Watching: ‘Top of the Lake,’ Pt. 2

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Top of the Lake‘s second episode felt quite a bit like a suspenseful thriller when Robin follows Wolfgang home on foot and into his house against the advice of the police department that warns he has a mattress of shotguns. He only gets creepy when she asks about a basement, which is eerily similar to the scene in Zodiac in which Robert Graysmith follows Bob Vaughn into his basement.

I kept the television remote close to my chest in case guns started blazing, which they did, but Robin makes quick work of Wolfgang and he turns out to be the one who retreats away from the house. Wolfgang was (is?) one of the top suspects and if this encounter was any sign of how it’s going to be when Robin deals with the others, then I have a real thriller on my hands.

Tui is missing, which I did not expect. Robin finds her horse wandering on a highway bridge and fears the worse — so much for Robin ever sleeping again. Nobody should ever be so stressed out when they return home for what we’ll call a vacation, but then again I’m not a police detective and I definitely don’t have the motivation of one Robin Griffin. She sets up the whole search, Operation Wildbird, though I’m starting to pick up on the townspeople’s dislike of powerful female figures.

Not suprisingly, Tui’s dad Matt Mitcham feels two ways about his daughter. In private, he’s not worried because even though she’s 12 years old he thinks she has all the tools to survive in endless wilderness, which is kind of believable given the type of person Mitcham is. In public, he’s worried about her and buying beer for everyone who is volunteering to search for her. Mitcham reaches a whole new level of crazy when he kills Bob Platt’s dog in front of Robin. I asked the same questions about the scene as Robin did. Seriously, there had to have been someone else to take care of the dog.

I’m jealous of Detective Al Parker. Not because he basically took Robin on a date that she didn’t know about, in a coffee shop no less, but because he’s come up with a better description of her than I could in my Part One post — when I described her as rebellious wanderer meets tireless detective. Parker’s turn: she’s an avenged angel. Oh, baby, that’s good, but he kind of looks like a tool when he tries turning Robin’s words around to sound like she wants to sleep with him.

Robin is too tied up in this investigation to sleep with him . . . right? I’d like to know if she gets caught up in her other police work as much as she has in two episodes of this story, just like I’d like to know more about Robin as a whole. If so, how is Steve (her cop lover, back home) still with her? Come on, now.

We learn a little nugget about Robin quickly in episode two, which means I’ll be on the look out for an early fact in the third episode. Her dad died in the lake, the same lake she finds Bob Platt floating in two start the episode. I think the legend that there’s a demon’s heart at the bottom of the lake is intriguing because everything that’s happened in the lake so far — Tui considering suicide, a fishing trip turning into a thrill kill and Robin’s dad dying — is terrible.

I expect Robin to find Tui, sooner rather than later. There’s an excellent moment in the episode when Robin realizes she’s on the same beach Tui was, and walks into the lake just like Tui did to feel what she felt. Maybe that, in some way, can help Robin channel what Tui would do or where she would be in the woods; however, Robin’s vision of Tui actually drowning in the lake scares her to the point of bolting from the lake in a heartbeat.

Top of the Lake interests me and I’m baffled by how good the directing was in the second episode — from a photography nerd’s perspective. Look for part three soon.

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