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The Mosquito Coast - Positive, Front-Facing Optics - Review

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We’re at the halfway mark in The Mosquito Coast’s second series and the show is ramping up now. There’s been a lot of groundwork being laid in the first few episodes but now, everything’s coming to a head for the back half, the family once again separated from each other, dealing with the consequences of the past – and Charlie now – only now – has to deal with the consequences of his actions from the first season. Better later than never, right?

It’s a big episode for Margot this time out. Forced to reconcile with her past and her actions that she committed when we get a return from an old friend, Richard – Margot’s ex. This episode seemed content to tick contrivance after contrivance and hit all the marks that we’ve come to expect from a series like this – from a show that gave us no answers last season and kept things in suspense, Positive, Front-Facing Optics now feels like it’s part of a show that wasn’t expecting to be renewed for a second series. The eco-terrorist group must be quite small because Richard is the one that they need – he has an unexplained connection with Isela. This could be used as a way to propel the storyline forward but instead; Dina finds out about Margot’s past through eavesdropping and Margot not telling secrets. It’s a show that has employed more sensible storytelling devices in the past, but here – this feels like a completely different series this time out – no longer obsessed with what made it work the first time out. The Foxes were best on the run. Now… what gives us a reason to care about them? Forced family drama? The Mosquito Coast hasn’t stopped to figure that out yet. It does allow Dina to call out Margot, who’s just as bad as Allie in the show’s eyes – but Allie isn’t helping matters this season. The show does need to figure out a reason for us to actually care about these characters when they’re not on the run – and it isn’t doing that yet. But the prospect of a Richard vs. Allie encounter may give the show a reason too look forward to its back half, because you know it’s coming. I like the eco-terrorist approach and it's an effective reason to raise the stakes, but I'm interested to see how this show fairs now in comparison to the likes of AppleTV+'s newer series Echo 3, which feels like it's been put out to pasture against when you compare the level of marketing. Ask anyone whether the second series of this show has come back... would they have been able to tell you?

It's because he’s paired up with William Lee for a mission of his own, the series treading into eco-terrorist global waters. Allie’s lucky that Margot doesn’t want to run without supplies – but Dina is more keen than ever to escape throwing caution to the wind. But William Lee gives the series the best sense of threat and danger that it’s had so far – and teaming up him with Allie feels like an odd direction for it to go in; but it’s a welcome one all the same – if it leads to this episode feeling like it ended just as it was getting started. The lead-up to the infiltration of the meeting and the fact that Allie is trapped with people who may be able to spot him out of a line-up would create a source of tension, but Allie is the main character – he’s probably the most likely to survive. The show would surprise me if he died with four episodes left – but that’s not going to happen, so the result feels like a throwback to the NBC or CBS midseason style cliffhangers that were designed to keep you on tenderhooks for a month or so over the winter break. Just in reality there wasn’t really any here.

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