Watching: “Top of the Lake,” Pt. 7


Nobody’s going to write home about the finale of Top of the Lake; rather, everybody’s going to write home about episode six. Finishing a series with a great final episode is a difficult thing to do and Top of the Lake hasn’t done it. There is about 15 to 20 minutes of nonstop chaos in the finale, followed by about 30 minutes of a toilet paper roll unraveling.

You could say as much happened in episode seven as it did in six and you’d probably be right. Everything in episode six led to seven, culminating in the ride to Matt’s house where he had a confession to make. Of all of the things he could’ve said, and we expected him to say, he picked the biggest B.S. of all time — Luke, I am your father.

If it’d been true, I guess everybody who is anybody in town would be related to Matt Mitcham in some way: blood, employment, etc. It was too ridiculous to be true, but it was something that could’ve been interesting to talk about as the series ended, leaving Robin in a weird place. Instead, it was conveniently a lie, almost too simply revealed by Al at the end of the episode. I was right about one thing, though. Mitcham was on Al’s boat to tell Robin something really important. I was just wrong about what the “something” was.

This finale had a lot of things like that, conveniently unveiled so every storyline could be wrapped in a nice bow. The revelation that Al has a secret room that is the infamous “deer head” room, where he’s running a sex ring. It’s a pretty shocking end, seeing as the episode is over right there, but it was weird because that’s the storyline that got resolved when everything leading up to the episode was about pinning a case on Mitcham using the meth lab in his house and his employers. That storyline, on the other hand, is left alone.

The fact that Al’s is the man behind it begs the question: What really happened the night Robin went to his place and got drunk? She passed out after only a few glasses of wine, which I thought was weird — even though Al said it was a heavier kind of drink. You wonder if he drugged Robin that night. We’ll never know, we can only guess.

It bugs me that Robin’s confrontation with Al is the last thing we see because it makes him the final bad guy. Not that he shouldn’t be, but Matt is the character this whole series revolves around exposing and he’s left in the dust. The Robin-Al confrontation and Matt’s death should’ve been reordered.

Of course, Tui has her baby in this episode. Still don’t know how that happened. One moment, she’s laying on her stomach screaming. Then, she disappears for five seconds and there’s a clean newborn on the ground. I’m not here to complain about that. It’s interesting that’s all.

The scene when Matt finds Tui asleep and steals the baby is the most dramatic this episode offers. It reveals a lot about Matt that he steals the baby; remember, this is before we know for a fact that he’s the father. Matt’s carrying the baby away, shotgun over his shoulder, and Robin and Johnno find him. He’s pointing his shotgun at the baby — because that’s apparently the only way he knows to quiet a baby — and Tui shoots and kills him. She also shoots Johnno, in the shoulder, and Robin talks her down from shooting her, too. It’s a big moment for Tui.

It’s tough to write an effective end and Top of the Lake certainly didn’t figure out the puzzle. For some, however, this ending should suffice because no stone goes unturned. The sixth episode is by far the best in the series, but maybe that’s OK.


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