This episode is the first to really strike into new territory. And it does so in fairly dramatic fashion.
The unquestionable star is Nick Nolte, a surly teddy bear of a man, trying to cope as his life crumbles around his ears.
In the last episode, Nolte's character, Jack Reinhold, was accused of statutory rape. There's never really any question of his innocence - the man exudes sincerity. But while there isn't a tremendous amount of suspense about whether or not he's guilty, the episode makes the most of the tyranny of public opinion, the reaction of the community, and the way something like this is quickly sensationalized.
Things are made ten times worse by the unscrupulous Renee, quick to publish anything that will bring her attention. Owen, to his credit, has finally had enough, refusing to turn on Jack. Despite his financial troubles and creepy mother, he's finally making some good decisions.
Loneliness is a big theme throughout this episode. Not only is Jack cut off from the town, and Carver morosely flirting with Gemma, but Mark and Beth are finally having some heart to heart discussions, and it's pretty ugly. Once again, Virginia Kull is stunning. She has several very intense scenes and definitely delivers.
Michael Peña's Mark, as opposed to Andrew Buchan's, is exceedingly self-centered. There may have been some hints that Beth was sometimes wishy-washy about the marriage, that she had regrets, but to blame her abstract vacillations for his concrete adultery is a pretty scumbag move, especially when she's at such a vulnerable point.
His decision to trust Jack feels out of character from a guy who's been shown to jump to conclusions (re: Paul), but the obvious parallels between their stories provides just enough impetus for Mark to attempt reconciliation with his wife near the end of the episode. Still, it's difficult to know whether he's doing this for himself, or for his family.
Chloe adds some nice pro-life oomph to proceedings by pointing out that she's already lost one sibling, and doesn't want to lose another. But it remains to be seen whether Beth can sufficiently overcome her anger and resentment in order to find healing.
Overall, very solid episode with some visual flourishes that I hadn't expected. First time the show's made me choke up a bit. Bravo, Nolte.
My review of next week's episode.
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