HBO’s The Third Day: Saturday – The Son (Episode 2) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
On this week’s episode of HBO’s The Third Day, Saturday – The Son, more details are fleshed out about Sam’s (Jude Law) traumatic past as creepy encounters and nightmarish experiences make him eager to find an escape off the island.
Right from the episode’s opening of Sam being trapped in a nightmare with the boy that was haunting him last week, we finally get our answer to what exactly happened with his son. It seems my hunch was correct that the boy that haunts him is actually his dead son, who we now know is named Nathan after we hear him call out to him in the dream, and his death was a very traumatic experience. Basically, what happened is that he was on a trip with his son and the two got separated. Nathan ended up being abducted by a Romanian immigrant with learning difficulties named Galton and went missing for two weeks until they found him dead in the river that Sam was crying at when we first met him. Unfortunately, before the trial, Galton killed himself, so Sam never got a reason why he did what he did to Nathan.
Law’s performance through Sam disclosing this information to Jess (Katherine Waterston) perfectly encapsulates how pent up his sense of grief is, and this episode actually does a great job touching on how people struggle to open up. He says it in a way that gives off the impression that he’s okay, that it definitely hurt him in the past, but that he’s moved past it and it’s just become a part of his life – when it’s really more than that. Deep down, Nathan’s death still hurts him, and he knows there’s no escaping it. It’s even worse for him with the connections he begins to discover that scare the hell out of him and make him want an escape from the pain.
Ever since he has come onto the island, Sam has said that he can feel a connection to the island and what he discovers starts to put the pieces together as to why. From meeting a man named Mimir (Borje Lundberg) that has a newspaper clipping about Nathan’s murder to possibly finding Galton’s trailer burned up leading him to believe that Nathan was taken here for some reason, the island isn’t exactly so comforting anymore for Sam. He even starts to become suspicious of the Martins as their sense of hospitality and them keeping him away from Epona (Jessie Ross) away from him makes him uneasy. It also doesn’t help that he starts to notice how die-hard the religious nature of the place is, a local named Larry (John Dagleish) and his cronies attack him in the woods dressed as the Sajora, and has a bad run-in with Epona’s father (Mark Lewis Jones) and is told that Epona is dead. The worst news comes from Jess though, as she lets him in one the rituals that are generally performed at this festival, including a sacrifice, that makes him think that Nathan could’ve suffered this fate and that he might be following his fate.
With pretty much every reason to leave, Sam totally loses it and does everything in his power to try to get Jess to leave with him. However, the level of manipulation and gaslighting is at an all time high here as the Martins pretty much undo everything he believed was happening. Epona is shown to be alive, the fish-headed people turn out to be mischievous kids, and the paranoia that Sam feels is turned around on him as they make it seem like his grief is what’s making him believe all of this. Obviously, based on everything we’ve seen, the best scenario for Sam is to get the hell out of there, but the performances from Emily Watson and Paddy Considine are so good that they completely make him rethink everything.
They expose deep-seeded grief within Sam that makes him discover things about himself and his current life that he doesn’t love and it’s what ultimately gets him to stay. Just as he makes it about halfway across the causeway, Sam begins to receive a bunch of texts that just remind him of the troubles he has at home and decides to stay to try to escape some of his problems. Honestly, while on paper it’s a totally mind-boggling move, it’s a choice that makes sense for Sam given some of the comforting aspects of staying. We actually open the episode to find that him and Jess had sex and that she has some family/life problems of her own that make them grow much closer. With the nightly festivities taking his mind off of things and Jess giving him some love he’s in desperate need of, staying allows him to keep his grief at bay and offer a sense of escapism that’s too irresistible. Not to mention, Jess has some acid they can drop together and while he’s reluctant at first, he’s more than willing to feel like he’s in his twenties again.
The entire end festival sequence is actually pretty awesome as it allows some very entrancing visuals to play a major role in their drug-fueled antics. The trees begin to grow these incredibly vibrant flowers, people start to float into the air, snowflakes start to fall when they’re walking through the forest, and they become hypnotized by the moving fire. Obviously, none of this is really happening, but it’s very enticing to watch – especially when things take a dark turn. Just as their high starts to lose its luster, Sam is whisked away by Mrs. Martin (Watson) as he’s about to be taken by Larry and his goons. He’s eventually caught and it looks like some big questions are about to be answered regarding the festival, the “big house” on the island, and Sam’s connection to the island as his story comes to a close next week.
The second episode of The Third Day starts to flesh out Sam’s traumatic past and how it could possibly connect to the island as well as showcase an intriguing storyline about grief through a creepy and trippy end that sets up a mysterious finale for the first half of the series that I can’t wait to see unfold.