Sunday, June 19, 2022

REVIEW: 'Dark Winds' - Leaphorn Demands a Favor From Chee to Advance His Many Investigations in 'The Male Rain Approaches'

AMC's Dark Winds - Episode 1.02 "The Male Rain Approaches"

Leaphorn and Chee interview the surviving witness to the Big Rock Motel murders. Chee meets with the coroner as the cause of death remains a mystery. Meanwhile, Sergeant Manuelito makes a chilling discovery of her own.

"The Male Rain Approaches" was written by Anthony Florez and directed by Chris Eyre

Chee can't maintain his cover as a secret FBI agent inside the tribal police for very long. Leaphorn makes him for a federal officer already. That twist was revealed at the end of the premiere. And now, it's already being turned around to reflect the priorities Leaphorn has in doing this job. Everyone certainly has an angle they're working. Leaphorn and Agent Whitover operate with power. They lord it over Chee. As such, he's caught in the middle of them. He's from the reservation but doesn't want to build a career here after his time at college and in the academy. Whitover promises glory in D.C. should he succeed in this job. Of course, it's equally Whitover trying to convince himself of that fate. He places his hopes and dreams on arresting the helicopter robbers. That's what he is singularly focused on. He's not trying to create a trusting partnership with the local police. He doesn't care about the cases they need to solve. It's beneath him. He promises every resource to Chee. He trusts him as his inside man. He projects a sense that Chee will do whatever it takes to achieve the same glory. Plus, he's easy to control in this mission. He will remain singularly focused because Whitover doesn't believe he's capable of having a multi-faceted response to this mission. Chee does have complexities though. He confirms Leaphorn's suspicions. Now, it's a familiar trope for Leaphorn to correctly guess Chee's true identity even though he's not certain of it. That may even be distracting from him needing to examine everyone else tangled up in this story. He has a fair amount of skepticism towards the priest claiming to be the grandson of the man who died. The audience receives the clarity that he is indeed one of the robbers. In fact, their identities are already being revealed. It's now up to the police to catch up to that information. Otherwise, the audience will be operating far ahead of them and discounting the work they strive to do. Manuelito has good instincts. She understands that something bad happened to the family from the abandoned car. She and Leaphorn try to piece it together. The family is missing. The audience receives no update on their condition. They are last seen being held at gunpoint by one of the robbers who needed to retrieve the painting the money was hidden within. These criminals are trying their best to stick to the plan and get away with this massive heist. It's proven incredibly difficult because so much has gone awry. Those actions have alerted even more suspicion. The narrative structuring inferred that the two cases were connected somehow. The tribal leaders and the FBI have to work together. It's simply going to be more prosperous between Leaphorn and Cree than anyone else in this environment.

Leaphorn also has a tragic history within the community. His son was killed during an explosion at the nearby drill site. It was written off as being a tragic accident. The company in charge was forced out of the project. The site has sat idle ever since. Only now is a new company coming in to take over the job. Moreover though, Leaphorn learned Guy was warned away from going to work on the fateful day. He spread the message to his fellow co-workers who were members of his church. That didn't include Joe Jr. This job is what Joe wanted to do. He didn't want to leave the reservation to pursue an education. He wanted to work and earn money. He needed more than what his paltry jobs previously offered. As such, this project was very alluring to many in the community. It was the promise of prosperity. They only had to give away the precious resources that lurked beneath their land. A compromise was made. It provided employment to the locals. However, it's all done for the overall benefit of the federal government that relies on this oil to sustain numerous industries. That is a searing pattern that radiates throughout so many generations of the indigenous culture. They were forced from their land and medically tortured to ensure their futures weren't as hopeful as they wanted. Leaphorn and Emma wanted more children. A doctor took that potential away from them. As such, they had to settle for one. And then, they lost him. It's easy to blame the greedy forces of the world that want to project their own sense of control onto others. It's a tragedy that lingers as well. It informs Leaphorn's dynamic with Guy and his family now that they're enduring their own tragedy. This community holds each other close. And yet, so much distance is apparent too. It comes from people being inherently skeptical of each other. Chee views the mystical beliefs of this place to be inherently silly. And yet, he's trusted to settle disputes and enforce the law in this place. It's not meant to be a job that will sustain a lengthy career. It's a stepping stone for something better. But he doesn't feel like he belongs anywhere he goes. He pulls some personal information out of Leaphorn. He's not entitled to everything that his boss believes. Chee must still respect that chain of command. A lot of good can still be done in this community that has often been exploited to the detriment of their livelihoods and environment.