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Tin Star: Series 2, Episode 5 (Consequences) - Review

Tin Star

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

IT MAY have taken a season and a half but Tin Star may just have delivered its best episode… and one that heralds a positive new direction for its core group of protagonists.

Consequences was a riveting piece of drama, driven by some terrific performances, an ever mounting sense of tension and – as its title suggests – repercussions from the past. It’s the type of episode that this quirky and often infuriating series has threatened ever since its pilot.

But while season one mostly flattered to deceive before becoming something that was hard to care about, season two has slowly gone about repairing the damage and making the characters interesting again. It has dropped a lot of the quirks and frustrations from its debut run and shown a little more focus in terms of storytelling.

And while it has taken five episodes to get to the point where the action now really looks set to kick in, the omens appear very good indeed.

First and foremost, the episode gave us a long-awaited back story for new character Pastor Johan Nickel (John Lynch) and his family, and why the former seemed to be a drug mule for the cartel despite being a man of the cloth.

It opened with a violent back-story, involving Pastor Johan, his boy Thomas (Brenden Sunderland) and a severed head. It then cut to the present day, as Tim Roth’s Jack, at the request of his daughter Anna (Abigail Lawrie), visits Pastor Johan in the middle of the night to try and offer some help.

This being Tin Star, the help comes in a violent form. Jack virtually holds Johan hostage. He then resolves to get to the truth of why Johan has become a criminal, even dragging Johan’s wife and daughter, Rosa and Sarah, downstairs so that they can hear what the family patriarch has been up to.

All the while, the clock is ticking. The drugs drop that Johan was supposed to have delivered by midnight has long since missed its deadline. Jack is aware of the implications of this. But he, too, has lost the drugs. There is seemingly no way to avoid a violent confrontation.

Johan, for his part, holds onto his values and silence for as long as he can. But he eventually breaks and reveals the tragedy behind his journey. His family rally, prompting Anna to question why her own can’t be the same.

It’s an episode where people talked. It seldom left Johan’s kitchen. And it was born from anguish and regret, from pain and suffering. Every primary character had to face the consequences of their past.

For Johan, it was about striking a deal with a cartel and the lives it cost. For Jack, it was about losing his own family, twice, and destroying the lives of everyone around him. Could saving Johan’s family offer him a shot at some kind of twisted redemption?

Roth and Lynch were excellent at the centre of the episode – two driven men, ruined by their actions. Roth remained glib and apparently uncaring, but the cracks were starting to show. He offered a glimpse of a better man, if only to appease his daughter. But he remained ruthless in his pursuit of the truth and his anguish that Johan had allowed his daughter to be placed in harm’s way.

Lynch, by contrast, offered staunch silence… until breaking point. Then there was anguish; a hint at cowardice, and – finally – some sort of reconciliation, albeit one that continues to place himself and those he loves in imminent danger.

He has been immense this season, if not on-screen enough. But in Johan, he has delivered a character worthy of calling himself an adversary to Jack – not by being violent, but rather holding a mirror up to Jack’s own failings. This was the episode that Lynch has deserved and it’ll be interesting to see where he takes Johan next.

The cartel, meanwhile, remained a silent but potent threat. The severed head, seen fleetingly at the top of the episode, a reminder of the damage they can inflict.

As the episode drew to a close, the lights went out in the Johan household and the surrounding town. The day of reckoning for Johan had arrived. But we have to wait a week to find out what happens next.

This was, finally, an episode that kept you glued throughout. It raised valid questions about the nature of violence, about the male ego, and about dealing with loss. It allowed the actors to really stretch their ability. And it actually left you thirsting for more. What’s more, you’re starting to care a little more about Jack and family once again, while sympathising with Johan and his.

If the remaining episodes of Tin Star‘s sophomore run can match the intensity and drive of Consequences, then we could be in for a real treat. It may have taken 15 odd episodes, but Tin Star may finally have turned a corner and become a show really worth talking about.

Related: Tin Star: Season 1 – What went wrong?