6   +   9   =  

totl_ep4‘A Rainbow Above Us’

Hope, heartache, injustice & death follow Robin in the forth installment of Top of the Lake. The pace may plod at times, but the narrative continues to pull you in; the mystifying effect of Laketop refusing to let you go.

Having been sacked by Al for attacking Sarge last week, Robin has resigned herself to sitting at home with Johnno; they continue to rekindle their relationship, their conversations inevitably turning to the prom night that eventually led to Robin’s gang rape. The flashback sequences were effectively harrowing to watch but served little purpose narratively. No visual reconstruction can be as emotionally effective as Robin’s tearful confession to Al last week. However, they did lead to Johnno beating Sarge to a pulp and demanding he leave town indefinitely; Thomas Wright’s performance was this week’s highlight, his confession to Robin that he believes he should have done more to help her when she was raped played out in a powerfully understated way.

Equally as effecting were the scenes involving Robin & Jude. Her mother’s insistence that Robin mustn’t continue her relationship with Johnno suggests there may be more to his character than meets the eye, but maybe that’s an incorrect way of looking at it. The implication could be that Matt is Robin’s father, thus making Johnno and her half-siblings. Either way, Robin remains unperturbed for now, their forest floor lovemaking highlighting the obvious passion between the two characters.

It’s a good thing she has Johnno for support too, as Robin’s life is no picnic at the moment. Having brought her back to the case, Al takes the opportunity to confess his love for Robin. Given our knowledge of Al’s involvement in the Mitcham Empire, one can’t help but wonder if there was a darker motive to his declaration. Also, the way he called Robin his “angel” was inescapably creepy.

If that wasn’t enough, it seems that there are many other people at Laketop are in need of Robin’s help. Bob Platt’s wife (an unrecognizable Lucy Lawless for those who used to watch Xena) wants Robin to conduct a proper investigation in to her husband’s death, suspecting it to be linked to the Mitcham/Paradise deal. Meanwhile, a local pathologist has found links between Platt’s death and that of Wolfgang’s apparent suicide. He also manages to link these to the death of 13 year-old April Stevens, whose road death is also considered to be suicide. The pathologist insists he has tried to have the case reopened, but to no avail; piling further suspicion on to Al, whose decision it was to not reopen the case files.

Leading us nicely to this week’s double ending. The revelation that Tui is alive provides us with a ray of hope, although we are still no closer to finding out the identity of her child’s father; could Matt also be a suspect there? His sons certainly seem to think so.

The final, inevitable moments were heartbreaking to watch. Elisabeth Moss perfectly captured the humanity & heartbreak of losing a parent; “Goodbye, my little girl” could well go down as the single most powerful moment of TV this year.

★★★★

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