Saturday, July 4, 2015

Summer Travel Through TV: The Straits 1.04: "The Hunt for Vlad"

“Don’t you dare, Harry. If you leave me, I’m coming with you, love.”

This episode mostly dealt with the immediate fallout from the previous episode’s big cliffhanger – Harry being shot in the head at point blank range by a hired assassin. It is interesting to watch how each of the Montebellos react to this crisis in a different way. The boys especially want revenge. Sissi is torn because she is still dealing with her feelings about what Harry did to Paddy. Kitty is just devastated, especially when she finds the music box Harry bought for her. It is really unusual and off-putting to see Kitty so out of sorts. Despite being out-of-sorts, she does play a possibly vital role in finding the man who shot Harry. All of the other drama is still present (Lola sleeping with Gary, Noel and Toni’s rocky marriage, etc.), but everything kind of gets put on pause to deal with what has happened to Harry.

As the episode opens, we learn that Harry is in the hospital. He had a plate in his head from a previous injury, and the bullets hit the plate. While he’s alive, he is in a coma, though, and the prognosis isn’t especially good. As Kitty explains to Lola at one point, he may remember everything, nothing, or somewhere in between if/when he eventually wakes up. The sharks smell blood, and they’re all circling. Lola asks very pointed questions about how much Harry may remember, and she takes the opportunity to threaten Gary again (more on his fate in a minute), reminding him that he still owes Marou. The police are also circling, particularly a detective named Sutherland. Sutherland has been on the take from the Montebellos, and he wants his latest payment before he’ll stop sniffing around the shooting. Only problem is that Paddy’s not around to process the check. Finally, some guys from the biker gang also stop by with flowers. They get stopped outside the hospital by Noel and Marou, and the exchange is frosty to put it nicely.

On Zey Island, Gary finally wakes up from his snake-bite induced hallucinatory state. A bunch of Island women, including Bridget, walk away from the house, so the assumption is that they used some sort of traditional medicine to save Gary. Now he’s got to go back to the mainland for a little bit to be with the rest of the family while Harry recovers. Speaking of the family, there is still a lot of tension between Sissy and everyone else. She’s still really upset about what happened to Paddy, it’s making her react unusually to Harry’s situation, and the rest of the family doesn’t understand what the problem is. She does support the family enough to go to Paddy’s office and start copying and deleting important financial files, though. While she’s there, Sutherland stops by looking for his check, and it’s a rather awkward exchange. Then Sissy goes to one of Paddy’s houses and starts searching for whatever she can find. She finds packages hidden in the furniture – I couldn’t really tell on my computer screen if they were drugs or stacks of cash. Either way, it’s not good. Also not good is the fact that Sutherland followed her there.

The boys have been tasked with figuring out who shot Harry and getting revenge. Marou goes to church and gives a big speech asking for help from the parishoners. He’s got a sketch of the suspect, and he asks them to keep a look out. It’s very interesting how both Marou and Kitty switch to an Island dialect when it’s convenient to connect with people. Maybe it’s because Marou has spent so much time on Zey? I find it ironic that Kitty doesn’t support Marou, considering I think he is her child most similar to herself. At the hospital, Gary fights with a nurse who sort of matches the suspect description when he sees the nurse messing with Harry’s IV. The actual assassin arrives soon after, armed with flowers, claiming he’s looking for the oncology department. The boys shoo him away because they’re generally pissed off, but they don’t realize who he is because he has shaved his goatee.

While to boys, especially Marou, are being diligent, Kitty gets tired of waiting for her vengeance. She goes to Uncle George, a shaman of sorts that the Montebello family has used in sensitive situations before. The kids aren’t thrilled that Kitty is doing this, because Uncle George’s services always come at a price, but she is insistent. She then sticks the knife in a little further by telling Noel she’s disappointed in him for letting it get to this point. When she sees Uncle George, she asks for health for harry and a very slow, painful death for the assassin. As Uncle George is chanting, a very large spider climbs on to the assassin. In his shock, he accidentally knocks his insulin pen into his fire. He shows up at a local pharmacy and bullies the pharmacist into giving him a new pen, even though he doesn’t have a prescription. The pharmacy tech heard Marou in church and calls him to let him know the assassin is around. She keeps following him until the guys can get coordinated and catch up.

The guys go after the assassin as Kitty prays. It’s a rather long and drawn out action sequence, which includes Marou getting injured, but not as seriously as it looked at first (kind of a recurring theme in this episode, come to think of it). The assassin eventually ends up near a cliff, and when he is distracted by yet another spider, he falls off of said cliff. To add insult to injury, he gets impaled when he reaches the ground. And that’s where the Montebello boys find him, barely alive. Before finally succumbing, he tells them that his name is Vlad (although this turns out to not be true…the police figure out he was a usual killer for hire for the biker gangs). The boys, with Gary taking the lead, chop him up with a band saw and feed him to the crocodiles at the family zoo. Which is a highly convenient method of body disposal.

Sissi ended up driving off from Paddy’s house away from Cairns, and Sutherland kept following her. He finally puts on the lights and sirens and stops her on a desolate road. He talks to her and mentions that where they are at the moment is a favorite make-out spot for the teens of Cairns. For a brief moment, I worried he might try to rape Sissi, but it turns out he really just wants to know why she’s running away, because the fact that she’s running away scares him. It must mean that something is really, seriously wrong. Sissi eventually returns to Cairns and shows up again at the hospital. Kitty is really happy to see Sissi, and she seems kind of out-of-it. Perhaps it was the effort from all that prayer that has Kitty acting off-kilter? Harry, for his part, is still unconscious.

Back at the house, both Noel and Sissi are sulking by a window. Noel is upset because earlier in the episode, he and Toni had sex in a moment of weakness, and she promptly left him again. Noel wants to know what is wrong with Sissi, and she finally tells him about what Harry did to Paddy. Noel’s reaction isn’t quite what I expected. He contemplates how difficult it must have been for his father to do what he did to his best friend. Then Noel goes and does something (yet again) unbelievably stupid. He takes a quick trip over to the biker gang headquarters. Armed with a grenade launcher. And he fires the damn thing. Clearly, this won’t end well.

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