Last episode, we ended with everyone preparing for Terry Maitland’s day in court. Both sides appeared to have ironclad evidence against the other, but Detective Ralph Anderson’s resolve had begun to falter. Meanwhile, Frankie Peterson’s family suffers even more loss when Mrs. Peterson dies of a grief-induced heart attack.
And who was that weird looking dude who was watching the Maitland’s house while police were gathering evidence?
Not a Social Call
The episode opens with Ralph making a midnight visit to Terry in jail. Their exchange begins with both men admitting that their respective “teams” would go completely ballistic if they knew the two were speaking with each other. Ralph then confesses that he’s completely stumped about the white van Terry allegedly used to kidnap and transport Frankie Peterson. The vehicle had New York plates, a place that both Terry’s recollection and Ralph’s exhaustive investigating showed he hadn’t visited in almost two decades.
In fact, the only out of state travel Ralph uncovered was a recent family trip the Maitlands took to Dayton, Ohio, which Terry freely confirmed. Ralph follows that up with an even bigger confession: He is completely baffled by the conflicting evidence in Terry’s case. Terry responds that he is as well, calmly stating his unqualified innocence.
As Ralph gets up to leave, Terry asks if on the day they arrested him, he remembers asking Terry if he’d ever touched Derek. The tension in the room immediately spikes. Without a trace of fear or sinister intentions, Terry recalls the last summer Derek was alive and how he taught Ralph’s undersized son how to bunt, turning him from a kid who was picked on by his peers into one of the team’s best players. Ralph is clearly shaken, both by the memory of his boy and Terry’s tear-filled eyes as they bored an even deeper hole into his convictions.
Feast of Sorrow
The next morning, the surviving members of the Peterson family go shopping for yet another coffin. Mr. Peterson looks like a zombie, barely even able to move or take in the undertaker’s sale pitch. Ollie, on the other hand, looks like he’s about to explode.
Meanwhile, both the town and the media have been worked into a pre-trial frenzy. Footage of Maitland at the literary conference was “leaked” the night before, fueling and strengthening the people who believe in Terry’s innocence. Unfortunately for him, there are still plenty of people convinced that he is guilty, including D.A. Hayes.
When Terry arrives to the courthouse, he’s escorted by his wife and a team of law enforcement officers, including Ralph. As they make their way through the barricaded path, people on both sides spew venom in Terry’s direction. One of the people in the crowd (who is wearing sunglasses and has his face covered with a scarf) steps out and draws a gun. He fires four shots, three of which hit police officers. The last one hits Terry Maitland in the neck.
Ralph hits the shooter twice. The first one clips his shoulder, but the second goes through the back of his head, dropping him instantly. Ralph runs over to check and make sure the shooter is dead. After checking his pulse, he pull off his scarf, revealing the face of Ollie Peterson.
A few feet away, Glory Maitland tries to put pressure on Terry’s gushing wound while their lawyer, Howie Salomon, desperately calls for medical assistance. Ralph runs back over to try and help, but it’s clear that Terry won’t last long. With his dying words, he once again insists that he is completely innocent.
In the distance, the same hooded figure from last episode watches the chaotic and tragic events unfold. We get a slightly clearer look at his misshapen face this time, which is pretty unsettling. Dude makes Clayface from the Batman comics look like a Botox enthusiast.
Back to the Grind
While all this is happening, detective Jack Hoskins is enjoying his vacation with a little board hunting. He’s just about to score a kill when his phone chimes, scaring off his quarry and alerting him that he is needed back at work immediately. He heads back into town, but not before stopping at a strip club first to cause trouble and make sure we all know he’s a douchebag.
That night, Ralph tells Yunis Sablo that he has been put on administrative leave for two weeks. Even though it’s to help him recover from the trauma of (justifiably) shooting a kid, he’s consumed with guilt, both for arresting Terry Maitland in such a public manner and for what happened at the courthouse.
As Ralph broods, Sablo tries to cheer him up with some good (or at least interesting) news: They finally know who originally stole the white van from New York. The thief was a kid who had stolen cars up and down the east coast. In this case, the van had been ditched in Dayton, Ohio…the same place Terry and his family had been on vacation a few months ago.
That night, Jessa Maitland once again says she saw the “the man” standing outside her window.
The next morning, Mr. Peterson hangs himself, completing the decimation of his family. Just like when his eldest son died, the hooded figure is there to watch the tragedy unfold from a distance.
Meanwhile, Ralph visits the police station and manages to get access to the evidence room thanks to a friendly receptionist. He takes a photo of a paper advertisement that was found inside the van, then heads back outside, where he’s greeted by a very grumpy Jack Hoskins. Before their icy pleasantries can turn into barbed insults, the D.A. calls for Ralph.
He tells Ralph that the incident at the courthouse has convinced him not to run for reelection…and that they’ve found even more DNA evidence that proves Terry Maitland killed Frankie Peterson, which could help shield them if/when Glory Maitland decides to file a civil suit against the city.
After Ralph responds to him with indifference, D.A. Hayes admits that the Maitland case is a complex mystery that all but demands an answer–like the Roanoke colonists who vanished four centuries ago–but they have to learn to let it go.
Back at home, Ralph and his wife Jeannie begin investigating the advertisement found inside the van. Sure enough, it turns out to be from a BBQ joint in Dayton, Ohio. Over in the Maitland household, Jessa is once again woken up by what she believes is a presence nearby. As her mom comforts her, we see a strange liquid substance splashed across the floor next to her bed.
Alpha to Omega
The next day, Ralph goes to visit Detective Tomica Collins, who was not only recovering from being shot in the leg by Ollie Peterson, but who also just had a baby (talk about a rough labor).
For once things feel happy and joyous. Even Jack Hoskins is there to give his congratulations and spread good cheer. Ralph’s brief respite from tragedy comes to a grinding halt, however, when he learns about Frank Peterson, who is in a vegetative state after hanging himself.
As Ralph and Yunis Sablo leave the hospital, he tries to get him on board with following up the evidence on the van. Sablo agrees to help him find and interview the kid who stole the van–who was taken in by a foster family and has appeared to turn his life around–if he agrees to go to a therapist.
At their first meeting, Ralph is predictably surly and evasive, making it perfectly clear that he is only there because he has to be.
Having done his penance, Yunis takes Ralph to see the boy who stole the van, who positively identifies the parking lot in Dayton where the restaurant ad came from. He also remembers another detail from the day he dumped the vehicle: Multiple people with crosses smeared on their forehead for Ash Wednesday…which puts him in Dayton at the same time as the Maitlands.
That night, Ralph goes to visit Glory Maitland. As you might imagine, she is none too pleased to see him. When he all but begs her for help, she responds by asking if he can help piece her family’s life back together and closing the door on him.
The next day, Howie Salomon visits to tell Ralph his visit won’t do anything to deter him from suing the hell out of the city. When Ralph says he doesn’t care, it convinces him to coax Glory into giving Ralph an audience–with him and Alec Pelley present.
After once again pleading his case, he asks why they went to Dayton for a vacation (a valid question if you’ve ever had to spend more than 24 hours in any part of Ohio). Glory responds that they were visiting so Terry could see his father, who has dementia and lives in a special care facility.
As Ralph continues to ask about their trip–if anything happened out of the ordinary, if they had eaten at the BBQ restaurant from the ad found in the van, etc.–Glory decides she has had enough and asks Ralph to leave. Before he does, however, one of the daughters, Maya Maitland, mentions that their father suffered a bad cut when he ran into a nurse at the care facility. She also confirms that there was a restaurant like the one Ralph described near their hotel.
In a nearby barn, a farmer finds what appear to be the clothes Terry Maitland changed into after the murder, covered in some sort of strange liquid substance.
As a book reader, I’m a little disappointed at how compressed the opening section of the story is. As someone viewing the television series, however, I can’t help but be impressed by how great this episode was.
The opening scene between Terry Maitland and Ralph Anderson is about as tense and powerful as anyone could ask for. Same with the depcition of the courthouse shooting, which despite being all types of chaotic nature, was also deftly layered and crafted. Jason Bateman could submit this episode for strong Emmy consideration as an actor or director.
Julianne Nicholson also adds a ton to this episode as Marcy Maitland. Severe grief is a hard thing to portray without appearing unbelievably stoic or borderline crazy, but she absolutely nails it. You believe and invest in her every single second she’s on screen.
On the story side of things, I absolutely love the way they are carefully laying out the evidence in an attempt to figure out this seemingly unsolvable crime. Unfortunately, that makes the supernatural aspects feel even more jarring whenever they briefly appear.
That being said, the show definitely rights that ship as things move forward. Even without taking that into account, however, ‘Roanoke’ is still an impressive follow up to the The Outsider‘s fantastic opening episode.
And whether you’re a fan of the book or not, you should probably buckle up and get ready for the wild (and wonderful) ride that’s to come.
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