Season 1 Episode 2
Book II: Psalms
An unsettling omen washes ashore in the wake of the storm. Later, when the locals gather for a potluck, tragedy strikes – and a miracle occurs.
The episode begins with the Sheriff’s (Rahul Kohli) attempts to investigate the dead cats that have somehow washed up on the beach. Unfortunately, his investigation is hampered by local politics in the form of the Mayor (Michael Trucco) who just wants to find a rational explanation for the irrational. As the town comes together to see what happened on the beach, we get more of a sense of who these people are and their relationships with each other. There is definitely some history between the Mayor’s family and the town drunk Joe Collie (Robert Longstreet) and it seems to have something to do with why she is in a wheelchair.
The episode definitely starts to pick up more momentum as Riley flirts with Erin and Father Paul (Hamish Linklater) makes a house call to Dr. Gunning’s house to visit with her. Father Paul continues to be an interesting character. He has a way of connecting with people that makes him an intriguing character. His presence is suspicious, but Linklater plays him with an empathy that makes him both compelling and engaging. You’re waiting for the moment he displays some kind of behavior that reinforces the idea that he is the villain and you never really get it. The next indication that there is something strange on the island is when there is a fly-over of the island and you see that it’s a point of view shot from the creature’s perspective. There are definite shades of The Lost Boys in that moment and I have a feeling what the creature is, but the mystery is still intriguing.
The next day, the town celebrates with an annual pot luck and Bev already has her creepiness factor on high based on her previous interaction with Erin at the school. Her creepiness comes to fruition at the pot luck when Joe’s dog suddenly falls ill and dies. You know who did it and the later interaction between Hassan and Bev all but confirms it, making the scene tense.
In the aftermath of the pot luck, there are some really great, subtle scares that you’ll miss if you blink as people including both Erin and the doctor’s mother see things outside of their homes. In contrast, there are some really interesting conversations about faith and religion that take place between Riley and Father Paul. Those moments speak to how incredibly well written the series is and how it has deeper meaning than straight horror.
The climax of the episode is where faith comes into play when Father Paul, disillusioned with attendance at the church after Ash Wednesday, decides to perform a miracle for Leeza. A miracle that will have unexpected implications for everyone in the town.
Episode 2 does a much better job at pacing and structure. The tension is well done throughout and the interpersonal relationships and dialogue are more meaningful. There are some great visuals scares to be had and I’m glad Flanagan is saving them so that the atmosphere and the viewer fill in the blanks. I cannot wait to see what happens next after that dramatic episode ending moment.