The River

Episode Report Card
Aaron: B- | Grade It Now!
He ain't heavy, he's my brother!

California. Iris and Tommy Dolan are camped out on Iris's sofa, listening to a recording of Tommy's ambush interview with Otho. "I want to thank you for bringing the recording over this evening," she says, with the measured tone of someone who spent even more time practicing that line than Sofie did with the whole "Has it been that long?" bit. "I'm sorry I missed it live, but I was in prayer." Wow. How come no sweet old brother-loving spinsters ever invite me over to recap things they missed live? Tommy's got quite a little racket going here. And he obviously knows it, too, because he's desperately trying to get her drunk. "Jesus turned water into wine," he observes. "That's quite an endorsement in my book." Heh. Smooth. Very smooth. And also subtextually relevant, given the aforementioned "loaves and fishes" action we get this week. Iris confesses that she feels "decadent," and Tommy oh-so-earnestly asks to hear all about her. And after gulping down about half a glass of wine, Iris does agree to tell a little story. "There were two children," she begins. "A boy, and a girl. Immigrants from Russia." This is accompanied by shots of the little kids we've already seen tormenting Justin, but Iris goes on to tell us their backstory. "They were traveling with their mother, by train. One night, there was a terrible accident. A bridge collapsed, and the train went dooooown into the water. There were no survivors, except the boy and girl. By God's divine mercy, they survived, and washed up on a riverbank. They were pursued. A man was sent to kill them. The girl fought to protect her brother, and then the day came when the boy had to protect his sister."

From there, we segue right back to Justin on the riverbank. He's there alone with the little boy, and he's still pleading for help, albeit in his own inimitable style. "You sister is being very, very bad," he whispers urgently. "She's getting both of you in a lot of trouble. When people find me, I will tell them what you've done, and you'll be punished. You'll be beaten." Oh, yeah. That's gonna make the kid want to help. Justin tries another tack, and tells the kid that he's the man of the family, and needs to take charge of the situation. This method is marginally more successful, or at least it would have been if the girl hadn't returned and started beating on Justin's broken leg with a stick. Ouch. Clancy goes nuts, and starts throttling Josephine Stalin so hard that I totally expected his tongue to loll out while he grunts, "Why you little…" The boy, whose name is revealed to be Alexei, isn't about to just let a strange man with bad hair and an unexplained command of the Russian language just start choking his sister like that, so he opens his big, giant eyes a little wider, and shouts something in Russian. This causes Clancy to jerk back and release the little girl, who immediately tries to get her brother to stop whatever it is he's doing. It's to no avail, however, and we're treated to a nicely nasty shot of Clancy Brown's head spinning around and then snapping when it hits the 180 degree mark. Double ouch. Although it's still a better fate than The Kurgan. Fade to white.

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