After a more lighthearted, comedy focused episode, we take almost a complete 180 into more serious territory. This is made readily apparent when the episode opens with what appears to be a ritual child sacrifice.
It’s an effective scene on several levels. Not only is it rather creepy on its own, but it makes for a nice misdirect as, when Audrey and Nathan arrive on the scene, it’s not the boy who turns up dead but an adult who supervised the aforementioned ritual.
The whole episode is rather layered. While there is an afflicted party that plays a role in the story, it’s not as simple as finding said person and helping them work through it. There are other factors at work that make it more complex than the standard “freak of the week” episode.
Heck, even the nature of the trouble differs greatly from what we’ve seen. It’s not just some person who randomly developed a superpower. There’s a whole transition phase involved and, if not balanced properly, could result in a person accidently killing themself. Another difference is the fact that this “trouble” seems to be genetic as it only affects males in one specific family.
While “the Rev” is more or less, the antagonist in the episode, even he gets fleshed out as we gain a deeper insight into his motivations and reasoning behind hating not just troubled people in general, but this particular family. This gets brought to the forefront after a plot twist in the latter half of the episode.
I also liked the fact that the show’s myth arcs seemed to play a more prominent role. Audrey discovers that Lucy Ripley knew both the now deceased chief and one of the women now living on the family compound. Duke also learns more about the tattoo, as it is said to be a mark worn by those who would fight the Rev. Duke doesn’t get much more than that, but he is warned that he is being watched and that it’s best if he just walk away. They’ll spare his life, he just needs to walk away.
I’m not sure what is going on with every episode ending with some haunting rendition of a previous song, or just a haunting song in general. I’ll grant you, it worked rather well here as Enya’s melodic voice accompanies the scene where all the men walk into the water, but this is like the third episode in a row that has done it. I think it might be best if they give it a rest for a few episodes.
While the episode was much darker than the last one, it still stands as a rather strong episode. The characters were believable, there was plenty of tension, the plot twists felt natural and not like they were shoehorned in, and we got quite a bit of advancement on the overall story arc. I hope the rest of the season turns out as well as the last couple of episodes have because it seems like the writers have gotten the necessary momentum to make this show stand on its own.