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'The Red Road' finale fan react: Tell me that it really happened

Season 2 | Episode 6 | “Shadow Walker” | Aired May 7, 2015

SPOILER ALERT: If you are not caught up on the most recent episodes of The Red Road, turn back now.

Because this episode ended the way it did, I need to start there and work backward. The last sequence, starting with Levi’s guys trying to kill Phillip and ending with Marie dying on the floor, is one of the most fierce and emotionally fraught scenes I’ve seen from this show, ever.

Jason Momoa owns every second of this episode. Even when he isn’t on screen, he is present in every line of dialogue, every scene, every second. He and Julianne Nicholson are doing amazing work, and if somebody doesn’t notice soon, I’m going to lose my mind.

Jean processes what she

The tension starts to build when Harold goes to see Phillip, and is cryptic and evasive about his plans to deal with the Levi problem. When Harold offers the Kevlar vest and Phillip declines, my foreshadowing senses go on high alert. Although I knew something bad was about to happen, I couldn’t imagine that Levi would go after Marie and Junior that way.

I am falling more and more in love with the dynamic between Harold and Phillip, and found myself chuckling out loud, despite myself, when Harold offers the vest to Phillip and he replies, “I can’t fit into a boys’ extra-medium.” Their relationship is becoming less adversarial; this contributes, in a big way, to the audience’s intimacy with Phillip.

Philip and Harold team up on The Red Road

I feel like we (mostly) know Harold—we’ve seen him at his worst and most vulnerable—but Phillip rarely lets his guard down long enough for us to really know anything about him. As he does his best to protect the people he loves, and desperately fails at it, we get to see him completely bare, stripped of his guard, with his humanity on full display.

When Phillip squares off with Levi, having gotten the better of him, Phillip gets to be the hero. In fact, Levi even sends a little shout-out to Jason Momoa’s new role as Aquaman, asking him, “You think you’re some noble avenger or something?” Phillip squashes it with a knife to his gut, but not before Levi warns him of another surprise waiting for him. That surprise, as we quickly learn, is that Levi sent men to kill Marie and Junior. Phillip rushes to to their side, leaving Levi to die.

As Junior is being wheeled out on a stretcher, Marie bleeds out on the floor, staring into Phillip’s eyes. Marie’s face is full of fear and panic, probably over what is to come of her children and her tribe once she dies, but Phillip’s pain and regret pour out of him like an avalanche. He begs her to forgive him, crying, “I’m sorry, okay? Okay? I’m sorry.” It’s a tragedy almost too difficult to bear from this character who has been so guarded against showing his true self.

Every terrible choice Phillip has made thus far, every time he’s shoved someone he loves away, every time he’s done something terrible: It all pours into the sharp and real grief over the loss of his mother. For anyone still doubting the relevance of this show and Jason Momoa’s contribution to it, rewatch that scene—it will tear your heart out.

While we aren’t completely sure Marie is dead—she’s still barely alive as the credits roll—Jean’s father, David, dies under very problematic circumstances. Last week, Jean began to question her own accounts of her childhood. With the revelation of the mysterious grate and a recovered memory of Brian suffocating under a bag, the audience was left in the same position as Jean—to try to authenticate these fragments of memory. This week provides clarity, and it looks like Jean is vindicated.

Her father admits to using violent tactics with Brian—to try to “heal him”—and Jean pushes him to “tell me what really happened.” I feel for Jean in this scene. She is holding on to her reality by the tips of her fingernails, and it’s important for her to hear him say it was real. I can’t even fault her for putting the bag on his head. She is wrangling emotions that most of us could never comprehend.

Jean tightening the bag around her father’s face is a shocking image to watch, but it feels just. David is turning out to be a really bad guy after all. Once Jean lets go, however, he drops with a heart attack. This is complexly problematic: Our sense of morality butts heads with our sense of justice.

Jean leaves him to die, heading outside to sit in her fugue state instead of calling an ambulance. Jean sits until nightfall, with her dead father in the house. When Rachel arrives, she is forced to deal with the situation, which is completely unfair and heartbreaking in its own right.

Jean

Rachel is suspicious of the bag her mother left beside her grandfather’s body, and even the responding officer, Lt. Aschell, picks up on the weird vibe between Jean and Rachel. He reports as much to Harold, telling Harold he left it out of the report to protect him, but it reads much more like a threat. Harold is, once again, caught between protecting his wife and doing his job.

He doesn’t completely dismiss Aschell, however, and goes to Rachel to ask about her grandfather. He warns her that “secrets can be a hard thing to carry around by yourself,” but she doesn’t tell him anything about the bag or the state in which she found Jean.

This follows a couple of really intense scenes between Rachel and Jean; these moments between mother and daughter are becoming harder and harder to bear. Both women see Jean’s own shortcomings. As a mother, having to admit to your child that “You deserve a better mother than me” might be one of the worst things you can experience.

Jean wants to be the mother Rachel deserves, but she doesn’t feel worthy. She judges her own choices against her daughter’s, and sees herself in Rachel—especially now that Rachel is showing symptoms.

Jean tries to discourage Rachel’s reunion with Junior, but Rachel maintains that he’ll remain loyal to her if she were to get sick. Jean insists that Junior is less like Harold, as Rachel suggests, and more like Phillip, who’s “always in trouble.” Rachel would “rather be in trouble than alone,” but I think it’s safe to say she is just desperately trying to be different from her mother. Jean is defined by her illness, and also by the people in her life who try to manage it: Harold, her father, and now Rachel.

Aside from these few moments, this episode was chock-full of plot development. Here are some things we need to keep in mind while we wait for next season:

  • Both the town of Walpole and the Lenape are planning on suing each other over the poisoning of the well.

  • Now that Marie might be dead, the chief position is open. We know that Sky wants it, but we also know from Jack that Marie wanted Phillip to have it.

  • Jack is heavily involved in the dumping scandal, and the tribe will need him to go forward with their lawsuit.

  • Rachel says she isn’t going to college and she plans to stay in Walpole with Junior.

What were the best moments of the finale for you?

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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