Sunday, August 13, 2023

REVIEW: 'Dark Winds' - Leaphorn Organizes a Massive Manhunt Following Yet Another Attack at the Hospital in 'Antigonish'

AMC's Dark Winds - Episode 2.03 "Antigonish"

After facing off with a dangerous man, Chee strikes out on his own. Meanwhile, Leaphorn and Manuelito partner with the sheriff's department, leading Leaphorn to identify a vital clue.

"Antigonish" was written by Steven Paul Judd and directed by Michael Nankin

It's foolish for anyone to believe in an idealized version of the past. Things may be complicated and deadly in the present. However, every generation has dealt with their struggles. The indigenous community has been targeted ever since settlers traveled across the ocean to conquer this land. Now, their culture is in jeopardy through forced sterilization. That's absolutely horrifying. The community protects their own. Emma makes herself available to any pregnant patient to help deliver their baby at home. It's a grueling and emotional experience for her. She knows countless lives will be saved because of her actions. Those heroics are noble. She doesn't need praise or attention either. Sometimes it's important to shine a light on these issues for the entire public to see. A reporter is trying her best to expose this story. She's also an outsider to this community. She wants to advocate for them. However, she doesn't have the trust of their voices. Those need to be central to her story if she has any hope of creating a public outcry against this policy. This isn't the first tactic used to try to control the indigenous population. They have always been treated as inferior by the conquerors. When Sheriff Sena laments over how depraved and violent the job has become lately, Leaphorn is quick to share the story of what happened to his great uncle. Their people were given food not out of the kindness of strangers but to create better optics. It didn't matter that numerous lives were lost as a result of that action. No one cared to recognize their humanity. They weren't the priority in the narrative. And so, people died. Leaphorn always leads with that clarity. People may see an injured white man coming out of the desert as a monster. It happened to the grandmother of the woman who cares for the mysterious assassin after his assault on the hospital fails. The two don't have anything in common. However, it's still easy to lead with compassion. In this particular case, it's misguided because of all the heinous things this man has done and will continue to do. It's all in pursuit of finding his mother. That motivation remains shrouded in secrecy especially as it pertains to the cover up he is trying to orchestrate. He aims to silence anyone who can threaten his livelihood. His actions create a manhunt dependent on every resource in the local sheriff's department. It's still not enough. He makes it back to the comfort of his trailer. Of course, it's not long before Leaphorn and Manuelito show up for their fateful encounter that started the season. The narrative has already caught up to that moment. It's eerie watching sequences play out in black and white. It allows the vividness of color to strike even more concisely. It's also a stylistic choice meant to draw the eye of the viewer in to pay attention to every detail. 

Chee survives his second encounter with this assassin because he's willing to buy into the protection of this community. He doesn't believe in the mystical powers of the protection Manuelito gave him. However, he forms bonds with the people caring for him at the hospital. He wishes the security guard good luck on his upcoming interview with the FBI. He tries luring the assassin away from the innocent doctors and nurses. The man has blended into his surroundings. Chee still recognizes him. It conveniently happens while he's on the phone with Manuelito. As a result, the police respond before the tragedy even occurs. It builds until Chee desperately fights for his life. The security guard dies but not before sliding his mace over for Chee to use against his attacker. It ends with a literal jump out a window and crashing into the car below. That's not deadly. This criminal seems invincible based on that display. It's absolutely insane. That plays into the narrative of this monstrosity presenting as something new and different. This chaos and inhumanity has always been present though. It simply required people to pay attention. It can easily consume one's life. Leaphorn and Emma mourn over the possible revelations pertaining to their son's death. They can seemingly never move past that tragedy. It is always being revived with some new detail that throws everything else into question. That's not how they want to live. They want to lean on each other for support. It's just so hard because of all they are meant to endure. They persist. They survive all of this. Leaphorn is running around the clock to catch this killer. It's personal to him. It's also the adequate response for justice given the damage inflicted on the community as of late. Several people have been killed. Benny has lost his father and grandfather. He's safely delivered to his mother. Chee provides that service to the tribal police as they are busy with everything else going on. It's a job that doesn't place him in danger. Chee and Benny have both been targeted by the same man. Moreover, they know what it's like to experience loss at a young age. Benny has never questioned his place in this community. Chee is still finding his way back. He's more accepting now. He's proud of his heritage. He seeks to share his experience with others. It can be as simple as offering the perfect way to eat a snow cone. That's the perspective needed right now. It comes after he's been fighting for his life all season long. He is never fully removed from peril. He deserves this moment of levity. The light shines in on his soul. It offers redemption and clarity. The narrative remains tense. However, the storytelling provides layers so these characters are seen for their full complexity. These stories have been lost or overlooked for far too long. The danger escalates. Leaphorn and Manuelito face the unknown. They don't have everything figured out. They know where to look to find the answers. They may not like what they find. It's the truth regardless.