Sunday, June 11, 2017

TV Show Review: The Son

The new AMC Western tells the story of a man and a boy, the same person at two different pivotal moments of his life. Eli McCullogh is shown as a young boy (Jacob Lofland) and an old man (Pierce Brosnan) who crosses the 19th Century into the 20th Century. As a young man, Eli is captured by Comanches as his family is killed. The older McCullogh lives in Texas and wars with a rival family from Mexico as he discovers oil on their land. The early story takes place in 1849 as the push West has threatened the native civilizations and the Comanches deal roughly with the invaders. Eli is a slave who grows to learn the ways of the Comanche under Toshaway (Zahn McClarnon). In 1915, Eli clashes with the Garcia, especially the patriarch Pedro Garcia (Carlos Bardem).

It is not fully revealed all that Eli went through in his life right away but we slowly learn of his troubled past as people seeking vengeance come to take that in his old age. McCullogh did spawn a large family including Pete McCullogh (Henry Garrett) who is having an affair with Maria Garcia (Paola Nuñez). Pete's wife Sally (Jess Weixler) has left her life in Dallas behind but gets along more with Pete's brother Phineas (David Wilson Barnes) than her husband. During an attack on their house, Pete's daughter young Jeannie McCullogh (Sydney Lucas) rides through the Garcia land and returns after the chaos with oil on the horse's shoes. Eli discovers this and becomes obsessed.

Tensions were already high between the McCulloghs and Garcias as Eli had orchestrated the capture and torture of Cesar Sanchez (Elliot Villar). Meanwhile, in the past, Eli struggles to assimilate with his Comanche captors as he falls for Prairie Flower (Elizabeth Frances) though she is already promised to Charges the Enemy (Tatanka Means). This love triangle causes a rivalry between Tiehteti Taiboo, Eli's Comanche name meaning "Pathetic White Boy", and Charge the Enemy. Eli also bonds with another captive Ingrid (Kathryn Prescott) who we see in the future as still having a relationship with Eli as and older Ingrid (Wendy Crewson).

The conflict continues to steadily grow. This show is not fast paced and moves along steadily as we learn about the large families and the story switches between timelines. Eli's lust for oil in 1915 leads him to take drastic measures against the Garcias, tearing his family apart in the process. Young Eli is pushed off the side of the many by his Comanches rival and loses Prairie Flower but gains respect from Toshaway when he returns with a horse and weapon. He had stolen these from a deranged settler and finds greater conflict upon his return. 

This show is based on a Pulitzer-nominated novel by Philip Meyer that I recently purchased for a bargain and I look forward to watching upcoming seasons with greater knowledge from the book. It does look like there will be a second and this is a great replacement for Hell on Wheels for AMC programming. On Saturday nights, I wasn't sure if anyone else was really watching and haven't seen too much conversation about it, but I never know about ratings. I enjoy Pierce Brosnan's performance but Jacob Lofland's performance is also really impressive. This story looks to be an epic tale that will span quite a while so I hope it continues for some time. 

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