Mari (Alexa Barajas) and Misty (Sammi Hanratty) assist Lottie (Courtney Eaton) in urinating to troubling results. Shauna’s one kick to the back had enough force to bullseye the kidney. She is a soccer player, after all. Mari doesn’t seem to grasp or care about the severity of Lottie’s state, but her breaking down crying tells me that there’s a soupçon of guilt attached to Lottie’s state, as mind harks back to the beating along with the Queen of Hearts chore card. I’d wager to say anything with the eyes crossed out can’t be a prophecy of untold riches.
What if the theories are correct and Mari is stacking the deck in her favor? What if they found out? Nobody is safe, not even Akilah (Nia Sondaya), who’s placed what waning sanity she had left in what turns out to be a desiccated rodent husk, rightfully freaking the crap out of Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and all present.
Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) informs her girls of the news. At this moment, only Taissa (Tawny Cypress), Natalie (Juliette Lewis), and Misty (Christina Ricci) are privy to what’s truly at stake, but for Shauna, her nuclear family takes precedence over her sisters-in-arms. Van’s (Lauren Ambrose) hunger for answers is only sated by a plate of the cold, hard truth: Jeff knows.
Lisa (Nicole Maines) and a few acolytes wander by as the girls grow accusatory, forcing Lottie (Simone Kessell) to move the dispute to more intimate environs. Van’s leery of it all, not least of which, the one person she thought she knew best.
Gen (Mya Lowe) and Melissa (Jenna Burgess) have also grown side eyes when Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) aids in Lottie’s recovery. Though Van (Liv Hewson) knows how important Lottie is, Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) seems to think her passing wouldn’t be the worst thing. Ben (Steven Krueger) agrees. She fears Lottie’s obtained too much sway over the cabin, Javi included, having caught him bowing to a glyph tree.
With Akilah not yet able to consume her friend and the belt soup (not a typo) looking dire, Mari once again hears the dripping and what’s more, Taissa now hears it. Mari is led to hysterics, seeing thick, syrupy blood seep through the only wall in the house harboring sharp instruments. It’s an illusion. Van chalks it up to being famished, but the appetite for what is the operative question.
Back in town, Detectives Kevyn (Alex Wyndham) and Matt (John Reynolds) are at the threshold of the Sadecki domicile, search warrant in hand. Callie (Sarah Desjardins) covers her own, recording Matt, slinging accusations, but the guy doesn’t seem flappable. Kevyn’s attempt at cracking Jeff (Warren Kole) isn’t moving fast enough, so Matt turns up the heat with photographs of Adam’s corpse. Pictures of limbs severed with surgical precision and cold-blooded intent. We’re officially wading into “I want a lawyer” territory so… mission accomplished? I mean the seed of doubt was planted. All it has to do is take up root.
In the Sharing Shack, Shauna reminds her teammates that no stone will be thrown in this glass house. All those accounted for have reasons placing them in the current predicament. Misty stirs the stewing, revealing Tai hired Jessica Roberts to tail them lest they spill the beans for the right cash. She’s out of the picture. Is Misty in the clutch once again? Her team doesn’t seem to think so, growing censorious of her. The verbal game of juggling goes back and forth before Randy’s name-dropping of Jeff during an “FBI” investigation raises only one flag and it’s looking mighty yellow.
A romantic evening for Walter (Elijah Wood) and his colossal jigsaw puzzle is interrupted and congratulations are in order for him at the Bureau of Citizen Detectives forum. Somebody’s posted the breaking news of Adam’s remains. He springs into action, contacting the Wiskayok PD before heading off for Misty. What was in that email? I’d hedge my bets on “two truths and a lie”.
That night, Jeff is rattled by a bad dream of his beloved transforming from a pensive lover to a literal killing machine. Along with Misty’s dream sequence, the surrealism in this season is giving me serious Twin Peaks vibes. Downstairs, Callie’s nursing a beer, wrought to the core at the prospect of being a waking nightmare, like her mother. It’s time for Jeff to open up the storybook on a tale of a new mother and the devastation to follow.
Travis (Kevin Alves) initiates an apology to Natalie. At this stage, there’s no sustenance in harboring grudges. Misty is reminded of this when Lottie requests her consumption. She’s good with the circle of life remaining unbroken in their alpine ecosystem until help arrives. Finding this unacceptable, Taissa rallies the team around a more unbiased, sterile mode of selection; something that won’t break the orchestral chaos of Nature itself.
Presently, the game of hot potato is rekindled when Shauna asserts all would have done the same, especially Misty or Taissa. Shauna’s got nowhere to run though, admitting to generating bigger fires when attempting to snuff them out. She doesn’t mince words admitting she would’ve killed the blackmailer had it been anybody else. Natalie’s desire to further pull the skin back on honesty is only shot down. Lottie now knows the truth lies not in therapy. With something bigger at play, she shows her metaphorical hand by sharing her story.
This force uniting them requires something. Lottie’s seen this in her visions of the cabin offering one of them for her, an arbitration exercised through the chore deck. Momentary sighs of relief fill the cabin before one sudden gasp sucks the air right out of it. Natalie’s pulled the Queen Is Dead card and Jackie’s necklace is bestowed unto her before Shauna can proceed to slit her throat from behind. I mean, come on! A true friend will stab you in the front. With tension at its zenith, Travis tackles Shauna, leaving Nat mere seconds to escape. “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” begins its drone as if it were a war cry. The hunt is on.
Now, grown Lottie acknowledges fucked up shit transpired, but is convinced this spirit in the woods that resides in all of them requires payment. Settling the bill according to Lottie can be achieved through self-sacrifice without prejudice: a one-in-six chance of painless death. She knows living’s not a carnival, just a sad circus. According to her, “it chooses” and even with a reshuffle of the proverbial deck, something will be fed. It’s a system they all were architects of. It’s the yardstick by which they have thus far survived.
Armed with a portable map, modified crutches, and a mind-seared picture of Javi’s sketch, Ben finds Javi’s ‘friend’. He notices steam rising from the ancient trunk before uncovering an entre. Proceeding in, what lay before him is Javi’s former palace, with enough room for a cozy little fire and, oh I don’t know, an Uruguayan rugby team?
Javi (Luciano Leroux) grabs Nat, leading her to his hideout as Taissa tunes in to her surroundings to locate the escaped sacrifice. The only problem is that though the girls chose by probability, Nature operates on the principle of chaos. There is poetry to Natalie having extended life slip through her fingertips through a hole in the ice not once but twice. This time she notices and does not fight it. None of them do. They just “give in” to instinct, becoming one with the Wilderness, accepting its gorgeous cruelty. A Bob Ross masterpiece this shit show surely ain’t.
As a setup kick to the finale and its ultimate goal, this episode gave only to take away. Much like in The Wilderness, the balance of the plot relied on mankind’s folly of emotion for another. To their environs, there is zero difference between Javi and the elk. Though as the watcher, it was yet another tragedy bummer, I was also accepting. This is a great example of the audience’s interaction with the program. We feel as if we were right by their side, holding their hand and having their six, if only through the TV screen. That level of engagement is truly lightning in a bottle.
I feel next episode, Coach Ben’s story will come to an end. I totally buy him jumping at the opportunity to save lives if the added bonus was the risk of death, the sole, but heroic secret he could go to the grave with. If this is the intention, the poetic use of irony isn’t going unnoticed.
As for the mammoth tree trunk, I’m going to throw my hat into the Conspiracy Ring and say that due to the size and living ‘characteristics’ of this trunk, this is Nature in some form. It can hear and see all. If the smaller trees possibly represent her children, how many are there in the end? Is the Wilderness trying to both rid the invaders and save them? Did they disturb some very sacred and special piece of land?
Speaking of theories, we do find a harkening back to the Pilot, with vague glimpses as to who the “pit girl” may be and who it surely isn’t. My call is the season finale only welcomes more death. Javi’s countenance around the cabin lent a ‘warmer’ atmosphere for a few episodes, but his presence didn’t feel natural to me. This is smart, as we’re being more enveloped in the biggest character of the entire series, the great outdoors itself.
All I can say heading into the season finale is I’m beginning to think “I hear the wilderness and it hears me.”