As we get closer to the midseason finale of a multiple-episode mystery like Frequency, at least we get the advantage of hopefully getting closer to some actual answers, fewer red herrings.The creepiest camp ever is proving to be illuminating in that respect, as it has now possibly led us, eight episodes in, to the actual Nightingale.
As mysteries go, it’s a pretty good one. Fed up with her father’s past machinations mucking up her life, Raimy is now centered on focusing her investigation in the present as much as possible. That doesn’t prevent her from sending her father to unearth the diaries of the Nightingale’s first victim at the camp, which offer some clues to the mysterious “Meghan,” who we now suspect is locked in a mental hospital to keep her from revealing what she knows about the camp and its director. That guy, “Deacon Joe,” already seems pretty suspicious in his interview at the police station, as Raimy and Satch both look down their noses as he talks about his helpful camp for troubled kids. Meghan’s terror when he enters the mental hospital certainly seems to indicate that he is capable of some terrible things (she out-and-out calls him a monster), but with a few episodes to go until the end of this 13-episode arc, is Frequency showing its hand too quickly? The show’s two-decade gap offers a helpful and completely understandable leap: That a heinous act in 1996 turns into a spooky camp ghost story several years later.
Frequency has shown off that kind of duplicity before. But in this episode it seems to be highlighting two sides of the same coin, as each person can be seen as something entirely different, based on your perspective. Is Deacon Joe a stand-up guy who wants to help kids, or a murderous psychopath? Is Meghan a tragic victim or a crazy person? This swath even affects our main characters: When Frank enters Julie’s house after learning about her kiss with Coach Ted, the shot is set up so he seems as menacing as the Nightingale killer himself. His subsequent rage at her, circled back to when Frank talks to a witness who’s a domestic abuser, also leads us to believe that we don’t have to be stalked by a serial killer to be in danger: It could be standing right in front of us. Although Frank, at least, calls the guy out for what he is, telling him, “That’s not love.”
On a somewhat lighter note, in the Raimy and Daniel spectrum, he teasingly calls her his stalker (which, she kind of is), but in this episode he turns the tables and becomes rather obsessed himself, showing up on her doorstep not once but twice. That Raimy and Daniel find each other again (even though he’s apparently almost engaged to the girl at the restaurant? with the same ring?) seems like a testament to physical attraction as a foundation for long-standing love more than anything: If they were attracted enough in the original timeline to almost get engaged, it stands to reason that that pull would still be there in an alternate timeline. Maybe that’s a cynical way of looking at it: Maybe love at first sight does endure, even with different fate hurdles around to trip it up. But in the Kyle vs. Daniel battle, that pizza-toting, video-game playing guy never had a chance. Still, it was nice to see Raimy and Gordo enjoying themselves for once.
Even Satch, whose ultimate motivations are still up in the air, plays into this theme: Whose side is he on really? He tells Frank he only appears to be on the take to better can keep an eye on his partner. We can only hope that that’s true.
Raimy and Frank kind of switch places this episode, as Raimy is the one ordering Frank around: And he’s right, it’s a horrible, impossible situation to go visit the family of a girl you know for a fact isn’t coming back. But Raimy is right, too: If those diaries help lead them to the killer, hopefully in 1996, it will all have been worth it. Raimy’s new authority only goes so far: As much as her grade-school self hoped, she can’t make her parents happy together, and has to be told by Frank to “Let your parents be your parents.” Again, it’s like the opposite scenario of Raimy and Daniel: If those two found each other once, it looks like they’ll find each other again. Julie and Frank are also on their prospective second go-around, and Frank even ends the episode with the hopeful brashness that he can win her over again like he once did. The difference is that, unlike Raimy and Daniel, Julie and Frank now have a ton of emotional baggage separating them. But, as is clear in their final conversation this episode, they have the love there too, and with any luck, maybe that will be enough. Although a few extra mix tapes couldn’t hurt.
- Gordo aptly summing up his relationship with Raimy: “I’m her non-sexual life partner.”
- Loved Meghan spelling out the phone number with playing cards.
- Ada Breker, who plays young Raimy, does an excellent job of transmitting all the appropriate grade-school angst.
- Looks like we have two more Frequency episodes in 2016, with three to tie it up in January. As has been pointed out, The CW is slow to cancel anything, even a show like this one that has not been much of a ratings-grabber in its first season. And it has had new shows with 13-episode seasons before, like iZombie. Somehow with this show, the stakes just seem that much higher, because after all this weekly investment, being left with a permanent Frequency cliffhanger would really suck.