Apple TV+ thriller The Mosquito Coast picks up its cliffhanger and heads into ever darker territory this week. Allie is caught between a rock and a harder place than usual. Dina takes her anger out on Margot, but Charlie would rather take it out on Richard.
Margot’s stuck between trying to win back her family’s approval and not caring enough to get it back. The Foxes may still be in hot water with the U.S. government after all, which means there’s a clock ticking faster than they imagined.
It all adds up to a white-knuckle episode of the drama about a family of terrorists on the lam in Central America.
Mosquito Coast recap: ‘Goat Head Taco’
Season 2, episode 6: At the start of the episode, entitled “Goat Head Taco,” Allie (played by Justin Theroux) and hitman William “Bill” Lee (Ian Hart) narrowly escape the disruption they orchestrated at the rainforest development fundraiser. Allie spared the life of the event’s tech guy, which Bill was against, but that decision saves them when the scared fellow pretends he doesn’t know Allie and Bill, and they’re allowed to leave of their own accord.
Of course, because it’s Allie Fox, the getaway isn’t as clean as they were hoping. Audio of their voices is picked up and the CIA makes a positive I.D. on Allie.
Disgraced agent Raban (Matt McCoy) goes to his superior, Renee (Virginia Louise Smith), with the info, but she has to be dragged kicking and screaming into the idea of further investigation. Raban’s doggedness about the Foxes led to two agents getting killed, and Renee doesn’t want to hear anything more about the fugitive family. When Raban makes the case that Bautista (Daniel Raymont) was hiring Fox for something nefarious, and people might die, she does eventually listen.
Who’s planning what kind of wickedness?
Certainly, if Bautista and Isela (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) aren’t planning on hurting more people, how else to explain Richard’s (Ariyon Bakare) sudden appearance at Isela’s commune? Margot (Melissa George) follows Richard one day and sees him get some kind of package from a gang of gun-toting locals. So she, too, suspects there’s something else big going.
However, Margot’s too bent out of shape to figure out what. She remains caught between loathing Allie for sinking their boat and ruining her and Dina (Logan Polish) and Charlie’s (Gabriel Bateman) escape plan, and loathing herself because Dina found out the reason the family is on the run is because Margot killed someone. They’d been told it was Allie’s malfeasance that made them fugitives, and Dina is mad that Margot let them believe that.
Dina tries to talk to her brother about it, but he’s in no mood to be mad at his parents. He takes it out instead on Richard, going to his cabin with a gun and threatening him to stay away from him and the rest of his family.
Maybe it’s time to make a deal
Allie and Isela have a blowout when Allie returns to camp that night, aware suddenly that the place he risked everything to find is basically in the pocket of a local mobster. If he is going to stay at the commune, he needs more insurance than just keeping Margot in place.
He talks to Margot about Richard and the errand he was running for Bautista, and he’s suddenly as angry as Margot is about being trapped here.
If he’d just come to this conclusion a few days ago, they would have been in much better shape, but no matter. Margot has a plan: Hand Richard over to Interpol. Allie balks at making a deal with any government, but it’s not like he has a better suggestion. Charlie’s cracking up, Dina’s disaffected, and their lives are in danger. Plus, it’s only a matter of time before Bautista comes calling again and wants Allie to do something even more dangerous.
Let’s agree to agree
This episode of The Mosquito Coast simply soars by like all the rest. It’s one of the best-paced shows on Apple TV+, which makes discussing its virtues a little tricky. Everyone’s good in their roles, the directors get in and out with little fuss, the editors tighten every bolt, and we get a great episode every week. The directing team, absent pilot director Rupert Wyatt, wants for a little purpose and style, but no one’s exactly a slouch, either.
There’s plenty of tension generated this week as Allie and Bill escape the fundraiser, or when Margot follows Richard, or later when Charlie threatens Richard. But there’s also the central tension of the show’s conceit having reached its logical endpoint.
The Foxes risked their lives to get to the Latin American commune. And now that they’re here, they have to leave. I think everyone on the creative team knows that something else has to give, and soon. But in the meantime, these little side missions are solidly put together.
I want the Foxes to set a more coherent goal again, soon, because the show is at its best when the whole clan is single-minded about its purpose. I don’t know where the writers are going to send the Foxes next on The Mosquito Coast, but I am excited to find out.
Watch The Mosquito Coast on Apple TV+
New episodes of the second season of The 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.