This The Son review contains spoilers.
The Son Episode 8
The Son season 1, episode 8, “Honey Hunt,” brings the battles home. The series has been getting more intimate as the real estate deals moves on and the dual arcs continue to inform each other. Tonight the tribes from the 1850s and 1910s explore spirit and sex, love and death.
The Son introduces humor, low-key, but good-naturedly bad intentioned asides between Phineas and the Judge. Confronted with the dilemma of sabotaging the Garcia’s pristine tax payments, the Judge bemoans how much money does one man need. Here he is, a landowner with a tract of grass the size of Delaware and yet, the very scent of money keeps him wanting more. Phineas, who has already underplayed quips with a mirthful glint in his eye, matter-of-factly says “I’ll take that as a yes.”
It’s not that Phineas is a yes man, but he is always ready to please, if not always eager to be pleased. The title refers to Thaddeus Kilborne’s Third Annual Honey Hunt, which is a euphemism for an outdoor sex club, where the most affluent men in Austin sit in wait while a wagon full of escorts stalk with picnic baskets of goodies. Eli McCullough’s son is game, but only barely. His father promoted him as a great cocksman. Phineas prefers men and there is a very quick exchange between father and son which gives the impression that the old man knows, and is good with his son’s life choices. Eli comes across as a man’s man, but he knows there are many ways that boys will be boys.
Pete McCullough (Henry Garrett) had his fun growing up. When his old man, the “Colonel,” took him to a whorehouse at age fourteen, he acted like a fourteen year old at a whorehouse. He’s been pretty good since then. He was faithful to Maria, until he got married to Sally (Jess Weixler), and then he was only unfaithful to Sally with Maria. But he was always unfaithful to Sally with Maria. She is the true love of Pete’s life, and he was never free to give that to Sally. But at least he gave her kids.
María García (Paola Núñez) hasn’t been so lucky. She can’t have kids. While that destroyed her first marriage, to a guy who married the first woman he laid eyes on after hearing the news, Pete doesn’t care. He’s been waiting for this since forever and wants to get on with it. He cooks, cleans, plans the perfect ad hoc romantic hideaway date and is all in, as Luke used to say on Gilmore girls. Of course, it’s the hideaway part that most pains Maria.
The way they play against each other is moving and the dark lighting makes it all so much more intimate. Pete is the enthusiastic puppy dog, willing to run off and be some anonymous ranch hand with her in a new beginning. Maria is rueful, sad and uncertain. This is sexier on her than the constantly off-the-shoulder thing she’s got going consistently through the weekend. There is a depth to her longing that comes from a long denied desire just to be what she always knew she was supposed to be. The long rings of disappointment bind her to the floor as he gives her all the usual early promises. His wife doesn’t understand him. It’s over. We can do this. Do you have to put a gun to Pete’s head to get it through his thick skull they’re both in shock?
Pierce Brosnan, the actor, is clearly having an internal ball tonight. Eli McCullough is resigned, but resilient, and he never loses that flash of curiosity and adventure. Hey, what would happen if he got on that horse with the pathetic white boy he used to be? It probably wouldn’t make up for old sins, but Eli is perfectly willing to let bygones be bygones. Confronted with his own past cast as a Lepan Apache femme fatale, he surrenders himself, because it is part of an adventure.
Being raised a brave made young Tiehteti a lifelong adrenaline addict. Maybe he ran, and maybe he was chased, but he went at break neck speed and is only slowing down now as the First Son of Texas. An elder statesman with more blood on his hands than there might be oil under his land. He’s good with that, though. He enjoys a spirituality born of animals and soil.
Meeting his younger self is a spiritual ritual, as important as any rite of passage. Eli accepts his fate. He earned it the old fashioned way. The young brave is done with those old fashioned ways. Forever locked in a past that he himself ensured would be the past, the old man he grows up into has a lot of explaining to do. That pathetic white boy wasn’t a slave to the Comanches, he was being groomed, though not as a groom. Prairie Flower (Elizabeth Frances) his wannabe wife becomes a runaway bride. In Comanche currency, the slave Eli is worth about a newly broken horse. Not quite groomed, but ready to ride. Far more predictable than what they’ll expect when young Tiehteti rides back. The old man is a loaded gun waiting to go off in a world better off without him.
“Honey Hunt” was written by Daniel C. Connolly, and directed by John David Coles.