We get to the second half of the season and wow is it grim. Whereas last week had the big revelation as to what effectively ended the world, this week takes a step back, with a look at the side characters involved and a grave new threat to the Fisher siblings.
In the fifth episode, we see a bunch of side character backstory seeing a surprising ex-romance between actresses Grace (Amber Rose Revah) and Aelita (Charlotte Riley). It’s a moment that’s equal parts flashback and exposition. The purpose of which serves as an explanation of how implants can influence the behavior of a character, resulting in rather explosive conclusions, as viewers will find out.
This episode introduces Bob the Butcher O’Connel (Ned Dennehy) mostly as a means throw in conflict. He’s a type of sneaky assassin for hire who’s seemingly the new hired gun for the powers that want to kill the Fisher family. This story arc is the best thing for the show in terms of the action and gets us back to what I think drew in most people initially: heart pounding thrills and a surprisingly large amount of gunplay. While it’s not an entirely different angle from what we’ve seen in the past, seeing Bob be a terminator-like assassin (I mean, how else could you survive multiple shotgun wounds?) was rather compelling.
I’ll also just sidebar and admit seeing Amber Rose Revah (Punisher), Aelita (Peaky Blinders), and Ned Dennehy (Good Omens) in a series together, where each actor all had rather important side roles, was very pleasant to watch. Amazon really knows how to utilize their talent pool but I do worry that by spreading their plot lines too thin it’s getting to be too much for the show.
Why I stress this is because both Jasper and Tommy’s storylines seem almost as equally weighted as this strange Bob sidebar. That’s a problem that’s run-on for two episodes now and it’s seeming like they’re more bumps in the road than anything of substance that needs more time to actually build conflict. It’s almost as if Jasper and Tommy arcs were artificially put in to be there for the sake of keeping secrets to artificially create tension and it’s showing itself pretty obviously now.
First, with Tommy’s butting-in to discover what actually happened regarding what Fisher’s are actually up to given the signs of the military feud in the forrest and ‘close encounters’ Tommy seems to just conveniently keep missing. While on the opposite end, you then have Billy Ann’s knowledge about what’s going on while keeping it a secret from Jasper, her husband.
Both of which are arcs about secrets though neither of which… feels all that interesting because both are dragging out a few episodes in now. It’s definitely here for the sake of driving tension but I think this might be the first time it’s so blatantly evident in the series. Which kind of ruins the immersion as I’m not longer watching, I’m sort of just fast forwarding through these hurdles to get to the plot points. Moments which are rather shallow in this episode as honestly, not much happens, the sciencey bits are best in the first 15 minutes, and the confrontations, while enjoyable, ultimately still hold little stakes.
Still, ultimately, the assassination attempts and Sheriff’s department arcs seem to be driving a wedge between Flynn and Wilf, which is strange, because Flynn apparently has feelings for someone she haptic connected to… just once. To make matters worse, is how future-persons are interfering even more in the past, all causing a series of events leading to a premature encounter between Flynn and Doctor Cherise finally meeting face-to-face.
Whereas last week was possibly the best episode of the series, this episode may be the worst. As it’s pretty cliche in terms of everything that led up to the big encounter that the series was building up to and oddly, though I hate asking for things like this, I think what the show needs is a death or sense of defeat right now because there’s not much reminding us what’s a stake. I should also stress, the science fiction elements were also pretty tame this time around which is why I found it less enjoyable. Hopefully next week provides for a better episode.