Sunday, December 23, 2018

REVIEW: 'Escape at Dannemora' - Tilly, Matt and Sweat's Choices Lead Them to Inevitable Tragedy in 'Part 6'

Showtime's Escape at Dannemora - Episode 1.06 "Part 6"

A deep dive into the minds of these individuals, we finally see what Matt and Sweat are capable of outside the prison walls. Tilly's natural instincts aren't much better.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. Premieres and finales may feature longer reviews. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Showtime's Escape at Dannemora.

"Part 6" was written by Brett Johnson, Michael Tolkin & Jerry Stahl and directed by Ben Stiller

This hour doesn't open with any of the familiar characters. Instead, it centers on a police officer just doing his regular job. Fifteen minutes pass before any familiar character actually appears in this episode. That requires the audience to be extremely patient. It could grow tiring if the show doesn't get to the point quick enough. It's all a part of the conceit of this hour. There is a looming sense of dread to everything that this officer is doing. He's monitoring traffic for anyone speeding and pulling over an erratic driver. He's also planning a Fourth of July party while lamenting the fact that his sister-in-law will probably be bringing a total stranger as a guest. It all seems completely normal and innocuous. Then the pivot occurs. The officer sees some suspicious activity happening. The audience probably has a sense that he will see Matt and Sweat out in the woods while they are making their escape from prison. Instead, it's some kind of criminal deal going down. He pulls up to the spot and the criminals scatter. One just starts opening fire on the officer. It's such a brutal moment. He is shot a dozen times and is run over by the car. Only then does the story reveal that this is all actually happening back in 2002. This is the crime that landed Sweat in jail in the first place. It's very illuminating in that way. The previous hour was so enthralling and thrilling to watch. The adrenaline was pumping as the audience could clearly see how the prison break was going according to plan for Matt and Sweat. There was tension and uncertainty over whether or not Tilly would actually help them escape. It was an hour that almost made the audience root for these main characters. As such, it's important for this hour to come along and confirm to the viewer that these are all despicable people. Matt and Sweat were given life sentences for a reason. It doesn't need to tell the full stories of their pasts either. It doesn't need to explain how they were caught. This hour just focuses on the central crimes that prove that they may not be as quick on their feet as they would like to believe. Sure, Sweat would like to say that he didn't kill this officer. He didn't deliver the fatal shot. However, the guy probably would have died from his injuries anyway because of the multiple gunshots and being run over by a vehicle. And so, Sweat truly is a killer.

Matt is as well. In fact, his portion of this hour proves that he may not be as smart as he has always insisted. He has let Sweat take care of all of the hard work. He just got the tools into the facility in the first place. He orchestrated this plan to escape. In 1997 though, he believes he can earn some quick money by robbing from a man embezzling from his company. And yet, he was given bad information. So instead, this guy dies tied up in the trunk while Matt and his co-conspirator are getting high. It's only after the fact that Matt decides to rip this man's body apart in the hopes that the police can't identify him. That moment is very monstrous and sickening to watch. It's something Matt is devoted to doing. It proves that he is also capable of getting his hands dirty and doing the bloody work that would make any rational person sick. He is high and doing whatever it takes to avoid the consequences of this action. Of course, he still throws every piece of the body into the same nearby lake. He only got this idea to tear the body apart from a movie he just so happened to be watching. He isn't disturbed by this turn of events either. He's more than comfortable returning to his life of sex and drugs immediately afterwards. It's only later that the fear starts to creep in. It's likely because of that that he is caught. But again, it truly highlights the monstrous qualities within him. This isn't a man who should be reunited with his family in Mexico. This is a man who deserves to be in prison. As such, it's despicable that he has managed to find a way out. He may not be the smartest person either. That just further proves how corrupt and inept this entire system was in the first place. That too should be a very important lesson taken away from this overall series.

And finally, the narrative reveals how Tilly and Lyle became a couple. It too is quite revealing because it shows how she has followed the same pattern throughout her entire life. She was married and had a son. And yet, she still felt the impulse for more as a sexual person. She had an affair with Lyle. The environment and situation is so similar to what she has been doing across the series so far as well. She is working at a sewing factory and sneaking away whenever she can to have sex with Lyle. That's the exact same pattern that she exhibited with Sweat and Matt. This situation also proves to be short-lived. It's the revelation that destroys her marriage to Kenny. However, that ultimately ruins Kenny's life. It's so fascinating how Tilly and Lyle are motivated into intimidating Kenny because of their love for Kenny Jr. They are doing everything to keep mother and son together. Tilly won't let Kenny take her son away from her. This happens despite how inessential Kenny Jr. has been to the overall series. He has made one appearance where Lyle didn't know what was going on with his wife. Other than that though, he has been off living his own life and seems perfectly disconnected from the family. But these actions in the past prove how complicit Tilly and Lyle were to ensure that she got whatever she wanted. Tilly sees Lyle as her hero because he knows when not to throw a punch. And yet, Kenny didn't have a history of abuse with his family. He seems like a perfectly normal guy who is manipulated into signing away his parental rights to his son. That's tragic. It's entirely because of Tilly's delusion that she would be happier as a family with Lyle. And yes, that did last for awhile. But it still led to her voicing her annoyance with him while having affairs with two inmates. Meanwhile, Lyle is still completely oblivious to that. That too is a trend of their lives together. She is the one defining the narrative even though Lyle would be perfectly happy to share custody and figure all of this out without any more ugliness. And yet, that appears to be the natural impulse for Tilly - one that was ultimately manipulated because of Matt and Sweat.