Theroux, George, Bateman, and Polish are a strong quartet, capable of carrying us through parts of a story that can feel like a trudge at times. But it’s Allie and Dina’s combative relationship that really helps sell the show. It reaches a fever temperature at the end of the first episode in a way that suggests that their fates might one day flip. Dina is more like Allie than either of them realize and Charlie’s the one who stands to be disappointed and let down the hardest.
On the Fox’s tail are snotty, grumbly agents played by Kimberly Elise and James Le Gros, who inadvertently give the audience more reasons to root for our outcast family. If these government trackers had been given more warmth, it’d risk viewers believing they’d care about what happens to Charlie and Dina. Right now, as these first two episodes merely tee up the Fox’s future turmoil, Elise and Le Gros feel like they’re part of the cold, broken system of waste that Allie rails against.
The Mosquito Coast Season 1 Images
“Light Out,” directed by Rupert Wyatt (who also helms episode 2), sets the stage for Allie and his family as industrious, insufferable loners right before opening the show up to a wider mystery of “what was Allie’s crime?” What could he have done that A: won’t make us think he’s an absolute monster while B: still requiring a nationwide search for him? Also, the more both teens wonder what their father could have done, the more the show might be hiding Margot being the ultimate law-breaker. Coming from an affluent family she hasn’t seen in years, Allie seems to sit atop a larger reason she doesn’t use them for support. You know, something other than her love for/bond with Allie.
“First of the Gang to Die,” which Morrissey fans will recognize as a song title (a song that’s played in the episode, in fact), pulls us closer into the Fox’s trail of destruction, as they attempt to cross the border into Mexico. People are not only getting seriously injured, but they’re losing their lives in this family’s quest to evade the cops. And the more these tragedies happen, the more the series will struggle to keep us on their side. Not that we have to like them or agree with them to enjoy the show, but with each breaking point comes new fallout. And in that fallout, we’re all able to choose whether or not to reinvest in the story.