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Tin Star: Season 2 Episode 1 - Review

Tin Star Series 2

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

IF THE first season of Sky Atlantic’s Tin Star left me bitterly disappointed, then it was with trepidation that I approached the opening episode of the show’s sophomore run.

Yet despite running to nearly 90 minutes, the jury’s still out on the Tim Roth star vehicle. Picking up in the immediate aftermath of the bloody first season finale, which saw Roth’s Jack (aka Jim Worth) shot and left for dead by his now estranged wife and daughter (Genevieve O’Reilly and Abigail Lawrie), the episode wasted no time in scattering the principal players still further apart.

Lawrie’s Anna, for her part, ran off into the snowy woods and eventually found ‘refuge’ in a tiny commune… or rather, a decent place to hang herself. But she was discovered by a member of the townsfolk and rushed to hospital.

O’Reilly’s Angela, meanwhile, attempted to search for her daughter, enlisting the help of Christina Hendricks’ new ally Elizabeth (now fired from her company), to do so. And that was about it.

Roth pulled his character back from the brink and briefly came into contact with the survivors of his killing spree, while Anna eventually found new solace with the woman who saved her. But given that the series will find Anna taken in by the commune, only to need rescuing from its dark secrets, her apparent salvation would appear fleeting.

One of my principal criticisms of the first series of Tin Star was its plodding storytelling, not to mention its over-reliance on quirky characters. Thus far, the pacing would still appear to be a problem. Nothing much happened in the first episode, either in terms of character building or action.

Admittedly, each of the main characters seemed wracked by guilt [and deservedly so]. But beyond that, there was nothing new or surprising about them, either to take them forward or to challenge them. The main family have been at odds before, so finding them separated isn’t really new territory.

As yet, the new characters have yet to make any kind of impact, beyond looking like a safe haven. But the advertising campaign has ruined that. We know they will have a dark side, just as we know Roth’s Jack will doubtless be offered salvation by being able to rescue his daughter.

It is early days for this series, of course. There is potential for the conflict between a morally dubious lawman and a religious group to echo a film such as There Will Be Blood. And the cinematography still evokes memories of David Lynch in his prime.

The quirkiness inherent in the first series has yet to manifest itself, either.

If Tin Star cuts to the chase and really offers up some moral complexity, as opposed to nastiness for the sake of it (a feature which came to mark the first run’s final episodes), then we could still be in for a successful reinvention that actually plays to Roth’s strengths as a commanding central presence.

But we have a long way to go to properly warm to these characters and to overcome the failings that bedevilled that first series. Without wanting to throw in the towel just yet, there is work to be done to convince that a second series was a worthwhile investment.

Tin Star, for all of its lofty ambition, still exists in the shadow of Sky Atlantic’s landmark series, such as Game of Thrones and Succession, not to mention the far superior likes of Fargo.