This Briarpatch review contains spoilers.
Briarpatch Episode 5
The temperature has remained ungodly hot in San Bonifacio and Allegra Dill’s blood is finally starting to boil. The longer Pick has stayed in town investigating her sister’s murder, the more she’s had to reckon with people from her past. Gunther, played with oddball zeal by the great Peter Stormare, mentions that Pick had quite the temper when she was a teen, and that temper often lead to significant trouble. Several times during “Behind God’s Back” it seems like Allegra is moments away from really losing her cool, and surely if she stays in town longer, we’re eventually going to see it.
She’s already not making the most rational decisions. After a stakeout at the meatpacking plant eventual leads her to border patrol agent Lalo, Pick takes that information and immediately confronts the young man. Instead of playing coy or keeping a distance to not invite suspicion before she has all of the facts, Allegra blows up her own spot. Lalo vehemently denies the accusations, and judging by his anger, he seems to be telling the truth. Later when Allegra investigates the abandoned brewery, she finds Lalo, a young Mexican girl, and what appears to be an entire warehouse full of people making the brewery their home.
Even with that intriguing cliffhanger, Lalo still is involved in some suspicious activity. The meatpacking warehouse only closed after a drug bust was “uncovered” by Raytek, with Lalo’s help. Felicity suspects that he staged the bust and then used his connections at the border to fill the vacuum. However, we already know something shady was happening at the warehouse after Brattle led Allegra there to witness the drones. Brattle also was motivated to show Allegra the warehouse to turn her away from Jake, who has his own complicated history with the building.
Just like we’re learning more about Pick’s past, we finally learn more about Jake’s background. Freddie visits Jake’s mansion under the guise of doing a profile on the house, but the minute he has Jake feeling comfortable, he starts asking questions about Brattle, but more interesting than that, he brings up Jake’s father. We learn that Jake’s father died working at the meatpacking plant, a tragic personal note that certainly colors the character a bit differently. Jake is eventually saved from answering the tough questions when the Staghorne’s show up, but watching Jake and Freddie go toe to toe is a lot of fun and proves that there’s a lot of fun character combinations left to play with on Briarpatch.
Speaking of Freddie, Chuckles may have had his final laugh. Singe and Allegra find that the paper has written a hit piece suggesting that Felicity, Strucker, and Floyd Furness were all involved in corruption. Singe confronts Freddie about the article and threatens to sue him for libel, but Freddie quickly turns the blame to Raytek, saying that she planted the story. Before he can elaborate further, he begins choking and winds up on the floor. Freddie looks like he’s probably dead, and it’s unclear whether or not he was poisoned, or if it was just bad timing.
Though Felicity’s murder investigation finally crosses over with the Clyde Brattle case, this is still a pretty lean episode. Sure, there are some fun scenes, like Allegra and Singe hooking up (!) but a lot of time is spent just trying to get Allegra to the brewery where she can discover Lalo and whatever it is that he’s hiding there. While the bread crumb trail leads us to some fun interactions, it still doesn’t advance the plot that much. I appreciate the character work that is being done and I feel like the show has done a great job of getting us more invested in Allegra, that said, we could use a better balance between story and character. With Briarpatch hitting its midway point, I’m starting to worry that there might not be enough story for all of these big personalities to fill.