Saturday, August 1, 2015

Summer Travel Through TV: The Straits 1.08: "The Big Mistake"

“I’m in here because of you! Because I did stuff for you. All my fucking life, it’s all been about the family, the family. And now you tell me you’ve got another one?”

The misadventures of the Montebello family certainly took some interesting turns in “The Big Mistake.” I have watched “The Straits” before, but I completely forgot about what happened in the big climax of this episode. Let’s just say that the Lola problem is dealt with for good. Lots of the Montebello family secrets are out in the open by now, and as you can probably guess, even more are revealsed in this episode. I find it interesting that as the series progresses, the brothers seem to be gradually taken out of play, leaving Sissi with more and more power. I don’t think she actually wants to run the family business, though, even though she would probably be the best to take it over. She just wants to live a quiet life, preferably with Joel. I don’t think a quiet life is in the cards if your last name is Montebello, though.

There’s a new player in the drug smuggling game that the Montebellos need to deal with. A Raskol gang on PNG is bringing AIDS patients from Suku Island to the main island, euthanizing them, and using their coffins to smuggle drugs back to Suku, from which it is a relatively easy journey to mainland Australia. Gary learns about this from Bridget, because her brothers have gotten involved. They’re going to help the Raskol gang with distribution. Kitty has gone to Zey Island to do some thinking after learning about Harry’s infidelity, and she continues to disapprove of Gary’s relationship with Bridget until Gary gives her this information about the potential new rival for the family business. She wants to start cooking up a plan immediately.

Back on the mainland, Harry is still trying to figure out how to get Noel out of jail. The family pays a visit to Noel in jail, where we see that while he’s a little worse for wear, he survived the attack (the stabber was Gunther, by the way, the guy Noel set up to take the fall for trafficking the Chinaman’s girls). Later, Marou suggests to Harry that they just have Noel moved to another jail outside of the DC Bikies territory, but Harry doesn’t want to hear it. Harry also keeps insulting Lola, which upsets Marou. Later, at the croc farm, we see that the kids (Marou, Lola, and Sissi, in this case) are starting to be able to function on their own outside the thumb of Harry, as they talk about how to use the farm to properly launder the family’s less legitimately earned money. Joel mentions to Sissi as they’re leaving the farm that he wants to hold a wake for Paddy in Cairns that would be simultaneous with a wake in Dublin for the rest of the Irish relatives. Sissi is very supportive of this idea and offers to help pay for it.

On Zey (or maybe one of the other Torres Straits islands), we see the Raskols give Bridget’s brother the drugs that they smuggled in with their latest euthanized AIDS victim. The Raskols warn the brothers that there will be trouble if the drugs aren’t distributed profitably. They also want a certain amount to go to the family of the AIDS victim. The brothers’ victory is shortlived, though. Masked Gary and Eddie almost immediately take the drugs from the brothers (who instantly recognize Gary and Eddie despite the masks). Near the end of the episode, Eddie delivers the requested amount to the AIDS victim’s family, saying that it is “courtesy of Kitty Montebello.” A Raskol sees this and isn’t happy about it, which probably doesn’t bode well for the Montebellos.

Harry pays a visit to Natasha, who is very upset that Kitty has found out about the affair and Andrew’s true parentage. Basically, she wants to abandon the effort to get Noel out of jail and leave town, and the Montebello family business, altogether. With Natasha on her way out, Harry tries to influence Noel’s case on his own. He goes to the prosecutor’s house and tries to threaten him, but he has a change of heart at the last minute. He then pays another visit to Noel in jail, where he tells him that they probably aren’t going to be able to get him out any time soon, because Natasha is leaving and getting out of the business. When Noel is incredulous that she’s going to be allowed to just leave, Harry admits the affair and all that comes with it. Noel is upset about the idea of his father having another family until Harry mentions that Natasha leaving means he will probably never see Andrew again.

Lola and Marou are having pillow talk in bed one night, and through it, we learn a little more about what makes Lola tick. Specifically, we learn that Lola’s family abandoned her and moved hours away. The next day, Lola tries to talk to Harry about what he remembers from before being shot. He tells her that he still wants her to leave. She can go back to the trailer park and family she came from. This enrages Lola, and she pushes Harry down the stairs. Just after this happens, Sissi arrives at home, sees that Harry is in trouble (he’s unconscious), and she and Lola get him to the hospital. Lola then offers to go back and get some of Harry’s things. In actuality, she takes a suitcase full of money and a gun out of Harry’s safe (she saw him enter the combination earlier.

Sissi is by Harry’s side when he comes to in a hospital bed. He can’t say much yet, but he does say something about a “photo finish,” and that leads Sissi to check the security camera footage. This leads Sissi to watch the security camera footage from Harry’s fall, and she’s shocked at what she sees. Harry slides down the stairs, then Lola runs after him and tries to smother him with a pillow, only stopping because Sissi has arrived. Sissi shows the footage to Vince first, and they decide to test Marou’s reaction to see if he was in on it. When he sees the footage, he gets violent. First he tries to strangle Sissi, then Vince. Eventually, both of them escape, and Marou leaves. Then Marou finds Lola and tells her that they have to leave. When they get to a hotel, Marou tells Lola he saw the security footage. Lola explains her motivation, including about how Harry new about her affair with Gary. After seeming to sort of forgive her, Marou kills her with something in a needle, because he can’t let her live after she tried to kill his father. This was probably the most shocking moment of the series thus far for me.

Despite being shaken up by the confrontation with Marou, Sissi decides to go to Paddy’s wake. She gives a lovely speech about the importance of family and what an honor it was that Paddy chose her family. After the eulogy, Sissi and Joel kiss. After everyone else has left the bar where the wake was taking place, they have sex in a supply closet. I guess all that mourning made them horny? Speaking of family, by the way, by the end of the episode, Noel is being transferred to another facility. He seems to be able to work his way out of the handcuffs in the transport van, though, so I will be interested to see where this goes.

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