Saturday, August 15, 2015

Summer Travel Through TV: The Straits 1.10: "Fatherhood"

“I can’t just get on a bus, Joel. It’s not that easy.”

And so we have reached the end of a second summer travel adventure. We visited the Vegas of the UK in “Blackpool,” we’re just wrapping up our spent time among Raskols and stingers in “The Straits,” and for a few more weeks, we’ll continue to be emo as all get out in the French Alps in “Les Revenants.” It’s been quite a journey so far! I think this is the first episode where I really felt and understood why the Montebello family was so feared and respected, both in Cairns and in the Straits. They really came together, and everyone (other than Sissi, surprisingly) was quite impressive. Maybe that’s a fundamental flaw of the show that kept it from getting a second season. Until now, the Montebellos seemed like has-beens who were just being reactive. In this episode, they took out their threats decisively.

Harry really ruminates on fathers in this episode, as you can probably tell from the episode’s title. He’s got a big opening voiceover on the subject, and “The Straits” isn’t a show that generally uses voiceovers. He also discusses the subject of kids and parenthood with several other characters through the course of the episode. The first of those instances would be when he and Vince call for a tow. The tow truck driver, by design, is none other than Puff, the bikie who tortured Marou. Harry asks him about his kids before having Vince drive the tow truck while Puff is tied behind it. It appears that the old Harry is most definitely back.

Meanwhile, a very messed-up Marou arrives back on Zey Island, where he is greeted by Gary and Bridget. He basically acts like a complete ass, especially towards Bridget, making sure to say often how much of a player Gary is. Even once they get back to the house, Marou continues to make lewd comments about Gary and Bridget. Gary is distracted, though, because Cousin Leroy and another Raskol goon have parked themselves outside in a truck. Bridget eventually decides it would be best to leave when Marou’s comments start to get especially explicit. Sitting outside, Gary and Marou finally talk about what’s been bugging Marou. Gary finally admits to sleeping with Lola. He does have a good point, though, that at least he didn’t kill her like Marou did. Cousin Leroy and his buddy are still watching as all this goes down.

There’s also plenty of Sissi and Joel drama going on in this episode, and it largely takes place separately from the battle with the Chinaman that everyone else in the family is dealing with. I’m not sure how I feel about that, really. I was liking that Sissi was really the most competent of the kids, but now she’s sidelined when shit actually does go down because of her boyfriend. Anyway, Sissi finds Joel waiting at the bus depot, and she’s extremely upset that he’s planning to leave. Sissi says she is afraid she is going to become her father, and she and Joel decide to basically run away together. They’re going to take a boat instead of a bus because it will be harder for Harry to track. Later, Harry is tromping around the house after a few too many beers, and Sissi has to hide her packing when he decides to talk to her. Harry tells her that he heard she’s still been talking to Joel, and Sissi insists she broke up with him. Harry is glad to hear this, and he tells her to feed Coco while he goes to Zey for a few days.

Thanks to some intel from Vince, Harry soon arrives on the island where Noel has been hiding out. Kitty is there too, and she tells Harry that they are planning to sell the family’s weapons cache to pay for Noel to start up a pizza joint in South America. Harry is very angry about this, but Kitty says that he doesn’t rule them. Things go from bad to worse when the buyer arrives with his entourage. It’s the Chinaman, who has definitely become a thorn in the side of the Montebellos. The Chinaman keeps taking phone calls, even while they’re eating dinner and talking about parenthood. Interestingly, the Chinaman has sent his kids to study in other countries, because he doesn’t want them following his example. Kitty has the opposite philosophy. She would rather keep her kids close so she can protect them. Anyway, to Harry this whole scenario just doesn’t feel right. Something stinks, as he puts it.

On Zey, Cousin Leroy and his Toady are watching Marou as he contemplates helping a young rugby player at the park. They give a bit of an evil speech of evil, saying that since Marou and Gary are fighting, they want to get Marou so drunk that he kills Gary. Then half the work (killing both the Montelbello brothers on Zey) will be done for them. They pull up in their truck and invite Marou to go have some beers, and after hesitating, he decides to join them. He pounds one beer after another, and then Leroy gives him some drugs (I couldn’t tell what exactly Marou was smoking since I’m such a goody goody that my character committee when I was applying to the bar was shocked I didn’t even have so much as a speeding ticket on my record), leading Marou to pass out in the back of Leroy’s truck. While he’s partially conscious, he hears Leroy and the toady talking about working for the Chinaman and how they would be better than Vlad (the man who tried to kill Harry early in the series).

Sissi and Joel are on one of Harry’s nicer boats, but instead of quickly escaping, they’re making out and having sex. Afterwards, they talk about their future plans. Joel wants to go dig wells in the Sudan, because apparently he’s an engineer. Sissi isn’t sure she loves the idea, but eventually she’s on board. Then Joel makes a bad move and mentions that he saw Lola’s body and almost told the police about it. Sissi thinks she needs to protect the family, so she tells Joel she wants to go for a swim. After he gets in the water, she drives the boat away as fast as she can. After a little while, she has a change of heart and decides to turn around, but since “The Straits” didn’t get a second season, we’ll never know if she successfully rescued Joel.

The next stop on Leroy and his goon’s tour is the Montebello house, where he tells Gary he needs a towel to clean up Marou’s vomit in the back of his truck. Gary knows something is up, so he brings the towel (I highly doubt this would actually be true, but I like to think Gary has read “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”), but he also brings a gun, and he effortlessly kills Leroy and the goon. Gary has come a long way from the inept, scared of killing person he was in the pilot. Marou, finally come to his senses, tells Gary what he heard, and they decide they need to go to the other island to protect the rest of the family. Eddie stays behind to keep Bridget safe.

There’s a huge showdown on the other island between the Montebellos and the Chinaman and all his henchmen. Each of the Montebello’s get their moment in the sun. My favorite is when Kitty chops off Kingsten’s head with the big knife she was using to prepare kai kai for dinner. The Chinaman, even though he has been shot, tries to run off, and Harry follows him. They end up having guns turned on each other, and Harry puts his down. Just as the Chinaman is about to kill Harry (although whether he could actually bring himself to kill someone is up for debate), Kitty and the boys come to the rescue, and Harry finishes off the Chinaman once and for all.

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