Slasher – Season 2, Episode 8: “The Past is Never Dead”

Netflix’s Slasher
Season 2, Episode 8: “The Past is Never Dead”
Directed by Felipe Rodriguez
Written by Aaron Martin

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 2 episode, “Dawn of the Dead” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 10.40.55 PMFive years ago. Dawn (Paula Brancati), Peter (Lovell Adams-Gray) and the rest of the friends are carefully enacting their calculated plan to get revenge on Talvinder (Melinda Shankar). The poor soon-to-be dead girl is none the wiser, either. The rest of them with their cold, evil faces lying just beneath the exterior. They take her out to that spot in the woods with the lit torches. They’ve got her “on trial.”
She’s made to stand in the middle of a circle. They all call her out, starting with Andi (Rebecca Liddiard). Conveniently, Andi doesn’t blame Peter, which Tal uses against her. Susan (Kaitlyn Leeb) calls her “nothing.” Eventually Dawn has her say, feeling utterly betrayed; she’s the one who really has the most genuine reason. Peter doesn’t bash her, instead apologising to his girlfriend for what he’s done.
Cut to a little later, when Noah (Jim Watson) almost rapes her on the truck. Then she’s rushing off into the woods, the others worried for her. But Tal won’t turn back. She winds up tripping and smashing her head. They find her in a ditch. She seems dead, so they all react with horror. They drag her off, she’s still alive. Andi smashes her head, she still won’t die.
And Dawn takes the rock, smashing her once more. Noah takes his turn, as well. Laying the killing blow, it seems.
Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 10.45.18 PMWren (Sebastian Pigott) is heading back to the cabin, after killing Mark, and Judith (Leslie Hope) is pleading with him not to do anything else terrible. He’s bent on revenge. They let him take the fall for Talvinder’s disappearance. All she asks is that Keira is left alive. Other than that she tells him: “Theyre all yours.”
Back at the cabins, Judith reels off a lie about Mark, that he was going to kill her. And she says she shot him. Taking the blame. Lulling Dawn in. Except the young woman doesn’t believe it, she knows it’s lies. Everybody’s too paranoid now, anyway. So many things happening right below the surface.
Five years ago. The friends are reeling in the aftermath of what they’ve done, people are asking where Tal has gone. They’re trying to figure out the next course of action. Their lives changed for the worse, and they had to either deal or go to prison for the rest of their lives.
Present day, the gang at the retreat hear a snowmobile. A woman named Janice arrives looking for her boyfriend, Gene. A bit late, y’know. He’s in pieces out in the shed. She thinks We Live As One are a “cult,” but Peter tries explaining, asking for help. Janice has room for one on her machine; Judith tries desperately to send Keira, only Keira won’t have it, wanting it to be Dawn, so she might get medical attention.
But Wren, he’s intent on killing more. He wants Judith to help and she won’t, he starts getting worse. He’s a sad, lonely, murderous man. He says she’ll “die alone” and she grabs him, throwing him at the mirror. Except nobody’s there. Just her. Ohhhh, man. That’s creepy. Soon, Peter and Keira find her, bloodied, unconscious. They put her to bed, then decide they’ve got to find Mark’s corpse, confirm he’s dead. Peter heads out while she stays to look after Judith.
Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 11.03.04 PMJudith has worse problems. She continually hears Wren in her head, commanding her: “Kill them!” She speaks to herself as herself, and also as him. We jump back five years. Wren a.k.a Owen leaves his cabin at Camp Motega, and in slips Dawn to drop a piece of Tal’s jewellery into his things. A frame job. That’s nasty.
Present day, Peter comes across Mark’s dead body. Nearby he sees the footprints, he tries re-imagining the crime. He knows something’s not right. Elsewhere, Dawn and Janice try getting out of the forest, but they stop a moment across the way from the parka killer, who fires on both women, bleeding Janice out. Dawn makes it away, though she’s soon shot in the river. Who’s behind the mask? Judith.
At the cabin, Peter finds Keira unconscious, propane filling the house. Then he sees a bunch of letters in Judith’s room. They’re from Wren, in jail. To his mother, Judith. WHOOOOOOOOA. That’s a seriously twisted relationship, on more than just one level, too.
Peter does the only thing he can, carrying Keira through the woods. Only to run into Judith. She says one lives, the other dies. A tough choice. We’re finally seeing the full extent of things now after a flashback, why the noose was in that shrine Peter found – Judith has hallucinated Owen, the entire time. He hanged himself in jail.
Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 11.07.35 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-18 at 11.13.10 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-18 at 11.15.34 PMWhat will Peter choose? Life? Death? He puts the noose around his neck and steps from the ledge over the shrine, hanging himself as Judith watches, flashing to images of her son slowly dying. But another surprise, as well – up the river, Dawn is still alive, on shore, and two hunters find her there bleeding profusely.
When Keira wakes up she sees Peter hanging. She also finds a letter Peter wrote to Talvinder’s parents, confessing to the crime, trying to give them closure. Admitting that Owen was innocent, they laid the crime on him.
Its time my friends and I paid for what we did
Skip ahead a bit. Keira is safe, back home. She meets with Dawn, who’s preparing to turn herself in to the police, to atone for her terrible sins. From a distance, Judith watches them, still followed by the haunting ghost of her son. Neither of them have forgotten Dawn, they’ll wait until she’s free. Then, well… you know.
Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 11.29.51 PMFantastic season! God damn. I wish I didn’t fly through it, but such is the age of Netflix. Plus, it was even better than Season 1, which I was big time digging right from the get go. Honestly this season had even better writing. Not to mention the twists were even bigger, wilder. And the gore went up a big notch, from an already grim first season.
Truly hope Netflix will do another season. At least one more. C’mon! Please?!


Slasher – Season 2, Episode 5: “Out of the Frying Pan”

Netflix’s Slasher
Season 2, Episode 5: “Out of the Frying Pan”
Directed by Felipe Rodriguez
Written by Lucie Pagé

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Night of Hunters” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Drone” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 9.34.19 PMFive years ago. Talvinder (Melinda Shankar) is building tents, having trouble, so Noah (Jim Watson) helps her out selflessly. She comes on to him a bit, conning him into doing stuff for her. The picture of the hideous acts which later occurred is being painted, one stroke at a time. Not long later, Noah sees Tal heading into the woods with a beer and friends. Peter (Lovell Adams-Gray) and him both have a thing for her, obviously the former has a better idea of what was going on; he says “move on.” A whole fucking mess amongst a group of friends.
Now, Noah’s lying in a bus after being raped by Glenn aka Benny (Ty Olsson). A far cry from hoping to get laid by a fellow counsellor. Horrific. While his captor sleeps, he picks up a kettle and tries beating him with it. That doesn’t go over well, at all.
Out at the camper, Peter and the others have found the corpse in the freezer. They look around to find any clues about who it was, who owns the camper. They find the actual Glenn Morgan’s ID.
Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 9.36.34 PMJudith (Leslie Hope) tends to Megan’s dead body when Wren (Sebastian Pigott) shows up. He believes they’ve opened “Pandoras Box” and that anything could happen now. I’m still unsure about him. Out in the living room, Dawn (Paula Brancati) is still standing accused of poisoning the woman, denying it to Renée (Joanne Vannicola) and Mark (Paulino Nunes). This is when Peter and Keira (Madison Cheeatow) come to tell them about Glenn’s true identity, which isn’t totally received so hot right away. But some of them will go looking for Benny.
Speaking of, he’s strangling Noah to death. His victim manages to toss a bit of fire around and lights the place up, trapping his captor inside the bus. Benny gets out, not before Noah escapes for the time being.
Cut back to five years ago, when the group of friends has taken Tal out to the forest, calling her out. Andi (Rebecca Liddiard), Dawn, and Susan (Kaitlyn Leeb) lead them, warning of a “punishment.” She’s sentenced to spend a night out there alone with nothing, just what she’s wearing. She pleads to Noah, getting no help. Present day again. Everyone’s looking for Noah now, the bus burning in the distance. They hear him screaming for them. Benny takes off further in the darkness. He goes back to the cabins, breaking through the window and strangling Renée until she’s unconscious. Judith runs and hides from him as he stalks her through the halls. Thankfully, Renée puts a bullet in the big guy, incapacitating him for the time being.
Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 9.45.23 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-17 at 9.49.03 PMOle Benny’s in trouble, tied to a chair, helpless. When Mark comes out with food and water, he has questions for him. He asks about the snowmobile, the poison in the food. He claims he’s “not a killer.” He fesses up to one murder, naturally, that he’s Mr. Ironside, saying that killing Glenn wasn’t a planned thing. Meanwhile, Keira and Dawn help Noah get his clothes off and clean up. Such a terrible, tragic scene. This is when the women discover he’s been raped, as well.
Back to five years ago again, as Tal chases after the group pleading for them not to leave. They taunt her while they go. Peter protests, whereas Noah calls her a “skank” and starts a fight with him, calling him “Benedick Arnold.” Before they leave, Tal brings up something about Susan, a girl named Marcy Rae; they made out, and when Susan outed her she killed herself. Plus, Tal trots out everyone’s secrets, blackmailing them to take her back out of the woods. Noah yells at her, prompting her to call him pathetic, going hard at him. So he runs after her, angry enough to kill, maybe?
Present day. Renée, Peter, and Mark discuss what to do next. They realise that Benny may not be the serial killer. So, what’s their best option? Could lure the real killer using him. Renée’s fixing to get answers of him, believing he killed Antoine, and she starts slicing the guy up with a box cutter. And she’s barred the door so nobody can get inside. Soon, he admits to it just to try ending the torture. This is when she peels a strip off his arm, followed by cutting his throat open.
Pain changes us
Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 10.09.38 PMOutside, Noah finds a fire going. But it’s not any of his friends there. He’s stumbled onto the parka killer, who tosses gas on him and lights him ablaze. Immediately we cut back to Noah charging after Tal that night five years ago. He tears her shirt open, then he’s about to rape her right on the truck. Peter rushes in and hauls him off. Holy shit. This sends Tal running into the woods, the others shocked at their friend’s actions. Peter punches him in the face before going after Tal. This has everyone actually worried about the girl instead of murderous.
Present day once more. Everyone wakes up, wondering if they’re safe since Benny is dead. Nobody can find Noah, though. Peter and Keira head out to look, coming to the remains of the fire: Noah on top of Tal’s skeletal remains.
Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 10.21.04 PMSuch a great season. I am obsessed. Just gets more grim with each passing episode. Hard not to love if you’re a slasher fan. “Drone” is next.

Slasher – Season 2, Episode 2: “Between Good and Evil”

Netflix’s Slasher
Season 2, Episode 2: “Between Good and Evil”
Directed by Felipe Rodriguez
Written by Jana Sinyor

* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “Six Feet Under” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Saint Sebastian” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 1.24.44 PMWe see Luke (Simu Liu) and Susan (Kaitlyn Leeb) together, she’s showing. He believes himself the “luckiest man” and has no idea of his wife’s murderous past. They run into Andi (Rebecca Liddiard) on the street, they haven’t seen each other for a long time. They briefly reminisce on the camp counsellor days before Luke leaves them alone. Susan suggests they don’t talk again, not wanting anything to come up: “I will defend my family with my life.” Hardcore.
Back to present day, the bloody warning on their wall up at the retreat. They’re all rightly freaked out, wondering who could possibly know what they did five years ago. They go about cleaning the wall, erasing the message, and trying to keep their collective past under wraps.
Meanwhile, Renée (Joanne Vannicola) and Antoine (Christopher Jacot) look for Gene only to find a bloody snowman composed of the man’s limbs, intestines, and so on. A grim winter ahead, indeed.
Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 1.27.44 PMYouve got blood on your hands
Go back five years. Susan isn’t overly thrilled by Talvinder (Melinda Shankar) and her personality; for her part, the latter does her best to fit in, despite being a bit too eager to go after Peter (Lovell Adams-Gray). Although the dude doesn’t fight it. Susan bitches to Dawn (Paula Brancati) about the new counsellor, believing her “desperate and clingy.” Dawn pleads with her to be nice, except it’s clear her friend’s just a bit of an asshole.
Present day, the friends are trying not to divide any further than they have already. Peter suggests they figure out a concrete story, so they can push back against any accusations. Dawn says they should put the We Live As One people on defence, making themselves out to be the true victims.
Judith (Leslie Hope) and Wren (Sebastian Pigott) chat some more. She’s into crystals, more of the hippie stuff. Whatever works! He’s a bit suspicious to me. Just like the group of friends, he was quick to go on the offensive in Episode 1. In the meantime, Antoine calls everyone together to talk about Andi’s death, as well as that of Gene. Two murders. They have to get to a phone, to get help out there. Some of them will head back to Gene’s place, as others stay behind. Only problem is the snowmobiles aren’t working, all the gas siphoned. Daamn.
Cut back five years again. Tal’s setting up some fun for the kids, a crystal ball reading booth. Susan isn’t having a great time helping her, either. Yet the new counsellor tries her best to make them friends, doing her hair. Things get a little sensual between them almost before Susan calls her “pathetic.” Yikes. Something cold blooded about this lady. In present day, it’s clear now the guilt is eating her alive from the inside.
Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 1.42.56 PMParanoia’s running wild. Noah (Jim Watson) nearly flips out hearing noises outside their cabin. He’s assured it’s not a “guy with a machete” in a nice, sly reference to Mr. Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th. On the porch, the friends find a box marked STAY WARM. In it are Gene’s bloody clothes. Susan wants to rush out, as does Noah, though the rest want to wait. “Fuck that,” she says. The two leave while the rest remain.
Back to camp, five years prior. The crystal ball booth is wrecked, Tal is in tears, and Dawn’s sure it was Susan, who denies it, blaming the victim; a recurrent theme throughout these first two episodes. Cut to Susan and Noah in the dark woods, moving fast as they can. They see that the phone lines have been cut, too. Everything gets more ominous by the minute.
Renée tells those at We Live As One the story of Camp Motega, the disappearance of a girl, how the place was shut down a couple years later. They soon start figuring out that the group of friends are just old enough to have been counsellors there. Suspicions will begin taking over. When Noah and Susan go back to the retreat after going in circles, he’s got a bit of frost bite. That’ll make him easy prey.
Dawn uses the gun she brought with her to shoot at someone trying to come into her cabin. But it’s just Mark (Paulino Nunes) and Keira (Madison Cheeatow). This sends everybody into a panic, setting the people of the retreat and the friends against one another. And that could get ugly. Renée is pissed, questioning the others about why they’d bring a gun up there. She says she’s done “listening and trusting.”
Back to five years ago. Andi and Susan are at odds over Tal, the former believing her friend is overreacting. Except she takes Andi to see the truth – Tal and Peter having sex in the woods. A brutal betrayal. One that obviously set off a violent chain reaction.
Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 1.57.16 PMPresent day, Peter manages to get the gun from Dawn, worried what else she might do. He brings it to Antoine, though neither he nor Renée are going to trust them. Peter tries explaining the gun. The issue is that they’ve arrived, bodies are piling up, as well as the fact Antoine and the rest at the retreat are sure they’re connected to what happened at Camp Motega.
A wedge drives further, deeper between the friends. Susan’s done, claiming she never laid a hand on Tal. Dawn pins the plan on her, however, and says she “lit the fucking match.” Everyone there has blood on their hands. Every single one of them. But they’re divided amongst themselves, beyond repair. Another flashback shows us the truth, that Susan pushes Andi towards formulating a revenge plan.
Current day, in the woods, Susan goes it alone at night. From the dark, she’s hit by a tranquilliser dart. Out like a light. She comes to being dragged by the parka wearing killer. She’s tied up, then the killer uses a piece of broken, barely sharpened pipe on her face. Perfect for digging out eyeballs.
Afterwards, Susan is let free with no eyes to see where she’s going, before the killer breaks her neck to finish her off. Back at the retreat, Judith is woken by Wren. He continues getting closer to her, making a bit of physical contact to help her calm down. Their connection is compelling, and I wonder where exactly it’ll lead them both.
Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 2.15.47 PMStellar follow-up to the premiere. Season 2 is well underway! Very grim, lots of good flashback-to-present cuts that elevate the story, the atmosphere. Love that the killer looks similar to the slasher villain from Cold Prey, too.
“Saint Sebastian” is the next episode.

Slasher – Season 2, Episode 1: “Six Feet Under”

Netflix’s Slasher
Season 2, Episode 1: “Six Feet Under”
Directed by Felipe Rodriguez
Written by Aaron Martin

* For a recap & review of Season 1 episodes, click here.
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Between Good and Evil” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 10.57.49 AM5 years ago at Camp Motega. A group of friends head into the woods, drinking, having fun. They’re counsellors at the camp together. Yet there’s something sinister about to happen. Talvinder (Melinda Shankar) walks into a clearing where there are torches lit. One of the other girls tells her she’s “on trial” for being a “nasty bitch.”
Uh oh. Not looking good.
Cut to everyone dragging a bloody body out into the deep woods, some are taking it better than others. Only Talvinder isn’t dead, she starts screaming, bleeding from the face. Peter (Lovell Adams-Gray) tries to take her out of there, to the hospital, but his buddy jumps him. Then the dying girl is dragged back into the dark.
Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 11.01.20 AMPresent day. Simon (Kyle Buchanan) wakes up with Andi (Rebecca Liddiard); she’s one of the young women who were in those woods that night. He wonders what keeps plaguing her. It’s very obvious she’s keeping a big secret from him, ever since they got together.
And everyone else from the woods that fateful night seems to be headed back there to the camp. In the midst of winter, they go back to where they all lost a part of their soul. Noah (Jim Watson) tries cheering up the mood in the car but nobody wants to hear it. They get to a station on the way up, a man named Gene (Jefferson Brown) helping them gear up and planning on guiding them to their “old stomping ground.” There’s a lot of tension in the air, though Gene doesn’t realise he’s hanging around with a bunch of murderers.
What’s very clear is that Andi is having the hardest time, everyone’s concerned; also obvious there was something going on, to some degree, between her and Peter, as he apologises for how things were after what happened five years ago.
This is gonna be akiller weekend.”
On they go, up to the We Live As One retreat house. Cut back to five years prior. Andi’s breaking Tal into the whole counsellor job at Camp Motega. Now we see Andi and Peter were a couple. Perfectly, they have a movie night complete with a – you guessed it – slasher.
Back to present day. At the retreat are a bunch of people doing yoga, led by a friendly couple, Antoine and Renée (Christopher Jacot & Joanne Vannicola). Nice “corpse pose” before the lesson’s finished, too. They run a nice retreat, everybody does their part to stay, a happy little family. The reason why the friends are there? A resort’s being constructed, and a tennis court is likely to be built right over where they buried Tal. They further mention someone named Owen, who was a suspect in the girl’s disappearance. Certainly their arrival brings the curiosity of their hosts, Gene particularly wonders why they’ve come up in the dead of winter. A woman there named Judith (Leslie Hope) feels bad energy with the strangers around. Rightfully so. Although no one else worries, and they should. But such is the way with the yoga hippie-types.
Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 11.13.41 AMPoor Gene is trying to relax in the sauna when snowballs start pelting from outside. From nowhere, someone in a hooded parka attacks him. Chainsaw to the guts, running the blade right up through him to the shoulders. A nice cut takes us from spilling guts to a steak slapping into a frying pan.
Glenn (Ty Olsson) is a member of the community at We Live As One, barely there two months. He’s not a vegan like the others, he doesn’t dig yoga. Renée tries her best with him but it’s kind of a lost cause. He is also immediately a bit suspicious about the friends when Noah comes around stuttering nervously like a dummy.
The friends get out into the woods where they left Tal’s body. However, after they move the rocks from the hiding place they find nothing; no skeleton, no remains of any kind. Somebody’s moved her corpse. But whom?
We’re discovering more of the people at the retreat, as well. Judith has a self-harm problem. She and another man named Wren (Sebastian Pigott) discuss the group of strangers, believing they need to be on guard, at least until they find out more about them. And, well, we know they’re right. We watch the group, frantically discussing what to do now that Tal’s body has vanished. Peter suggests going to the cops, he thinks it’s the only way to find “closure,” or else they’ll all be haunted. Susan (Kaitlyn Leeb) doesn’t agree, she’s married with a child. Nobody other than Andi and Peter feels confessing would do them any good. So, they’re all divided.
More about others at the retreat. Mark (Paulino Nunes) has scars on his back that look like bullet holes. In true Slasher style, this is only seen on the surface level. Those revelations are best left for later.
Andi: “This secret has killed every single relationship in my life
Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 11.20.37 AMScreen Shot 2017-10-17 at 11.26.36 AMBack to five years ago, slasher movie night. Tal sits with Peter while Andi heads for more popcorn. They chat and get to know each other a bit better. They actually get physically closer. You can see where this is headed, as she’s obviously trying to worm her way between the couple. Cutting to present day, Peter just wants to come clean and face their fate, whereas Andi’s beginning to wonder if that’s the right thing after all. And an argument starts splitting them apart, too.
Andi goes for a smoke alone outside, she winds up talking with Mark awhile. He tries to give her some of that enlightened-type advice. He parallels some of what Peter says about her, that she spends her time in a victim mentality. It’s partly true. Also partly clear that she’s strong, if she wasn’t she’d have cracked long ago. Will she take this “second chance” in all respects? Will she do what’s right, or what’s best for her?
She heads out to the woods with a shovel. There, she sees foot prints. Farther in she discovers Tal’s remains strung up from the streets, smiling its deathly grin. From behind, the killer in the parka attacks Andi. Simultaneously, Peter looks for her, wondering where she’s gone.
Andi wakes with her four limbs tied to posts. She screams for help. Nobody there but the killer, who cuts her throat open from each side as she gargles on her own blood, choking. Peter soon comes to find her bled out. Back at the retreat, everyone is shaken up by the news, they try to call out and get some help. Meanwhile, the friends are all stressed and full of fear. A message left on their wall, a warning.
Go back to five years ago. The friends argue before finishing Tal off, Dawn (Paula Brancati) leading the charge. Until Andi deals the finishing, nasty blow.
Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 11.45.34 AMScreen Shot 2017-10-17 at 11.49.55 AMWOW. I didn’t expect this good of an episode, honestly. I loved Season 1, more than a lot of people. Yet this opened so strong, so vicious, full of the good stuff. Lots of interesting characters, their various motivations, so on.
“Between Good and Evil” is next.

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 15: “Things Bad Begun”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 15: “Things Bad Begun”
Directed by Andrew Bernstein
Written by Jami O’Brien

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “El Matadero” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 finale, “Sleigh Ride” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 12.12.36 AMNick (Frank Dillane) has a shopping cart full of zombie heads. He’s cleaning the place up in front of the Bazaar. Why? He’s helping the man in the bar come up with more brain stem, y’know, for the local economy. And it helps their people fight harder, needing no sleep. But who are they fighting? Nick’s curious. Right now, he only cares about the cash.
There’s also Troy (Daniel Sharman) trying to fit in, trying to figure out what’s about to go down. He goes to find his buddy, telling him: “Your mothers in trouble, Nick.” Oh, shit.
Over at the dam, Madison (Kim Dickens) and Strand (Colman Domingo) talk, he tries convincing her of something bigger, better than right now. She wanted a future for her children, maybe grandchildren, a normal life again somehow. Only she’s there without her kids. Still, Strand believes they can make that life, if they want it bad enough. They even drink to it.
And elsewhere, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) is driving around with Diana (Edwina Findley Dickerson). Out of nowhere, they’re smashed into by another vehicle. They take on the men, not allowing them to steal any of their things. Alicia manages to get a gun, but lets the men live, a foolish move. Diana’s leg gets broken in the scuffle, so her new friend has got to try and help her out.
Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 12.22.30 AMDaniel (Rubén Blades) gets a visit from Walker (Michael Greyeyes), returning a cross necklace Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) had worn. The grieving father feels guilt over not having stopped his daughter’s death. He discovers Walker feels the same way, too, and he has no answers, nobody does. This is life in the post-zombie landscape, nothing is forever, nothing is for sure. Ever.
Deny Odysseusjourney and who the hell is Odysseus?”
Drinking together, Madison and Strand ruminate on the future of the world, the future of stories, how long until The Iliad and other classics are forgotten in this undead world. The conversation turns to murder. She admits having to kill, whereas Strand hasn’t had to do that quite yet. Not cold blooded murder.
At the dam, Nick arrives to fill his mother and others in on the plan at the Bazaar. There are boats, guns, all sorts of weaponry, equipment. Lola (Lisandra Tena) knows a “siege” is coming, a brutal one, Efrain (Jesse Borrego) fears their cruelty. However, everyone has ideas. Nobody wants to desert the place. If they stay, they must fight. On top of everything, Madison worries about Nick, his being back on drugs, and he keeps warning the people coming are worse than anything they’ve come across this far. In the meantime, Walker and Crazy Dog (Justin Rain) are heading their own way.
We also find out Strand made a deal with the Proctors. He’s supposed to let them in, to be able save people and let the Proctors have things easily, under Daniel’s nose. Now, the whole thing’s fucked up, and he wants Nick to take Madison, to leave. Simultaneously we see Daniel becoming suspicious, his behaviour feeling dangerous. He asks Nick questions, quickly figuring out he’s lying. This is making things a little scary. “This is not a way to grieve,” the young man pleads. Nevertheless, he sits for a longer talk with the old dude.
Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 12.41.32 AMPeople dont change. We just walk in circles.”
Setting explosives as a last resort, Troy talks to Madison about feeling fear for the first time in a long time, maybe ever, when he was with Nick at the Bazaar, when they had their wild night. She asks that he look out for her son, he needs somebody. I wouldn’t exactly put all my trust in him, though.
Locked in a room together, Daniel presses Nick for information, on how the horde wound up at the pantry bunker. He gets nothing. And this is starting to make the treacherous old bastard. He’s convinced someone caused the horde, in turn causing Ofelia’s death. Soon enough Nick lies, pinning it on Jake (Sam Underwood).
Daniel accepts his lie. For now.
Alicia gets Diana to a man with medical experience named Eddie (James Le Gros). She’s brought to a man in a wheelchair, none other than the infamous Proctor John (Ray McKinnon). The Proctors were a humble motorcycle club. At this point, they’re doing all they can in the this new world. Unfortunately, Proctor John’s got a growth on his spine, rendering his legs fucked up. The man wants Alicia to help Danny in the medical department, to go on to Texas with them. If they fail, they die. Great “incentive,” right?
Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 12.49.58 AMIn surgery, Eddie cuts Proctor John open, digging for the growth. Alicia talks to her patient, who won’t be put under, she tries keeping his mind busy, getting him chatting about his life. And he admires her “tough skin.”
Things aren’t well at the dam, not with Daniel paranoid and Strand scheming behind his back. Nick catches up to mom, telling her they need to leave, and then the truth about Troy comes out. The relationships deteriorate, as the last standing Otto rants about the ranch. Until Madison plants a ball peen hammer in the side of his head and busts his skull open in front of Nick who’s horrified. They leave his corpse to be swallowed in the likelihood of the explosion; you know it’ll come to that.
With the surgery complete, Proctor John is able to wiggle his toes. A sigh of relief around the room. No murder; today, anyway. At the same time, troops are moving for the dam – where Strand has pulled a gun on Lola and Daniel, the latter not believing anything will happen. The two men wrestle. Strand gets the gun under Daniel’s face and pulls the trigger, blowing a hole through his cheek.
Bigger things are going down – the Proctors have invaded the dam, shots are fired, everyone’s running or fighting or both. All out warfare commences. Strand finds Madison and Nick, stashing them away someplace safe. He takes the detonator, promising he’ll help. You can never tell with him.
Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 12.55.22 AMScreen Shot 2017-10-16 at 12.59.14 AMVisions of the Clark household at the holidays, Christmas music playing. The table’s set, the turkey’s being basted, everything is wonderful. A vision of festive happiness. It’s in the middle of the wasteland, and there’s no real happiness. Alicia’s dead, the Ottos are still dead. Nick has a child with Luciana (Danay Garcia), but they leave her behind, all alone.
What a great lead-up to the finale. “Sleigh Ride” – fittingly titled after this ending, is next. Giddy up.

Butter Your POPCORN With Metafiction & Revenge

Popcorn. 1991. Directed by Mark Herrier. Screenplay by Alan Ormsby, from a story by Mitchell Smith.
Starring Jill Schoelen, Tom Villard, Dee Wallace, Derek Rydall, Malcolm Danare, Elliott Hurst, Ivette Soler, Freddie Simpson, Kelly Jo Minter, Karen Lorre, Ray Walston, & Tony Roberts.
Movie Partners/Trans-Atlantic Pictures
Rated R. 91 minutes.

POPCORN1There many critics who’ll say the 1990s were a bad era for the horror genre. This isn’t true, whatsoever. Only if you’re a snob. There were plenty of good to awesome horrors throughout the ’90s, not simply Scream knockoffs and lame attempts at carrying on the ’80s aesthetic.
Popcorn, the only feature film directed by Mark Herrier whom many will know as Billy from Porky’s, is a unique bit of horror, and not only because of the decade during which it arrived. There’s definitely still a leftover 80s style, though it isn’t forced, it’s entirely natural. Above all, the film’s metafiction and sense of intertextuality with other horror movies, the genre itself, really sells the entire deal thematically.
But it isn’t only writing, because beneath it is a slasher film. A young woman named Maggie (Jill Schoelen) begins discovering there’s more to her family than mom (Dee Wallace) has told her, involving a mysterious film and its director, a cult figure in the ’70s film community named Lanyard Gates. And throughout Maggie’s quest to discover the truth she faces all types of blood, ripped off faces, a homicidal all-night horrorthon, among other insanity.

Come into my head

From mentions of Ingmar Bergman to the merits of Police Academy – precursor to those excellent bits of dialogue in a film class during Scream 2 years later – it’s obvious the theme of this film is cinema itself. Of course that’s made even clearer with the all-night horror show the students at the high school intend on putting off. Plus, the discovery of Possessor, a (fake) long lost film reel leads us to the dark, eerie history of an avant-garde director with ties to the town, as well as Dee Wallace’s character and her daughter Maggie. Film, film, at every turn.
We’re also given the pleasure of watching films within the film, during the horrorthon the students throw. This is great metafiction, playing as intertextuality with other cinema; made all the better because they’re not actual films. Instead they’re extra short films directed by Alan Ormsby before he was fired, replaced by Herrier. Layers upon layers for what, on the exterior, appears as just another slasher.
The main focus of Popcorn is obsession, specifically centred on film. And in this sense, film is a view into the mind. Concepts that come involve faces, as in identity, and film characters versus real people. Lanyard Gates and his deadly obsession, the killer’s own obsession, blurs the line between fiction and reality. The film’s slasher aspect plays into these thematic ideas, as the new killer operates through use of masks. He goes from one face to the next, making masks out of his victims; this plays back to Leatherface and Tobe Hooper, also in a sense creating film characters out of the victims within their little universe inside the film.
Even the killer calls to mind these themes, reminding us that the past – knowledge of it, as in our knowledge of other movies in the genre – is necessary to us for the future.

Without memory there can be no retribution

On the other end of the spectrum, Popcorn is a delightfully nasty slasher at times without any symbolism or deep themes. It’s a revenge film, at its core. A man whose life was irreparably changed, shape by film using the cover of an all-night film showing for his various acts of revenge; a William Castle-type screening gone terribly wrong.
We get perhaps the genre’s most gruesome kiss, as a skin mask tears off the killer revealing his deformed face underneath. Truly, an all-time great horror moment, and certainly top of the ’90s! You’d have expected this to have been used in a Texas Chainsaw movie with Leatherface. A gnarly image, of the best kind.
There’s a sort of surreal mood at times, particularly earlier on. Actually, a scene with Dee Wallace doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to me, yet it plays into the idea of fiction and reality blurring, so regardless it works. This helps to thrust us into the killer’s perspective, where horror crossed over from the screen into his life, scarring it and him forever. Aided by the killer speaking of his “soul” and “sustenance” as being his audience.
This leads us into the finale, an ironic sequence. A rear murder on stage, in place of a theatre screen, a precursor to the modern obsession with morbid videos, with the killer creating murderous reality in front of the audience rather than fiction while people cheer him on, not understanding it’s real. We get to a place where reality and fiction are indecipherable from one another; the theatre’s audience is the modern audience. It’s all one big surreal mix.
POPCORN4Popcorn finishes with dark irony. The killer is killed with a movie prop, a fake, flying insect which causes literal death, a smart end for the maniac. All the metafiction, the genre intertextuality rolls into one fitting death scene. Although the awful end credits rap is a bummer, just outright wretched garbage, this doesn’t take anything away from what followed.
It’s wild that this isn’t a more well known film. Lots of genre lovers have seen it, but it ought to be bigger. There’s a few missteps, a couple performances not up to par. Overall? A fun horror with equal amounts to think about and effects to enjoy. The bit of Dee Wallace we get, and Jill Schoelen, is fantastic, as usual.
This warrants a spot on any Halloween list or horror movie marathon. And what a title! Can’t be a coincidence. No matter what, you’ll find something to dig, whether it’s the killer’s face masks, the films within the film, the metafiction, the revenge; there’s plenty good stuff. Snatch up a copy this season.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tin Star – Season 1, Episode 4: “Jack”

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
Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 10.39.54 PMNorth 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.
Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 10.43.08 PMAngela: “Nobodys 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. “Ill 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.
Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 10.56.35 PM
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.
Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 11.09.16 PMWhen 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.
Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 11.24.27 PMScreen Shot 2017-09-29 at 11.28.50 PMWhat 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.

Tin Star – Season 1, Episode 3: “Comfort of Strangers”

Sky Atlantic’s Tin Star
Season 1, Episode 3: “Comfort of Strangers”
Directed by Alice Troughton
Written by Rowan Joffe

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Kid” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Jack” – click here
Pic 1Briefly, we witness Whitey (Oliver Coopersmith) beating someone’s head in with a rock. Just no telling who that someone is, not yet.
And so we jump back to the night before, with Chief Jim Worth (Tim Roth) falling down the bottle again after his sobriety. Can’t blame him, he’s had most his family taken from him brutally. Later he’s heading to look for Anna (Abigail Lawrie), only she’s not there. He also looks like he had a… rough night. Constable Nick McGillen (Ryan Kennedy) gets a punch in the nose for not knowing what’s happened.
Skip back to when Anna ran out into the road, where she found Whitey in his truck. They drive a while, he asks questions. She can’t reach her dad on the phone, then she wonders if her dad hasn’t slipped into his old habits, asking Whitey to drop her at a bar in town. However, he decides not to stop, which frightens her.
Pic 1AConstable Denise Minahik (Sarah Podemski) is trying to help the Chief, whereas Nick’s pissed, believing a two minute piss wasn’t long enough for anyone to take the girl. Nobody knows she left willingly. Neither, obviously, do they know where she was headed. Soon, though, dad finds the back way his daughter slipped outside. They check at the hospital, in case Anna went to see her mother Angela (Genevieve O’Reilly). But she isn’t there. We see more between husband and wife, that he’s like two husbands to her, a different man named “Jack” at times.
She’s in the truck with Whitey, who’s at least turned around and headed in the right direction. He takes her to the bar and lucky for everyone, he lets her out. Across the way are Frank Keane (Ian Puleston-Davies) and Johnny (Stephen Walters), keeping an eye on things. They’re still after that cigarette butt.
Inside the bar, Anna finds dad throwing back shots, she’s disgusted by the sight. Rather than talk to him she leaves him be to wallow. Later that day, Jim finishes talking to his wife, then Denise asks him about the previous night, him being at the bar, texts from Anna. He gets flashes of what might’ve happened.
Then we go back a few hours. 5 AM, after drinking, sex with a woman on the rez, a bit of blow. He remembers nothing. The woman is Jaclyn Letendre (Michelle Thrush), she’d asked him for help last night, which he doesn’t remember either. Worse still, a couple of the men from the rez walk in to find him there. Doesn’t sit well. Nothing serious happens, he’s just dropped off outside the reserve. That’s how he ended up with no shoes before getting back in the morning, looking haggard.
Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 10.42.45 PMAll this comes back to Jim by 8 AM. We cut back to just past 2 AM. Out of the bar storms Anna, worried for her dad. She talks more with Whitey. They bond over alcoholic parents: “We cant trust them.” Afterwards, they’re in the truck again, as Frank and his lads follow close behind. Christ, this is tense, no?
In the morning, she’s still missing. Jim’s answering what little he can about his wild night out while trying to corral help for the search. At least Denise has his back, much as she can, understanding well enough that he’s experienced a brutal tragedy, only natural he’d be a bit off. She simply doesn’t understand exactly how far off the man is, or can get, or WILL get eventually.
Anna: “Why should I be the only one who isnt in a fucking coma?”
Back earlier in the truck, Whitey talks more of his alcoholic mother, she’s in a home, taken care of well, so he says. Hard to tell what’s a lie and what isn’t with this fella. Looks like they’re headed out in the woods someplace. Anna gets a bit sick, so they pull over. She gets out for a walk and they head into the darkness of the trees beyond.
Speaking of the woods, in the light of day Chief Worth and the police are looking for volunteers to help search for his missing daughter. The oil workers don’t care; Randy (Lynda Boyd) offers to help round up some people. This gets Elizabeth Bradshaw (Christina Hendricks) involved. Although she gets resistance from the eerie Louis Gagnon (Christopher Heyerdahl) who’s only concerned with business. “Anything else is a complication,” he tells her.
Whitey and Anna end up out on a walk until morning. They go out onto a dam by the river, laughing, running around together. Sadly she has no idea the guy she’s with killed her little brother, nearly her mother, too. One of those Greek tragedy-style moments.
Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 10.57.13 PMLater, Denise has to school the new Chief on “respect” and “history” re: the Elders on the rez, who come down to block off the bridge onto their land. Denise goes to talk with them; her estranged father is Jacob (Ray G. Thunderchild), Chief Minahik of the Musqwa tribe. They shame his character by bringing out Jaclyn, in front of everyone. They’ve also got his gun, looks fucking BAD.
Note: As a non-Native, I can’t comment on the authenticity of anything. What I’d like to note is that I find the dichotomy of the word “Chief” in this context, as Jacob laments his daughter’s lost touch with their culture in a way, so he believes, and calls this alcoholic, drug addled man Chief instead. Found that compelling. Hope to see more of the people on the reserve, as well as Denise.
Out at the dam, Whitey and Anna keep talking. She reveals a rather cynical perspective on life. Whitey doesn’t end up hurting her, he pretends to accidentally knock her bag into the water, along with the cig butt. Simultaneously, Frank and the lads are off in the distance with a sniper rifle aimed towards the girl. Whitey actually tries keeping her from jumping to her death. Then, in the background, police sirens.
As they come, Anna slips, and Whitey grabs her back from the fall. Jim rushes in to find his daughter safe, though she’s pissed. And again, Whitey tries avoiding eye contact, he doesn’t want the man to see him. There’s something there, more mysterious than a criminal trying to stay out of the cop’s eye. Doesn’t help that it all ends up on the front page of the local newspaper.
Oh, that rock from the beginning? It was beating Johnny’s head in. Bye, bye.
Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 11.07.02 PMScreen Shot 2017-09-24 at 11.07.28 PMThis was a wild episode, pulling another trick like the first one. Switching the tension on from the start, letting us sweat. Until revealing it all in the end. Great storytelling so far, interesting characters that keep me wanting more after each episode is done.
“Jack” is next. We’ll find out more about that second persona hiding in Jim.