River: Episode 6
January 3, 2016 5:36 PM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Everything comes together in this final episode, where River and Ira continue to follow various threads that lead to (and through) Stevie.
posted by filthy light thief (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Such a great show, and a total surprise for me. I gave it a whirl based on loving cop shows and Skarsgård, and boy was I rewarded!

I absolutely loved it. As I said, stellar acting all around. Skarsgård, of course, but Manville really just blew me away.

I also loved the balance here between procedural and character drama. That's hard to do well, and it was just perfect. The central mystery moved right along, and at the same time we learned so much about River, the Read marriage, the Stevenson crime family, even great glimpses into the King family. All the major characters were beautifully fleshed out.

My only complaint is I found the idea of Frankie killing his sister well outside my willing suspension of disbelief. A lot was made over the series of Frankie and Stevie being especially close, driven home by the reveal of Stevie being Frankie's mother. But somehow mean ol' Uncle Mike convinces Frankie-the-non-criminal to take a gun and shoot her? Felt more like the writers wanting to get one over on the audience than an organic end to the mystery.

But, ultimately, the show for me was less about the mystery than the characters. And there I have no complaints what so ever!
posted by Frayed Knot at 6:40 AM on January 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

I agree, I didn't buy whatever justification they gave Frankie for killing his mum (because it was so hard living with Mammy Bridie? His family kept pushing him around? He hated Stevie for leaving him with them? Ehhh...) but the rest was really good, and that ending with Ira made me hopeful for a second season, because I love his relationship with River.

River talks to someone who isn't there.
Ira: "You alright?"
River: "Yeah."
And then they're back to work or something.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:27 PM on January 4, 2016

Oh good, I see I'm not the only one confused by the motivation for the killing; I thought it might be because I had the flu at the time. I did enjoy the dance scene at the end when he finally got to say all the things he wanted to say to Stevie when she was alive.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:08 AM on January 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

My wife and I now sing snippets of "I love to love" and variations on it to each other (she's still alive, and is really there, as far as I can tell). It makes me smile, and feel sad for River that he couldn't express that love when Stevie was alive, but then feel happy that he could embrace his love for Stevie and dance in the middle of the street, even if she was still gone.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:33 AM on January 5, 2016

I was similarly baffled by the Frankie thing, but I actually could see it If we accept two things as true:

A) Frankie is a bit slow and vulnerable to manipulation by his wicked and persuasive uncle/father
B) he was abused by family members when Stevie left, and he never forgave her for [what he saw as] her abandonment of him.

Not super convincing, I admit.

But I thought this show was fantastic anyway. I totally cried at the end during his last scenes with Stevie and in fact I'm tearing up now as I think about it....
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:54 PM on January 5, 2016

This is how Frankie's motivation for killing Stevie makes sense to me: Frankie, like the rest of the family, sees Stevie as a turncoat. She became a cop; she turned in her brother Jimmie, resulting in him spending years in prison; and now she's about to rat on Uncle Mike for his shady immigration dealings. She's about to bring down the criminal enterprise that gives the family its identity, cohesion and support. When Frankie kills her, he doesn't know that she's his mother, and he doesn't know that she is risking herself to save him. Frankie must feel betrayed, thinking that Stevie has gotten out of the family's shady life without taking him. And he's scared, not knowing that Stevie is planning to provide for him after she turns her uncle and his cronies in. In that state, the stronger people around him are able to use Frankie to eliminate Stevie. Now I need to rewatch the whole thing and see if this holds up.

Anyway, this series was spectacular.
posted by Corvid at 7:19 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

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