I Know This Much Is True season 1, episode 5 recap – “Five”

June 8, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV, TV Recaps
4

Summary

Dominick explores the life of his Sicilian grandfather, whose heinous abuses might have cursed the family, and doing so prompts him to make a decision about what’s best for Thomas.

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4

Summary

Dominick explores the life of his Sicilian grandfather, whose heinous abuses might have cursed the family, and doing so prompts him to make a decision about what’s best for Thomas.

This recap of I Know This Much Is True season 1, episode 5, “Five”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.


I know I say some variation of this every week, but I Know This Much Is True is somehow one of the best dramas on TV right now and also the one I enjoy watching the least. It’s morbid and emotionally draining, but also powerful, poignant, and honest, boasting a virtuoso performance from Mark Ruffalo that brings two very different brothers to life across a chunk of tortured history that this fifth episode delves deeper into than ever.

This show loves its parallels; between the past and present, and as of I Know This Much If True episode 5, other pairs of brothers. Dominick reading about his grandfather’s life when he first arrived in America with his brother helps HBO’s drama to transition into something very strongly resembling a horror story – one that’s increasingly difficult to watch. These old stories resonate especially strongly with Dom because of Thomas’s current predicament, and the decision he faces about whether to allow his brother to remain in a maximum-security psychiatric facility or campaign for his release, even if doing so will cause him to regain responsibility for a person whose care has already dominated his life.

But the story of Dom’s grandfather helps to re-contextualize his current decision – if he felt guilty before, then he for sure inherits a fair share of guilt from his vile, controlling, abusive, and ultimately cursed grandfather. Did he resemble him in all the times he left Thomas to fend for himself? Was he honoring a legacy of uncompromising selfishness every time he put himself first? These are, suddenly, the questions he begins to ask of himself, and determined not to inherit a legacy of exploitation and death, he resolves to get his brother out of that facility.

And he does, using a former classmate who is currently a janitor at the facility. But I Know This Much Is True episode 5 quietly presents the question of why Dom is really doing this. It could be because he truly has his brother’s best interests at heart. It could also be because he’s terrified of becoming someone horrific, and while the circumstances aren’t the same, they’re close enough to make Dom feel uncomfortable. If his grandfather’s story only reaffirmed Dom’s love for his brother, that’s one thing, but if he’s simply trying to soothe a guilty conscience that doesn’t necessarily bode too well for Thomas. Sheffer insists that being outside the facility and under Dom’s care might not be the best thing for Thomas. Since the show loves its parallels so much, does the tragedy of the family’s past foreshadow further tragedy in its future?


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