sends her out off the road in a vicious crash. Another knock in Anna’s hopes.
There’s also Barb discovering a bunch of drugs in one of her dead daughter’s stuffed animals. Up in his treetop hideout, Jens shoots something into his veins and spaces out. And Roy, he’s still a mystery, spending time with his birds instead of staying with his daughter.
Then, Fergus takes Anna in to be fingerprinted. She’s finally going into custody, to likely be formally charged with having some part in Chloe’s disappearance and death.
Very exciting episode. Lots of dark intrigue, as usual. More mystery, and some opening up. Next episode is “Madness” and I hope to see, leading into the finale of this fine mini-series, a few creepy bits start to blossom.
Foxtel’s The Kettering Incident
Episode 5: “The Forest”
Directed by Rowan Woods
Written by Andrew Knight
* For a review of Episode 4, “The Mill” – click here
* For a review of Episode 6, “Roy” – click here
We hear blasts from the past. Roy Macy (Anthony Phelan) consoling his young daughter. Furthermore, he screams at someone: “What the fuck have you done with Gillian?” It isn’t to Anna (Elizabeth Debicki) he says that. But someone else entirely. But to whom is the mystery. In the present, Roy finds his dog growling harshly before taking a chomp out of his hand. Things are most certainly out of whack.
At the hospital, grown up Anna goes to see Adam Holloway (Brad Kannegiesser). Also there is Jens Jorgenssen (Damon Gameau). The keen doctor takes a look at Adam and his injuries, though the man’s doing all right for someone that almost bled out recently. Afterwards, she finds that the young boy Cade’s blood is missing from the hospital. Someone’s gone and taken it out. Or the sample was never recorded to begin with, likely the possibility. More treachery in Kettering, Tasmania. From every direction. Who took the blood? What is Roy hiding, what knowledge of that fateful night a decade and a half ago does he hold tight?
Roy heads to the bar, where Deb Russell (Alison Whyte) is helping out. He isn’t exactly running the place into the upper echelons of Australian nightlife. At the same time, poor Deb is dealing with her cancer. Interesting how six people got cancer all at the same time. More of the strangeness in their little corner of the world? Or just a red herring? Who knows.
A little while later Anna sends photos and information to her colleague back in London. Detective Brian Dutch (Matthew Le Nevez) shows up to grill Anna about her father. He’s beginning to feel as if there is something sketchy about Roy. Join the club, Dutch.
Anna receives a call from the psychiatric care facility where her mother Wendy (Sarah Wood) stays. She’s up and about. Trashing the place. When a typical bureaucratic suit comes in to assuage all the worries. Only Anna guesses spot on what turned up in the scans of her mother’s brain. She knows there are further things going on. On her way back in the car Anna hears more odd things over the radio on one of the frequencies.
Down at the bar, Deb and Sharon Grayson find a bunch of moss growing into the cooler. “Bloody forest is creepin‘ in,” Sharon gasps at the sight. In other news, Jens is still collecting things, studying moths, taking notes. I’m eager to know more about him, too.
That isn’t the only madness. Roy’s dog attacking him was not a singular event. Tons of people suddenly show up with bites from their own pets. An eerie phenomena. At the very same time that moss is popping up everywhere, growing anyplace it can manage.
Constable Fergus (Henry Nixon) goes out to look for Dane Sullivan (Dylan Young). He’s not around, and hasn’t been for a little while, says his father. “It‘s the lights, they always bring trouble,” the old man tells Fergus. Now THAT is fucking creepy. Old people don’t mess around with that stuff.
The medical examiner determined there was a high amount of drugs and radiation in Chloe’s body at the time of death. Plenty further mystery for Mother Sullivan’s Ridge. That place is where the otherworldly events surrounding Kettering emanate. Max Holloway (Damien Garvey) and his wife Barb (Sacha Horler) are informed about the blunt force trauma involved in their daughter’s death, as well as the fact of the radiation. I’m still waiting to see what it is Max is hiding, in conjunction with Roy and his lies. Simultaneously, Fergus starts to figure out more and more that Dutch is likely hiding something, too.
Dominic Harrold (Neil Pigot) runs into Anna, or he goes to find her. He starts talking about magnetic radiation, the sort that’s being found right in Kettering. Although she does not respond well. She also believes she sees Jens, the little boy Cade, and a military officer together on the street. The next minute, they’re gone. Disappeared. What an odd, brief little shot. Real? Or her imagination? There’s no assurance for us as the viewer that everything Anna sees is real, not all the time.
Dutch and Fergus interview a man whose picture keeps cropping up on Chloe’s computer. He’s had some… issues, with young girls. Now, a suspect. Yet there’s nothing too credible there really. But anything Dutch can do to lead Fergus in any other direction other than himself he’ll do.
Over at the mill, Max starts swinging haymakers at Craig Grayson (Ben Oxenbould) and accusing him of murdering Chloe, all because he was up in the woods around that party. After they calm down there’s a bit of talk, trying to figure out what’s happened. “I just wanna know who killed my little girl,” Max nearly weeps to his friend. More of that mystery, the intrigue, as they talk about what’s up in that forest in vague terms.
Max (to Craig): “What the hell did we bury up there, anyway?”
Out on a wharf, Anna goes to see Lewis ‘Lofty’ Sullivan (Nathan Spencer). He went to jail for supposedly hurting Anna, something he claims she said herself. Seems he found her up at Mother Sullivan’s Ridge, near the old house. He carried her back home. He took the blame for all that happened, though he says that Roy blamed him due to being scared. Of what? Of his own daughter, so says Lofty.
In the woods, Dutch comes across the strange bubbling pools of water, weird smells. Like there’s something alive below the surface. He comes across some of the flowers, similar to those stuck on Chloe’s clothes after she was found dead. Moreover, he stumbles across military night vision goggles. After putting them on he’s startled to see strange figures, hooded with white faces, standing off in the forest. Except when the goggles are off again, they’re nowhere to be found. Holy. Shit. A favourite scene so far. one of the man. But damn, that was intense!
We keep seeing the Sullivan family, Dane particularly, connected to the moths. As if they’re drawn to them. Once Dane returns home after being gone ages, another moth flutters around their living room lamp.
Liza (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) goes to see Fergus. She says that Travis Kingston (Kevin MacIsaac), Renae’s (Suzi Dougherty) abusive man. “He kind of raped me,” Liza admits to the constable. Whoa. That’s incredibly heavy. Now Dutch wants to bring Travis in for questioning. Although he’s primarily concerned with the oddness of what he saw up near Mother Sullivan’s place. When Kevin comes in he’s pissed to have questions being thrown at him about both Chloe and Liza. Fergus gets booted from the room, so that Dutch and his sketchy buddy Kev can have a more private conversation. This sends Fergus to talk with Roy about what Dutch is concealing: “I can‘t figure out whether he‘s trying to solve it, or cover it up.”
As if it weren’t bad enough, Liza finds a moss-like substance growing over her legs. That is nasty.
The dirty tactics of Dutch show clearly. He needs to get rid of the problems Kev may bring his way. So down to the pub goes Dt. Dutch, spreading word that the guy may have raped Liza, then the men infer on their own this could mean he did something to Chloe, as well. That is lowdown nastiness on Dutch’s part. Back at the station, Fergus starts finding out more on his own.
And Kev, he gets tied to a tree out in the forest somewhere, stripped almost naked. Left alone. A possibly terrifying fate, seeing as how those ties are bound well, and the forest holds untold terrors.
Roy gets a visit from Dutch, asking about Gillian Baxter’s father. Well, the detective starts wondering about why Roy sent Anna off, in such fine style. He prods around about Roy’s daughter, “why a sweet little girl might kill another” and so on. He thinks maybe Anna killed Gillian in jealousy, over sharing a father. In return for not prying further, Dutch wants Roy to call Fergus off. So question is, are the secrets Roy holds onto worth keeping?
Renae gets another call with her daughter’s voice calling “Mommy” to her. Simultaneously, Kevin lies tied to that tree and hears noises coming nearer, nearer. Voices, barely audible. Lights between the trees. What is coming for him?
With more knowledge now, Anna confronts Roy about being in an asylum for ten days. She doesn’t get much other than a bit of nonsense. She wants to know about why Lofty took the fall for what went on. Anna’s become very curious, though Roy is convinced his own daughter likely killed Gillian. She ran away, for 8 hours with Gillian, after finding out they were sisters. And so Roy covered the whole thing up, best he could. “I wasn‘t gonna lose both of you,” her father admits. Side note: anyone notice that the living room ceiling light looks like a UFO in the reflection behind Roy as he sits with Anna? Go back and check it out, or look at the picture below.
Worried for himself, Roy tells Fergus not to proceed any further with Dutch. The younger of the two understands Dutch is holding something over Roy’s head. Just doesn’t know what. Yet.
At the big celebration for Roy, everybody’s having a grand ole time. Everyone except for Roy, Craig, Max, Dutch, and most of those directly involved with all the events in their little town. Anna meets Dutch outside and they talk a bit about the flower found on Chloe, where she may have been killed. They also vaguely understand what they know about Roy.
Everyone talks about how honourable, honest, upright Roy is, whereas Anna, Dutch, Fergus, they’ve all got different ideas now.
Over in the psychiatric care home, Wendy Macy has escaped, smashing through the glass. Gone mad like the animals around Kettering.
Anna finally tracks down someone who gives her the test results on Cade’s blood. The other doctor tells her: “It does not appear to be human blood.” That is not what I’d been expecting, though still not surprising all the same. We end on a tawny frogmouth making noises, sitting on a car. Doesn’t even look real, though likely is. So odd, I love it.
Another impressive chapter. This mini-series is beyond wonderful! As I’ve said, the Twin Peaks feel is absolutely present, even given homage through a couple plot point. However, The Kettering Incident is its own show, by far. Can’t wait for the next episode titled “Roy” – you know there’s something meaty for us there. Only a few more episodes left, too. Tragic.
Foxtel’s The Kettering Incident
Episode 1: “Anna”
Directed by Rowan Woods
Written by Victoria Madden
* For a review of Episode 2, “The Lights”, click here.
In August of 2000 we find ourselves in Tasmania, in the midst of the Kettering Forest. Young anna (Maddison Brown) rides a bike with her friend Gillian into the trees, down a quiet path. Soon the forest emanates odd sounds, not quite human or animal. Followed by lights flickering around the woods. When Jillian disappears, Anna is left alone and calling out into the darkness.
Cut to the present day and things have changed a good deal. Dr. Anna Macy (Elizabeth Debicki) is drunk and laying against a dumpster in London. Whatever happened sixteen years previous obviously shattered her proper.
Love the opener, as well as the title sequence and theme. Excellently eerie, subtle. Excited to see what’s in store.
Anna’s life isn’t too organised. Someone named Tim Edwards (Nathan Lovejoy) calls, leaving messages and waiting for her to show up at some meal that likely won’t be happening. She writes in her journal about all sorts of details. I assume those are related to maybe losing time, or something similar, all tying into that event back in 2000. Either way, Anna is an interesting character. She struggles privately with what appears as addiction, though she’s also the type to ride a bike to work. And then she spends her day trying to help others instead of helping herself. There’s a patient in treatment to whom Anna feels especially drawn, a little blond girl; she buys her things, reads her books.
We watch Anna suffer a nosebleed out of nowhere. She gets her head checked then reveals she’s lost 7 hours. Ah, yes, the lost time. This starts to bring us back to 2000, the last time she lost any time that way. Later, she meets with Tim and gets some bad news, on several fronts. Especially when he produces some security footage; the kind she ought to watch privately.
Then Anna sees herself, walking into the hospital, tap dancing in the hallway. It shocks her. Everything is disoriented and she flashes back and forth to various events of her life.
When Anna comes to again, she’s back in Tasmania. She has her passport, a board pass for a flight. A terrifying loss of time. All the way back home she is now lost in her own head and the place of all her old fears.
Out in a boat, Chloe Holloway (Sianoa Smit-McPhee) and Dane Sullivan (Dylan Young) are out meeting another boat crew for some drugs. They see lights on the horizon, curious ones. Then after they get the drugs, Chloe starts having a nosebleed.
Cut quick back to poor Anna. A man finds her stalled out in the middle of the road, acting strangely. He helps get her into the town of Kettering, the old stomping ground. As she stands in front of a place called the FOUR LEAF CLOVER, only the letters OVER blink on and off. Also, we begin to discover there’s lots of stuff going on concerning the Greenies, those dedicated to environmentalism, so that’s likely to play into the story and various plots in some way. Furthermore, Anna runs into people that know her, and the mood changes swiftly. She’s uncomfortable, thrown off. Some people are less than welcoming while others try their best to be nice, such as Chloe. “You got a bloody nerve comin‘ back here,” one man says ominously before Anna runs out of the diner.
We find that her father Roy (Anthony Phelan) is retiring. Anna goes back to the home of her father where relics of her old life sit around every room. Roy’s surprised to see her. Not exactly thrilled, but not altogether unhappy, at all. They embrace, albeit awkwardly. There’s so much history in their family and I’m looking forward to seeing all those little secrets and dark nooks to come to light.
Barbara Holloway (Sacha Horler) and her husband Max (Damien Garvey) have their own troubles. Mostly him. He receives a troubling letter suggesting he’s done something awful. Of course his wife has no idea.
Roy goes to see Renae Baxter (Suzi Dougherty) to tell her about Anna coming home, apologising for the sudden arrival. For her part, Renae says she’s happy for him. Is the mother of Gillian, the one who went missing nearly two decades ago? If so, there’s more to rear its head yet.
Anna begins trying to piece together bits of the past, in order to help her present unify and become more stable. In the garage of her father’s place she looks through Missing Persons cases, some of which involve strange lights. We also see a newspaper clipping that possibly relates to her own incident – a man arrested over a missing teenager in Kettering, is this perhaps some of what makes the town feel strangely about Anna? Well, she has another fit of sorts, flashes of events and weird images.
She loses more time, waking up in bed. Chloe’s there to pick her up. Again we hear “Crimson and Clover” playing, which Anna says reminds her of her mother. Moreover, she also doesn’t like to have her picture taken. We’ll see more of that, no doubt. For now Anna finds that her car is no longer where she left it. Chloe soon reveals she’s also seen the lights around their town. She has a tattoo of a moth because they go towards the light; similar to a moth Anna recently envisioned during one of her episodes. Such intriguing little threads all setup to pull apart and together eventually.
Now we meet Dt. Brian Dutch (Matthew Le Nevez). He receives Anna about the stolen car. She then comes across another familiar face, Fergus McFadden (Henry Nixon). They’ve not seen each other in many, many years. Simultaneously, the car turns up. Except not in the way Anna may have hoped. The Greenies are out protesting and her car’s ended up in the midst of it all, burning to bits. Max Holloway is out there – I expect he’s a logger, or something similar. The police are trying to get things under control, though the whole thing is gone pretty wild.
There’s a dark side to Mr. Holloway. He’s gotten more letters than just that one. For some reason, he keeps them. Although they’re hidden away nicely. What lurks in his closet with all the skeletons? Bits and pieces of the story come together in nice, slow burning methods. The exposition doesn’t slap us in the face, and in this way keeps things interesting. Many are comparing this to Twin Peaks, but it isn’t at all. Maybe echoes at times, but overall completely different. Though honestly, the level of storytelling so far is on par.
Max and Roy are close friends. The former acts strangely like a creep around his buddy’s daughter: “Remember me?” he asks eerily. But Anna’s off with a bottle of liquor, staring up into the sky. She meets up with Chloe afterwards, asking to be taken to where she those lights. Meanwhile, a man named Dominic Harrold (Neil Pigot) is tuning into radio frequencies, headphones on listening in the darkness. What’s he up to? Oh, and Dt. Dutch, he’s banging Mrs. Holloway. All those small town lives are heading for collision.
And Anna, she’s out with Chloe, taking drugs – not the smartest thing in her condition – and heading to where the lights were, supposedly. It mostly turns into a rave, which is what the place is anyway: a massive rave in the woods around a fire. Until Anna and Chloe wander out into the forest. Is this the beginning of an unfortunate event just like that one 16 years ago? The lights in the woods come out again. Anna watches as Chloe heads towards them. Just like Gillian. Just like before.
Wow. What an intense opening episode. This one aired together, so I’m finishing the recap/review here. I’ll continue Episode 2 shortly, so stay tund with me. I’m loving the show already, even in the first hour. What great suspense, mystery, tension. All the ingredients for a great 8-episode series.