“Calaca” proves a braindead penultimate episode of The Mosquito Coast, and suggests that next week’s finale is only worth looking forward to because it’ll mercifully bring this show to an end.
This recap of The Mosquito Coast season 1, episode 6, “Calaca”, contains spoilers.
This show is very strange and more than a little stupid, for reasons that are mostly highlighted in “Calaca”, one of the worst episodes so far by virtue of trying to be one of the most action-packed and exciting. As it turns out, the only value in The Mosquito Coast was in watching Justin Theroux torment his kids with elaborate inventions and staunch anti-establishment ideology; by this point in the penultimate episode, he has forgotten about his kids almost entirely, hasn’t invented anything in ages, and yet somehow still seems just as delusional and smug as ever about his myriad failures and self-serving ideas.
Thus, we pick up where the previous episode left off, with Allie and Margot having been captured by Calaca and his orange-hatted goons, and we spend a huge chunk of The Mosquito Coast episode 6 watching Allie be tortured to essentially prove that he’s reliable, which occurs after a speech in which it’s painstakingly explained by Calaca himself that torture doesn’t work and has never worked, yet we continue to indulge in it anyway since contemporary culture is vile and perverse and delights in sadism. None of this is necessarily untrue, of course, but then Calaca’s determination of whether Allie is indeed to be trusted – he fakes Margot’s execution – is whether or not he gives away information under extreme psychological duress. So, to summarize, he explains that torture doesn’t work and the only reason to engage in it is to enjoy it, then he engages in it anyway and bases his entire decision of whether to help Allie out on the outcome of the torture that by his own admission doesn’t work.
In amongst all this, there are snippets of Allie’s supposed NSA background, which includes turning down a position after initially being seduced by the idea of an algorithm that uses climate change projections to track changes in bird migration patterns, which is exactly the kind of thing he’d be into, I suppose. This whole sequence seems to go on forever but is almost immediately undermined since both the U.S. agents and the assassin Bill are able to track down Allie and his entire family at the same time, and they’re forced to immediately go on the run alone again. But let’s talk about that.
“Calaca” is one of the first times we’ve seen Margot recognize that her husband doesn’t care about her at all. She’s furious that he didn’t give away information he clearly had in order to save her life, and his claims that he was just bluffing don’t hold much water. But it’s impossible to feel very sorry for either of them since they don’t seem to notice that they have allowed their kids to wander around totally unsupervised for two straight episodes, and blimey, these kids are aggravating. They spend the entirety of The Mosquito Coast episode 6 eating out in the open and drawing enormous attention to themselves by not paying for their purchases, all the while having very leading conversations about Charlie’s parentage that ultimately compels Dina to phone Agent Jones and tip her off to where her family is staying. It is, frankly, preposterous.
Luckily it gets a couple of people killed, which should teach them all a lesson. Eventually, everyone convenes on the hotel, with the Fox’s blindsided by Jones and her associate whose name I still haven’t caught, and Bill heading inside with his pint-sized accomplice instructed to kill all of them except Allie so that Lucretia can slice his knackers in half with a steel mandolin wire. The only thing I liked about this sequence and this episode was how unceremoniously the American agents are killed off. It might seem like a waste of the characters, but I thought it had the intended effect of proving that nobody is safe, that the actions of the ostensible “heroes” have consequences, and that, hopefully, by the time the finale is over everyone might have experienced a similar fate. Plus, the chilling image of a little kid indifferently stabbing a grown woman to death had its share of visceral power.
Beyond that, though, The Mosquito Coast season 1, episode 6 was more or less a complete disaster, and it certainly doesn’t bode well for next week’s finale, especially considering that there’s no real plot at this point. Allie and co. are on the run from someone that they really just annoyed in passing, they have no plan or anywhere to go, and we still don’t know for certain why they had to become fugitives in the first place. Personally, I’m way beyond the point of caring either way.