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'The Red Road' recap: The Bad Weapons

Season 1 | Ep. 4 | “The Bad Weapons” | Aired Mar 20, 2014

This week’s episode, “The Bad Weapons,” is titled both cryptically and appropriately, since this episode was mostly about the damage the characters are doing to each other.  So far, this episode has been the most action-packed of the season (albeit one of the most tight-lipped), and I desperately hope it is building to a climax in the coming two episodes, which are the last of the season.

Jean comes home this week, after being diagnosed with schizophrenia, and faces Harold’s denial and her own (surprising) acceptance. Harold visits her in the opening scenes of the episode, and she says she feels better. She definitely seems like she is better, although a little too conveniently, considering the timing. Their dynamic is sweet, and it is the first time we get to see them as a normal couple, not two people clawing and scratching at each other in desperation.

Red Road s1ep4: Henderson, Nicholson (SundanceTV)Rachel has decided to break it off with Junior (thank you, Universe) since he turned out to be such a jerk, and because she has recently decided not to do anything else to hurt her mom (she is finally catching up to the rest of us), so it seems like things at the Jensen house might be calming down.

But not really, since the search for the NYU kid is heating up, and Harold is having a harder and harder time trying to keep up his end of the bargain with Phillip. Everybody in the town is out to get Phillip (and the writers have yet to justify why), so it seems logical that his uncle would call in an anonymous tip to the DEA. Harold beats the other officers to Phillip’s house, just in time to tip him off, and give him a head start. The chase through the woods is the most overt action we’ve seen all season, and I found it downright suspenseful. Nothing much comes of it, in terms of consequences for Phillip, but Harold has to answer a good bit of questions about the incident, and he lies about them all.

The lines of good and bad are really starting to blur in our heroes in this episode, and I can’t discern their values anymore. Where it once seemed like Harold valued, above all else, protecting his family; his recent decisions are coming back to haunt him—in the form of two pissy NYPD detectives that show up at his house to question him about Mike’s nonarrest last episode; trying to connect Mike to the murdered college student. This, coupled with the DEA incident, is leading to a pretty dire situation for Harold. He can only be a crappy police officer for so long before folks start noticing he’s not just inept, but a giant liar and a possible criminal.

Harold and Phillip’s archetypes are starting to overlap, as Harold’s decent into antihero mimics the worsening crimes of Phillip. In this episode alone, Phillip commits arson, felony drug crimes and sadly, murder. However, I am conflicted over this particular act of violence – Mike really had it coming, bragging to Junior about his involvement with the NYU kid’s murder, and being so careless with the stolen drugs. Backed into a corner, Phillip kills him, but in the most personal and intimate way possible: it was almost like he hugged him to death, as he wrapped his giant arm around his neck and pulled, whispering, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Mike.”  This scene made Phillip far  more sympathetic to me, and I felt sorry for him, not Mike. The tight shot of his face as she lays his friend on the ground, and then carries him off to dispose of the body could convict even the most cynical of hearts. All along we’ve been grappling with Phillip as a bad guy, and this episode seems to really double down on that assertion. But I’m not on board with stamping him as villain just yet; there is something that exists in Phillip that calls on us to empathize with him, to excuse him, and to take his side.

We’ve yet to uncover the interrelated backstory of the main characters, although we get some insight this week through the tapes Rachel discovered. Having saved a few from being tossed out by her grandfather, she asks her mother about them and discusses them with her sister. Through these conversations about the tapes, we learn that Brian was “quirky” and that he and Harold didn’t really get along, according to Jean. All these remote details are starting to wear on me, and I am ready to see it come full circle. There are only two episodes left, for Pete’s sake, and there is precious little time to work it out.  One of my chief complaints with this show is how coy the writers play it, taking their time, doling out tidbits. For a series with only six episodes, I fear we don’t have enough time with these characters to see so many plot points reach a satisfactory conclusion by season’s end.


Similarly, I am feeling weary with the strained dynamic between Marie and Phillip. What could possibly happen between mother and son that would create such bad blood that she wouldn’t go see him in prison? When Junior steals medicine to give Marie for her cancer, she is infuriated that Phillip is rubbing off on him and she tells Phillip its “none of your business” when he asks her if she is sick. Ouch. The way in which Phillip mentors Junior and saves then dotes on his dog indicates he is screaming for some connection, for some sort of reciprocated love, but I guess the restraint he showed with Sky (who is strangely absent this week) demonstrates he might not be ready for it.

Give up the details, already, The Red Road … I can’t hardly wait!

What details are you dying to know about the first four episodes of The Red Road? Tweet me your curiosity at @sroseholt.

TV Families | EW.com
February 23, 1990 at 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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