Saturday, April 4, 2020

REVIEW: 'Home Before Dark' - Hilde Risks Her Personal Safety to Identify a Killer and Free an Innocent Man in 'Sting Like a Bee'

AppleTV+'s Home Before Dark - Episode 1.03 "Sting Like a Bee"

Chasing down a dangerous lead brings Hilde face-to-face with a potential suspect. Matt's run-in with an old friend spirals out of control.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of AppleTV+'s Home Before Dark.

"Sting Like a Bee" was written by Ann Cherkis and directed by Rosemary Rodriguez

This episode does a better job at personifying the characters and the various investigations they are passionately pursuing. It's still stiff in a lot of areas. It still feels like a family that withholds a lot from each other and don't quite know how to be completely honest. Bridget is off having a conversation about her husband with two strangers basically in the ice cream parlor. Meanwhile, Matt's character arc is one seemingly of repression. He underwent this trauma as a child. His hometown has ostracized him. They still antagonize him now that he has returned. He has internalized all of that and hasn't really coped with it in the decades since it happened. It presents a narrative where things haven't essentially moved on from this crime that happened all those years ago. It is making the Richie Fife mystery the predominate source of intrigue instead of Patty's recent murder. That makes it strange when the latter is seemingly wrapped up neatly here. It may just present a source of legitimacy for Hilde as a reporter. Everyone remains skeptical of her as a journalist. They feel like she is disgracing this town and its citizens by coming in and slandering what they have been through. She just wants to shine a light on the truth. She is intrigued by this apparent murder. She will pursue it no matter how dangerous it becomes for her well being. She doesn't necessarily care about that or think through the consequences. She is more than fine calling an inmate on a computer in the school library. She is capable of breaking into homes of alleged murder suspects to look around for clues. That's how she is able to solve this case. She realizes that Sam Gillis is afraid to speak openly in the prison. He wants to get the truth out to Hilde. However, he is punished whenever he tries to do so. She sees one guard as the source of those obstacles. As such, she devotes most of her investigative instincts on him. And yes, that does turn out to be right. He apparently killed Patty because she was his source for bringing drugs into the prison in exchange for protecting Sam. She didn't want anything bad to happen to her brother when the entire town has so much vitriol towards him. There is darkness and corruption brewing not too far under the surface in this town. Hilde aspires to expose it. She does so here even though she makes Trip question her responsibilities as a police officer. Her parents also wonder what's appropriate to discuss with her. Hilde already fears that her parents are going to get a divorce. She sees that they are bickering and hiding things from her. She sees that they aren't happy. She knows that Matt isn't exactly working on his novel. Bridget talks about some other missing child case that got national headlines after Matt started worked on it in New York. That mostly comes across as a piece of throwaway exposition to better flesh out their marriage. However, Matt is the one experiencing a ton of strife while Bridget just has to withstand it for as long as possible. That makes her come across as the wet blanket wife stereotype. She is still loving and supportive. She helps with the investigation. The number of people who believe Sam's innocence is growing. Bridget can look to the video to prove that Frank lied on the stand about the vehicle having a license plate. It's clear that he just followed along with what the town told him to say. It wasn't actually the truth. Again, there isn't a whole lot of nuance to the situation. The narrative argues that because Frank made that one choice as a child he has since grown up to be a despicable man who stalks the family and fights Matt. That's just a straight line. There is no real effort to draw much of an understanding as to why this town operated in that way and why it felt like ganging up on Sam was the only reasonable choice in the end. Matt didn't abide by that. Hilde doesn't now. They are the outsiders and the underdogs. That may change. But that's mostly expected at this point simply because of the construction of this being a television show that has to provide answers to the questions set up so far.