Sky Atlantic’s Tin Star
Season 1, Episode 4: “Jack”
Directed by Marc Jobst
Written by Rowan Joffe
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Comfort of Strangers” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Bait” – click here
North Stream Oil is pumping out commercials, priming the town and everybody else for recruitment. And as we watch one of those commercials, we see the lifeless body of little Peter, dead on the mortician’s table. Ready for burial.
Whitey (Oliver Coopersmith) is preparing for something devious, too. He has what looks like a makeshift gun, implanted into a device like a remote car starter. He’s suiting up, as well. In the meantime, he’s being told to “abort” by Frank Keane (Ian Puleston-Davies).
Everyone in town is headed to support Chief Jim Worth (Tim Roth), his recovering wife Angela (Genevieve O’Reilly), and Anna (Abigail Lawrie) at the funeral for Peter. Everybody in collective mourning. As the procession goes on at the cemetery, Whitey poises himself to fire a couple bullets into Jim’s back. He second guesses it, though. Too many cops, fire fighters, people in general. The ole Chief was so close to death and didn’t even know.
Angela: “Nobody‘s going to tidy our little boy away”
But now the Worths are left to mourn on their own. Mom won’t have her child’s memory swept under the rug, she doesn’t want to ignore their pain. For his part, dad blames himself for ducking the shot, for putting his wife and his son in harm’s way. Angela won’t have it. For the one injured, she’s the tougher of the two.
Anna winds up finding out about dad’s one night stand on the reserve, hearing Constables Nick McGillen (Ryan Kennedy) and Denise Minahik (Sarah Podemski) discussing it. Now she’s harbouring a couple secrets about her dad. Not just that, mom wants the people who killed their boy to die, telling her husband to track them down. So their daughter’s left with no way to gauge her own moral compass, in a time where both her parents stray so far from their own.
Irony strikes when Jaclyn (Michelle Thrush), Jim’s blackout fling on the reserve, turns out to have witnessed the murder of Dr. Susan Bouchard (Rachael Crawford). Makes things all the worse that she already doesn’t trust the Chief. “I‘ll die on my own time,” she tells them, knowing that to talk likely means she’ll wind up dead, too. Can’t trust a cop off the reserve, let alone a cheating, alcoholic, drug loving cop.
What’s going on with Frank, anyways? He’s worried about Johnny, that he’s run off and might talk. However, that’s no worry. Because Whitey gruesomely informs him that he’s “in charge” after taking Johnny out. Things have changed ’round here.
At a restaurant, Elizabeth Bradshaw (Christina Hendricks) meets with journalist Dermot O’Hanrahan (Craig Bierko) who’s grilling her for once being a reporter, now working for a big, ruthless oil company. Then there’s Louis Gagnon (Christopher Heyerdahl), the eerie head of security, keeping his eyes and mostly his ears on everyone around them, from Dermot to Chief Worth to anybody else who might cross their paths. Elizabeth seems dedicated to ethics, at least for now. We’ll see how long that lasts.
Federal investigators think Danny Lyle (Maxwell McCabe-Lokos) killed Peter. This has the bikers Danny runs with on lockdown, worried about federal involvement. Connected to this is Whitey, who might even be in league with Gagnon, for all we know yet.
Anna asks her dad about what happened the night he fell off the wagon. He doesn’t tell her the entire truth, which troubles the girl, who knows of his infidelity. All the while she’s watching her mother try not to fall to pieces. It might get even shittier for the family, if Elizabeth decides to take what Gagnon’s gathered on the Chief to the press. That could turn very ugly.
When the Worths do a press conference, Angela goes to tears talking about her boy’s murder. When says she wants to know why it happened, Jim fills in the blank with one word: “Oil.” This sets the place ablaze, particularly Elizabeth; she might discover her moral trigger finger getting itchy after that comment.
Later, Gagnon sneaks into the home of Wallace Lyle (Nicholas Campbell) where he induces a heart attack. Then he presents the man with a contract, his only way out of impending death. Damn, dude. That’s fucking cold. Simultaneously, Elizabeth tosses her ethics out the window, calling Dermot with the nasty dirt on Chief Worth. It’s already bad enough Anna’s confirmed to her mother dad is on the booze again, when Dermot shows up at their door asking extremely uncomfortable, upfront questions.
On a lonesome road, Whitey uses a sniper rifle to stop a truck. He’s also wearing a local biker cut. Then he has the truck towed by Frank and Reginald (Tobi Bamtefa). Setting up more trouble for the bikers soon.
When Jim gets home he finds himself locked out. Angela is done, she wants him gone. Can you blame her? The guy went on a crack and booze binge, blacked out while he sullied his marriage. What better to do afterwards than go for a drink at the bar? That’ll surely help, Jim. This is at the same time a distress signal comes from North Stream’s supply truck, the driver got to it before he was bludgeoned. Denise is left to deal with it, while Jim beats the shit out of a biker in the bathroom, stealing enough coke to rub over his gums. Oh, man. There’s a violent downward spiral already beginning to get out of control here.
What an episode. Others don’t dig this as much as I do, I take it. Who cares? If you dig, you dig. Tin Star has a few cliches, but what doesn’t? Personally, the writing is interesting enough, as are the characters, for this to be enjoyable. On top of that Tim Roth gets to let loose.
“Bait” is next.