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The Red Road, Ep. 1.03, “The Woman Who Fell from the Sky” is an entertaining middle installment

The Red Road, Ep. 1.03, “The Woman Who Fell from the Sky” is an entertaining middle installment

The Red Road, S01E03 promo image

The Red Road, Season 1, Episode 3, “The Woman Who Fell from the Sky”
Written by Bridget Carpenter
Directed by J. Michael Muro
Airs Thursdays at 9pm EST on SundanceTV

This week, on The Red Road: Jean starts to stabilize, Phillip spends some quality time with his dad, and Rachel has terrible taste in boyfriends

The Red Road continues this week with an entertaining, if not hugely memorable, table-setting episode. With only six episodes in the first season, there’s not much opportunity for multiple dramatic peaks and valleys, so it’s not surprising that episode three features some fallout from the characters’ various poor choices in episodes one and two and a few new touches, but no fireworks. These are presumably coming later, as we build towards the finale. As a middle episode, however, “The Woman Who Fell from the Sky” works well, expanding Phillip’s circle and focusing in a bit more on Rachel.

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Tom Sizemore returns as Jack, Phillip’s criminally-minded father, but while he’s very convincing as the instigating baddie of the season, his relationship with Jason Momoa’s Phillip remains underdeveloped. It’s hard to tell if this is intentional; the two have had only a couple scenes. It would be nice to have a better read on their dynamic- Phillip has been in jail, but when did that happen, and had he left home before this? Was his father around when he was a kid? Tamara Tunie’s Marie doesn’t seem like the type to brook nonsense- when did she kick Jack out and was it before or after Phillip started taking after his father? Hopefully these gaps will start to be filled in as the series continues. The mystery surrounding Phillip is certainly intriguing, but Momoa’s scenes with Sizemore should be more impactful, and a few answers could go a long way in helping this.

We spend more time with Rachel this week, as she rebels against her parents hangs out with her boyfriend. Allie Gonino is charismatic and makes her scenes work surprisingly well, considering the utter lack of depth to the character so far. We have little sense of why she’s attracted to Junior, but she stands up for herself and generally isn’t overly stupid (which is unfortunately not the case much of the time with the TV-Rebellious Teenager type), and this goes a long way. Rachel could easily feel like a plot device, the instigating factor for Jean’s breakdown, Harold’s coverup, and Phillip’s manipulation of Harold, but she feels like a normal teen. It’s hard to get a grasp of what her childhood has been like, given the fluctuations in Jean in just these three episodes, so we don’t know precisely where she’s coming from, but her beats fall on the right side of relatable and tired and halfway through the season, this critic is actually somewhat interested in whether she stays broken up with Junior, a not insignificant achievement.

The Red Road, S01E03 promo imageJean once again surprises this week as she gets back on her meds and starts to realize what’s happened. Her desire to do the right thing upon balancing out wins her a lot of audience sympathy and hints at developments to come- her husband actively attempting to blur her grasp on her memory and reality can’t be great for Jean’s mental health, but of course Harold’s stuck, having already covered up the accident. This is a much more interesting moral gray area for him to navigate than the one presented with Jean’s hit and run. How far will he go, and what will his attempts to save her end up costing her?

While a majority of the episode is spent with familiar faces, it’s nice to see the Lenape world expanded somewhat with the addition of Lisa Bonet as a childhood friend (acquaintance?) of Phillip’s. The more sides of Phillip we get to see explored the better, and that goes double for the Native American community on the show. Hopefully there will be more to come- Bonet and Momoa have good chemistry and another perspective on the main characters’ shared history would certainly be interesting, should it be explored. Overall, The Red Road is still finding its feet, with interesting elements that haven’t yet cohered, making it entertaining, but not quite appointment, television.

What did you think of this episode? Anyone else relieved granny just had a bad dream? Think Harold can keep things up with Phillip interfering at the station? Do you want some time with Kate next week, or is one daughter storyline enough for now? Post your thoughts below!

Kate Kulzick