Synopsis: After a politician (Vera Farmiga) makes a shocking statement encouraging violence, a man is apparently murdered and left hanging from a billboard. Mysteriously ignored by passers-by, only one man (Mel Rodriguez) questions the situation, making himself an instant target as dark forces close in.
Review: This was a shocking and disturbing episode that was firmly rooted in the real world. Mel Rodriguez conveyed Phil’s everyman heroism stupendously, from his righteous anger at a mob attacking an innocent woman to his awkwardness and desire to remain faithful to his wife when faced with a sexy hologram.
The scenes with Phil and his co-workers had a great earthy realism reminiscent of the interactions between Stephen King‘s characters. This becomes subverted in subsequent scenes as we see Len (Jason Mitchell) and Ed (Glenn Morshower) begin to mistrust Phil when he talks of the Kill all others signs.
As we saw in the previous episode this society is completely in the grip of totalitarianism which is shown by Len’s (Jason Mitchell) assertion that Phil needs to buy something to feel better, as well as the steely darkness beneath the surface of Phil’s counsellor and doctor, and also the Imperial March-esque score that accompanied the Candidate’s speeches. There are some excellent mood shifts in this outing as well, from Phil and his wife’s idyllic car ride that turns into a scene of street violence to the sudden stopping of Phil’s train as soon as he says the word “lying”.
Perhaps the best and most disturbing scene in this episode is when Len and Ed are playing snooker and watching Phil be cornered by police live on TV. This scene shows the apathy and willing blindness of ordinary people to the world being turned upside down around them. There was a great and very true to life conversation between those two characters about whether Phil was an “other” or not.
Mel Rodriguez has some great lines as Phil in this installment. Particularly of note was his statement to his counselor that “It just seemed wrong” referring to a gang attack on an innocent party. I loved the line “We are all others” that Phil says upon being caught by the police. The musical score in this episode was absolutely phenomenal. I loved the mildly frenetic theme that was played in many scenes which speeds up and becomes more urgent and eerie when Phil goes on the run.
Vera Farmiga played the Candidate with a veneer of respectability that was turned on its head when the Kill all others signs begin to appear. A great and very creepy touch was her final monologue that is addressed directly to the viewer. Sarah Baker plays Phil’s oblivious wife Maggie well; there are some lovely moments between the two of them that ultimately turn sour when Phil punches her. Dushon Monique Brown delivers a fantastic threat to Phil during their counseling scene that “Anyone can look a little other”.
Overall, a spectacular end to this brilliant series.
- Incidental Music10