This Trust review contains spoilers.
Trust Episode 5
Maybe it was too early to worry about tension. In my review for last week’s episode, I expressed frustration about Trust being based on a true story, a true story that was already so recently retold. If we are already aware of how the story of Paul Getty III’s kidnapping ends, how would the show be able to create tension? Well, by not focusing on Paul.
We know that John Paul Getty III survives this whole ordeal, but Angelo? We don’t know anything about Angelo or what happens to him, especially because the character doesn’t appear in All the Money in the World. Sure, it’s easy to assume that things aren’t going to end up going so well for the empathetic, soft spoken Italian kid, but there’s no telling when and how Angelo will meet his demise, and it adds a lot of tension to “Silenzio.”
It adds wonders having a character that genuinely fears for his life. Even though he’s in a very precarious situation, Paul doesn’t really behave like someone that’s afraid that he’s going to die. Paul’s lifetime of privilege, his family name that he’s allowed to pick up and use like armor whenever it’s convenient for him, has kept him from ever truly worrying about anything. It’s why Paul returned to Rome so brazenly without the $6,000 he owed, it’s why he thought it would be fine to flee his fake kidnapping to blow off some steam, and it’s why in this episode, even knowing that the dogs aren’t too far behind, Paul insists he cannot go on any longer and suggests that they head for the nearest town. Paul has been able to get himself out of every jam that he’s ever found himself in, so the stakes just don’t seem as high to him as Angelo.
Meanwhile, Angelo knows from the minute that he sees Primo returning in his car that his life has been drastically changed forever. After fighting back the urge to return with Paul and create some silly excuse that would explain how Paul momentarily escaped, Angelo finds himself stuck in the mountains with the golden hippy. Angelo even briefly gets angry with Paul because he just doesn’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation. He explains that now his family will be treated as outcasts and undesirables and expresses heartbreak over the fact that he’ll likely never see his grandmother again. Paul tries to cheer Angelo up with stories about how great New York will be and how they are now bonded as brothers, but he and the audience know that there’s no fairy tale ending for Angelo at the end of this one.
Just as the Getty’s fortune keeps Paul from fulling succumbing to the realities of his dangerous situation, the Getty’s money also keeps Primo from realizing his place in Salvatore’s crime family. The prospect of getting his hands on some of Getty’s wealth has Primo mouthing off to Leonardo about how Salvatore should retire, which probably isn’t wise considering Primo just let Paul escape on his watch and needed Salvatore to bail him out. In Primo’s eyes, their crime family’s penchant for doing things “the old-fashioned way” has allowed them to get lapped and dwarfed by their peers. With the ransom money, Primo sees them reclaiming some power and reputation. Though we’ve mostly spent time watching how the Getty wealth effects the Getty’s and those in their circle, it’s more visceral to see it impact those that simply lust after that wealth from afar.
Still, this episode is mostly successful due to the exhilarating cat and mouse game. Watching Paul and Angelo traverse an eerily deserted town was just as gripping as watching them scurry and duck away from the dogs after they had lost their scent. The ending sequence, with Paul and Angelo seemingly fortunate and enjoying the hospitality of two kind old people, plays like a warped version of Hansel and Gretel, with the boys getting all fat and drunk before being thrown back into the oven. Angelo’s death is startling and gruesome and likely the sort of thing that will get Paul to realize just how afraid he should be. It was also cute to incorporate Gail breaking some glass to represent mother’s intuition. I keep waiting for Hilary Swank to be given more to do, and maybe this is a sign that that time has come.
“Silenzio” was probably the most straight-forward, no frills episode of Trust to date, but by focusing on the perspectives of Angelo and Primo and presenting an exhilarating, episode-long chase, it may be my most favorite outing since “Lone Star.” Trust was able to find the tension this week even though our ending is still predetermined. Will they be able to manufacture some more?