Low Winter Sun basically picks up right where we left off with the premiere episode of “Pilot.” As expected, we continue to see and feel the aftermath of Frank and Joe’s murder of their fellow officer Brendan McCann (Michael McGrady). Along with furthering the plot, much of the groundwork that we saw in the first episode, in regards to the characters, continues to unfold along the same path. The hunch that I discussed in my review of “Pilot” seems to be coming true. The stories of what brought Frank and Joe to this point will be much more complex than originally anticipated.
This is probably the single most compelling part of Low Winter Sun. As we continue to find out in “The Goat Rodeo,” there is so much more to these characters than what meets the eye. I’ve discussed this in other reviews, but I absolutely love when there is some intricacy to characters. I’m also a fan of when we see a character change before our eyes. I really think that the characters of Frank and Joe do this so well. It definitely seems like we have only scratched the surface of where these guys will be heading this season.
Part of what makes the complexity of these characters so exciting is how well they are acted out. I said this in the first review, but these two (Mark Strong & Lennie James) are great actors. Their moments together on camera are really what is making the show at this point. Every scene that they are together ends up being pretty intense. Specifically, the moment this week when they are with the coroner when he is performing the autopsy on McCann’s body was great. Knowing what we know, I get the overwhelming feeling that at any second they could be uncovered.
What’s unfortunate about the strong performances by Strong and James is that it overshadows much of what else is going on in the show. I guess this could be a good or a bad thing, depending on how you want to look at it. I could definitely be swayed as the season continues, but at this point, I am completely uninterested in the plot line with the drug dealers that McCann was in cahoots with. I have a feeling the two stories will eventually blend together at some point, but right now, I just don’t care. Every time they had a scene this week, which was quite a bit, I wanted the story to shift back to Frank and/or Joe. We’ll see how this progresses over the coming episodes, but right now, I’m hoping for more.
Another thing I struggled with this week was all of the street and cop lingo that was used. The title itself, “The Goat Rodeo,” was mentioned in the first five minutes of the show. One can surmise a guess as to what it means, but its never fully explained. There was even more of this type of dialogue when the drug dealers went to go visit the leader of another operation in a different part of town. There was talk about “chicken dinners”, among other things, as well. Unless I’m an idiot (I like to think I’m not), the average viewer will have no clue what any of this stuff means. I get that it helps to make it feel more authentic, but come on man, help the average white dude out a little.
Overall, “The Goat Rodeo” was another strong episode to start out this season of Low Winter Sun. The characters of Frank and Joe continue to carry the show on their strong performances. I really look forward to how things evolve as the season continues. All I can hope for is that either the side plot of the drug dealers gains more traction and makes me care, or that they phase it out and we get more of Frank and Joe. Either way, it sounds like a win-win to me.