Saturday, July 25, 2015

Summer Travel Through TV: The Straits 1.07: "Poison"

“You aren’t happy. I get that. But guess what? You weren’t there to ask.”

“Poison” starts to explore the new Montebello family dynamics now that Harry and Marou are (sort of) mostly recovered from their injuries and Noel is in jail. Harry is still very upset that Noel is in jail, and Marou is desperately trying to prove that Noel in jail wasn’t too high a price to rescue him from the bikies. Speaking of the bikies, there is understandably still bad blood between the bikies and the Montebellos, so the Montebellos need to figure out a new drug distribution plan. Marou thinks if he executes this successfully, he will finally win Harry’s approval. There are also some advances in the romantic relationship department, too. Gary continues to court Zey islander Bridget, Joel and Sissi continue to hang out, and we learn more about Harry and Natasha’s long standing affair. Kitty learns more about the affair too, but more on that in a bit. While this episode felt a little like a placeholder, there were definitely some juicy bits too, which is what makes “The Straits” overall such an addictive show.

Like I mentioned, Marou is really trying to prove himself in this episode. He’s got a big plan to steal 3 kilos of cocaine off a cargo ship and distribute it through a new partner. First up, obviously, is stealing the coke, and he does this with Gary’s help. As usual with anything involving Gary, there is a mildly comedic bit, where, since they were told to “ask the cook” about the package, Gary and Marou are fruitlessly threatening the galley staff. Eventually, they get a cook to tell them that there is a guy named Cook who works in the engine room. This turns out to be the right Cook, and Marou and Gary score the package. Marou wants to deliver the package to their new distributor himself, but everyone, especially Harry, says he needs to take Gary with him.

Harry is really perseverating on Noel being in jail, even though he has three other kids who are probably worth his attention. Harry is worried because in a contained place like a jail, he’s vulnerable to being killed by the bikies, and that’s probably exactly why they were willing to make the deal. He is so upset about it that he is even really rude to Natasha, implying that Noel’s predicament means she didn’t do her job well. We see early in this episode that Harry’s fears aren’t exactly unfounded. In the middle of a basketball game, a bikie throws a ball right at Noel’s head. The Montebellos paid for protection for Noel, though, so his posse stands off against the bikies, and the peace is maintained for now. It won’t last for long, though, because as we see throughout the episode, one of the bikies is sharpening the edges of a spoon handle to be the perfect shiv.

It’s pretty clear that while Harry has significantly improved, he isn’t completely 100% yet. He has isolated memory lapses. For instance, when Coco gets an invitation to a dog birthday party, Harry forgets that he took her to a party for the same dog last year (the dog party eventually has more significance). For what it’s worth, Marou isn’t 100% either. He has several PTSD attacks throughout this episode, one of which happens while he’s driving and almost causes an accident. Gary is back on Zey courting Bridget when he gets the call from Marou that he needs to come back to Cairns and help hand off the package. Bridget’s brothers are upset that Gary hasn’t talked to their mother about dating Bridget yet (apparently getting permission is an Island custom), but that is going to have to wait. Again.

Meanwhile, Sissi and Joel continue to grow closer. Joel mentions that he needs to find work, and he continues going to another city where he has heard there are jobs. Sissi obviously wants Joel to stick around, so she offers to try and get him a job at the Montebello family croc farm. Much to Joel’s chagrin, the job Sissi finds for him is killing cane toads. By smashing them with a shovel. Joel claims that, while he understands that the cane toads are a significant danger to the Australian ecosystem overall, he just doesn’t like killing animals. Sissi seems unimpressed. I think I’m on Team Sissi for this one. Cane Toads have deadly poison, and they’ve just wreaked havoc on Australia in general. By the end of the episode, however, Joel is indeed smooshing cane toads.

We see Marou and Gary very deliberately give a package to some truckers. Obviously, there are bikies in the area, and when they see this transfer happen, they start following the truck. They pull out their guns and demand to see the package, but it is just sand. The whole thing was a decoy. Marou and Gary personally hand off the package to the new distributor. Everything is going fine at first, until Gary asks to be excused to go pee. While Gary is gone, the new distributor pulls a gun on Marou and asks for an autograph. Gary, when he turns around, thinks the situation is actually more dire than it really is, and he starts shooting. The new distributor and his goons start shooting back, which makes for a very tense getaway, to say the least. One they are safely away, Marou really lets Gary have it for screwing things up yet again. They drive to the airport in silence. Once back on Zey, Gary does go to see Bridget’s mom. After a kind of awkward conversation, she gives her blessing to Gary and Bridget’s relationship, and the new couple celebrate.

When taking another look at the dog birthday party invitation, Harry realizes that the prosecutor who has been handling Noel’s case is going to be there. He thinks this might be a good opportunity to exert some influence. At the party, Harry sidles up to the prosecutor and essentially offers him a bribe to de-authenticate the grenade launcher used in the attack on the bikie headquarter. The prosecutor sees right through Harry, and it’s no go. Harry asks Natasha to give it a try, since she knows the prosecutor from law school (he was an instructor). Natasha takes the prosecutor out to lunch and insinuates that she knows the prosecutor slept with a lot of students when he was an instructor, and she threatens to make the scandal public. This time, he agrees to have an expert witness fake testimony about the grenade launcher. This development can’t have happened too soon. Toni visits Noel, and she expresses her concern that the kids aren’t really going to remember him soon. One of the kids drew a picture of the family, and Noel doesn’t think his depiction looks accurate.

Harry, Kitty, and Natasha are about to have a little champagne to celebrate Natasha’s success when things get awkward. Kitty walks back into the living room just after Harry and Natasha shared a sort-of intimate moment, and Natasha immediately excuses herself. Sissi saw the whole thing on the security camera feed. Sensing something isn’t right, Kitty asks Sissi if the security cameras record. A very upset Sissi shows Kitty what just happened, and Kitty is devastated. She marches out to the living room and asks Harry if Andrew (Natasha’s son) is his. Harry doesn’t deny it. The family is in shambles when Marou gets home and gives Harry the money from the drug deal. Harry is still being standoffish with Marou, and Marou calls him on it. Harry says his problem isn’t with Marou, but Lola, and Lola isn’t who Marou thinks she is. Before Marou can really react to this, we cut to Noel in jail. He’s just getting out of the shower when a bunch of bikies start beating the crap out of him. Then one of them pulls out the sharpened spoon.

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