Last week I mentioned that The Red Road didn’t seem to have any real direction, that it was just sort of flailing around, looking for something to push it forward. “A Cure” finally gives us this purpose, yet for some reason does it with only two episodes remaining, and by giving us new information that we probably should’ve had by now (and pretending like it’s always been fact).
For example, even though Chief Levi has been wandering around all season trying to build a casino on the Ramapo Mountains, no one, not even Marie, has mentioned that he’s Junior’s dad. It’s incredibly strange that this has never come up, or that Marie hasn’t mentioned her connection with Levi after the many meetings she and the tribe have had about the casino. At the very least, this information does point us in an interesting direction for these last two episodes, as Junior is planning on going to Connecticut with his father, likely in an attempt to kill him.
Even though we’ve known that there is some sickness within the tribe, Marie also matter-of-factly drops this information about how half of the tribe has cancer. Half? How has nobody researched this?? That seems like a huge number in Chernobyl, let alone in a small tribe. Once again, this seems like a pretty big fact for us not to know by now.
But despite throwing all of this seemingly new information at us, it does give the show some purpose going forward, which could hopefully bring Philip and Harold back to working together once more. After last week’s shooting, Harold becomes the new captain of the police force. He’s almost immediately is thrown into the middle of an old mob waste contract that caused 60,000 tons of paint to be thrown away under the town’s mine shafts, which has likely poisoned the town’s water.
This allows Harold and Phillip to begrudgingly work together, as Harold needs photos that Phillip has to get information from Phillip’s father. But Phillip is acting pretty cavalier this episode with his money, buying a new refrigerator that he even asks Harold to help him move into his house. He also tries to give Mike’s girlfriend some money, before she shoots him several times. Phillip seems like a much smarter person than this, so it just seems like he’s asking for people to be suspicious of him for no good reason.
We also start to see an intriguing storyline for Rachel, who usually has little else on her mind than being with Junior. Rachel seems to be hearing voices now too, and finds her mother’s secret freak out room, so she starts taking her mother’s pills in order to stop the schizophrenia before it starts. Of course this causes her to have a seizure, and then proclaim that she doesn’t want to be like her mother, since she can’t put Junior through that. This is a big change from the Rachel we saw just a few episodes ago, who still seemed to side with her mother after her father lied, and was always trying to help her mother with the symptoms. I’m not exactly sure that this version of Rachel is all that true to her character, but it does push her towards the independence that could, if I could make a prediction, give her the freedom to run away with Junior when he ends up killing his father.
“A Cure” is a strange episode, throwing lots of new information at us that we probably should’ve known about by now, but at least it gives the show a more purposeful direction late in this incredibly short season. This second half should make up for the lackluster first half, and maybe even get the series back to what made it so interesting in the first place.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.