Eleven days ago – John Weir makes some fatalistic plans with his team…
Now: After the debacle at the party, John Weir and his newer ‘team’ are lying low, but it seems that Crowley’s forces are in hot pursuit and somehow seem to be tracking them wherever they go. Barely escaping again, Weir believes he should reach out to his ‘old’ team whom the authorities believe died in the office explosion. But Weir knows that the explosion was all part of their cover-plan, a self-protecting Plan B.
Ben is already dubious of involving more people in their circle than necessary and frets about who can really be trusted. However it turns out that he has another reason for wanting John to stay close to home… because Ben has already made one fateful mistake that could ruin everything…
The latest episode, TOM, is very much a cat and mouse game, essentially dividing its time between what’s happening right now and what happened before to get there. And, as always, it’s not always what you think.
One of the primal parts of Rabbit Hole is its editing. Flashbacks etc can be a great dramatic device in a series, but sometimes they are used merely to confuse or answer questions. Here, it’s more complex but more satisfying – they are moments of revelation and connective tissue that peel back another slice of the onion, not answering but clarifying and the transitions are used well to connect the present and the past and actually feel like they mean something. It helps solidify the way in which John Weir’s mind works – searching for patterns and correlations. However, the flip-side are the few occasions when the editing feels like important material is missing, possibly snipped away for running-time. For example: when the team escape their pursuers at the safehouse we literally cut from a smoke-filled room with gunfire to them driving away with time having passed and a line of dialogue explaining how they did so. That completely lifts you out of the moment.
As always with this show, there are some surprises along the way. Yes, that new, mysterious figure in that anonymous office is indeed Peter Weir (RoboCop) but there’s no clues whether he is Crowley or just another player, though the surname connection to Kiefer’s character is fun, if likely to complicate writing reviews going forward. The only thing that didn’t come as a real surprise was that JOHN Weir’s team are, indeed, dead… no more, ceased to be and part of the data-analysts invisible. A lot of time was spent showing how they were carefully faking their own demise – though even with very impressive micro-managing of the details down to a DNA level, I’m not sure how you blow up a building and guarantee a lack of innocent casualties on the street below. But it was so much time and this is a show about swerves that it was obvious something wasn’t going to go to plan. There’d been no sign of them since the explosion, so it was always likely that the duplicitous mole in their midst, The Intern’, had somehow fouled it up.
Even for a show like this, there are a few inconsistencies or at least unlikely elements in the mix, both involving cell-phones. Agent Madi’s finally discovers where the real bodies of John Weir’s team – Jorja Cadence’s Cara, Ishan Davé’s Hafiz and Jed Ree’s Larter (and not their fake cadavers) are – dumped in the deep elevator shaft by The Intern (Walt Klink). One would note that they’d always be found eventually, but Madi (Enid Graham) does so by buzzing Cara’s cell-phone which is unlikely to have been left on her or working (though one could suggest The Intern was working under pressure and didn’t have time to check before the building unexpectedly went BOOM!). But the other cell-phone example is less easy to explain. When we (and John) find out that Ben/his father was the last person to call Valence, it’s because John finally checks a number on the call-sheet that rings Ben’s number. Given Ben is usually as paranoid/careful as his son, it feels highly unlikely he’d have left that thread dangling. Away from the cellular aspects, Agent Madi’s visit to John’s ex Olivia (Alexandra Castillo) when she connects Cara’s purchase of high-quality wine to Olivia’s choice of beverage, seems to have a more relaxed environment than it really should – this is the ex-wife of a person who is supposed to be the most wanted fugitive in New York (and beyond) and yet her domestic day-drinking home feels too casual given recent events. The show’s biggest flaw thus far is that neither Ben nor Crowley know John has a family – something he’s never really tried to hide from anyone else.
That it was Charles Dance’s Ben, however well-intentioned or pragmatic – your mileage may vary, that screwed up his own plan by going after The Intern/Kyle (and thus alerting him to something hokey going on), works well as a narrative device to plant yet more seeds of distrust on our ‘heroes’ side. Distrusting everyone else (and encouraging others to do the same), until now unable to admit his own mistakes and acknowledge the wider cost, Dance is actually one of the show’s MVPs – the veteran actor able to play the paranoia, the drive and the moments of dry humour that make the entire show worth watching.
Some one-liners aside, it’s Rob Yang’s Homm that is becoming the main light relief. Unable to see the obvious – his wife is cheating on him – in last week’s episode, here he’s the one member of the team that doesn’t defend themselves from the assault team’s flash-bang and therefore spends several scenes with his ears ringing, vainly asking what’s going on, who said what and why things are happening. Even Ben notes that it’s ironic that the first thing Homm starts to hear clearly is Ben commenting he could lose an arm after being clipped by a bullet. (“Oh, NOW you can hear me???“)
For a series that’s only eight episodes long, it’s pretty clear we’re NOT going to get many things wrapped up before season’s end. The latest update to the conspiracy is that the America SOS Committee (a political organisation) is making large donations to a certain Senator Norah Evers of New Jersey and John thinks Crowley may own the company. But even if some questions are being answered, they merely raise new ones. So it might be a case of enjoying the journey more than the destination and judging it all accordingly…
- Production Design / VFX8