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'The Red Road' fan react: Strong enough to try

Season 2 | Episode 3 | “Intruders” | Aired Apr 16, 2015

This season of The Red Road has approached each episode with a particular theme, and this week’s aptly named “Intruders” is no exception. So many scenes feature the characters in places they aren’t wanted, drawing the tension even tauter and forcing us to watch these folks learn to live with outsiders in their space.

Phillip is still squatting at the dead lady’s house, wearing her fuzzy slippers, eating off her dishes, and using her fork to scratch under the ankle-monitoring device. It’s incongruous to say the least, but the fact that Phillip appropriates this house and these belongings really pulls the fact that he doesn’t have anything of his own into focus.

When Mike’s girlfriend shows up to ask Phillip for work selling drugs, he’s put off by her presence. Her gratitude chafes against his guilt, and he tries to send her away, but winds up sleeping with her. Don’t you just hate when that happens?

He wants to help her, mostly out of remorse, but maybe a little out of duty, or even honor. Granted, it wasn’t honorable to sleep with Mike’s girlfriend, but she came there looking for something, and Phillip gave her what he knew how to give. He’s gruff with her, and says, “No apologies, no thank yous, no nothing. That’s all I’m looking for.”

Phillip Kopus searches for Junior on The Red Road

In the most literal interpretation of the episode title, two masked men break into Marie’s home demanding the money Phillip took from Mac’s body. They force Marie and Sky into a closet, and then get into a shootout with Frank Morgan and the tribal police.

The intruders believe Phillip hid the bag there, and now, unfortunately, it seems like Marie and Sky believe that too. It goes without saying that Phillip presents as an intruder and misfit, but Sky does, as well—she’s an intruder in Marie’s eyes.

Before the men came in, Marie and Sky were arguing about the casino, and Sky comes at Marie pretty hard in opposition. Marie says in many different ways that Sky is an “advisor” and not a council member. Her insistence on affecting Marie’s decision further isolates her, and following her efforts to distance herself from Phillip last week, she’s losing status.

The masked intruders flee on foot after Phillip arrives to save the day. With any other character, on any other show, the sight of him wielding that car door and deflecting bullets might have been too much. But I bought it—all of it. Phillip Kopus may not have much to say, but he can chew the scenery without uttering one word, and I mean that in the best way possible.

Harold has to leave Jean and her parents as they chat about Bill, the grieving husband who admitted to killing his wife then shot himself last week. Jean eventually tells Harold what Bill confessed to her, but the way she delivers it is cryptic and strange, especially after the few scenes in which Jean grapples with the figurative intruders inside her head.

As she tells Harold that Bill confessed to killing his wife, “and I believe him,” she says, it calls up the earlier scene in which she hallucinates blood flowing from the garbage truck when she’s crushing Brian’s things. The voices are counting, “45, 1000, 46, 1000,” and while I won’t presume to understand, Jean is absolutely struggling to make meaning of it all.

She tells her father that letting Brian’s things go feels like murder, and that doesn’t seem coincidental. Jean’s illness is tainting her memories, and it seems like Captain Bill has some part in that.

Harold leaves Jean with her parents to respond to the call from Marie’s. No other officers want to partner with Frank Morgan, so Harold is the default assistance that the Federal government demands. The feud between the Lenape and the Walpole police is worsening, and Harold seems conflicted over where his loyalties lie.

Harold and Frank make an unlikely pair, and as they search the mountain for the masked fugitives, Frank assigns Harold intruder status, saying plainly, “Whenever something happens [on this mountain] it’s always outsiders.” I understand their tension, and I think I side with Frank. Jean ran over Frank’s son, and Harold lied to cover it up. I get it, so when Frank takes a swing at Harold, I know exactly why.

On the other hand, when Harold strikes back, I’m less sure why. Harold is moving further and further away from the protective father and husband he was in the first few episodes of season one, and he’s foreshadowed his devolution succinctly, telling Jean, “I’m becoming just like Bill.”

The masked guys flee through the woods and come upon Junior as he continues his vigil in the wild. He unknowingly gives them directions to the interstate while Rachel and Phillip wait for him back at the camp. I’m trying to care about Junior and Rachel, but it’s background noise for me, at this point. I am much more interested in the fractured relationship between brothers Junior and Phillip.

Rachel goes to check on Junior in the woods on The Red Road

Harold and Frank catch up to the fugitives, and as they flee, Harold shoots and kills one of the robbers. Harold watches the life leave his body, and you can tell he’s affected. It’s tough to figure out exactly how, and that’s just one of the scary things about Harold right now.

I must mention the ubiquitous sludge. The writers danced around it last season, but they’re unveiling the danger in short bursts this season. We now know with certainty that the car company’s sludge is responsible for the high incidence of cancer in the Lenape, and I suspect it is going to become more and more important to the characters as the show unfolds.

The show closes on a bright blue footprint of sludge from Harold’s boat—a symbol if there ever was one.

The Red Road airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on SundanceTV.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
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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