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The Mosquito Coast - The Counterfeiters + Eulogy - Reviews

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Episode 9 The Counterfeiters

Episode 9 picks up with the ramifications of Dina leaving the Foxes and the island; Alfonso breaks the news to a pissed off Allie; who advises Charlie to keep the news about Dina leaving a secret – surely a mistake; as if there isn’t enough secrets kept on this show. It’s been clear from the get-go that Allie is who he always is – stubborn and aloof, deep in paranoia.

One of the biggest struggles of The Mosquito Coast so far has been to get you invested in its characters and this show feels like it’s still; two seasons and sixteen, now seventeen episodes in – struggling to make you care about the characters. Dina’s awakening to the real world is a ruthless one – getting cat-called by pigs in cars; and does her best to wonder about what to buy in shops – the sense of wonder that comes with the freedom of choice for the first time. Her encounter comes with an American, obsessed with posting on social media – to her; her followers probably think she’s dead. Dina pretends not to speak English – and the montage of her on her bike is the happiest she’s been in a while; taking the time to relax and enjoy life.

Margot and Richard want in on their mission, with Margot realising that what they do will set a template and lay it out for those freedom fighters everywhere the world is on fire. It’s calling back to the past, old stories – it’s interesting to note that the similarities between two completely unrelated shows this season; both AppleTV+ series, The Mosquito Coast and Slow Horses have both pulled up the past connections as key source materials; giving Richard and Margot a shared bond over what’s to come. Margot however has a tougher choice – to convince Charlie to come back to the States with him, running away from Allie – leaving Charlie keeping secrets from both Margot and Allie. As things stand, Charlie wants to utilise Allie’s plan – and is reluctant to tell Margot that Dina has ran. Margot agrees to be a spotter for Richard however; but she’s working with the NSA to gain protection for her kids. Everyone is playing everyone in The Mosquito Coast, and the stakes are coming together.

Dina’s sense of awakening into a modern hotel spa resort comes a little sense of cunning and deception – it’s an interesting place for her to run to on her own. Meanwhile – Allie has a Plan B that threatens to put them all in danger – to create a dead man’s switch for Sandpiper. He’s called out by Isela, who accuses him of wanting to become a new landlord – but before the confrontation can escalate; Bautista’s men arrive, demanding to Allie. Isela does her best to stall them – and Charlie intervenes, with a soldier taking the life of a villager who saved him just as Allie shows himself to be taken away. It’s a frantic, action-packed moment with the show relying, maybe a bit too much, on Charlie’s naivety. Dina is the smarter Fox child of the two in this week’s episode, pigeoning off the back of a family to steal a card from a worker – she gets to experience all the joys of the resort, beautifully shot for with a wonderful montage – showcasing that the best moments of The Mosquito Coast come in these close encounters – even if the shower scene is a bit too stereotypical of a homage – wiping the blood clean of the past. Refreshed and recharged; this is her new life now – an outsider who doesn’t truly fit in.

Unfortunately, not everything is going swimmingly for the Foxes. The sheer contrast in music is basic scene changing 101; but the transition to Bautista’s bar showcases the trouble that Allie is in – he was given 72 hours to get Sandpiper up and running; but only needed 24 to make it. In the meantime - He found Bautista’s skimming operation – taking the transport shipments for cartels. It’s enough to put Bautista on the back foot – but Allie has proof of Bautista’s meddling as a traitor. His documents in the cloud – and will go live if not checked in every few hours. It’s a desperate bid for Allie to gain some salvation and a refuge – a place of his own.

Whilst Dina’s good at infiltrating; she’s not too good at picking up social cues – an influencer (they’re all influencer’s here) takes a photo of her t-shirt in a bid to look out for it. The ever-present influence of cameras in the society of today has been a theme running throughout The Mosquito Coast, with Dina and the audience keenly aware of how they’re being used.

Meanwhile, Margot has the agreement for the immunity from the NSA, which is what she wants – she gives him Richard’s plan – it’s tomorrow, at 1 o’clock, sending them into panic mode. Richard tells her that nobody will get hurt, but she doesn’t believe him – and warns the NSA to do everything above board; but lets them off their leash.

Bautista and Richard are both working together – Richard could do with two more men on the outside to keep track of who’s coming in and out. It’s an interesting dynamic between both – I’m not sure how aware Richard is of Bautista’s side hustle; ever the idealist he’s committed to his cause.

Charlie has felt the loss of everything around him hard – cooling down by being submerged in leaves; both him and Dina are clearly not okay – the actions of their parents wearing heavy on them. Dina thinks she’s out; but their influence is clear – the award for the worst parents of the last few years of television probably both goes down to the Foxes, really. In any other show you could easily have it painted to look like Charlie and Dina wanting to get out from under them as wanting to escape from the villains; but The Mosquito Coast’s choice to make Bautista the very clear external threat with Richard and William Lee almost makes them seem like the less bad option in comparison. This show hasn’t quite got into how controlling both are yet in enough depth, although it’s touched on the surface.

I do think the biggest mistake of this series was not keeping the same tight episode count as the excellent first one; where all this goodwill for the show has come from. The three extra episodes has hurt the pacing of The Mosquito Coast even if at the same time it’s allowed it time to breath – a tighter seven episodes kept it watchable: but now – everything’s coming together marvellously.

Margot fills Allie in on the loop of the plan that she’s worked out for them by betraying Richard – and feels like shit for doing so – she’s never felt more conflicted betraying a cause she cares deeply about. But Allie isn’t talking; although both parents share a quiet knowledge that they screwed up with Dina – Margot smart enough to make out that she’s done a runner on her own. The show doesn’t really waste time with stopping to talk down to the audience; and it’s a real blessing.

Richard’s plan being put in motion is an excellent one – and Metin Hüseyin’s direction throughout the episode; really delivers at making everything around look and feel real and lived in. The little touches with Dina wondering around the resort and embracing it; taking it in are a lot more cleanly edited than what’s come before in this show; and the sprawling Fox saga is tighter packed than it has been previously. If there was ever a time for The Mosquito Coast to find its form – it’s now.

Allie and Charlie have a heart to heart on Slyvia’s death – and the process of grief is felt here with Dina gone too. This series has been a wake-up call for Charlie – his illusion that Allie knew everything has been exposed as a lie. He’s losing everything – watching his home that he knew torn down around him.

Richard’s infiltration of the compound begins – but it’s quickly been revealed as a ruse – he’s not in the van and suspected a double cross from Margot – and he’s watching them from afar. This was a loyalty test – which Margot failed. And now her family are alone; but to make matters worse – Dina, texting over the phone – to add to more secrets – is texting Adolfo – not realising that Charlie and Allie are at the other end of the line. Just when you think you start to care about these characters; The Mosquito Coast does a brilliant job at reminding you as to what absolute shitheads they are.

And now Richard is at the target – the true target – the one being held from Margot. It’s Dina’s resort – bringing the pieces together for a finale with everything on edge – the stakes at their highest. We’re in the endgame now, really.

Episode 10, Eulogy

And here we are; at the end of The Mosquito Coast. Having Richard come out on top and trick Margot was a big surprise going into the end of episode 9; and now everyone knows where they stand – or everyone should – the funeral of Slyvia, a cold blooded, narcissistic murder; opens the episode – the show being more comfortable with using music as it progresses and it does so quite well here – the slow procession of the funeral march evident from the word go. Isela’s speech is moving and effective – the fate of the town being caught between a rock and a hard place puts Isela in a difficult position; and The Mosquito Coast has never been more apparent with its actions.

Charlie and Allie fill Margot in on the plan to rescue Dina; and they’ve found her at the resort that Richard’s planning to blow up. Allie is using Sandpiper for precisely what the artificial intelligence’s dangers were – tracking phones at will. Dina’s not hard to spot – waiting at the sofa for Allie. It’s a pretty good reunion between Allie and Dina; just before things are about to hit the fan with Richard and his convoy. People not being hurt was a massive lie – and everyone in the resort is at risk from a plan that has long been in motion.

Dina realises that she’s got the upper hand here and wants to say her truths to Allie: there’s a life for her at the resort – but not one that she wants; and not one that either her parents want for her. Instead, she wants to go home – and she doesn’t mean their safe haven – but they don’t have one. A family yes, a home no. The Foxes have been on the run for so long that they’ve forgotten what a home is – but it’s a good motivational drive for Dina this season. Allie is – after comments in episode nine about him not learning, finally taking his children’s feedback on board; he tells her that he doesn’t, truthfully have a plan – choosing not to go for the teachable moments that have defined his character. Being this close to losing both Charlie and Dina has given him a sense of perspective. Instead, he turns the tables to Dina: what does she want to do? This season has been about the Fox siblings getting more power of their own and coming out from the shadow of both parents; and whatever Dina decides to do – Allie will support it. The door’s wide open on both accounts – to come back or to talk.

As the episode progresses you’re begging the Foxes just to leave the resort, knowing what Richard’s got planned; but Allie has other ideas – he wants to tell the whole Fox family in person. It’s an emotional reunion of a different sort between Dina and Margot this episode; more quiet and subdued – Margot tells her of her plan to get them back to the States; but of course it backfired – and now she has nothing to offer Dina. Dina has both parents in the palm of her hands – and whilst Margot wants to turn herself in, Dina has other ideas – she needed Margot than she thought she did. There’s guilt on both sides here - Dina for running away unprepared; and Margot’s weight of watching one of her children strike out on her own.

Allie’s idea is still to stick with the plot of land to call the Foxes their own and take it from Bautista with his blackmail material. To him – it’s an achievable paradise; but there’s nothing there for Dina. Not yet – tells Allie. The Foxes build it – and he wants to build the whole operation down there with him.

No Landlords, no cartels – heaven. It’s what the Foxes have been striving towards this entire time and what the main objective of this series has been about; and you get the sense that The Mosquito Coast is well into series finale mode here; even as early as 15 minutes in. Charlie’s in, of course – but Margot wants to go back to the States – home, wherever they make it – and they must decide today – the parents finally getting the chance to act out their confrontation that has been brewing all season long – Allie spinning it back on her telling her that Margot would be locked up for terrorism, murder; Dina for trouble – and Charlie is a killer too – the Foxes no longer have a way out. Allie is no better off than all of them – he sold out, only to regret it just wanting out of the entire United States altogether – none of the Foxes have a clean past – the weight of their actions over the past two seasons has caught up with them - and back within seconds, it’s all been about Margot and Allie – they’re doing the same things that they always do, making decisions for all of them – they’re both powerless under the whims of their parents. All Allie’s goodwill speech to Dina before; undone in a matter of seconds – the outburst from Charlie coming just when it needed to. He’s got a point: if they’re raising them to be independent – at what point do they get a say in how things are run? Charlie calls out Margot for lying to them too – he’s holding back nothing – and how does a lie last that long?

All he wants is the truth. And the whole series has been built on a house of cards; lies and mistakes – and The Mosquito Coast now, finally – has them all crashing down around everyone. I will praise Melissa George’s acting here, terrific – and Gabriel Bateman too, all of the Foxes have improved dramatically. The family gets a chance to talk to each other separately – Dina only knows how to live off the grid; adjusting back to Margot’s optimistic idea of a society would be too hard. And then that’s when it happens – Charlie sees Richard – leaving the resort; the penny drops – and both Fox siblings tail him.

We get to see the Bautista’s business meeting take place at the heart of the resort with Margot watching on, realising what’s taking place slowly around her as the penny drops. Margot tells Allie who she saw whilst Charlie and Dina tail Richard; Margot still doesn’t know that he’s here yet. They want to get the kids and get out – but the kids are not where they left them. Charlie’s been getting the entire family into trouble the entire season – and now his actions alone have kickstarted the endgame here.

Richard lets us in on the plan to target the hotel meeting – and Margot and Allie instantly spot one of Bautista’s men posing as a hotel guard with a suspicious briefcase – the same person who killed Slyvia. Margot has her own secrets to share: Bautista’s men work with Richard; with the pieces coming together and the Foxes can’t help but be involved. And now multiple men with guns dressed in hotel uniform are storming the hotel; about to interrupt the briefing on the third floor. Bautista is making a power grab – on his own sister.

Charlie calls out Richard as soon as he returns – he’s a liar and hypocrite as much as his family is. Dina watches as he’s dragged out onto the rooftop, and Margot frantically tries to call in for government support – but after the false flag, they’re not answering. The Foxes have to do whatever they’re about to do on their own. Charlie is called into the room and held hostage whilst Carter is confronted angrily by Richard – accusing him of committing crimes against humanity and nature. It’s a powerful performance by Ariyon Bakare – accusing Carter of being no better than a murder. And this is where we wonder: are Richard and Bautista’s goals aligned? Or are they just working together to their own interests?

Richard puts Carter on a worldwide jury of tens of thousand followers – it’s being livestreamed to around the world. Alarm bells are triggered and all guests have to return to their rooms – as Bautista and William Lee arrive in the building. For now they’re on the same page, and Carter gets to “admit his guilt” – until he gets to a certain point; asking that justice be done that matches the crime.

And here come the Foxes – but before they can intervene, the National Guard show up – and are storming the building. Richard wants out; but Bautista wants Andrea to suffer first. Talk about sibling rivalry – The Mosquito Coast has kept these characters in the background for so long; it’s not only the Foxes that have their secret exposed this time out. Margot knows Richard; he knows where his devices will be – and she agrees to go off on her own whilst Allie and Dina do their best to rescue Charlie and Andrea pleads to the livestream for rescue.

It wasn’t long before Richard and Bautista come face to face – Richard hands over the detonator to Bautista; but is killed the second he tries to get Charlie to leave with him. I loved the little reaction shot of watching Allie open and close the door as chaos is unleashed in the room; explosives going off everywhere and Allie races to his son’s rescue; with him taking the bag on his way out. It was a confusing set of sequences with slow motion and the loud ringing sound that’s always used at the core of The Mosquito Coast, and for its big centrepiece action the camera feels weirdly disorientated with its previous mostly on point direction – resorting to shaky action sequences that feel smaller than ever.

However, there’s still one person waiting whose fate is left unresolved – William Lee – who shoots Allie as he tries to run, coldly and with little time to waste. It’s a rather rushed few moments that finally speeds up the pace as it progresses – his death will be a slow one; William Lee promises. Justin Theroux’s acting betrays his characters’ emotions – Allie knows what’s coming, and detonates the bomb – taking out Lee in the process but leaving his fate obscured. We’re led to believe that he got caught up in the blast – but there’s no body yet.

And thus ends The Mosquito Coast – with Isela bringing her community with her to a new location; the Foxes moving on. It’s sort of an ending that works for the show itself and wraps up the story with the search of an actual Mosquito Coast – but the slow pace may not have been the most successful way to tell the story of them all. The montage to end things on was a pretty touching tribute – and maybe, Allie really is dead after all?

I’m glad I stuck with the series; but don’t expect it to be on any best tv list any time soon. It accomplishes its goal, looked good doing so – and whilst in a world of television, say five years ago; it would’ve been one of the most talked about things around – here it barely arrives with a whimper. But if only every show that barely arrived with a whimper looked this good.

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