Haunting and atmospheric, episode four delves deeper into the two lead criminals’ psyches, resulting in some unnerving revelations—another top-quality installment.
This recap of the Apple TV+ series Black Bird season 1, episode 4, “WhatsHerName,” contains spoilers.
Episode four focuses squarely on our lead convicts Larry and Jimmy, with interspersed flashbacks to their contrasting childhoods. This allows for a deep dive into the character’s totally opposing upbringings and their unique personalities, building a better understanding of why they ended up in jail. As always, the series is tense and unnerving, with some top quality performances.
Black Bird season 1, episode 4 recap
Those disparate childhoods are introduced in the opening moments of “WhatsHerName”, with that killer Mogwai score in the background. In the early seventies Larry and Jimmy were living completely different lives. Larry was thrust into the family business of grave digging, with a horrid father forcing him to dig up dead bodies to feast on their belongings. Whilst Jimmy was enjoying football practice with his inspirational father. They couldn’t have been further apart.
Back in the present, Jimmy starts to hunt around in Larry’s unattended cell. He believes without a shadow of a doubt that Larry is the murderer they suspect he is, but still needs some proof. Any evidence Jimmy uncovers will help, but Larry’s cell appears harmless on first glances. There are photographs on the wall of re-enactments and sports cars, he has ordinary books and figurines on his shelves. It’s only when Jimmy delicately flicks through a stack of magazines that he unearths the jackpot in debauchery. Larry has doodled over the adult mags, defacing the women. Then Jimmy finds haunting drawings of murder and torture hidden inside.
Jimmy places the magazines back in place and returns to his own room, where Mr. Carter is waiting for him. This crooked guard has dirt on Jimmy and wants a large pay out in return for keeping his secret silent. Jimmy tried to get cash and then drugs from his father, but no such luck. Carter is starting to lose his patience, hinting at possibly telling the other felons Jimmy’s dark secret.
Once the guard has left, Larry and Jimmy are reunited. Larry has become highly suspicious of Jimmy though, spotting that he asks a lot of questions. Jimmy’s emotions are getting the better of him and he struggles to contain his anger towards the killer. Larry talks of a quiet before the storm, fearing that something awful is about to go down in the jail. And the murderer is not wrong, a riot breaks out, with many criminals and guards being attacked and stabbed in horrifying detail. The prison goes into full lockdown and they hide in their cells.
Larry is in charge of clean up and along with Jimmy, a handful of criminals are tasked with clearing away the chaotic remains from the riot. This works as a nice chance for Jimmy and Larry to strengthen their bond and chat in more depth. They talk childhoods and their first jobs. Larry’s voice starts to irritate in these long bouts of dialogue, but this only adds to the creepy atmosphere.
In further flashbacks, Larry is ordered to take the rings and jewelry from a corpse and even has to chop off a finger to retrieve a wedding band. The innocent teen hates the job at first, but slowly starts to enjoy the time spent with his father and the peaceful night air. In the end he keeps the finger as a memento of the occasion. Jimmy’s flashbacks take a sinister turn as well, with his father leaving and a horrible man replacing him. His mother’s new boyfriend beats Jimmy, his mother and brother. It’s a sharp detour from the sweet memories of football with his dad.
Whilst they clean the cafeteria, the inmates engage in more conversations, with Larry slowly opening up to Jimmy. They discuss their High School years, pets and murder. Larry sees the world in an odd way, finding no issues with eating a pet or desecrating a corpse. Jimmy continues to push the killer for a confession, but feels repulsed by some of the things Larry comes out with. There is no doubt he has raped and killed many women, yet Jimmy still has no official confession to use.
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