Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer Travel Through TV: Blackpool 1.04

“I’m already making it right. With my family. You made me realize that’s where I should be looking for happiness, not from some sneaky affair in a hotel bedroom with a man who tells ten lies before breakfast. So in a way, in the end, you did do me a favor.”

The fourth episode of “Blackpool” was rather workmanlike. It was clearly a bridge between the world that was established in the first three episodes and the endgame we’re going to see in the next two. There was a lot more of the same-old in the sense that the Holden family keeps being angsty about their various issues. We did, however, start to learn more about what actually happened to Mike Hooley, and Steve too. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Holdens are all pretty terrible people. I’m not really rooting for any of them, because they’re all ridiculous and hurt the people around them. Danny’s probably the least horrible of the bunch, but he deals drugs, so that’s not exactly saying much. I am firmly on Team Carlisle and Blythe. I want those coppers to take the scheming, selfish Holdens down! If I recall correctly (and I honestly don’t remember much about how this all ends…I last watched it about five years ago, I think), that isn’t exactly how this all plays out, but a girl can dream.

This episode pretty much picks up right where the last one left off. Danny has confessed to the murder of Mike Hooley, and he is in the process of being booked. Natalie is on her way, though, and when she arrives at the precinct, Carlisle quickly hustles her into another room. He assures her that he is going to let Danny go. Danny may have confessed, but the details in his confession don’t match up with the forensics and the other interviews he and Blythe have done. Natalie is still, understandably, really pissed off at Carlisle, though. She is mostly upset about all the lying. In a later conversation between the two of them, Natalie expresses her frustration with how she only has half the story, while he has the whole story. She feels like she can never really trust him, because he’s the only one who truly knows his motivations for having started the relationship and for continuing it. Natalie is done with their relationship, although Carlisle begs her to stay, saying he “needs” her. Really, though, I don’t know what he expected – he’s been telling quite a huge lie for the entire time they’ve known each other.

Shyanne is being a complete brat in this episode. Early in the episode, she and Ripley have a huge fight where he accuses her of being ungrateful for everything he has provided over the years. He ends up throwing a vase at her and breaking a window in the door to their house. Ripley is a horrible human being, and he never should have gotten aggressive with Shyanne, but Shyanne most definitely is ungrateful. She’s just kind of miserable, really. It’s pretty clear, though, that Ripley is continuing to crack. Ripley then pays a visit to Steve in the hospital and hands him an envelope of cash. Ripley is convinced that Shyanne will never let up until the culprit of the attack on Steve is found. Meanwhile, though, he really, really wants Steve to stay away from Shyanne, and he’s hoping the money will make that happen.

Carlisle, for his part, isn’t taking the break-up with Natalie especially well. He tells Blythe that he wants to watch all the security video again and talk with local taxi drivers to verify Ripley’s alibi. He is basically going after Ripley with new gusto, I guess because he sees Ripley as his obstacle to Natalie. Which isn’t really true. Lying was his major obstacle to Natalie. The first step in the reinvigorated investigation is to re-interview Mike Hooley’s friend who first identified him. This friend is shown security footage of the fight outside the club called Romeo’s, and the friend says that the reason they were all fighting was because Mike had been hitting his fiancée, and his friends had had enough of it. Carlisle also pays another visit to the arcade to confront Ripley. He has talked to the right taxi driver, and he now knows that Ripley went back to the arcade on the night in question after 3:00 AM. Ripley says he just wanted to admire the place before going to bed. Before leaving the arcade, Carlisle talks to the perpetual anti-gambling protester, played by the awesome David Bradley. They conversation, however, is interrupted by Blythe saying Hooley’s fiancée is ready to talk. She doesn’t admit to being abused until Carlisle and Blythe take her to the flats owned by the Holdens and say that Mike Hooley was seeing a prostitute. At that point, she breaks down.

Ripley has a big appeal coming up from the planning commission’s decision not to approve the big casino hotel. Natalie is trying to be supportive, building up Ripley’s confidence for the big meeting. She’s trying to make up for the affair, I think, determined to reinvest in her family. Soon enough, it’s time for the big planning commission visit. Ripley shows the commissioners around in a kind of stupid musical number (I never said the musical numbers were a highlight of “Blackpool”). There’s lots of razzle dazzle, and it’s just way overdone. Anyway, the commission says “no” again, but Ripley isn’t buying it. He figures they just have to say “no” a few times for appearances sake, but eventually he’ll get his way.

Shyanne continues to be an extreme brat. We see her on a cell phone with Steve, floating in the pool while Natalie does the work of skimming the pool. After her pool break (from what?), Shyanne tells Natalie that she and Steve are now engaged. Natalie is upset because she got married young herself and it didn’t exactly work out, and in her tirade, she admits to Shyanne that she had an affair. Shyanne is really outraged by this, and at dinner that night, she tries to hint to Ripley about the affair. When that tack doesn’t work, she shows off her engagement ring. Ripley gets really pissed off and leaves the dinner table. Shyanne and Natalie do eventually have a good talk and Shyanne apologizes, but she’s still a brat.

Danny is having his fair share of troubles in this episode, too. Ripley takes Danny to a rough corner in Blackpool and tells him to look around for a little while, because that’s where he’s going to end up if he doesn’t straighten out his life. Danny sees Carlisle in a restaurant window, freaks out, and runs home. Danny tries to have a conversation with Natalie, but she’s too involved in the Carlisle drama to listen. He’s trying to tell both of his parents something important, really, but they’re too involved in their own bullshit to hear him. He tries to drown his sorrows in drugs, which of course is a fantastic idea.

Ripley decides that the only way to save the business is to pull an insurance scheme and stage a break-in. It’s pretty obvious that this isn’t the first time he’s done this. While he’s having some machines carted off, Ripley accuses Albright of passing information to Carlisle. Later, as he’s finishing up the job, he has a chat with Terry, who accuses Ripley of not respecting him. To add insult to injury, the two low on the totem pole arcade staff, Ruth and Deaf Barry, tell Ripley they want to pull their investments out of the business. As Ruth puts it, if Ripley is having to do another “insurance fiddle,” things are going downhill fast. Ripley also gets into a fight with his accountant, who wants Ripley to take out a second mortgage on his house to keep the business afloat. Ripley really, really doesn’t want to put his house at risk.

Carlisle and Blythe have another chat with the main prostitute over at the flats. She admits that Mike Hooley overdosed in her room, and she moved the body. Carlisle and Blythe argue whether or not Ripley is behind it all. Carlisle things Ripley is, obviously. He thinks the prostitute may have called Ripley for help with moving the body. Carlisle then stops by the Holden home, where Natalie answers the door. She tells him that Ripley is at the arcade because there has been yet another break-in. Danny, who is sulking in his room, sees Carlisle through the window and freaks out again. He starts hastily scribbling a note.

Ripley goes home and finds the note from Danny. It references Ripley’s own suicide attempt, so Ripley is instantly very concerned. When Danny isn’t in his room, he heads for the railroad tracks, figuring Danny must have decided to recreate his suicide attempt. Danny is indeed on the tracks, and the simple act of his dad caring that he’s alive is enough to get him back up. Danny admits to being the person who beat up Steve, and he also moved Mike Hooley’s body (although it doesn’t seem like he killed him). Danny says he’s really afraid of Carlisle, and Ripley decides to do something about it. He arranges a meeting with Carlisle and says he’s the one who moved Mike Hooley’s body. Ripley hoped it would be an informal, man-to-man type conversation, but Carlisle’s not having it. He’s going to have Ripley charged.

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