G-S-T TV: Low Winter Sun (S1, Ep 6: The Way Things Are)

Low_Winter_Sun - HeaderLike that old expression “slow and steady wins the race” AMC’s Low Winter Sun is getting better and in Episode 6 all the horses are getting up to speed, staring with its slowest. Following the shootout at the Blind Pig and the subsequent death of one of his friends, Damon (James Ransone) is running out of options. He is forced to turn to an enemy for help in a time of desperation but his edgy right-hand man Nick tries to prove himself but maybe going too far to do so. Damon’s shady agreement with Isaiah allowed him to sell Skelos’ drugs in the area, mostly at The Blind Pig, but not on Isaiah’s territory. Yet it was Isaiah’s own crew who ripped off Damon at The Pig.

Elsewhere in the Motor City, it looks like the breadcrumb trail he and Joe (Lennie James) have led away from their involvement with McCann has been picked up successfully. Now the search is on for the person who killed Billy and right now everything points to Damon. But while Frank lauded Det. Khalil (Athena Karkanis) for her tenacity, her persistence could now start to unravel Joe and Frank’s story. Speaking of Joe, in small but ongoing side story, he continues efforts to help straighten out his daughter and enrolls her in the same Catholic school he attended.

As the star of the show Mark Strong continues his pensive portrayal of Homicide Detective Frank Agnew. We see how good he is at working both sides of the law; playing detective means he has to work out deals with the criminals who haven’t done enough fully get caught. But his cool facade shows its fissures when he learns were Katia is being held. He seems a sucker for a broken heart and is dealt a hay-maker when he finds Katia (now living in Chicago) and comes face to face with her. After all the effort that went into saving and then finding her she reveals that Frank is nothing more occupational commodity. She’s not in trouble where she is, it may not be optimal working conditions, but she is there by choice. It hurts Frank to learn there was nothing real between them – he was a trick, end of story.

Low Winter Sun_Strong Karkanis

James Ransone is a capable actor but still seems like he’s miscast here.  That said he is getting more screen time and his part just now coming around. With no other options, Damon goes to Skelos and tells him everything. Skelos takes it in stride but meeting in public tends to downplay any altercation. Their exchange is essentially Skelos saying “I knew what you were up to, but wasn’t going to let it slide” to which Damon counters with “if you don’t help me (or try to hurt me) I know something about you to put you away“. That impresses and slightly scares the Greek but also ensures Damon’s and Maya’s safety.

It prompts Skelos to bring in Isaiah and the three have a shaky peace accord that strips Damon of pretty much everything. Isiah gets The Blind Pig, Skelos gets The International (Damon’s family’s place and last source of income) and giving up the bar leaves him and Maya with nothing. This third part of the episode is where a lot of other things come together especially Frank finding temporary solace in Det. Khalil, and Nick’s unexpected retaliation against Isaiah’s right-hand man Papa T. In short, Low Winter Sun is making due on its promises.

Taking a step back from the show a bit, AMC might have done a disservice to its new show by putting it right after Breaking Bad. Gilligan’s phenomenal show has proved itself for five seasons and not that Low Winter Sun is trying to take its place but it does have a big gap to fill. It’s like watching a spectacular opening act that is so good that by the time the real band gets on stage the audience is not impressed with anything less. But those who are sticking with it are finding things improving/developing and Low Winter Sun is making strong steps towards becoming a strong show.