Apple TV+’s Mosquito Coast finds sanctuary at long last this week, but is it everything it appears to be? The Foxes are still learning hard lessons the hard way, surrounded at once by people who are like them and not — and who know their place, unlike the Foxes.
Dina, Margot and Charlie have their doubts about their new home but Allie is all in, and he’s going to make sure they know how he feels. A hefty new complication rears its head in a tense episode of the thriller series about a family on the lam.
Mosquito Coast recap: ‘Talk About the Weather’
Season 2, episode 3: In this week’s episode, entitled “Talk About the Weather,” Allie (played by Justin Theroux), Margot (Melissa George), Dina (Logan Polish) and Charlie (Gabriel Bateman) have at long last made it to the promised land: a commune in the Central American jungle. It’s staffed by an old friend of Allie and Margo’s named Isela (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) from their youthful rebellion days.
I confess I had forgotten the Foxes actually had a destination in mind. Somewhere along the line, I assumed they were just running until they couldn’t run anymore. Regardless, the welcome they get isn’t exactly warm. This place doesn’t like outsiders. And even though the Foxes have an in among their people, they are a very real danger.
Lest we forget, the Fox family is trying to outrun the U.S. government, black widow drug dealer Lucrecia (Ofelia Medina) and her pet hitman (Ian Hart). He hasn’t forgotten about the Foxes. Indeed, he’s still torturing and killing people for information about them.
When the hitman runs out of people to interrogate, the detail he was assigned to make sure he didn’t run off with Lucrecia’s money tries to kill him, but he gets the drop on all of them. So the question is: What now? Are the Foxes safe? Well, that’s a tricky question.
Trouble in paradise
Charlie’s not getting along very well. He’s taken to ignoring his chores to stare into space, worrying his parents. He also wanders off on long walks, which stresses out the rest of the communists. If he goes too far and gets seen, everyone could wind up in trouble. (They’re illegally squatting on government-owned land, after all.)
Everyone here is a fugitive from something. Most people are dissidents fleeing persecution, or they were displaced by corporations stealing their land out from under them. Allie’s heartened to see Charlie start to play soccer with the other kids … that is, until he injures another kid.
Dina’s not really lovin’ life either. Her job on the commune involves taking care of a goat, and that’s as complicated as it sounds. She asks one of their couriers to get her drugs so she can deal with her boredom. And she finally confronts her dad about the idea of leaving and going back to civilization.
Allie’s reluctant but doesn’t want to seem like he’s deliberately keeping his daughter from her goals because he knows he’ll lose her to her impulsiveness if he does. He hedges, but when she finds out that Isela is selling the boat the Foxes took to get here — which, by the way, is the only way for them to leave — Dina starts to suspect she’s never leaving, at least not without a fight.
There’s plenty of suspicion to go around
Margot harbors her own suspicions and uneasiness about things. (She seems to always be building in an escape plan.) When Allie gifts her a typewriter, it helps her feel a little better. But then Dina tells her about the sale of the boat, and it comes out that the two of them have been plotting an escape the whole time.
Margot’s been stealing little bits of fuel to put in the boat so they can eventually escape, and Dina wants badly to get help for Charlie, who is clearly not handling his emotional state well. So tonight’s the night … but for one thing. Allie finds out what they’re up to and sinks the boat.
Now it stays with us for good
I’ve been waiting for something like this. If you’re familiar with the source material or the initial adaptation of The Mosquito Coast, a great film by Peter Weir, you know that Allie Fox doesn’t remain a scheming reprobate for long. No, there’s a heel turn on the way, a bad one, and it’s starting to raise its head.
I mean, that seems like a silly way to describe a man who so far has excused an awful lot of sociopathic behavior, but frankly, we haven’t begun to see the depths to which this character is willing to sink to preserve his vision of a perfect life for him and his family.
That ultimately is the great irony of The Mosquito Coast. The more Allie Fox insists the rest of the world can’t handle his radical ideas that will make the world a better place, the more set in his ways he becomes and the more horrifyingly heart-set on his goal he becomes. Soon, he’s as big a reactionary as everyone he fled in the first place.
How low will Allie sink?
Allie sinking the boat may not be the first evil thing he’s done. (The bit where he let their kidnappers shoot Margot to prove how serious he was about their goal was very bad indeed.) However, it’s the first one where he was fully cognizant of his own ill will toward the things he was doing to handicap his wife’s attempts to flee, to be someone other than who he wants her to be.
The kidnapping situation was a panicky rush, and charitably you could say he wasn’t thinking clearly. By sinking the boat, which can’t have been the easiest thing to just do, Allie’s declaring war on Margot. He worked hard to get here — and he will be having things his way.
Watch Mosquito Coast on Apple TV+
New episodes of the second season of Mosquito Coast arrive on Apple TV+ every Friday.
Watch on: Apple TV+
Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.