This Quarry review contains spoilers.
Quarry Season 1, Episode 8
Although it wasn’t exactly a happy ending for Quarry, there was a certain satisfaction in having the story come full circle to the all-but-forgotten opening scene in which Mac pushed his heretofore unknown victim out into the Mississippi. Mac may have been pulled unwillingly into continuing his life as a hitman, but did anyone really want him to become a pool salesman and live happily ever after? The greater heartbreak was reserved for Buddy and Ruth in this finale, which delivered an incredible number of twists in a season that lulled its viewers into a false sense of comprehension.
The truth is, given the deceptively magnanimous, detached nature of the Broker up until now, no one could have predicted the depth of his involvement in Mac’s life. Perhaps it was naive to take him at his word that the hit on Credence was on behalf of a rival rather than for his own gain. He is the master manipulator with Mac, having placed him the path of Joni’s lover before and bringing him face to face with his captain here in the finale.
The captain (sorry — James) was a real S.O.B. of course, but even when it was clear he was also working for the Broker in the present, it still came as a surprise that the massacre of the village for which Mac and Solomon were vilified wasn’t merely some military intelligence fuck-up. Seeing the Broker surveying the poppy fields that he obtained in such a horrifying manner was beyond any expectation, both for James and the Broker. Brilliantly depraved!
Equally impressive was the battle itself, shot almost continuously from start to finish, making the death of innocents and the understandable reactions of the soldiers all that more real. It was hard not to cry out when Mac threw the grenade into a civilian underground shelter. No wonder he’s so traumatized back home!
In fact, Mac’s moments of so-called “shell shock” help viewers understand how continuing his life as a hitman might be his only therapy, since Joni clearly finds out no real help is coming from the VA. Placing him in the bar with his former CO might have been a cruel thing for the Broker to do, but at least Mac got his vengeance, albeit with an admirable amount of difficulty against another skilled soldier.
If only Buddy could have had a similar journey of vindication. When Buddy was first introduced in the series premiere, who could have predicted the dark path his character would take? His relationship with his mother was one of the most enjoyable aspects of this season, but to take him to such depths was hard to watch. Poor guy, beaten and robbed when all he wants is to make something (no, not babies) of the life given to him.
Similarly tragic was the path taken by Moses, who also tricked the audience into thinking he was someone to be admired. Anyone who says they didn’t think he would stick around for Ruth even after he found the missing money is lying through their teeth. The suffering Marcus and his mother have been through just got worse, and now viewers likely couldn’t care less if Moses ever gets that job playing bass.
The ending of this wonderful finale couldn’t have been more perfect. The idle conversation in Vietnam about the possibility of swimming across the Mississippi became an awe-inspiring symbol of Mac’s struggle. How can he resist the current pulling him along into a life of crime? He’s a star swimmer, so he can try to get to the other side but Nature is a force to be reckoned with. What a powerful image before the credits roll on this amazing season!
Although no announcement of a second season for Quarry has been made, the vision that Graham Gordy and Michael D. Fuller have brought to Cinemax is eminently deserving of another round of stories. The beautiful cinematography and musical atmosphere alone cry out to be explored further, but after this finale, the possibilities for great storytelling simply can’t be ignored.