Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Third Day gets weirder but not necessarily better

Jude Law and Katherine Waterston star in The Third Day
Jude Law and Katherine Waterston star in The Third Day
Photo: Robert Ludovic (HBO
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When we last saw Sam in The Third Day, he was returning from nightmare’s worth of images: bloody bits of flesh, a bloody t-shirt, and blood on his hands. He had gone back to his car for his things to spend a night at the Martins’ spare room with a fellow lodger, Jess. Now, he’s back in these haunting images, chasing after the boy with curly hair into strangely lit woods, the screen flashes his hands covered in blood again and then on to a new scene: He walks dangerously close to a locked trailer billowing with flames and spray painted with weird symbols. Sam stands close enough to crisp and burn the skin off his face. Then there’s a kick at the door from the inside and then another, it bursts open only to reveal Sam’s back on top of the carnage, smeared with blood.

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Sam had a rough night, and unfortunately, his day doesn’t seem like it’s going to get any better. He wakes up next to Jess, surrounded by the remains of a messy night neither of them remembers in the sober light of day. Scandalized by the situation, Jess scolds him and scurries to the bathroom while Sam quickly puts on his clothes. Downstairs, Mr. Martin’s sunny disposition does little to lighten the mood. Sam was supposed to get an early wake-up call to catch the land bridge and make sure Epona was safe, but none of these things happened. Mr. Martin said he didn’t feel it was appropriate to enter the room in the state it was in. Embarrassed, Sam accepts breakfast and Jess joins him at the table to apologize. She tells him that she doesn’t drink or hook up with others because she fears her vengeful husband who has custody of their kids. Sam reassures her that her husband won’t find out. Their conversation soon drifts into noting the strange religion that developed on Osea Island, and again Jess repeats, “they’re good people.” Mr. Martin arrives with breakfast, complete with oysters. The sight of them sendings Jess running to the bathroom.

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Outside, Sam notices one of the villagers from the night before angrily wielding a crowbar. Two friends are holding him back from lunging at Mr. Martin, but soon, the tension evaporates and the two sides part. Mrs. Martin joins Sam offering him a pair of bright running shoes. He thanks her for the needed pair of shoes and asks again about Epona. Mrs. Martin claims she’s safe. “Why, don’t you believe us?” she asks. She tells Sam that the girl is now at the big house, that they’ve passed along his concerns and told her about the loss of his own child to comfort her and tell her she’s not alone in pain. Sam’s confused by that voluntary sharing of his past, and says he doesn’t there was a reason for him to find Epona and Mrs. Martin politely disagrees.

Walking around in his new shoes, Sam finds another strange sight: a tent service with a fervent preacher in the middle of a strange service. His wanderings next lead him to Jess, who apologizes yet again for oversharing. Sam tells her that it was not an issue, and shares his story of losing his son—yesterday was the anniversary and why he went to the river on the mainland in the first place. Sam explains that he lets go of his son one piece of clothing at a time. She asks what happened, and Sam tells her that he went with his son, Nathan, to meet a friend of his grandfather who didn’t show up. He then took his son to the fair and while answering a phone call, lost him in the crowd. He asks her to change the subject, falling back on the topic of the island’s strange customs. Jess tells him that if he’s so curious, he should seek out the resident archaeologist, Mimir (Börje Lundberg).

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Unfortunately, when Sam finds said archaeologist, he’s drunk on the ground outside an old greenhouse that had been turned into some kind of dilapidated living quarters and study. Among its ruins, Sam finds an old article about the death of his son but before he could get an answer, there’s a knock at the door. The archaeologist tells him to escape, and he does, but not before watching a group of men take the archeologist away and destroy his things and pass by a grossly dissected fox on his way out.

Back out in the open, Sam happens upon the charred remains of the trailer from his dream. It was his dream, right? He goes in to investigate and finds the remains of a broken lock on the ground but the trailer door still won’t open. Eventually, he pieces together one of the markings on the trailer to an identical sign on the trailer of his son’s killer. Might it be the same? This episode provides only more questions for the few answers it gave viewers for the first episode.

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Back on the move, Sam runs into three hooded strangers. Unsure of their motives, he tries asking them, but after one lobbed a motorcycle part at his head, Sam takes off running until a gunshot nearly misses him. It’s Epona’s dad, his face glistening with tears and anger. Somehow, Sam makes it back to his room and pleads with Jess to escape with him. She reluctantly joins him but the Martins insist he’s overreacting and step aside to reveal Epona is safe and sound. In their kitchen, they try explaining the other weird things Sam saw on his trek around the island, but while Jess calms down, Sam remains on guard. He steps out for air and Jess relays a message from the Martins that he has 20 minutes to catch the land bridge or he can stay for a dry run of the festival.

Finally, it looks as if Sam is on his way back to the mainland. Crossing the land bridge, his phone lights up with numerous anxious notifications from his wife. He stops the car and answers her concerns with an assurance that he’ll be home tomorrow. He turns back around and enters the Martins’ pub to Jess’ delighted surprise. As night falls, the festivities begin to ramp up. Epona approaches Sam and asks him not to leave her. When Sam asks her why, she responds with a kiss, a gesture that does not go unnoticed by other men in town. The party carries on and Jess becomes more drunk and flirty, hinting that the two might spend another night together. She shows off some strips of acid and convinces Sam to partake with her. As the two are enjoying their high, the Martins tell them some serious news: men with weapons are looking for Sam. He stands up follows Mrs. Martin, unaware that Jess has stayed behind in a stunned daze. Mrs. Martin leads him to an old church and tells him she’ll be back. Before he realizes it, he’s face-to-face with the man carrying a crowbar from earlier in the episode and a man in a white suit from the tent service. The man hits Sam’s head, puts a sack over his face, which starts to show how badly he’s bleeding below it, and places him sitting up as the revelers celebrate elsewhere on Osea.

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Stray observations

  • I think we can rest assured that the people of Osea Island are not likely “good people.”
  • My goodness does The Third Day love its out-of-focus shots.
  • Is the color-changing After Effects doing it for anyone? Because I find it more distracting than creepy, but to each their own.
  • The credit sequence of the late-night bonfire dance flipped upside down? Inspired.
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