Following the biggest cliffhanger the series has thrown at us thus far, the latest episode takes its time and makes us wait, but it ends up being worth it…mostly.
On the surface, “In the Pines, In the Pines” is without a doubt the most tense and thrilling episode of the series, but beneath all that, there’s so much more to it.
Spoilers Ahead – You’ve Been Warned!!!
The episode begins with Jeanette going through something of a purge of all the reminders of her and Ralph’s deceased son. Between tossing out the chair he would sit in, and Ralph taking down his artwork from the wall.
Initially it seems like a minor detail, and even an unnecessary distraction (given the cliffhanger the audience was left with), but it really helps set up something incredibly important later on.
Ride From Hell
We then pick up with Holly and Hoskins in the most tense car ride in history. By now, Holly has pretty much figured out that Hoskins means her harm. Meanwhile, he’s figured out that she’s figured it out, and essentially comes clean in so many words.
He tells her that he never used to believe in anything supernatural and almost laments at his sinister duty. Nevertheless, he has his bidding (from El Cuco we can assume), and this involves leading Holly to a place where he can stop her digging into this.
However, our anxieties are eased, and she’s able to make a rather daring (and brilliant) escape, eventually leading her back to Ralph, Alec, and the rest of the “team”, where they regroup and Ralph’s doubts are finally confronted.
Frightening New World
As previously mentioned, it’s not the intense car ride that’s the real takeaway from this episode. Sure it’s what kept most viewers interested throughout, and it certainly makes for exciting television, but something rather profound happened here, that’s treated with a great deal of subtlety.
Ever since he bore witness to Terry Maitland’s airtight alibi, we’ve watched Detective Ralph Anderson live up to his title by trying desperately to find some sort of rational explanation for everything that’s been happening.
Even as Holly was theorizing about El Cuco, Ralph kept a straight face and his wits about him, all while thinking in the back of his mind that there was still some way to explain away everything.
But as Jeanette publicly calls him out at the end, she points out that with everything they’ve seen so far (especially Hoskins kidnapping Holly), he can’t have any more reason to doubt this.
And, more importantly, his options are to commit to fighting this supernatural threat with them, or get out of their way.
Between clearing out the reminders of his son, calling an emergency meeting with his therapist, and this harsh talk from his wife, Ralph is taking the necessary steps on his hero’s journey to become the hero he always had the potential to be.
It’s a seemingly small moment, compared to the larger plot of the episode, but it holds so much meaning! And it’s especially refreshing because, for the last few episodes at least, it seemed like the series wasn’t sure what to do with him.
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