Apologies for the delay. I came down with a headache that had aspirations of being a migraine and my entire left arm seized up. It was fun!
But after a break of a week to let us recharge, we’re diving into the final three episodes of the season and things are getting serious. Er. Seriouser. More serious.
It’s intense y’all.
Sally Anne is looking for a job, or many jobs, hoping Hasil can stop fighting once they have a safer source of income. The problem Sally Anne mostly has is that Wade has sort of run Hasil out of town. The risk he’ll be seen by a cop and arrested is too great. Hasil doesn’t entirely disagree with her but he doesn’t hate the fighting so he’s easily swayed later on when he tries to tell Butch he’s quitting.
Butch’s speech to turn him around touches honestly on both Butch’s needs and those of the soon to be Sasil+1’s because Butch is a pretty great person.
Later, Sally Anne comes back from an interview that didn’t go quite as well as she had hoped and learns Hasil is out fighting. She calls Frida and they turn up at the fight club which has gone all legit now, with a real fight space, lights and a much more professional vibe. Hey, maybe Hasil can be a UFC fighter?
Sally Anne tries to shut down the fighting, but Hasil puts his foot down that it’s all he can do so he’ll do it, until they don’t have to any more. Sally Anne, because she’s SO great, just accepts this and zeroes in on Butch. She declares he can’t sell any weed and he has to pay people to guard all the doors against approaching cops, so Hasil will always have a clear shot at escape. They negotiate and agree Butch won’t sell weed at fights but Butch and Hasil have to split the cost of paying the guards out of their mutual shares.
Frida is just loving this by the way, standing nearby delighted with it all and making Butch agree, because Frida is literally, the best.
The fight goes on, and Hasil’s opponent is a deadly combination of huge, but fast and skilled. The fight is more evenly balanced than Hasil usually has to deal with, so he’s holding his own but it’s not clear who might win. When he gets tossed into the wall near Sally Anne she tells him, for the very first time, you guys, that she loves him.
Like Popeye getting his spinach, Hasil super charges and gets back out. He and the other guy beat the living hell out of each other, and Hasil is finally able to get the man on his back, and pound all the bones of his face into meat.
The crowd erupts and Hasil runs back to tell Sally Anne he loves her, too. When he throws up his three fingered hand in that Big Foster made salute he’s got, the crowd copies him.
Okay, just a note, I will lose my damn fool mind if Hasil ends up swaying the fight club crowd to the Farrell cause and they rush in to war to back up the clan one day. I would love it so much.
Wade visits the doctor with Ledda to find out that her tumour has halved in size and is still shrinking. He, like me, is the kind of person that just needs to know how, while Ledda is still calling it God’s Plan.
Later he’s called to Haylie’s hotel where her absence, unlocked car and abandoned shoe have been noticed. He speaks to a few people, and the barman talks about Haylie’s night with Gordon and gives a sketch of the beardy hippie.
Before he can check further Wade has, as second date with the lovely Dana, dinner at his place. He allows himself a beer, just one, which is kind of huge progress for him and he knows it, which is sweet. He’s a terrible, awful cook and they wind up ordering pizza and making out on the couch, then doing much, much more back in the bedroom.
Get it on, Wade.
The next morning he’s back at Ledda’s and hilariously 10000000000000% more relaxed than we have ever, ever seen him. The family knooows he had a good time and tease him adorably. While the kids pile into the car, Wade talks to Ledda about Gordon and Haylie and to her credit, Ledda immediately gives the sexy beardy tree hugger right up.
Wade pulls him in and Gordon is totally forward about meeting at her office, and the hotel, and spending the night with Haylie. But he has an alibi for the night she vanished and is genuinely concerned for her. Wade notes that Gordon is working his way through the female population of Blackburg and quietly warns him to watch that behaviour, and to stay away from vulnerable people. Widows and the like.
Wade turns him loose and Matt, acting like he gives a shit, turns up to ask what’s going on. Wade is shutting him out of the definitely criminal case Matt can’t get involved in, which HA, SUCK IT MATT! He does mention Gordon was in Haylie’s office. Matt scampers off, goblin-like.
Later at night Gordon returns home to his RV, which I just noticed is near train yards. Like the one where Asa died?
Gordon is called ‘David’ by some man in black type and responds to it, but then he’s tazered and bundled into a very government issue looking black SUV.
I’m telling you, this dude’s an undercover Fed who’s gone rogue.
Wade gets home that night and Ledda has ‘champagne’ to celebrate her recovery, which they haven’t done yet. His is actually sparkling cider so he mentions how he had one beer and it was ‘alright’, and Ledda is as pleased as he is.
Anyway, he tells Ledda about Gordon and she confirms that yes, it was him in the shower. She’s relieved he’s off the hook. Wade asks what Breece would make of her one time fling, and she admits Breece would probably expect her to be a sad, mopey widow forever. She figures you can’t just … stop.
Wade tells her he’s glad she’ll be sticking around.
Guys … my heart. These two.
Up the hill, Lil Foster is burning his tent, and he and lovely cousin Deborah are off to find somewhere new to live.
Haylie is being hauled up the mountain by Big Foster. She makes a few valiant escape attempts, clubbing him in the head with a log at one point. God, I love this woman. Phoelia, spirit of the mountain, watches from the trees.
In the Farrell meeting house (the barn) she’s offered water the Farrells know is poison, and after feebly trying to introduce herself –- and breaking the news she doesn’t ‘lead’ the coal company — she innocently reaches for the glass.
Gwen stops her at once, to the chagrin of the gathered clan. Gwen explains Haylie wouldn’t try and drink the water if she knew it was toxic and reminds the clan, to let Haylie drink and be poisoned would make them just as evil. She takes Haylie on a picturesque walking tour of the village and you guys, I want to live there.
Haylie watches a girl expertly play a fiddle as she’s given new, handmade shoes . She’s shown the Farrell at work; they mend clothes on outdoor looms, craft candles, bake bread in stone ovens, and gather wood and flowers. Everyone is calm and happy. Carefree children run and play everywhere and everyone eats fresh picked fruit. The whole thing is bathed in low evening sunlight, and it’s just a dream.
She’s shown a school where the children learn the Old Tongue, what I’ve been calling Pidgin Gaelic. I think now it’s a mashup of Gaelic, Scots and Welsh. The children do learn to read but the Farrell use symbols, as opposed to letters like we do.
The school is breathtaking and Haylie is naturally moved. She asks for her phone back to take pictures, as she’ll have no signal anyway.
Gwen allows it and Phillup is SO excited to see the picture. Guys, my heart. I love him so. Gwen has to act like she’s not super impressed by the picture either. Oh man, this scene is wonderful.
The tour continues, taking a much darker turn. Haylie gets a nose full of the stinking, poisoned creek, and is shown the dead fields of crop-dusted corn. She reverts to PR mode and tries to talk down the idea it was the coal company. You can see the wheels turning behind her eyes as she figures out what her people have done.
Finally, Gwen shows her the grieving circle. Poor dead little Silas.
His mother and other women sit in a circle, praying, crying, blowing the blooms off dandelions as if to symbolise his soul’s passing. Gwen explains Silas was eight and Haylie is horrified. Silas’ mother, Ela, spots her and rushes over. She slaps Haylie hard and rages, but Gwen sweeps the heartbroken mother up in a hug, and has Haylie hauled off to The Box.
While Haylie sits and stews, Big Foster has taken Gwen to Lil Foster’s burned out camp. He … ugh, so, so creepily paws all over her growing tummy and murmurs about who the father is and excuse me while I peel off literally all of my skin until I feel clean.
She confirms it’s pretty much definitely Lil Foster’s kid, but asserts like she did with Emily that really it’s hers. Big Foster reminds her they’re still technically married and awkwardly offers to step up and be the father if she needs him to be. She talks down any claim of rights to the kids he thinks he has, motioning to his son’s burned out camp, and suggesting he figure out how to father the kids he has before he tries to claim any more.
There’s a moment when he’s asking about the father when he mentions Asa. It’s a forlorn little question now we know if he was asking if he had anything left of his estranged and now dead son.
Man, I miss Asa.
In The Box, Haylie buys a bowl of huge blackberries off a pair of Farrell kids, exchanging her watch for them.
When the dark comes, so do the Farrell, the same crowd who earlier were calling for Gwen to make her drink the water. They have torches and the mob rage, and it’s genuinely terrifying because they could do anything to her.
They restrain Haylie within the cage while she shrieks in horror. Ela climbs to the top and pours a jug of poisoned water over Haylie’s head and held open mouth.
Haylie screams and screams and it continues to be awful, but Gwen appears and calls them off. They go reluctantly and Gwen apologises to the shivering Haylie, swearing it’s not ‘their way’ to act like that.
I am suspicious this was all a big setup, and I wouldn’t put it past Gwen to have had some hand in the whole terrifying scene. Hmm.
She breaks out a jug of Farrell Wine and drinks, telling Haylie it’s the Farrell way of sorting things out. Uuuuh Gwen, your baby? Pretty sure that’s like drinking the Water of Life from Dune and your baby will be born with the full powers of the Bren’in. Or something.
Haylie samples the wine, and hilariously comments how smooth it is. Just a reminder, Farrell Wine is hallucinogenic as hell.
Later Haylie is tipsy and shows Gwen pictures of her son on her phone. She explains her job moves her around, so when she and her husband divorced she gave him custody and barely sees the kids. Gwen can’t understand why she’d live her life that way. Haylie sadly tells Gwen she can’t beat the coal people but Gwen isn’t worried. She explains the Farrell have survived two centuries of war, famine, cold, plague and coal people. They’re not going anywhere.
She leaves, leaving Haylie the jug of wine.
Haylie goes ham on it and before long, she’s high as a motherfucker and watching the moon change sizes and having a great old time. Making the best of it, basically.
But then a dark, shrouded figure approaches and releases her. Tripping, everything around her hazy and smudged, Haylie wanders and hallucinates. She follows the dark figure as she’s led back to the village school, watches as the children are coated in crop duster poison. She thinks she sees a helicopter, but then she’s alone again. She hears her son calling for her and finds him drowning in the creek. He sinks before she can save him but then … she’s alone again. She sees the shrouded figure and tears off the hood. It’s … herself!
How Skywalker of her.
At dawn, Lil Foster is showing cousin Deborah a patch of land on a hill that looks like his sketch from the prison. He plans to build a house there and just live in isolation. Or with Deborah … she’s up for it and offers to start a family and manages to reveal Gwen’s pregnancy. Lil Foster’s face falls. This changes everything, it seems.
Haylie wakes in an unspeakably beautiful field of wildflowers, bathed in morning sunlight. I’m going to go and be a Farrell, screw it. Butterflies, a symbol Phoelia, spirit of the mountain, is nearby flutter around her head.
She sits up and she’s out of the Box and somehow just feet away from the (impossible) fence, and basically back home. Two guards are calling to her and she runs to them, but not before gathering what has been left for her by the Farrell; two jugs, one filled with brackish poison water, the other clear.
I loved every second of that. The whole episode was gorgeous and beautifully directed. It looked like they used natural or firelight in nearly every scene up the mountain and the effect was wonderful.
Wade is growing every day into a better and better man. I didn’t love seeing him seem to backslide but they’ve proved me wrong. It’s pretty delightful, too, how the attentions of a beautiful, intelligent woman have such an effect on him. This whole time he’s just been so wound up and you have to think a lot of that is loneliness. He is already a loner but this is the first time they’ve hinted at the fact he’s been very romantically isolated as well as … not really appearing to have any friends or social company, outside of the sister he constantly fights with.
I’m glad for him.
Gordon’s abduction is super curious. I’m definitely back to my theory he’s an undercover fed or cop who’s gone adrift. I wonder if it’s Wade running his … prints or ID that has drawn these spook-seeming guys to Blackburg. Funny enough, during season 1, I had a working theory Asa could have been recruited as a spook during his ten years away, but obviously that never panned out. Just funny, is all.
As for Haylie … I talked about the Farrell’s timing either being perfect or terrible. But it’s worked out brilliantly. Just as she’s realising Matt and One Planet are not her friends, she’s confronted with how sinister and evil they actually are. For all Haylie has been a corporate ghoul, she’s never been evil. When the angry miners abducted and beat Hasil in season 1, she immediately set him free and gave him money. Yes, it was to get out of trouble, but she genuinely never wanted them to harm him.
Haylie is a woman doing her job, an ugly one, but she doesn’t seem to want to hurt people, really. That said … this is Haylie. I’m really curious to see where she takes this, because I wouldn’t put it past her, or even blame her, if she still throws in with the coal people. I do think she’s had a sincere change of heart; we’ll see. I’d love it if even now she still tries to flatten the mountain. It would just be so Haylie.
Only three episodes left of this season! GedGedYah!