Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Harper's Island: Bang

Bang (Episode 4)
Directed by Guy Norman Bee
Written by Lindsay Sturman
First aired 2 May 2012
Rating: 6/10

For the previous episode please  see "Ka-Blam.
The following episode is found here at "Thwack."

(Spoilers below.)

Not wanting to miss out on any potential silly overused plot points, episode four quickly introduces us to a Tarot deck and its nose-bleeding psychic. The psychic and her deck are to be part of the exciting bachelorette festivities, where we learn a few things. Trish will be betrayed, and yet the one who betrays her will be her saviour. Her step-mom perhaps? Henry? The people who write her dialogue? We also learn that Abby's life is in danger, but we clever viewers knew that already without having to drip nasal blood. Finally, we learn that the Tower card is magical, since creepy little girl Madison leaves the psychic's den with the card in her hand, and yet it reappears that evening at the bachelorette.

Things slow down in episode four since a new, integral plot point is inserted, and the need to include back story for some previously minor characters affects the pacing.The boys are out fishing when they discover Hunter Jennings's body, sans head, and a bag of money. We've conveniently just learned that groomsman Malcolm Ross (Chris Gauthier) is strapped for cash and is trying to start-up a business or brewery of his Sacred Turtle beer. Good timing, and he nabs the cash ($250,000) and the gun, accidentally sinking the ship, all of which generates tensions between the groomsmen, and sends us off on another familiar road (see my post on episode three--this was expected). Everything is complicated when groomsman Joel Booth (Sean Rogerson), with that same Uncle Marty, accidentally sinks himself. Now Malcolm is not just a desperate broke thief, but a desperate broke thief murdered. Turns out Booth was his best friend and room-mate, has a mother... so much we learn about someone when the writers require our sympathy. Writer Lindsay Sturman does manage a good job in having Malcolm convince Henry to hold off on giving in the case. Henry must remain likeable and yet we need also to sympathize enough with Malcolm  to not just be interested, but worry about the consequences of this theft. Actor Gauthier deserves credit as well, playing up the desperation quite well.

Gauthier is a familiar face in smaller parts on television and in film, played the Toyman in Smallville and Vincent in Eureka. Writer Sturman, on the other hand, wrote five episodes of the excellent Odyssey 5, which also featured Christopher Gorham (that's Henry Dunn to you).

This new sub-plot is the reason why none of the groomsmen have yet been killed. I assumed, as with Lucy in episode two, that with the exception of Sully (Matt Barr) they'd each be expendable wedding guests. I was a little surprised they all survived the episode three scavenger hunt. This sub-plot will require something fresh and preferably exciting as it is so familiar. I'm hoping the gun and money will be tied to Marty so we can have an explanation.

As for Madison and her own potential psychic abilities, I find this sub-plot more interesting. (Excluding the "real" psychic portion.) I don't think there really is a ghost smashing good china or communing with the child, but I'd sure get a kick out of there being one. I'd also like to see an alien abduction and the appearance of a couple of men in black. (We do get a couple of big guys with guns, but it's just not the same.) I'm still waiting for a sea monster, mysterious lighthouse keeper and oversized insect (as per that Mysterious Island movie). The writers can have a lot of fun with this concept, but they seem to be taking it a little too seriously.


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