'Low Winter Sun': In Search of a Course Correction

Mark Strong in Low Winter Sun Revelations

When the eighth episode of a television series appears (legally) online ahead of its scheduled Sunday night airing, it can be perceived as a sign the series is searching for an audience, by allowing them to sample the show outside of a very crowded block of television.

In spite of how it may seem, the move isn't necessarily a bad one for AMC to have made. Sunday nights have become insanely crowded over the past few years. And, as luck would have it, the night that Low Winter Sun is to air 'Revelations' is also the same night that marks the conclusion of one of the best television series in the history of the medium and the season 3 premiere of one of the most highly acclaimed new series in the past few years. (Those shows are, of course, Breaking Bad and Homeland, respectively.) So it makes sense that, on a night of potential high points a show as narratively muddled and seemingly unproductive as this one would respectfully acknowledge its place in the evening's pecking order, by seeking some acknowledgement outside of it.

Besides, while 'Revelations' serves up some elements that will play into the approaching season finale, there's nothing particularly revelatory about the episode. For the most part, it's another hour of table setting, and of random scenes thrown together in an effort to combine the disparate portions of the storyline into something more coherent. But after the events of last week's 'There Was a Girl' managed to bring the investigation of McCann's murder and the gang at The International together for the first time, the execution of the story here only serves to break them apart again.

While Frank and Joe prepare to give testimony on a case that happened before any of the events that set the show's plot into motion, Damon and Maya argue over what exactly should be their course of action against Skelos, the new master of their infinitesimally small corner of the universe. Maya has gone from comically supportive of her dimwitted husband's criminal endeavors to suddenly worried that not following Skelos' orders to the letter will result in some harm being visited upon the children she hardly even recognizes as her own. These events aren't only examples of the show vamping before the season's conclusion, they're indicative of Low Winter Sun's propensity for trying to make new elements outside the actual plot carry as much weight as those swirling within it.

This argument only takes up a small portion of a busy episode that also sees Joe Geddes threaten his captain, bring his family to Chicago for a concert, so he can duck out and toss Frank's would-be girlfriend Katia from a hotel balcony, and worry very loudly that Internal Affairs is tailing him. All of these elements are supposed to matter, but they are tossed together in such a haphazard manner it becomes impossible to focus on them, let alone care. Things are so incoherent and divergent that one minute Frank is manhandling a district attorney in Detroit, and the next he's smashing webcams and screaming for Katia in Chicago. There's simply not enough time spent on any one thing for it to have a real impact on the audience; it's simply servicing a half-baked story's push to the end.

Geddes says, "We need a course correction," in the preachy and disingenuously critical way he says nearly everything, and you can't help but put a metatexual spin on that phrase. With just two episodes left this season it's hard to imagine this show delivering what Joe is hoping for.


Low Winter Sun continues next Sunday with 'Ann Arbor' @10pm on AMC.

Photos: Alicia Gbur & Wallace Michael Chrouch/AMC

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