Friday, July 9, 2021

REVIEW: 'Home Before Dark' - Hilde's New Investigation Leads Her Back to a Secret Richie Was Keeping in 'The Black Box'

AppleTV+'s Home Before Dark - Episode 2.05 "The Black Box"

The contents of the black box shock Hilde. Matt realizes how much he never knew about his father.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 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.

"The Black Box" was written by Russel Friend & Krystle Drew and directed by Myron Kerstein

Hilde could never let Richie Fife go. Everyone told her that if he was still alive then he didn't want to be found. Her investigation of that case gained national attention. Once she hit a dead end, something new would have appeared if she was meant to keep digging. She never wanted to give up. The truth was still out there. She needed to find it. This season has seen her grow obsessed with another case. One that also gets at the heart of Erie Harbor. It too has roots within all the power structures and people who have long determined the livelihood of this community. And now, it leads her back to Richie as well. That is certainly convenient and striking. It holds personal relevance to the entire Lisko family and the various sources Hilde worked last season. So many people wanted to know the truth about his disappearance. They gained some clarity. And now, his name can still inspire them into action. It's the one thing that stands out as notable when they can't decipher some of the other clues that appear. Hilde and her friends found a plane in the mansion's basement. That didn't make any sense. They hoped the black box would provide clarity to them as to why this machine was there. It may only point to more mysteries. But again, it connects back to everything that has long been deemed important in this narrative. It connects to Richie somehow. Moreover, Sam's father is involved too. The plane crash that killed him has a direct link to something that Richie needed someone to investigate. His friends at the time had no idea he was keeping secrets from them. In fact, this season loves pointing out that there are so many details Matt doesn't know about the people he should be close with. That is most obvious with his father. Hilde can dig up all these details about the life Pop Pop has lived. She can make a display of his time in this world. It's striking to her parents. They are concerned about how Pop Pop will react because he gets frustrated when he can't remember something. He can't be trusted as a reliable source of information. He is needed because he can possibly serve as a clue to the toxic danger that lurks in this community. His friends have already died as a result of that. That may be the fate awaiting him shortly as well. Hilde wants to prevent that. It's hopeful thinking. Her parents want her to be aware of that. It's worth pursuing and investigating though. Moreover, Pop Pop can still provide useful information. It may not be what Hilde was hoping to get from him. However, everyone learns that Sam's father was flying out to an island amongst the mountains based on something Richie told him. The location is present on a map. The coordinates can be pinpointed exactly. More details must be revealed though in order for all of this to make sense. It's important enough for a powerful corporation to cover up so much of what happened. Once Hilde makes her presence known by getting too close to the truth, they take radical actions to ensure she doesn't learn any more. That makes some adults doubt her story. She is more determined than ever. She is also creating a powerful enemy that is making its presence known by invading her life too. It's unsettling when she sees the backpacks in her house again in the middle of the night. That's a chilling night that suggests everyone should proceed with caution. Matt and Bridget are always concerned about Hilde's safety. They don't want to stifle her curiosity. They are engaged by the mysteries too. They connect with it. They try to shield Hilde from some of the harsh realities. Hilde can brush some of the cruelness of life off. She can also stand by and support her friends when they need it. She has offered that support to Izzy in the past. Now, she and Donny do the same with Spoon. It's a bit too simplistic and easily contained as a story idea. It also establishes agency within this friend group. It's not solely driven by whatever Hilde wants. Spoon and Donny have independence as well even if it's only a focus for an episode or two. That basically points out that the show absolutely has a comfort zone. It will push boundaries on occasion. But it's also driven by Hilde as a journalist getting to the truth and shockingly having the resources to pull it off. Yes, it can be simple at times. That allows it to all be seen as aspirational because Hilde has no real limitations. The concerns for her aren't ultimately supported because of the good work she uncovers. That's more important. As such, the show can get away with a lot even when the characterizations amongst the ensemble deserve more depth at this point. It's nice to see Hilde and Donny show their support for Spoon while Frank proposes to Kim. Those actions don't have quite enough emotion fueling them to offer much reaction beyond what's on the surface.