Stay Close 1.4 [includes spoilers for 1.1-1.4]

Continued from here. Keep in mind disclaimers here.

Reminder: SPOILERS. Do not read this post if you do not want to read SPOILERS.

Also, warning; this post includes images of gore.

***

Summary: the thing that saved this episode for me was the ending. Armitage rises about the material. I don’t know what it is — combination of interesting physiognomy and the generous kisses of Melpomene, I suppose, but I had a few moments of really serious early-stage crush shoot through toward the end of this episode. Hard-breathing, eye-watering crush.

I didn’t look on NYE, perhaps it was higher then.

Episode opens with a campily choreographed hit attempt on Harry Sutton. I despise this, ’nuff said. Harry escapes. Back at the boardwalk, Cassie almost runs Broome over, and they proceed to Harry’s office. He’s a weird kind of junkie; he’s only jonesing when it’s convenient for the plot.

Megan announces she’s going to tell Broome everything she knows, and then disappear again. Really? Leave wonderful Dave, who apparently knows more than he is letting on? It seems a bit strange.

Broome seems surprised to learn that Stewart Green was a psychopath. Megan / Cassie reports that Green didn’t like it when she started seeing someone new. Broome asks if it was Ray Levine. (This confused me — because he must have had Ray’s name from Simona, but why does Broome ask about him in this context? Maybe his name had come up in the previous investigation, seventeen years earlier, but then why didn’t we hear that in the last episode when they visited Simona? I’m not ruling out that I missed something, but I didn’t feel like rewinding.) Anywho, she threatened to expose Stewart to his wife, which made him more aggressive. She disappeared because she thought she saw his body in the woods.

 

Megan / Cassie’s flashback of who she saw.

 

She thought Stewart was dead, and so she ran away. I was amused through this section of the refrain of “why didn’t you call the police?” I’ve been asking that for 135 minutes by now. Broome also tries to establish where Ray was at that time, but Cassie / Megan denies that he was around, and states that she never saw him again. Further questioning establishes that she reappeared at Vipers because “someone she trusts” told her that Stewart had reappeared and she won’t out them. (Wow, that might have been awkward for Broome.)

[Half-baked hypothesis: Stewart really is dead. The shaved guy who’s been appearing here and there is actually the bouncer from the bar, who is also shaved bald, and Lorraine is running the whole thing because she thinks Cassie / Megan knows where some money is. Lorraine also moved the original corpse seventeen years ago, so that it would appear that Stewart is dead. She wants the money to give to someone, because she’s dying.]

Cassie / Megan also tells Broome about the room at the bottom of the stairs, and about the man who approached her son. There’s this weird background sound in the episode at this point. At first, I thought it was my stomach gurgling after my high fat supper of quesadillas, but no, it was actually the TV. Too bad I can’t slam the car door to shut up my tummy. She also then heads to Vipers AGAIN because WHY NOT??

Back at Ray HQ, Ray is really torn up and still processing Lorraine’s message that Cassie is dead, as his odd-couple friend Fester comes to visit.

 

Richard Armitage as Ray Levine in Stay Close 1.4. He really is emotional, to the point of despondency. Not sure the last time I’ve seen this expression on Armitage’s face; he’s clearly added some depth to his repertoire. (To be fair, I admit that I have missed a lot of the last two years.)

 

Ray makes Fester a sandwich and asks him to locate the license plate from Bea’s car.

 

I live for this side-lighting of Armitage’s face — there was a lot of it in North & South, too. Half in light, half in shadow.

 

Fester is not enthused, and this is a genuinely funny moment.

 

“Very incriminating! Why would two teenage girls run away from a strange man chasing them in the woods?”

 

There’s a genuineness about this friendship, and the humor here, an uncontrived quality, that is relatively rare in this series. At this point, I was still not totally convinced by Ray as “lowlife hanging onto reality by his fingernails,” but this scene has a high verisimilitude quotient. It definitely enhanced my picture of Ray. It’s also interesting, by the by, that such a good-looking guy has a fat friend. We don’t see that often on the tv screen. I would welcome more of this.

While updating Cartwright, Broome agrees with me that Cassie isn’t telling them everything, and Cartwright informs him that the blood on the rock was Guy’s.

Back at Vipers …

 

This is the chick from the gruesome twosome, no? Different hair color, but if so, that puts the nails in the Lorraine coffin.

 

I was bothered enough by it that I actually went back to 1.3 to look at the picture in Lorraine’s bedroom.

 

I felt somewhat comforted by this, insofar as it’s not clear to me that whatshername is in this picture.

 

Cassie is grousing to Lorraine about having hostages to fortune, and flashing back to Ray in the club.

 

Toulouse-Lautrec Absinthe Armitage.

 

Lorraine admits to Cassie that she told Ray Cassie was dead, and says that what Ray’s doing now is much less classy than porn photography. Geez. I don’t see how someone who’s a borderline madam gets to say that unquestioned. When Cassie gets home, she lies to a sleeping Dave about where she’s been — but who knows how asleep he is, after that episode with the car last week. Maybe he just got in from burying Carlton Flynn’s body himself. Or something.

Back at the police station, Broome and Cartwright decide to interview Ray (I still don’t get how they know for sure that Ray knew Stewart Green). At a sandwich stop, Broome yet again calls Lorraine. In any case, while they’re in Ray’s place, they establish from pictures on the wall that there’s some connection to Cassie.

 

Ray is really uncomfortable under questioning. Another weird moment b/c Broome’s question assumes that Ray knows what people thought Cassie was doing at the time of Stewart Green’s disappearance.

 

Then there’s a bloody thumb shot (Ray’s flashback) but since the thumbshot is my happy place, I’ll just skip capping that.

 

Yuck. But it is evocative.

 

Armitage plays Ray as subtly twitchy throughout this scene in a way that’s not obvious, but which makes his unease entirely clear. Ray doesn’t share the message that Cassie is supposed to be dead, and he denies having seen either her or Stewart Green since that night. Cartwright stares at Ray’s printer and then starts asking questions about cameras (honestly, I could have sworn that was a Canon in the first episode and not a Nikon — but I am too lazy to go back and look).

Family bliss at the Shaw household as Dave prepares to make a meal and the girls tryout a TikTok video and Megan reveals that she actually can dance. Cassie glimpses someone outside the door and it turns out to be Harry, who just wanted to glimpse the bliss. When Dave approaches, she explains Harry away as “my Spanish teacher from college.” (Wow, talk about a difficult an improbable alibi. Man.) Dave invites him to the meal, and he comes in. Turns out Harry speaks Spanish, although Megan doesn’t. Oops. Her eldest daughter — Kayleigh? I guess I’ve been getting it wrong — bails, and Megan drives Harry home. As they say an emotional goodbye, she doesn’t see those gross teenagers shadowing Harry again. (OK, honestly, if you’ve been the object of a failed attack at your office, why do you go back there?)

 

Another neat cinematographic moment, albeit a doubly doomed one: Broome and Lorraine by the boardwalk.

 

Broome stalks Lorraine to the doctor’s and she then informs him her disease is terminal. They have a few sadly romantic moments.

Cartwright establishes that Ray is the the source of the anonymous photos based on his printer (this is kind of a big leap, in my opinion) and they decide to question him. The stylish torturers begin their questioning of Harry. Cassie sees Harry left his scarf at her house and then decides to contact him; she gets the girl torturer on the phone claiming to be his secretary, and becomes suspicious.

Ray’s questioning is the point in the show when I start to really believe in the character (even though, see below, I have a certain ambivalence about him).

 

Part of it is his face. There are several more interesting lines and plans in his face than the last time I looked closely (helped by the fact of the stubble as opposed to the beard). It’s newly fascinating to me. There’s something here like a Russian or an Orthodox icon. It’s hard to put my finger on it.

 

You can see he’s lying to the police, still, but that the same time we can begin to see that the holes in his knowledge are real. He’s lying not to so much to mislead as to save face until he can figure out what really happened and how much he wants to say about it. It’s a really subtle human moment that Armitage plays very effectively.

We’re about fifteen minutes from the end of the episode so the story speeds up — although this time it’s priarily an emotional speedup rather than an action speedup. Broome and Cartwright agree that Ray was lying, though they don’t know about what, and now it’s time for Broome to rush off. My first thought (and Cartwright’s, apparently) was that he would meet Lorraine. But first we see Ray and Fester in the bar.

 

I’m trying to back off on the thumbshot emphasis, but this one’s here for a reason.

Armitage’s hands often move to his face. I am sort of skeptical when I see it happening, because at times it’s genuine but at times (Brain on Fire, I am looking at you) it’s because he’s not actually quite there emotionally and it’s easier to hide his face. So when I saw this the first time, I thought that was a possibility for what we were going to see.

 

But that’s not what we get here. This is almost signaling one of those visceral, howling cries (something I have a lot more experience with lately myself). Look at his lower lip. (Also side-lighting. Yes.)

 

Think about this performance in relationship to Lucas / John’s pleas to Harry near the end of Spooks 9, when it’s clear that the game is up. That was strong, and at times truly inventive in the ways Armitage distinguished between the two identities, but this is a much more mature performance. Much subtler, and hence more moving (context issues aside).

 

Ray describes being blacked out after drinking, “not even knowing who I am.” Richard Armitage in Stay Close 1.4.

 

His pain when Fester tells him that he’s very much changed since that night is immediately visceral to me. (Another bloody thumb shot ensues here — it’s like they are tempting me by showing it in XL 3D — but I’m still not going there.)

 

Ray the morning after the incident 17 years prior. Another evocative shot, but gory.

 

When I say these scenes leave me with mixed feelings, it’s not about Armitage’s performance. Or maybe it is. As the daughter of an alcoholic, I have seen exactly that scene with the tortured addict’s unbridled emotion, his inability to deal with reality, and the passive implication that he needs to get himself together, if not in so many words — at least a dozen times if not more. Armitage captures it perfectly. I just feel like I’m drawn into my own issues with a swoop here. The show wants us to think that if he finds out what happened, he will straighten his life out. That helps the story along, too,. I just can’t look at that sort of assertion, that kind of remorse-filled, post-alcohol emotionality, without my guts twisting.

The scene ends with Fester giving Ray the address of the owner of the car he photographed. Broome is not at Lorraines, surprisingly, but is drawn like a moth to the light (or whatever the opposite of that metaphor is: like a bat to the shadows?) to the Greens’ basement, where he undertakes a bunch of activities that he will never be able to disguise, finding a suitcase with money in it, and a tag with Stewart Green’s name. Cassie phones Broome and asks him to check on Harry. It sure looks like Harry is dead (faked drug overdose?).

 

She is not dead, but lives.

Bea’s car eventually leads Ray to Cassie’s house, where he sees her, and she sees him. Really a perfect climax for the exact middle of the series.

***

I still plan to blog one episode per day for the next four days, but our term has started, so …. yeah. I’ll do my best.

Continues here.

~ by Servetus on January 4, 2022.

16 Responses to “Stay Close 1.4 [includes spoilers for 1.1-1.4]”

  1. My thoughts In no particular order: I’ve moved to the opposite side of the world and still occasionally bump into someone from my home town so how has Cassie/ Megan moved 2 suburbs and not been spotted for 17 years? Wasn’t it lucky Harry spoke Spanish? I hope Harry isn’t dead although I fear he is. If we are mistaking the bouncer for Greene that’s another huge plot hole because no one would describe the bouncer as well dressed. He’s bald and there the similarity to Greene ends. Is Ray a werewolf?

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    • Cannot comment, as I live in my home town and there are places I have to avoid if I don’t want to see an acquaintance or in particular, one of dad’s. I wondered what she meant when she said “disappear,” i.e., does that mean moving to a different suburb?

      Spanish — that was like the most complicated and random lie EVER. Say he was an English teacher. We all speak English. (To varying degrees.)

      re: the bouncer — the thing that I come up with again and again is that the only reason we know that Stewart Green is in town is Lorraine. We haven’t seen him in the show’s present apart from that. Maybe Goldberg the Card Tricky Policeman is her son.

      Ray a werewolf: that is as plausible as anything else at this point. Although Jewish werewolves are not very frequent due to issues with kosher and BATHING IN BLOOD.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Well I’m on thin ice here because I don’t know much about werewolves but I didn’t think being a werewolf was a choice and that they often do things they regret , which might include imbibing or bathing in non kosher blood.

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        • I don’t know much about werewolves, either. But if you doused in that much blood, you would have to go to mikve, at least if you were a traditional Jew, otherwise you shouldn’t go to shul. I mean, those men won’t even touch their wives while they are menstruating. Then again if you’re a werewolf, you probably have to be Reform or non-observant.

          Liked by 3 people

    • I did once run into a classmate about five years after finishing high school — in an airport in México. That was pretty random.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I once ran into a school friend in an aircraft hangar in Cyprus – where we were all herded in during an incident just before the first Gulf War. I’ve also met an old friend in Dubai airport although Dubai airport is so big I think the chance of seeing someone you know there is quite high.

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        • I think it’s interesting how we have a kind of mental map of the world — a former student of mine just went to Doha (she works for the state department) to work on processing visas for Afghan refugees. It was clear from what she was saying that most of the Middle East feels like it’s on her mental map (she has been stationed in Frankfurt and in Ashgabat, too) and it’s not unusual to go to those places. Whereas Central America isn’t really in her map. To me it’s kind of wild to say “Dubai Airport” as if it’s no big deal, but of course if you live in Australia …

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  2. […] Continues here. […]

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  3. I really liked the Ray / Fester friendship. It seemed genuine and believable.

    The werewolf comments above are perhaps more entertaining than the show. Also the part about bumping into people you know in unexpected places — I’ve done that a bunch of times. In an era of social media, it is very hard to disappear, and she didn’t try very hard.

    Do you all think Cassie really cared about Ray? If she had asked him to disappear with her, he would have done it in a heartbeat. She sure didn’t seem to have much of a problem leaving him forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tilted into minus on this question after episode 5. I was still ambivalent at this point, but I definitely moved into the “Cassie was using Ray” camp afterwards.

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    • Excellent point csprof. I’m just about to watch episode 5 so perhaps all will be revealed but if she had cared about Ray wouldn’t they have run away together?

      I made the werewolf comment in jest but really the plot is so ridiculous nothing would surprise me at this point.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. […] from here. Keep in mind disclaimers […]

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  5. Such great reviews and discussion. Fester’s comment was funny. Even though it was Richard Armitage chasing the girls through the woods,’just wanting to talk” I thought at the time that they were hardly likely to stop for a chat. The blood-soaked scenes are reminiscent of Hannibal and oddly I keep catching glimpses of Dolarhyde’s facial expressions in his performance here – but it is so good to discover new ones.

    Liked by 1 person

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