A slow-building opener that ends in gripping fashion. This is a murder mystery that has all the tell-tale signs of becoming a serious hit for Prime Video. “Whiteout Part One” contains an odd, yet sinister undercurrent that hints at so much more to come. A very promising premiere indeed.
We recap the Prime Video series Three Pines season 1, episode 1, “Whiteout Part One,” which contains spoilers.
It seems the general public just can’t get enough of a good, old-fashioned murder mystery case. At the moment, it feels like a new one is premiering almost weekly. In the Prime Video original series Three Pines, Alfred Molina plays Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, a man tasked with solving a mysterious death in a small village community. Although this detective story has the potential to break away from the rest, exploring Canadian cultures and topical crimes. “Whiteout Part One” gets off slow and steady, introducing an enticing and unexpected case that you cannot ignore.
Three Pines season 1, episode 1 recap
We first meet Armand Gamache at a protest march. Indigenous teenager Blue Two-Rivers has been missing for over a year now, joining the other five thousand indigenous women and girls missing in the country. The police have apparently done very little with all these unsolved cases, so they protest outside the police headquarters to air their grievances. A protestor is arrested and Armand races over to free them, apologizing for the heavy-handed police approach. This is a Chief with a heart, something the creators want you to understand early on. He drives the family home, endeavoring to help find their daughter.
It’s Christmas Eve and Armand attends a fancy party, where he meets with an old friend and colleague called Pierre. They discuss the disappearance case, which Pierre worked on. He says that they looked into every avenue and exhausted all leads. Armand asks for a suspect’s plates to be run. Pierre stresses that Armand is going to obsess over this case, working tirelessly to solve it, but it will never end in a satisfying way. Before Armand can settle down for the holidays, he’s whisked off to Three Pines of the title, for a new murder investigation.
We get to see the unexpected murder take place. The villagers gather for a Boxing Day curling match. Three Pines’ most detested local, CC de Poitiers is in attendance. It’s important to note that she is secretly having an affair with her photographer, Saul Petrov, a fact that her husband, Richard is evidently aware of. The match gets underway and CC is killed in a truly shocking fashion. She is somehow electrocuted in her chair as she watches the match. The villagers all turn to stare, any one of them could be the killer, and everyone is a suspect.
Armand descends upon the snowy village, spotting a woman carrying a goose on his way in. Three Pines is a quaint, little village with a lovely aesthetic, but something doesn’t feel right about this place. The locals are defensive and unwelcoming. Armand is soon joined by Jean-Guy and Sgt. Isabelle Lacoste. The three meet with Yvette Nichol, the first police officer on the scene. This clumsy local officer bumbles through her report and then shows them to the crime scene.
CC’s hands and feet were scorched. There was an unusual bright blue puddle around CC’s feet and a generator overhead. Armand ponders this very elaborate and public death. Yvette believes it’s a freak accident, but the others aren’t fooled, this is a murder investigation. They head to the victim’s family home. Husband Richard is defensive, downplaying her affair. Whilst the daughter, Crie is clearly devastated. Again Armand shows a tender side to his temperament and comforts the grieving girl.
Armand gives out his orders and the gang head to Olivier’s Bistro for a meal. In classic movie fashion, they enter the restaurant to the sounds of laughter and chatter, but that soon turns to silence upon their arrival. They are not welcome here at all. The next day, they get a similar response from all the other locals, who they interview separately. Armand and his team are given a situation room to call home for the duration of the case, which is located in the Be Calm Center, a cultural hub for artists. The owner Bea is a Native, who recognizes the Sergeant is as well. Isabelle states that she was adopted, so she doesn’t know anything about her own heritage.
The team find out that the blue liquid is washer fluid, which was purposefully placed there. Armand calls CC’s death an execution, with her seat being like an electric chair. This is the most brutal of murders. They interrogate her lover Saul, who denies having an affair with CC. Then the locals pitch in with their hatred for the woman. She complained at the Bistro and feigned an interest in artist Clara’s work. Others remark on how cold and unlikeable she was, noting that her marriage seemed unhappy.
Three Pines season 1, episode 1 ending
Lastly, they interview Ruth Zardo, the lady who owns the goose. She appears to be a retired author, and Armand admits to being a huge fan. Ruth is less than forthright herself, leaving early for the weekly book club. Armand decides to crash this party and asks for more information about CC. One calls her damaged and ungrateful. Everyone seems to have a reason for hating her. Myrna refused to host her book signing at the bookstore. The bistro owners wouldn’t host her launch party either. The list goes on.
Pierre calls with an update on the missing person’s case. Blue has been spotted in a photograph from two weeks ago. Armand informs the family, but they are rather defensive on the matter and can’t understand why she would ditch her daughter or not even call once. Back at the situation room, Armand swaps all the witnesses photographs over to the suspects section of his board. This is intercut with footage of the locals burning or binning CC’s book and the bistro taking down her portrait. Everyone hated CC and they all have their motives. Could it be that all of them were in on this assassination?
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