A slower second episode explores the budding romance between Conrad and Michelle in their past, while an exciting investigation continues in the present.
This recap of the Hulu series The Girl from Plainville season 1, episode 2, “Turtle,” contains spoilers.
The premiere ended in a creepy fashion as Michelle practiced her fundraiser speech in the mirror, replicating lines from a TV show, and then she sang along with tears in her eyes. It became clear early on that Michelle wasn’t entirely innocent in this whole affair and is visibly hiding something. Detective Gordon continues to probe deeper in episode two, as Michelle’s lies start to pile up and those surrounding her suspect transgressions.
The Girl from Plainville season 1, episode 2 recap
“Turtle” splits the action into two sections, a 2012 flashback in Florida and the organization of the fundraiser in 2014 (the show’s present). This biographical account looks at the first meeting of Michelle and Coco (Conrad Roy III), playing out like a holiday romance. At the time, Coco was being ghosted by his current girlfriend Lily, appearing both obsessive and intrusive in the fading relationship. Her father tells him to stop calling and Coco seems heartbroken. He befriends a fellow insomniac in Michelle and their love blossoms over a couple of sun-tinged days. There are some nice shots of the couple bonding under a boardwalk or biking with bunny ears on their heads. They exchange phone numbers, opening up about their dependence on medication and their general mental health.
In the present, Michelle powers forwards with her fundraising event, even though nobody is interested. She seems to unnerve whoever she interacts with, whether that be her ‘so-called’ friends or those from Conrad’s past. Coco’s best friend Rob and his very own sister don’t seem to trust her and mother Lynn looks to be heading in the same direction too. This is a slower episode, yet the filmmakers add some subtle moments of grief for emotional impact. Lynn glances at Coco’s car, which is covered up with a sheet, and the family argues at a barbecue. Everyone mourns in different ways.
The series builds empathy in its broken cast, but also provides tension as the police’s investigation unfolds. Detective Gordon pleads for a warrant to obtain Michelle’s phone, desperate to see the entirety of their conversations. To gain this crucial evidence, first, he needs further proof. The policeman starts to question those involved and things slowly unravel. It’s exciting knowing who the criminal (more than likely) is, watching them try to squirm out of their tangled mess. Michelle’s tactics are to create her own specific narrative and to gain everyone’s trust. The problem is this animated, gushing performance is too obvious, too suspicious. Her lies are getting out of control, she’s on the verge of a breakdown.
Elle Fanning continues to impress in this perplexing series from Liz Hannah (The Dropout, Mindhunter). Her frantic portrayal of an attention-seeking teen drives the whole show. Things appear to be moving in a promising direction with episode two and I’m eager to see how it all unfolds. An exciting series with the potential to grow even more.
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