“Bus Stop” squanders a compelling dilemma on a too-easy solution as the show ventures into territory that Breaking Bad and Ozark have already occupied.
This recap of The Mosquito Coast season 1, episode 4, “Bus Stop”, contains spoilers.
The Mosquito Coast episode 4, “Bus Stop”, is the point when the Apple TV+ adaptation begins to veer away from the source material and become a much more flagrant knock-off of something like Breaking Bad or perhaps Ozark – and it isn’t better for it. For a show that was content to spend the entirety of last week’s episode watching the Fox family roam through a desert, it’s actually kind of bizarre that it moves on so quickly from what might have been a very compelling set up at the hacienda of Enrique, which is where everyone ends up at the start of the chapter.
Enrique’s place fronts as being a haven, but it comes as no surprise that it isn’t. The show is also still determinedly tight-lipped about Allie’s background and fugitive status – he even introduces himself under an alias – even though we do make a bit of progress in that regard here. Something’s clearly amiss. A healing but still ropey Chuy seems to know this, but he’s more concerned about his daughter while everyone else seems concerned with a game of “guess who’s coming to dinner.”
As it turns out, it’s Lucretia who’s coming to dinner, and Lucretia is bad news, a kind of cartel matriarch who wastes no time in threatening to lop off Chuy’s tongue for breaking his oath to her. As is revealed later, being a white American family in Mexico makes you rather valuable, and Lucretia has designs on trading off the Fox’s for an inmate.
Luckily, the double-cross was so obvious that a backup plan was in place, and Chuy, apparently unhappy about having been threatened earlier, video calls in with a gun to the head of Hugo, one of the family’s younger members. On that threat, everyone is able to escape, and Margot gets her big dramatic moment in shooting out the tires of all the other vehicles as they leave so that they can’t be pursued. Since Allie revealed over dinner that he has worked for the NSA, with whom he “didn’t see eye to eye”, the way Margot handles a gun implies she might have some skeletons in her own closet.
She certainly seems more of a badass than Allie, who fits the whistle-blower archetype. After the escape, when Chuy jacks their car and goes off in search of his daughter, he viciously berates Allie at gunpoint, treating him as basically a stand-in for the entirety of White America, and Allie wets himself. As the family settles in at the bus stop, it’s easy to feel that The Mosquito Coast season 1, episode 4 is implying that they’re way out of their depth.