Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 14: “El Matadero”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 14: “El Matadero”
Directed by Stefan Schwartz
Written by Alan Page

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “This Land Is Your Land” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Things Bad Begun” – click here


Strand (Colman Domingo), Madison (Kim Dickens), and Walker (Michael Greyeyes) are headed back to the damn. They have Crazy Dog (Justin Rain) and Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) in tow, the latter of whom isn’t doing so well. She suddenly faints hitting the pavement. They stop the truck, but she says she’s okay, she only lost her grip.
But it’s more than that. She has a bad wound at her shoulder… a bite.
Out on her own elsewhere, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) hears a vehicle stop nearby in the night. She readies herself, nearby she sees people stop. But it’s only Nick (Frank Dillane) and Troy (Daniel Sharman). Her brother thinks she’s “crazy.”
At the Bazaar marketplace, Madison and the rest go through the gates, as Ofelia must do her best to keep her bite and burgeoning illness under wraps until they can meet with her father Daniel (Rubén Blades). They get inside, managing to stow away in Strand’s old hiding place. But the poor girl is getting sicker by the minute.
Madison: “Smile. Your life depends on it.”
Things aren’t so great, though. Madison and Colman are at odds over her decision to hand over a bunch of weaponry for entry. Believing when the time comes to make the deal for the water, they’ll be up the creek once Ofelia most likely dies and they have nothing else to offer.


After Troy and Nick leave Alicia, they head for the marketplace. The former also speaks about how similar they are, the “black sheep” of their families. Difference being he accepts his status, whereas Nick fights against it. But that IS the major difference: Nick is, beneath it all, a good man.
Walker and Madison try making Ofelia comfortable, it’s all they can do. They talk about loss. And Walker, tough as he is, all he’s been through, recognises sometimes there is too much of it. Everyone has a threshold. However, he thinks Madison must do right by Daniel, reunite him with Ofelia. No matter if it ends in violence.
On the road Alicia stops at an On-the-Go Burger joint. Inside are the remains of old meals, a ransacked building, flies and other insects. A customer or two left as withering corpses. While she looks for anything usable, locating a batch of instant potatoes, a walker creeps up. She quickly puts it down, only to notice a group of the undead shambling near the entrance. So she gets into the ball pit, waiting for any of them to make their way inside.
BUT SHE FORGETS WHAT COULD BE UNDER THE BALLS! A zombie kid attacks. She gets a knife in its brain, though the others come in the door. She hides under the balls as they pass. Soon, a woman (Edwina Findley Dickerson) with a pick-axe bursts in slaying them. She cuts off fingers for any rings, even using pliers to pull out gold teeth. This is a bad ass. The mysterious woman likewise steals the potatoes and gets away in a vehicle. Alicia follows her to a parking lot where they face each other. Eventually they come to a compromise: sharing is caring.
At the marketplace, Nick gives his mom a break. When she’s gone he finds the pain medication laying near Ofelia. He takes one; so much for sobriety. Dammit, Nick! I didn’t want this to happen. This is the last thing he, or any of them, needs right now. Troy’s out getting a bite to eat, freaked out by “all the Mexicans” and unsure about what meat is in the quesadillas. Immediately, he notices something a bit off about Nick, as well. Either way, they’re both on the pills, and drinking, too.
Meanwhile, Strand is looking for Proctor John. Wants to make a deal for… something special. Hmm.
Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 12.31.03 AMScreen Shot 2017-10-09 at 12.31.46 AMIt’s time for Ofelia to go to her father. Madison asks Walker to stay behind, not knowing what Daniel might do if he’s there. So, he says his goodbye to his close friend, for the last time. The two women head outside together, waiting. As they talk, about parents, children, just as Daniel comes across the parking lot, Ofelia dies. The reunion lost. He goes mad, pulling a gun on Madison, believing it a “sick joke.”
I hate this dude. Used to feel there was redemption for him, but he only lashes out at everybody when he’s lived a lifetime of shit. So, I don’t know where they’re taking this character. I hope he does something major to redeem himself, otherwise he’s a horrible man. Later, Madison tries giving him hope. Although he deserves none of it.
Inside, Nick and Troy are buzzed, roaming around in a state of intoxication. Nick finds a place called El Matadero, and the man “with the things.” There’s everything from cocaine to morphine to heroin, to a bit of “locus coeruleus.” Some brain stem. It’ll take you higher than you ever imagined. Nick slugs it back, ready for a trip, as does Troy. Blast off, baby!
Alicia and her new friend eat together, the former talking briefly about the place she and Jake (Sam Underwood) talked about going, before he died. The woman warns it’s all endless ghost towns on the road, nothing to find. But Alicia’s determined, she wants to go her own way or perish. They get one chance to bond again, when they take on a group of walkers together.
Out on their hallucinatory trip, Nick gets wild. He covers himself, and Troy, in blood. Then he runs for a group of walkers, deciding on walking through them. Like he used to do. This time it’s a hell of a lot more dangerous. Yet when Troy sees how it works, he’s mesmerised. They both stand in the midst of a horde and Nick almost sees it as a reminder, that he can’t go his mother’s way anymore.
And this leaves the Clark family divided further, all over again.
Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 12.44.50 AMScreen Shot 2017-10-09 at 12.58.53 AMLoved this episode. Season 3’s been pretty stellar all around, so I’m looking forward to seeing where we go in these last few episodes. Very interesting things happening with many of the characters.
“Things Bad Begun” comes next week, our penultimate Season 3 finisher.

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Tin Star – Season 1, Episode 2: “The Kid”

Sky Atlantic’s Tin Star
Season 1, Episode 1: “The Kid”
Directed by Marc Jobst
Written by Rowan Joffe

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Fun and (S)Laughter” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Comfort of Strangers” – click here
Pic 1With Angela (Genevieve O’Reilly) unconscious and in the hospital, Jim (Tim Roth) and his daughter Anna (Abigail Lawrie) are stuck waiting, wondering if she’ll make it through. The boy’s dead. His mother took a portion of the bullet, lodging in her brain.
At the same time, the men who tried setting up Chief Worth’s death are worried about the fallout, after “the kid” – Whitey (Oliver Coopersmith) – has botched the job. These guys came from out of the past to take Jim out for good. One of whom is Frank Keane (Ian Puleston-Davies). They’re all relatively stressed, wondering how best to move on from here. Their answer may lie in going to work for North Stream Oil, to blend in, or else they’ll stick out like “cocks at a cuntfest.” Meanwhile, North Stream is burrowing its way into Little Big Bear, recruiting workers from all over to come and help them erect the refinery, get business pumping.
And in the wreckage are Jim and Anna, both rocked by their loss. That other side of him is threatening to come out, almost inescapable. Will he fall back to who he was before in order to find a way to revenge? Or will he stay strictly within the boundaries of the law?
Pic 1AMrs. Bradshaw (Christina Hendricks) is more sensitive to the death of a child than is the head of security, the forceful and slightly creepy Louis Gagnon (Christopher Heyerdahl). He is ALL business. He oversees the workers coming onto site, making sure things move along promptly. This whole time we’re also inundated with the bullshit commercials they use for recruitment, all that foolish rhetoric; I know it all too well, having worked on the oil sands for a couple years. Love the way this is setting up to be an excellent thriller with overtones of the socioeconomic troubles that often find their way into small towns after the oil industry seizes its grip on their natural resources.
What Bradshaw does, for her part, is to offer a reward for those who killed Jim’s son. His response? “Fuck off.” He doesn’t want any part of her pity, as it’s mostly predicated by worry for her business, getting the road clear. The Chief has bigger fish to fry.
He and Constable Denise Minahik (Sarah Podemski) begin digging into Dr. Bouchard’s death, partly for justice, partly to keep his mind occupied during this tumultuous period of time. Worse still, he’s asking for anxiety drugs. Not a good road to head down for an alcoholic.
And what’s up with the kid, Whitey? He has serious issues, but there’s no telling yet exactly what they are, though I’m sure we’ll soon discover more. It’s obvious he has a connection to Jim, some sort of past, as he’s there with the men from the UK who’ve tracked the Chief to his new post. The lads nearly wind up in police custody after a bit of a scuff in the bar. This winds up putting Anna, accompanied by an officer, in the bar where Jim comes to find her, and she looks almost infatuated with Whitey.
Pic 2That night, Whitey sneaks into the Worth home. He sniffs the pillows on the bed. I’m already wondering, is there a possibility this young man is an illegitimate son? There’s this eerie quality to him, yet when he sees Jim at the bar, he turns away. Not wanting to be seen. Here, looking at the pictures of Peter, whom he killed, the family, there’s this sweetness inside him; a lonely sweetness. Just blocked by his creepiness.
Anna makes her father promise never to drink again, he’s also quick to remind her there were “lots of drugs” involved. Her mother talked about Jim becoming a whole other nasty person when he’s intoxicated. His daughter doesn’t want that to happen now, they need each other. Problem is, the memories. Memory is like an alcoholic’s ultimate kryptonite, apart from the actual booze itself.
While hiding in the house, barely escaping the notice of the Worths as they pack things to take for a while, Whitey notices a cigarette butt. Left by Johnny (Stephen Walters), one of Frank’s lads. Shitty part for them is that Anna took the butt. Now, they’ve got to figure out how to get it back. But Whitey insists: do not touch the girl. In addition, Anna’s already wondering about the cig, how it got there, and she’s suspicious after her father denies having started smoking again. Wonderfully labyrinthine.
Pic 3Right on the edge, Jim is almost back to alcoholism. Although a call from the hospital takes him away before he can dive in: Angela is awake. However, she’s unaware of what happened to their son. Thus he has to break the news to her, so devastating.
In the meantime, Anna’s experimenting with alcohol, a bag full of those mini hotel bottles she helped dad clear out. One after another she downs them until she’s got a handful gone. But after that she hears a whistle nearby. She follows it and the sound of a bell into the woods, until she reaches a vehicle she flags down; inside is Whitey.
Oh, and dad’s back on the bottle. Yes, sir. He’s had enough. Because he needs that other side of himself, to do whatever comes next. Whatever that may be.
Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 7.13.40 PMGood follow-up to the premiere, adding bigger mystery, deeper issues to the story, the various plots, and the well-acted characters. Tim Roth continually fascinates. There’s so much more to uncover.
“Comfort of Strangers” is the next episode, sure to pack a mean punch.

The Sinner – Part 4

USA’s The Sinner
Part 4
Directed by Brad Anderson
Written by Liz W. Garcia

* For a recap & review of Part 3, click here.
* For a recap & review of Part 5, click here.
Pic 1Mason (Christopher Abbott) is in the box with Detectives Dan Leroy (Dohn Norwood) and Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman). Juxtaposed against the mysterious J.D. in there with them later. We go back and forth between the two men, as well as get a look at more sexual moments between J.D. and Cora (Jessica Biel), years before. Eerie stuff.
Flashback to younger Cora and Phoebe. They talk about boys, the “shameless harlot” across the street. All the while the older sister doesn’t want to even so much as sin in thought, let alone do anything physical in real life. Strange to see the sick little sister be more sexually aware than her big sister. They slowly dip into another world, one that’s been locked away from them a long time. They also discover the other world of their father, sneaking out at night to go sleep with another woman.
With Dt. Ambrose we watch Cora going back through old memories. Fourth of July, leaving with J.D. and going to someone else’s house, having sex, taking drugs. After that’s a blank spot. Two months later, she’s in a detox centre. The mystery is continually whipped into a new whirlwind.
Pic 1AHarry’s trying to figure out how to unlock the memories Cora is holding close, unconsciously. She can’t figure it out, either. So he’s trying anything and everything, including looking into recovered memory therapy in order to draw out the key to her secrets. At the same time, Mason’s watching his wife suffer, trying to be supportive while worrying she’ll do hard time in jail. He doesn’t like her talking to the cops, though Harry in particular might be the only hope she has left.
And of course the cop’s got his own personal shit going on, trying to reconnect with Faye (Kathryn Erbe), out eating together at a restaurant they’ve frequented before, in happier and more tragic times, too. Sort of bittersweet. They lost a child years ago, something which obviously impacted them both hard.
The recovered memory therapy commences. Cora goes into a deep mental state, guided along as she attempts to dive into her mind; this is visually represented as she closes her eyes, stepping into a vast lake. She goes back to a “hopeless” memory of her standing in a forest, disoriented, the night before July 4th. Then she goes through the other moments. She remembers J.D’s ex Maddy, who doesn’t like her. Maybe they planned on doing something to her. Simultaneously, she jumps to a memory of being a little girl, the bus barrelling past her as if she doesn’t even exist.
But she gets back to July 4th weekend. Cora and Maddy have words, the former seeming very unstable. The women hate each other, specifically Cora who has strong hatred for her. Violent hatred. Uh oh. Continually the plot gets thicker. Armed with the new memory, which includes J.D. siphoning gas to get home that night, Dt. Ambrose tries narrowing down the area where the trio went after the bar.
Pic 2Closer and closer Mason inches towards J.D. He goes to his place to buy coke, pretending to be an acquaintance. When the girlfriend figures out Mason isn’t who he claims, he leaves. I’m worried about him, he’s getting brazen. I know he wants to find out what happened to his wife, naturally. But to the detriment of his own health, maybe his life? Surely there’s more shady things happening behind the scenes we don’t yet know about. At least he’s got Caitlin (Abby Miller). That’s wearing thin, though. We get more of their history, they had sex and then he ignored her. He brings her the drugs he bought, and it pisses her off. “You use people,” she tells him.
Flashback to young Cora. She makes an eager move on a boy across the street, exploring her sexuality out in the shed with him. Later, she goes up to fill Phoebe in about her “two orgasms” and the rest of her sexual encounter. What we’re seeing is how a stuffy religious upbringing, so strict and medieval is a fast way to drive kids towards the things you’re trying to steer them away from.
Present day, Cora heads back into the waters of memory. Dancing with Maddy, stoned. Then later they’re in the woods, terrified. Search lights shine through the trees. A gunshot goes off. “Theyre hunting us,” Cora tells Dt. Ambrose and the doctor. Fragments of memories. Maddy calls her towards a basement. The song from the beach that day plays loud. Naked bodies everywhere. The black wallpaper imagery returns, as Cora goes down a set of stairs. Followed by a shocking moment that looks like Maddy being stabbed in the chest. The masked man from the end of Part 3.
A flashback shows young Cora beg her father not to go next door, knowing he’s heading there to cheat on his wife. Realising the fragility and weakness of men, that sex is all they consider.
On a walk together, Faye and Harry come to a significant place. One he’s been hoping to find. Using the water tower image from Cora’s memories, he likewise finds a school bus. Perhaps those fragmented memories might’ve been pointing to something subconscious. Near the bus is also what looks like a possible grave. Sure enough, below the dirt they find skeletal remains.
Pic 3Every episode makes the mystery more compelling, it’s hard to ever be sure of what’ll come next. Amazing to watch unfold. Never imagined the series would be playing out the way it is now.
Part 5 will surely give us something else shocking, wild, disturbing. So many elements locked together in one box.

Preacher – Season 2, Episode 2: “Mumbai Sky Tower”

AMC’s Preacher
Season 2, Episode 2: “Mumbai Sky Tower”
Directed by Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen
Written by Sam Catlin

* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “On the Road” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Damsels” – click here
Pic 1The Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish) approaches Jesse (Dominic Cooper), drawing his gun. He shoots and a truck runs in the bullet’s path, killing the driver. Swerving the truck right into him, squashing him against a post. You can bet this motherfucker ain’t dead, though. He pushes the truck off himself, no problem. Meanwhile there’s a bunch of gun lovers staying at the inn, they pitch in to shoot the Saint down. Not a long lived celebration. The cowboy gets back up and starts gunning them all down, aside from Jesse and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) who manage to slip away. And Tulip (Ruth Negga), she’s transfixed by a bit on television about Annville blowing sky high.
But they’ve got to get going, to figure a way out before the cowboy gets them. He’s killing everything in sight. Many sights to see in this episode within the first five minutes, from explosions to gunfire to bloody, blown off limbs.
Also, can the Saint hear Genesis specifically? Or was it merely a coincidence in this scene Jesse used it before they cut to him? Either way our trio makes it off on the road again, with many questions about the Saint, who he is and how he’s indestructible. Jesse’s similarly concerned about Annville, why it’s nothing but a mushroom cloud of methane smoke.
Another problem solved by guns
Pic 1AWe see Fiore (Tom Brooke) for the first time in quite a long while. He’s sitting on the side of the road, waiting for a bus. It takes him to Mumbai Sky Tower. He checks in to a room. He misses DeBlanc. And he’s decided on killing himself, hanging to death by the bed. Reappearing in the bathroom, of course. A meaningless existence. He does a sort of Groundhog Day-style suicide, doing himself in only to regenerate once more. Joyless in life, whether winning a ton at the tables or having sex with beautiful women. Nothing excites him anymore. Even kills himself during one of the shows by the house singer Frank (Vik Sahay), and everyone gives him an ovation, assuming it’s a magic act. So they hire him, as Ganesh the reincarnating man. Going so far as to behead him, amongst other nasty deaths to the thrill of the audience.
And still,no happiness for Fiore.
Jesse, Cassidy, and Tulip show up to find the angel-like entity doing well for himself. Well, he’s not particularly thrilled to see the preacher. They ask about the Saint, finding out more about the “ghost story” of the “beast straight out of hell.” All about murder. He wants to kill Genesis, and the one in which it resides. We understand now that the Saint is “tracking the word” through the lure of Genesis, as I suspected. Sort of like the ring in Lord of the Rings: use it, and those tracking it are drawn to its location. Ah, the struggle of ultimate power! For his part, Fiore’s not willing to do anything to help. He cares about nothing whatsoever.
Note: Some great comic book-style sequences already in Season 2, even the simplest things. Such as Cassidy’s little countdown. Lots of fun. Love to see Goldberg and Rogen letting loose, having fun with the episodes they’ve directed. Talented guys when they’re working with the right material.
Pic 2Tulip: “Youre one of the best figure it outers I know, Jesse Custer.”
Together in a room at the hotel, Jesse suggests to Tulip they get married. They’re in love, they’re both bad ass. Why not tie the knot? She slaps him in response. Although they laugh about it afterwards. Up in the big suite, the vamp tries to help cheer up Fiore with a speedball intravenous cocktail. Just the trick. Except the first try he kills him. Lucky the guy’s a regenerating angel. Tone down the heroin and Fiore’s flying, actually having fun. Smiling. They smoke some drugs, too. All the while Cassidy gets a few bits of information about the Saint, angels, the like. Our vamp’s got his own skill set.
All’s not well. Tulip spots someone eyeing her across the bar, a big man looking shady. She rushes out after him. He winds up at her door later, this is Gary (Michael Beasley), a blast from the past.
Together at the bar, Jesse talks with Frank, who laments working at the casino, the Grand Guignol element of the show with Ganesh. “People like violence,” says the preacher. Then, the singer mentions music, which sets Jesse alight with ideas of where to go next. At the same time Cassidy says Fiore will call off the Saint. But will he, really?
Tulip asks Gary into her room. He’s from down in Louisiana, up checking in on business interests for Viktor. Apparently the man is looking for her, so Gary suggests calling him. There’s clearly some more to her relationship with Viktor, she won’t even admit to Gary about her impending, spontaneous marriage. This leads to him manhandling her. She fights him with everything, as he all but mops the floor with her. Before she fights back harder and bashes his face into a bloody pulp. Cassidy stumbles onto the scene, so she asks him not to tell. She has a wedding to get going.
Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 12.38.33 AMFinally, we hear of Eugene aka Arseface (Ian Colletti), thrown into hell. Fiore refuses to go back down and get him, as well. So that’s out of the picture. Moreover, Jesse says he’s starting to release the implications of Genesis, that it ought to only be used in dire circumstances. If it means “finding God.”
But Tulip shows up and says she doesn’t want to get married. I think this has to do with her secrets, with her connection to Viktor. Otherwise she’d be hitched, she does love him. There’s something behind all this that she can’t yet admit to Jesse. I wonder exactly what that is, if it’s a simple relationship or something more complex.
Jesse: “If God likes jazz, what better place to look for him than New Orleans?”
With that, the worry on Tulip’s face speaks volumes. Headed right for Viktor. Many terrifying things ahead. If not terrifying, then wildly fucked up. Before the gang heads out Jesse uses Genesis to try granting Fiore a way of finding peace.
Later, the Saint arrives. He and Fiore still have a deal on the table. If he kills Genesis, he sees his family again. So the cowboy’s sent on to Louisiana on the gang’s tail. Not before he helps Fiore die, once and for all. Being on Earth, for him, is more Purgatory than anything.
Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 12.45.00 AMFucking great episode. So many interesting things, a bit of that comic book love, a crazy sequence of the lads on drugs. Such a wild ride! “Damsels” comes next and I’m looking forward to seeing the next leg of the journey, which characters our friends run into, as well as what mad shit the Saint will do, who he’ll kill, how badly he’ll kill them. Long live Preacher!

Bellevue – Season 1, Episode 5: “How Do I Remember?”

CBC’s Bellevue
Season 1, Episode 5: “How Do I Remember?”
Directed by Kim Nguyen
Written by Jane Maggs & Thomas Pound

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Hello Little Light” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Problem with The Truth” – click here
Pic 1Talking through the surveillance system, Annie (Anna Paquin) talks to the Riddler, the mystery man. She thanks him, for helping with her father’s death. He helped give her purpose, in a strange way. He tells her now to “trust her instincts” about his identity. She asks him more about the murders of Jesse Sweetland and Sandy Driver, how they’re connected. It’s a strange relationship she has with the Riddler. To keep it going any further, she asks more of him. Although he doesn’t give her much more than before, only cryptic references and no promise of any concrete answers.
Maggie (Victoria Sanchez) goes to talk with Danny (Cameron Roberts), about how to remember Jesse at the funeral, what do for him; he replies only with the word “she“. At the same time, Annie’s figuring out more about Rainmaker Jed (Neil Napier), whose further information about his drug distribution sends the detectives in other directions. The package in Jesse’s room wasn’t done up like how Jed and his operation do things. So, there’s somebody else in the mix. Someone dangerous.
Not only that there’s trouble with Eddie (Allen Leech). Annie sees him punching his truck window, looking very angry. She knows’s something is up. Moreover, she starts believing he is caught in a bad place, possibly trafficking drugs. All the more troubling for the fact Daisy (Madison Ferguson) is around him. Could make for nastiness. Simultaneously, Annie believes the mystery man is suggesting things about her estranged boyfriend. He responds by telling her to wear Neil Driver’s watch during the funeral for Jesse. Hmm, why?
I dropped a stone, but youre not seeing the ripples.”
Pic 1AAt the funeral, tensions run through the crowd. Particularly when Danny comes in. But Bethany (Emelia Hellman) and others embrace him as a big part of Jesse’s life. Maggie talks about her boy, mourning his death; more importantly, she refers to Jesse as “my daughter.” Suddenly, Mr. Driver (Andreas Apergis) barges in saying she deserves everything that’s come to her family before cops pull him outside.
What’s the full history between Maggie and Sandy Driver?
Down by the lake, being morbid, Daisy hears a woman’s voice calling out in the woods. She runs into Bethany and Danny and Max (Ryan Doherty). They call out in grief to the woods, saying they loved Jesse, that it hurts having lost her. Finally they’re able to grieve, out in the open. A sad, tragic openness.
Eddie is tasked with doing something by the people for whom he’s working. While he’s doing that Annie finds their daughter’s dog in his freeze. Weird. He admits to her about owing money, but denies planting any drugs at Jesse’s place. He says the drugs were stolen from him. The dog was killed in retaliation for his debt, obviously. In way over his head.
Welland wants him to testify the drugs belong to him; they were stolen AFTER Jesse’s death. These two have history, the cop doesn’t exactly like him. Except he knows that Eddie, at heart, is a good man. So with it being a first time offence, a self-professed “one time thing” Peter is willing to give him a chance. Afterwards, he leads Annie on with more lies about the burning of the shack and the fire at his house Still playing towards something dark, unknown.
Pic 2Such a strange connection between the Riddler and Annie, like two strange souls linked together in the night. She’s starting to realise that, too. She believes he’s getting his kicks from watching her scramble, listening to his clues. Yet I can’t help wondering who he is, why he’s doing all this to her. She gets a trace on his line and finally something’s come back. Annie follows the signal out to the grave of Sandy Driver, where she finds a phone and a text message reading YOU’RE NOT CRAZY.
But she wants this relationship done, sickened by the manipulation she’s allowed.
Cali (Catherine Kidd) has ties to the drugs, whether she’s top dog I don’t know. Regardless of that, Eddie goes to her, he wants to be relinquished of their ties; it’s clear she wants Annie taken out of the equation. This requires he take a beating instead, which he does willingly.
Maggie tells Annie about the “retribution” she’s faced, for what she did to Sandy back then. Before she can tell her story, though… she passes out, having binged deliberately hard by herself on pills. No telling if she’ll survive, but the chances are good with Annie being there at the right place, the right time. We at least know there’s a strong connection between Maggie and the death of Sandy.
Annie goes back to talk with Neil, about the night his daughter die and where he was supposedly working. He kept the receipts of being on the road, all these years. In order to remember that he actually did not kill her. He gives them over to our detective, providing another bit of evidence from which she can work.
And later at home, Annie falls back to the relationship with the Riddler. Trusting in him more than she does herself, or anyone else for that matter.
Pic 3The building of character is as good as the plot development, all the backstory. Bellevue deserved better in terms of viewership. I think because of it being a Canadian show and done by the CBC, it might not have been eagerly watched by too many. Certain viewers likely didn’t expect the gritty, deep, mysterious (and weird) take on the typical crime-mystery series that we received here.
“The Problem with The Truth” is next, I’m looking forward to seeing further things about Eddie and his situation, and again – what is Welland up to? Need to know.

WE OWN THE NIGHT Examines a Family’s Violent Intersection at the Edge of Criminality & Law

We Own the Night. 2007. Directed & Written by James Gray.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Robert Duvall, Danny Hoch, Alex Veadov, Oleg Taktarov, Maggie Kiley, Paul Herman, Antoni Corone, & Craig Walker.
Columbia Pictures/2929 Productions/Industry Entertainment.
Rated 14A. 117 minutes.
Crime/Drama/Thriller

★★★★1/2
POSTER Ever since 1994’s Little Odessa, James Gray has been a writer-director to watch. He has an excellent style as director, but as a writer he also has as much style. Gray does well with the visual plane of any film he takes on. It’s his attention to detail and character that make the worlds he infiltrates so interesting. We Own the Night has a great throwback look of the 1980s, feeling of the time without being too heavy handed in its execution. More importantly, the main characters played by Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, and Robert Duvall each come off as realistic, endearing, frustrating. They’re genuine people. A lot of writers fill up their crime films with either generic characterisations or over-the-top caricatures. Gray explores characters in similar fashion to pictures from Martin Scorsese in that he takes us into that self-contained world, involving us in the lives of these people instead of making us feel like we’re standing at arm’s length. Also doesn’t hurt that Gray does fine work with Phoenix and Wahlberg, having previously directed The Yards; Gray and Phoenix also did The Immigrant in 2013, another amazing little drop of cinema.
But what you get here, all those elements together, is a classic crime story combining concepts of law and order, family and loyalty, as well as much more. Focusing on a cop family, and the one black sheep within it who rubs shoulders with the criminal world, Gray takes us on a ride through a Brooklyn rife with danger and new possibilities.
Pic1 The character arc of Bobby (Phoenix) is by far the most complex and interesting out of anything. He starts as this completely aloof, loving life-type guy who’s only concerned with clubbing, doing drugs, having a fun time with his girl and his friends. Even confronted with a story about a scary Russian gangster, he and his good buddy Jumbo (Danny Hoch) laugh it off making crude jokes, not taking it seriously in the least. Over the course of the plot, though, we watch Bobby move from careless and clueless to someone very aware of the dangers in front of him. The large divide between Bobby and his family – father Burt (Duvall) and brother Joseph (Wahlberg) – makes for such an exciting change. And it doesn’t happen instantly, not even once Bobby gets hauled into jail, charcoal poured down his throat, seeing a Russian with a self-inflicted slash in his throat bleeding over the police station floor. That’s where the entire thing gets so interesting. Because it takes a terrible act of violence committed against his brother to finally set his moral compass into motion. After that, the plot’s emotional intensity becomes ruthless, as Bobby dives into the world of his family instead of teetering on the edge of crime. Truly great writing.
Pic2 While We Own the Night comes most heavily as a dramatic crime-thriller, there’s a nice helping of action tossed into the mix. The first scene of that nature is probably most devastating. It stays brief, nasty. When Joseph takes a bullet, he gets it right in the face, and the way Gray has it shot makes for maximum effect; brutal and vivid. Later, the action pieces get more intricate as the plot does, too. Once Bobby feels compelled to start fighting against the crime right under his own nose, the nature of the plot involves more excitement, more suspense and tension. Leads to a great finale that’s at once action-oriented, but also wildly emotionally involving. We feel rooted to Bobby, his whole family, and through him Gray lets us feel the suspenseful moments ratcheted up to the point you could grip whatever chair or couch arm or anything next to you.
The obvious strength that lifts everything up is the performance of Phoenix as Bobby Green. Yes, Duvall and Wahlberg and Mendes, they each offer solid supporting performances. The meat of the emotional hook is in Phoenix. We start with a character that’s not particularly a criminal, he lives in the midst of them managing a club in New York and living the high lifestyle of which his police family does not approve. By the 60-minute mark, Bobby’s transformed into an entirely different person. He’s been sprayed with brains and blood, he’s jumped out a window just to survive, smashing his body into a chain-link fence and to the pavement below. The vulnerability and equal amount of bravery Phoenix instils in the character is really damn impressive. First time I saw this I expected nothing more than a run of the mill crime tale. Was I ever surprised, especially with the powerhouse performance at its centre.
Pic3 This is absolutely a four-and-a-half star film, all the way. Maybe a couple blemishes here or there. However, over all, We Own the Night builds upon a mountain of tension, each step filled with emotion and suspense, all kinds of elements in one gritty package. Phoenix leads the charge by making Bobby a real, ultra-human character with whom we relate, and then follow into the belly of the beast that is the Brooklyn crime world. Duvall and Wahlberg give their all as the cops in Bobby’s family, as well as Mendes makes Bobby’s girlfriend Amada an atypical female character in a male-dominated cast and story. The story is the crowning achievement. Gray directs well, yet his writing weaves a nice, dark tale of the line between criminals and cops, illustrated in rich colour by examining one family’s struggle in particular. All the turns the story takes could have felt melodramatic, but Gray allows it to flow organically alongside his excellent directorial choices. If you’ve not given this one the chance, do it. This is one of the better crime-thrillers since 2000 and it does not get the love it deserves.

The Kettering Incident – Episode 4: “The Mill”

Foxtel’s The Kettering Incident
Episode 4: “The Mill”
Directed by Tony Krawitz
Written by Louise Fox

* For a review of Episode 3, “The Search” – click here
* For a review of Episode 5, “The Forest” – click here.
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With the body of Chloe Holloway found right underneath her father Max’s (Damien Garvey) nose at the mill, things are looking bleak for Kettering. Most certainly for Dr. Anna Macy (Elizabeth Debicki). Constable Fergus McFadden (Henry Nixon) and Detective Brian Dutch (Matthew Le Nevez) are on the scene. They go to let Max and Barb (Sacha Horler) know, as well as inform everybody, anybody who was at the big party recently in the woods needs to come in, get themselves cleared, help out.
Now the investigation is on, and I feel we’re about to start seeing more of that ugly underbelly of Kettering, Tasmania. Just you wait.
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You can see that Dt. Dutch is reticent towards Fergus. He doesn’t, obviously, reveal his dealings with Chloe, nor Dane Sullivan (Dylan Young). So we’ll eventually begin to discover more about Dutch. Surely his secrets will also start to unravel. Liza (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) tips the cops off to Chloe and Anna having a physical fight of some sort up in the forest. Here, we further discover Dutch is continually harbouring ill will towards his fellow lawman for his willingness to defend Anna, or at the very least give her the benefit of the doubt. And speaking of Dane, he’s devastated at home when he hears about Chloe on the radio. Terrible to see him impacted so deeply. They were clearly close.
Finally, Fergus has to take Anna in. Bit of questioning. He does so reluctantly, though Dutch is much more happy to do so. Back at the station, Anna reveals the drug “packets” that Chloe had on her that night. The discussion is getting a bit too close for the detective’s own comfort, so he veers the conversation elsewhere. Smart man. Bad man, too. At the same time, Roy (Anthony Phelan) shows up. He’s much more concerned about her now than last we saw them together. He doesn’t like that Anna’s being questioned. Begging further questions: who is Roy, really, as in who is he to the town, and what sort of secrets is he hiding? Most interesting is the almost hook up between Dutch and Anna, as he’s more threatened with the knowledge she has, that necklace she found.
A bombshell some may have seen coming – Gillian Baxter is a half-sister to Anna. Well, remember: Roy and Renae Baxter (Suzi Dougherty) had an affair. One thing leads to another, you’ve got two girls very close, close as sisters, but never officially. “Guess it wasnt something he was very proud of,” Anna says of her father’s little secret. But is that the only thing Roy is masking?

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Then there’s Renae, whose life has all but been obliterated by the disappearance of Gillian. She continues on trying her best. You can just see that sadness sitting right below her skin. In other news, everyone in Kettering is out to the bar, drinking. In mourning collectively. Liza and her mother Sharon sit together, even her ex Craig (Ben Oxenbould) shows up for a moment. A really awkward one. At the bar, Renae worries for Barb; now we know this is her sister, that’s their connection. Wow. Two kids that went missing in the same family tree. Sad. Tragic. However, I feel that Renae has a much different perspective, as we’ve already seen her interest in… otherworldly ideas.
Fergus goes over to talk with Dane. He wants to figure out more about Chloe, the drugs, and obviously this is the young man with whom he needs a chat. Eventually, Dane lets a bit slip. Yet the big fish is still swimming around. That’ll be a tougher bit of information to figure out for Constable McFadden.
Chloe has broken bones, a burn, possibly poisoned or completely blitzed on drugs. She died just after the witching hour. Some blunt force. Then Fergus notices the strange marks on her arm. The same type Anna had seen on the little boy at the hospital. Hmm. Curiouser and curiouser, down the rabbit hole.
The Holloway family is a fractured one. “Do you want a hug?” Max asks his son Adam (Brad Kannegiesser) out of the blue, feeling inadequate as a father because of his own boy finding solace in Craig’s arms after the body of Chloe was discovered. There’s a lot more to the family. Hopefully we’ll see more about Max come out in the coming episodes, maybe it’ll unravel some much needed backstory.
When Liza goes to see her father, Craig is surprisingly tender. At first, anyway. She needs a place to stay after Chloe’s death. Unfortunately, she’s on her own. And sadly it’s as if Craig actually cares more about her than Sharon does. Afterwards, Liza tries to go to her mother’s and only gets driven away into the darkening, ready-to-rain sky. So she only has sleeping in a car to which she can look forward. Hers is one of the more sad character arcs in the series, as she literally has no one else except for Chloe, and now she’s gone.


Renae goes to help and be with her sister Barb. They talk of death, grief, the “vampires” who feed off that sort of thing. “Theres nothing, theres just shit,” Barb explains to her sister. Like the fact Chloe is dead, headed for the grave is worse than never knowing where she is really. Not sure if that’s true, but she does make a good case.
When Anna listens to an old tape of her and Gillian singing, she finds her mother yelling, kicking her friend out. At this point we all know exactly why. That’s a heartbreaking kind of thing.
Simultaneously, Anna finds out more information re: the boy with the strange marks on him at the hospital. This leads her out into the forest to a lot of land where she soon comes across a bit ofa shanty house and its inhabitants. When she meets the boy Anna asks if he ever loses time, if he wakes up in strange places, all those things. The boy even says he wakes up at the Sullivan place, where the lights are. Then he leans in and tells Anna: “Theyre looking for you, you know.” She’s got a blood sample to boot.
Dutch and Fergus try figuring out more with the Holloways, to find out if there were any enemies, any family fights, threats to Max, et cetera. Their son makes a point to mention the “Greenie” group always poised to try making life hell for the mill. Max goes on to reveal the letters he received. Are these really the letters, or did Max replace them with others to suggest the environmentalists have a part in it? I’m inclined to believe there’s a little foul play.
Over the radio, Anna hears strange broadcasts as she gets further to Mother Sullivan’s place. She hears about a “military aircraft” and then other strange readings come up on her odometer. Adam Holloway also sees lights in the sky while he drives someplace else along the road before slamming into a bunch of trees off the side. Anna then hears “Crimson and Clover” hum through the radio. And horror strikes Adam at the same moment – a piece of wood he chainsaws away from his vehicle hits him in the eye, prompting him to slice a part of his thigh open. While he lies there a hooded figure appears above him, obscured slightly. Anna hears Adam’s cries from the trees and soon gets to him, as he bleeds out more onto the road. She strips her shirt to make a tourniquet. The doctor is a great one, that’s for sure. She ties off the wound, washes his eye out, but Adam soon passes out. This will be great, won’t it? Another Holloway in a terrible predicament and here she is, as usual, right in the midst of trouble. Luckily, Jens Jorgensson (Damon Gameau) comes along to help cart them out of the wilderness.

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In the hospital, Anna gets thanks from Barb. The grieving mother wants to know more, too. She wonders why Anna was curious about Chloe having nosebleeds, and this begins to play on Barb’s imagination. Right now it’s grief. Pretty soon it may be more, as the secrets and lies of Kettering, of which she is a part don’t forget, slowly come out, piece by piece.
Why are we being punished like this?” Barb asks her husband, as they stand over their wounded but alive son. He has no answers. Or does he? I’m starting to believe, more and more, that he has some devious skeletons hiding in his closet. Bigger ones that Barb and her affair with Dutch.
Not long later Max goes to see Roy, saying that somebody “knows what happened,” about what “theyve done.” He believes it’s Craig, though Roy isn’t so sure. What are they hiding together?
And Anna, she goes to see her mother Wendy (Sarah Wood); she’s deaf and blind, hasn’t moved in years sitting in a psychiatric nursing home. Been quite a long time certainly. Even a Mother’s Day card there despite Anna’s insistence she did not make it. Intriguing. Regardless, she talks briefly with her mother, even if the woman can’t hear. A whisper of ANNA comes out; from her mother, or something else we don’t know. Strange noises emanate from the hallway, from out the window. More than that we see Wendy isn’t as catatonic as she lets on. So eerie.
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What a fabulous episode! One of my favourites yet, and it continues the deepening mystery with each step of the way. Next episode is titled “The Forest” and I hope we’ll start finding further clues to lead us down the path.

The Kettering Incident – Episode 3: “The Search”

Foxtel’s The Kettering Incident
Episode 3: “The Search”
Directed by Steve Krawitz
Written by Cate Shortland

* For a review of Episode 2, “The Lights” – click here
* For a review of Episode 4, “The Mill” – click here
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Out among the forest surrounding Kettering, moths float about, and at home Dr. Anna Macy (Elizabeth Debicki) feels as if she can literally see the air around her. She continues to record everything in her notebook. She’s in the bed of Fergus Mcfadden (Henry Nixon). Meanwhile, Fergus has found the cellphone of missing Chloe (Sianoa Smit-McPhee). He brings it to Max and Barbara Holloway (Damien Garvey/Sacha Horler), the parents, and her brother Adam (Brad Kannegiesser) is there to hear the news, too. They have somewhere to begin now. Although they hvae no idea where the road is headed.
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Anna has to contend with Dt. Brian Dutch (Matthew Le Nevez) asking all sorts of questions re: Chloe. We know his intentions. However, even without knowing everything Anna has a sixth sense about guys like him.
On the cell, Fergus listens to the voicemail from Chloe, the terrifying message. He questions Eliza Grayson (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) about whether it’s a joke. She is a good pretender. A faker, really. She doesn’t realise that tihs time, Chloe isn’t faking. What we’re seeing is the hysteria in Kettering: “I guess I just wanted to be a part of it,” says Eliza. All a sham.
Bad boy Dutch is over to see Dane Sullivan (Dylan Young) about the rest of his drugs. Now the young guy is on the hook for $10K, and the dirty cop’s not exactly the forgiving kind. He has jobs to do that need a hand. Just great.
Anna heads back to her father Roy’s (Anthony Phelan) place. She finds a map marked with spots in the Kettering forest. Out there people are searching for Chloe. A base camp is setup, all sorts of operations. When Anna winds up there nobody is exactly welcoming. Not after all that’s happened. Although she manages to muscle her way into Deb Russell’s (Alison Whyte) vehicle for a ride up to where the search parties are moving. On the way they hit a small kangaroo. Deb watches on as Anna puts the creature out of its misery with a rock to the head. Chilling, though only because Deb sees this as creepy herself. We know Anna’s probably the least capable of murder in ole Kettering.

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Nobody at the search is pleased to have Anna there, not even Papa Roy. Doesn’t help she has blood all over her hands, literally. She gets the cold welcome from Craig Grayson (Ben Oxenbould) and others, as well as the semi-longing star of activist Jens Jorgensson (Damon Gameau). Nevertheless, everyone heads into the woods, protective gear on, police with their dogs alongside.
Between the trees Anna sees something red. She starts hearing noises, seeing lights in the woods. She gets stuck in the mud, calling out for “Gillian” but it’s only Adam there to comfort her surprisingly.
Dutch is at the Holloway place. Of all people to be leading that side of the investigation. Not only is he dirty, he and Barbara have an affair going on. He gathers up a piece of clothing, talks about combing through Chloe’s social media accounts. Then once he gets a moment to himself in her room he finds the package for which he’s looking so frantically. All the while Eliza has her eye on Barb and Dutch.
Husband Max is just numb. And perhaps there’s a bigger worry behind all that. We know there is a lot more to Max. Likely something sinister down the pipes.
When Adam takes Anna back to the search site, Roy shoos his daughter away. Typical. There’s only more suspicion and paranoia for Ms. Macy. Even her own father doesn’t know what to think of her innocence, or guilt. The whole town is leaning her way mostly. In some way. For Roy’s part he seems to have something to hide, too. He was a cop, sure. There are further skeletons, though.


Anna secretly discovers Deb’s cancer, seeing the chemo implant on her chest. She also suggests Anna’s attitude “sucks” and that changing it may help her fit in. But further than that Anna finds out more about the Dr. Fiona McKenzie (Kris McQuade) with whom she was trying to speak at the hospital recently. Turns out she works as a tour guide at a prison nearby.
Over at the mill, Roy lets Max know the search is over for the day. He also talks about the Sullivan place. There’s more to that land than just the UFO sightings. Something else happened out there.
Dutch goes through Chloe’s computer. He finds videos on the presence of alien life, et cetera. Also there are pictures of him, all over Kettering. She kept a nice visual log of his comings and goings. At least for a little while. Smart girl. Now, the detective heads things off with his access to her things. Sketchy, dude.
Finally, Anna goes to see Dr. McKenzie and finds out lots more. “Things started happening,” she tells Anna. “Strange cancers” and all sorts of other things. One of those cases includes Deb. All of Kettering both threatened Dr. McKenzie, plus labelled her crazy. She knew Chloe had nosebleeds. She knows more than she even lets on to Anna, only warning she ought to leave. Now. Afterwards, Anna winds up talking with Fergus across the bar, as Dutch keeps his eagle eye trained on them. She tries getting to Gillian’s files, to dive deeper into the investigation herself. Sadly, Fergus can’t understand the greater significance of what’s been happening in their quaint town all these years.
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Renae Baxter (Suzi Dougherty) continues believing her daughter Gillian is out there. Her man Travis (Kevin MacIsaac) is not at all interested in entertaining those thoughts, to the detriment of their relationship. When she calls him “simple minded” and a “leech” this is more than his fragile masculinity can take. He beats her. A real piece of shit. We see a better side to Dutch, as he responds to a call that brings him to Renae’s place. His mother was a battered woman. Well, Renae is tragically typical, not wanting anyone to know. Especially not the police. Travis doesn’t respond too kind to Dutch, as he knows about the detective and his drug dealing. But Dutch isn’t a pushover. He threatens the guy, fatally, if there are any more domestic abuse calls.
To the Holloways goes Anna. She brings a bottle of wine, looking to know if Chloe had any strange marks on her skin anywhere. Barb doesn’t remember anything specific, eventually wanting her out. Although Max is a little more reasonable, it’s probably best for them all. Upstairs, Eliza is dressed in Chloe’s pyjamas, and there’s an odd moment between her and Max. An almost eerie look from him, though that could just be my eye.
Then Anna makes a big mistake. She has sex with Dutch. Or at least begins the lead into it before getting a nosebleed. In the couch, Anna finds a necklace; you know which one. This gets her quite suspicious. Immediately that puts Dutch in aggressive mode, defensive. The questions from Anna start to shed light on his shady behaviour. Glad she didn’t fall into bed with this guy.


Dutch: “Why did you come back?
Anna: “Its my home
Dutch: “You dont have a home


The reoccurring “Crimson and Clover” interest comes from Anna and Gillian having loved the song, recording their own version on a tape she carries with her. Roy isn’t pleased with his daughter’s attitude or behaviour. He doesn’t like that Anna went to talk to Dr. McKenzie. You just know there is something more to it all, that Roy knows more than he leads on. He tries to push his daughter away from home, but she is not leaving. We discover more about how Renae and Roy had an affair, which is a sore spot for him. He drives Anna out his house after she brings it up.
Next day the search continues on. Roy finds Anna gone, elsewhere. Anywhere. Barb and Max spend their days apart staring out separate windows; her at home, him busy over at the mill trying to keep his mind occupied. In a pile of logs, the body of Chloe is found. Right under the nose of her father. So god damn sad.
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One truly intense episode. A great chapter in this mini-series. Love this show! Great drama, lots of mystery. I dig when a show can draw things out properly, and the writers are doing a fantastic job. Next episode is titled “The Mill” and it looks extremely intense.

The Kettering Incident – Episode 1: “Anna”

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.
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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.

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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 cominback 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.
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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.
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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.

Animal Kingdom – Season 1, Episode 4: “Dead to Me”

TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 1, Episode 4: “Dead to Me”
Directed by Regina King
Written by Etan Frankel

* For a review of the previous episode, “Stay Close, Stick Together” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Flesh is Weak” – click here
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An episode directed by TNT’s Southland alumni Regina motherfuckin’ King! Yeah, baby. Go on and get it. Let’s do this already.
Uncle Deran (Jake Weary) wakes up his nephew Josh (Finn Cole). He offers a free swing, apologising for the pool incident. J’s fine with things being smooth from here on in, though Deran is still a bit edgy. He’s only worried if Smurf (Ellen Barkin) knows everything is fine again. Downstairs, Baz (Scott Speedman) pulls in and helps poor, helpless Pope (Shawn Hatosy) make coffee. The Cody Boys discover there’s no breakfast. Smurf has been doing her own thing during the night, she had a man over. Nobody is surprised, but Pope doesn’t like the look of it. In other news, it’s his birthday. Everybody has big plans from sky diving to paintball. Pope’s not into any of it. All the while, Deran, Baz, they’re all hiding the fact they’ve made some of their own money since they were supposed to be keeping things on the down low. Upstairs, Josh finds himself in another awkward naked encounter with grandma Smurf; she gives him cash, unaware he also has more of it himself. She tries to get info, but Josh is solid. Probably more concerned his uncles would kill him if he blabbed. Still, Smurf knows there’s something up. She is not at all stupid.
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So the boys are all having a fun time. Deran and Baz get the paintball kicking off, as a reluctant Pope gets pulled into it before smashing up the new gun. No fun, dude. All of a sudden Baz gets a text from Smurf: CUTBACK. He takes all the cellphones, switching out SIM cards. There’s something shitty about to happen. Emergency measures are taken. Everyone’s leaving town, or at least hiding out. Cash and anything else necessary is being packed, ready to ship off. Baz wants Pope to stay, but you know that ain’t sitting with the man himself. The Cody Boys and Baz all head to a safe house with food and supplies to wait on a call from their lawyer. As it turns out there’s no emergency. All Smurf. She knows there’s “bullshit jobs” going on without her involvement. Mama offers her boys once chance to come out with the truth. Then she shuts down her sons, telling them no more jobs, no more money. They’re cut off on their own now, so she says.
Josh is having a hard time adjusting to his family. Especially when you consider the fact he’s got school, a normal life, Nicky (Molly Gordon), and that’s tough to juggle. He gets caught smoking a joint at school, by a teacher who’s interest in him is not positively all teacher-like, in my opinion. That could end up going somewhere further. She isn’t exactly professional, smoking the joint and asking him to go to a photographer’s surf exhibit.


The Cody Boys and Big Baz are up in the air, getting ready to skydive. At that very same time, they argue about the side jobs they’ve been doing. Not a nice place to be arguing and pushing each other around like a bunch of animals. Sure enough, one of them gets tossed from the plane and then they all head for the air. This is an awesome sequence involving some GREAT stunts mid-air. These guys are lunatics. Whoever did the stunt work here are a bunch of wild dudes. Makes the whole thing plenty fun.
Catherine (Daniella Alonso) finds Josh coming to check on her, bringing mac and cheese. He’s such a good kid amongst a family of maniacs. In the meantime, Baz is over at his dad’s trailer again. Only dear ole dad is nowhere to be found. And Craig (Ben Robson), he finds his girlfriend Renn (Christina Ochoa) overdosed in her bathroom, dead. So he takes advantage, great guy he is, taking any jewellery and pills and whatever else he can find. What a man.
Josh is having a bit of a rough day, being his mother’s birthday and all. The Codys don’t talk of her “like she never existed” and Catherine knows this all too well. We find out more about Josh’s mother; Baz tried to get her help, but that didn’t work. She stole a lot of money from them, it seems. But mainly I’m sure Smurf couldn’t control her daughter, and lack of control is a problem for Mama Smurf when it comes to her brood. Speaking of her, she’s trying to keep Nicky close, digging her claws in.
And boy, does Craig have big trouble. His painkiller supply is in danger of drying up. At least he’s got plenty of other drugs kicking around. Well, that isn’t exactly good. There’s a chance he could burn out quick. Especially because he’s got addiction and guilt all rolled into one, all the while keeping secrets from mommy. Tsk, tsk.
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We find Baz being a dick now to Josh. He doesn’t want the kid poking around. But it’s only because Baz is paranoid. About the Codys, about what Josh might want to know concerning his mother. About everything. He’s letting that tear his own family apart, as Catherine hates that Smurf controls him the way she does. Because that’s the bottom line, he’s worried about being “iced out” by the matriarch of the gang.
The birthday celebrations are still going hard. And the boys are all fretting over what their mom knows, even while sitting in a strip club. Deran is fronting hard trying to convince everyone, mostly his nephew, that he’s straight. Pope hooks Josh up with a lap dance while Baz tries to give Pope a nice time with a lady of his own. Except Pope has some issues – what exactly, I’m still not sure, though I have my guesses. Alone with the stripper, Pope reveals: “I cant remember the last time I had an erection.” Not just that, he seems so unbelievably wound up inside that it’s scary. Then he makes the woman say “we cant, Andrew” – and now I’m sure he’s had intimate contact with his mother. He and Smurf have had sex at some point. There is no doubt. Good fucking lord. I expected the incest, but still a shock.
Most interesting? Craig gets a call from Renn, alive and in the ER. Whoa, this could be a devastating turn.

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Later on, Pope takes Josh out with him into the woods somewhere. He talks about the Seven Seals, the Horsemen, et cetera. He thinks maybe the Cody Boys and Baz are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. An eerie conversation. Just goes to show his warped, strange way of thinking. Then Uncle Pope takes his nephew over a fence to a graveyard. They’re headed for Josh’s mom, to pay respects to her grave on her and Pope’s birthday. There’s a side to Pope that is also gentle. It rarely comes out. More now I begin to think he’s so messed up because of things that have happened in his life. Things that could have, and should have, been prevented. The root of all the evil might just lie in Smurf. For the time being, Pope reminisces about his and his sister’s birthday, how they made wishes and told each other, keeping their secrets; the whole Cody family’s foundation is built purely on secrets, lies, hidden truths. Josh comes out and asks Pope about Baz and his mother. “Baz has a way of getting what he wants,” replies the uncle with an acidic tone. Moreover, we see that Pope has lingering feelings about what happened to his sister, and that he knows more than he lets on. No telling what happened to Julia for her to fall into such despair. Just being part of that family is enough to make a person an addict, as we can also see by looking at Craig.
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At home, Smurf kicks everybody out. She is really putting that foot down. And then Baz snitches to Smurf, about Pope. He reveals the job Deran and Josh did with Pope. Ah, more ammo to fuel the fire between the brothers, between Pope and Baz, between Baz and the Cody Brothers. So many things coming together, pulling apart. There’s only so long this can last. I wonder how Smurf’s going to react to all this going forward. You can never tell with her devious behaviour.
In the hospital Craig finds Renn. She’s okay, though took a hard overdose. She also thinks there was a robbery. No idea that it was her supposedly sweet manfriend. Renn wants Craig to take care of who stole from her: “You hurt him and Ill make it worth your while.” He is a piece of shit for letting this happen.
Once Josh gets back home Smurf is waiting with a cupcake, a candle in it. She also wants to know the truth about her boys and what they’re doing behind her back. Further than that she makes clear that Josh needs to do right by her. Or else.
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Everything is so intense and suspenseful within the wild Cody family. I love seeing Finn Cole in the midst of it, he does well with the character. I can’t wait for the next episode “Flesh is Weak” because there’ll be plenty more intrigue, excitement, and disturbing shit. Stay with me, fellow fans!