“The White Whale” sees the cat-and-mouse game in full swing, as Frankie and Osito begin losing ground to Ray and Jackie, who both have renewed purpose following a shocking, brutal death.
This recap of Hightown season 1, episode 6, “The White Whale”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Hightown episode 6, “The White Whale”, was on balance probably the best episode of the season. And I know that isn’t much of a compliment coming from me given that I’ve largely criticized the show for its self-serving characters and solved-in-advance murder-mystery, but fair’s fair. It’s increasingly obvious that the pleasure here is in seeing our “heroes”, such as they could be called that, get closer to the truth; seeing the net tighten, to use an appropriate fishing reference. Jackie begins to recognize her hard-partying lifestyle got Krista killed, and Ray stays away from Renee so that he can do some actual police work. Since we already know we’re getting a second season, “The White Whale” gives the clearest indication, I think, of what it might look like.
Anyway, as mentioned, Krista is dead – beaten to death by Osito such that, as she’s zipped into a body bag, she now resembles Sloth from The Goonies. Witnesses are useless – “You ever sucked d*ck with no glasses?” – but Ray and Alan are at least able to determine that two men entered Krista’s motel room: A tall white guy, and a big guy. Once Jackie arrives, our prediction last week that this would be the motivation she needs to stay clean for a while is confirmed, since Ray is very explicit about the fact that her being drunk and unavailable contributed to Krista’s death. He also mentions Frankie by name, which is the first Jackie is hearing it.
Junior, meanwhile, in some ways the show’s moral center, is clearly still deeply troubled by his part in all this. He leaves his baby to cry unattended and insists he’s undeserving of her and his partner to such an extent that it seems like he’s back on drugs. He isn’t, but he might as well be. He’s spiraling and spends most of Hightown episode 6 looking for non-narcotic ways to medicate his new pain.
Jackie is in a similar boat – another fishing metaphor! – since she’s so consumed by guilt that she willingly speaks up at therapy; a session from which Junior is missing. When she encounters him later, they argue. Even though they’re going through much the same thing, neither really wants to discuss it with the other. Just as these two could potentially be there for each other when they both need it the most, instead their relationship becomes frostier than ever.
Meanwhile in “The White Whale”, Ray does some real police work, digging through CCTV footage to try and find a way of putting Osito at the motel. And while he might not be able to find anything concrete, he finds proof that Osito and Junior were out in the car that night. It’s enough to start tightening the noose if nothing else.
This, I think, is the underlying theme of Hightown season 1, episode 6 – the idea that the bad guys, most specifically Frankie and Osito, are losing their grip on the Cape. At the prison, Frankie, already frustrated with the quality of his workers, seethes when he hears his son refer to Ray as “Uncle Ray”. He lays into Renee verbally and assures her that Ray was sleeping with Sherry too, but you can sense the power dynamic switching. Later, after speaking with Renee at the strip club, Jackie also visits Frankie and promises that she’s going to do everything she can to keep him behind bars for a long time.
Osito, too, finds himself in custody after a statement – acquired unethically and perhaps illegally, of course, but Ray’s gotta Ray – from Scotty links him directly to the murders. Osito starts out as smug and tight-lipped as ever, but it quickly becomes clear that Ray has enough on him to make a lawyer necessary. Ray is excited by this, as well he should be since it’s the closest thing to real progress we’ve seen all season.
The question now, though, is what happens next, and where these characters end up since many are on sharp downward spirals. Most notable is Junior’s. He contrives a way to get badly beaten in “The White Whale”, and as the episode ends, Jackie has just found evidence that links his boat to the crimes. He sits, battered, and bleeding, and one assumes that things aren’t going to go much better for him as we progress.
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