Sunday, April 5, 2020

REVIEW: 'Home Before Dark' - Hilde Continues Her Search for the Truth at the Expense of Her Childhood in '88 Miles an Hour'

AppleTV+'s Home Before Dark - Episode 1.06 "88 Miles an Hour"

As the '80s dance looms, Hilde and Matt find a promising new lead in the investigation. Frank breaks rank to get to the root of the case.

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.

"88 Miles an Hour" was written by Lucas O'Connor and directed by Kat Candler

This episode is a bit more clunky than the last few have been. It drags on as one of the longer episodes of the season so far. That doesn't necessarily enhance the overall storytelling. Extra time could absolutely benefit the character development. However, the show isn't exactly challenging the worldview of these characters. It is mostly just restating the same things over and over again. It doesn't really allow things to be stable for too long. Penny's tree was only planted in the previous episode. And now, it's uprooted simply because Mayor Fife has the authority to do so. Bridget is fined for improperly burying the ashes there. It's all just a little too silly and complicated. It continues to suggest a steadily building friendship between Bridget and Kim. However, too much of that is framed around the awkwardness of whatever Kim once felt for Matt or continues to feel for him. That makes it just as random when it's revealed that she and Frank have an intimate connection in the present as well. Frank is positioned as the character struggling the most right now. He has had to confront the reality that his false testimony led to a man being imprisoned for three decades. Sam doesn't deserve that fate. Frank eventually comes to believe Sam's story as well. He doesn't trust the man though. In fact, his worldview is shaped out of fear of how his father will react in any given moment. Sam certainly has the freedom to interact with the world of Erie Harbor more than he has in a long time. He can visit the places he used to go. He can retrace his steps alongside Frank. However, that doesn't exactly reveal anything new or exciting. It's just the normal life of a teenager dealing with more responsibility and yearning for his father once more. It's understandable but fairly bland and forgettable too. That's unfortunate. That can basically sum up this entire episode. The characters certainly do stuff. However, it's all told with the foreboding sense of importance without the audience being all that invested in it. Bridget wakes up from a nightmare fearing that her children have been taken from her. The hour ends with Izzy telling Hilde she would be perfectly fine if that happened to her. She doesn't like how her sister is alway interrupting her life. That is her burden as the eldest. Hilde is wise beyond her years. However, she doesn't see the importance of living her life and enjoying some of the simple pleasures of childhood. She wants to be seen as a grown up essentially. She has the tools and tactics to make a difference in the world through her journalism. And yet, she is always racing ahead. She can't focus on anything else when she could be running a DNA test on Richie's jacket that has been rediscovered. That's what fuels Hilde essentially. She has such a reverence for the truth. She operates with the certainty that rules exist for a reason and must be followed. It's up to her and other journalists to hold the people in power accountable. She has done that already. She forces people to question their preconceptions about this case. The public at large still fears Sam though. They still believe he's guilty. As such, it will be terrorizing when it's announced he is on the loose. Frank Sr. fears that means another child will go missing soon. The show puts too much effort into that final moment though. It suggests that something could happen to Hilde without allowing the audience to fear for her safety in that way on our own. It's untrustworthy storytelling that wants to be a mix of nostalgia with a propulsive need to get the truth out there no matter what. It's an odd balance that doesn't come together here. The emotions have been better aligned in the last few episodes. Here though, it's mostly clear that the show is padding out its stories to fill the time instead of actually drawing out some interesting character notes amongst the ensemble. Bridget sees how excited Matt is now that he is reinvigorated by this case and helping Hilde. He wants to do right by his children. He has lost himself because of his own uncertainties. That passion has been lost. Hilde has carried it forward knowing that it's important to fight for justice. She still embodies that message overall. But that can make her seem like a construct instead of a human being who struggles when it comes to experiencing the world as her peers do from time to time. She just doesn't really see much interest to a dance with her friends.