“Least Concern Species” is a terribly plodding episode that finds the Fox family temporarily separated after a boating accident.
This recap of The Mosquito Coast season 2, episode 2, “Least Concern Species”, contains spoilers.
I think I’m starting to see why the Fox marriage wasn’t working out.
Take this whole riverboat excursion. Allie is in his element, explaining to the kids how boats work. Margot just seems like she’s looking for any excuse to bring the mood down. In The Mosquito Coast season 2, episode 1, she pushed Allie to tell the kids why they were on the run in the first place and then got upset when he didn’t tell them the whole truth to protect her. Now she wants Dina to discuss the man may or may not have been killed in the first season finale. We’re trying to have a good time here!
The Mosquito Coast season 2, episode 2 recap
Having said that, the weather isn’t exactly playing ball either. A raging storm starts up and sends the boat careening into some rocks, and eventually running aground on the shore. It’s a pretty visually striking sequence, but it doesn’t build as much tension as the show thinks. Allie tries his very best to get the boat moving, Margot tries to steer, and the kids don yellow fisherman jackets and call out impending rocks, but there are no real character moments here, nothing to capture the imagination very much beyond the idea of imminent danger. It probably doesn’t help that I don’t much care about any of these characters anyway.
I think the problem is that the Fox family isn’t that interesting in and of themselves. Their predicament has some potential, but as individual characters they’re dull and as a unit, they’re never remotely believable. The problem here is that we’re venturing into lonely survivalist thriller territory without any compelling characters to anchor us to the drama. There’s a bit where Allie is trying to MacGuyver the ship and almost gets eaten by a crocodile that felt super contrived, and shortly after he passes out from some kind of native insect bite — which Charlie somehow identifies, and everyone just takes his word for it — meaning that Margot has to trek to a nearby oil rig to find some medicine. Dina is — again somewhat inexplicably, though it’s loosely justified in that she needs to patch up the holes in the boat and keep an eye on Allie — left alone.
By separating the characters, “Least Concern Species” tries to make space to focus on certain dynamics — Dina inheriting Allie’s engineering smarts, which she proves by trying to figure out how to patch the holes in the boat without being eaten by Chekhov’s crocodile while Allie shivers himself to death in a nearby hammock, and Charlie inheriting Margot’s sense of empathy, expressed through his revelation that he thinks about that dead dude (Margot keeps bringing it up!) and all the aspects of his life that were instantly snuffed out in his passing. Thanks to the context provided by the premiere, we know that Margot is at least in part trying to work through her own grief over the woman who died in the explosion she and Richard caused, but it also seems, at least to me, like the show is drawing some pretty obvious battle lines — Dina and Allie on one side, and Margot and Charlie on the other.
Things at least get a little more interesting when Margot and Charlie arrive at the camp around the rig and find it empty, the windows festooned with bullet holes, and the container interiors full of blood because at least that implies something might actually happen in the near future. Is a more promising scenario than what’s going on back on the boat, anyway, where Dina takes so long to cover one hole that it’s lucky she and Allie didn’t die of starvation, let alone anything else. Logan Polish gets to give a tearful monologue, too, but it doesn’t really illuminate much about either character.
So, with the boat fixed and Allie heavily medicated, everyone sets off once again, albeit still obviously carrying some personal baggage. Where they’re going next is anyone’s guess, but hopefully it’s a bit more interesting than this stop was.
- The Mosquito Coast season 2, episode 3 preview.
- The Mosquito Coast season 2, episode 3 recap. (Will go live once the episode airs.)