Murphy Mason is back, and she’s not doing well.
The series continues to take the darkest of turns, and In The Dark Season 4 Episode 1 was no exception. In fact, with this serving as the final chapter, one wonders if we’ll have anything other than a bleak outcome by the series’ end.
It was Orange Is the New Black meets Wentworth, and the premiere didn’t hold back.
Visually, it was some fantastic work with setting tones and moods, particularly the prison portion of the installment. The blue tints captured the coldness of the atmosphere while also highlighting Murphy’s isolation and fear.
And the way they’d have Murphy bathed in light at some parts was well done too. Again, visually, Savannah’s blood pooling toward the Bible and Communion wafers was effectively chilling when you consider she was this last bit of light and hope that Murphy had.
Within seconds, Savannah’s death was the ultimate gut punch and evocative, largely due to the direction and shots during that scene.
The hour was at its strongest when we followed Murphy’s prison journey. Sadly, scenes with the supporting characters only served as reminders of the frustrating aspects of In the Dark Season 3.
Once again, we saw Murphy out of her element, unlike any other time in her life while she was in prison. It had shades of the early days of last season when she was all by herself and had to navigate the world without her human or canine crutches.
Her attempts to stay in her cell and hide from Sam failed, and it’s where all of her nightmares began.
We’ve never seen Murphy as helpless and terrified as she was trying to navigate a prison with very little assistance, and the knowledge that someone wanted to kill her lurked near.
It’s concerning that they tossed her into Gen-Pop and didn’t have any accommodations for her as a blind person. Savannah was the only thing she had going for her after destroying her cane, but now she’s gone.
People always ask me what the hardest part about being blind is, I didn’t know what to say. Now I do. That night at the Windsor, I didn’t get to see Nia’s face when she died.
The guards are shady, and Sam has too much free reign in prison. How does she have access to razor blades and the ability to place them in Murphy’s meal?
Murphy biting into a blade was one of the most horrific moments of the show to date. It only heightened the situation’s intensity and how unsafe it was for Murphy while there.
Sam is determined to make Murphy’s life a living hell while they’re already in it, and at some point, it has you wondering if it’s worth it.
What is Sam getting out of this when Nia hadn’t earned the extent of Sam’s loyalty towards the end? And how many people can Sam murder in prison without getting caught or facing repercussions?
Does she have such little regard for her own life that she’s willing to catch a dozen cases in prison while serving time?
At what point do you call things even when you know that Nia’s death resulted from people trying to defend themselves from her killing them? Don’t you just chalk it up to consequences from a life in the game?
Murphy couldn’t eat, spent all of her time looking over her shoulder, and hovered in corners, screaming that she was an easy target.
Murphy is not cut out for prison life at all. She had some solace with Savannah. The chapel seemed like a safe space, and she got to sustain herself on those terribly dry communion wafers and some toilet bowl hooch.
Let me try it again. Let me try it with Jesus.
She found a friend in Savannah, and Sam couldn’t even let her have that. It’s disturbing that Sam had access to the locked-down chapel and could murder Savannah in her sleep without Murphy hearing a thing.
It was total retaliation for Murphy goading Sam into attacking her. But they set things up nicely for Murphy to do what she needed to align with Paula for protection.
No one else can save Murphy in prison, so she doesn’t have a choice. It’s a perfect example of how rehabilitation in prison can be a pipe dream if people have to commit crimes and other such things just to survive it.
Now, Murphy will have to get into the drug game again with Paula if she wants to gain protection from Sam. And Paula is a top dog. She put an end to Sam’s thrashing about with one of her “girls.”
It’s too bad that the others failed Murphy on the outside.
Felix’s moment with Murphy was one of the highlights of the hour. Their relationship has grown so much. Most days, it feels like he’s the only one who genuinely still cares about her and is forever in her corner.
Yes, I’m still here for the Murphy and Felix agenda. It’s a better love story these days.
He was willing to represent her, even though he hasn’t practiced law in ages, and he’s been implicated in things, too. And he was determined to go to any lengths to get the money she needed for bail.
Felix: Your bail is in two days. I’ll get the money and be there.
Murphy: I love you, Felix.
Felix:I love you, Murphy.
It was heartbreaking when he couldn’t make it to her bail appearance, and it was of no fault of his own. On the one hand, we should probably be grateful that Lesley intended to represent Murphy and assist her at all.
But on the other hand, she got derailed trying to clear her name and avoid any charges for harboring a fugitive, which led her to that drawn-out lunch date with their rich and connected grandmother Mavis.
It did well for protecting Lesley, but it didn’t serve Murphy at all. Why did Felix and Lesley meet up with Mavis other than complications and Mavis wanting to see both of her grandchildren?
And if they were going, why couldn’t Max at least sit things out and be at the court to support Murphy so that she wasn’t all alone?
Max was utterly useless in this hour and barely had lines. He said he was worried about Murphy, but it didn’t feel believable.
He was such an awkward tagalong to the Bell siblings’ visit with their lively Gran, and it didn’t even serve him well when Lesley couldn’t even call him her boyfriend. I guess Jess is happily living her best life somewhere, so she wasn’t going to show up.
Heaven only knows where Darnell was since the only shot we got of him was that mysterious opening with him and Murphy in black-tie attire that implies that he may be the next person she cares about who dies.
Instead, Murphy was stuck with Lesley’s public defender friend, who didn’t even sift through the case before he walked into court late, and he failed to argue on her behalf, leading to a bail of $2 million.
The worse part about it is that you can’t even get upset at the judge for reading that Murphy has famously made a run for it multiple times.
Murphy was all alone in this court with a seemingly crappy lawyer, none of her friends, and Josh’s b*tchass frothing at the mouth like a rabid dog.
God help us, we’re STILL stuck with this insufferable character, and he continues to be the absolute worst. It was the hour at its weakest.
Why is Josh still working with the police? If they’ve moved onto another case, and he’s spending all of his time trying to stick it to Murphy, then what is the point of him hanging around?
He’s not a cop, but for some reason, Gene continues to indulge him like he is, and it’s the most infuriating part of this series.
The Millennial Mod Squad have finally copped another case and realized that drug dealing hasn’t stopped because they were pursuing Murphy.
Nia wasn’t the only drug pin in the city, and with two of them gone, someone would start taking over. They got behind on nipping that in the bud because of their fixation with Murphy.
Interestingly, the drugs they’re finding out in the streets have the same stamp on them as those Paula is dealing inside the prison. Now that Murphy is offering her services in exchange for protection, it places her right back in their crosshairs.
She’s blind, so she’s not going anywhere.
It has to be a bigger operation going on, and Gene and Sarah looking into that could be interesting if Josh doesn’t continue to drag them down.
Fortunately, Sarah was there to call Josh out on his Murphy vendetta. It was long overdue that someone put him in his place about it.
They arrested Murphy, she’s in prison, and she’s facing a trial. Their work is done until they need to testify during the case. But Josh is playing stupid games and acting very much, as Sarah said like he wants Murphy to get the chair.
His meddling to get Lesley hemmed up so she couldn’t represent Murphy was so shady. And did he really think he’d be allowed to address the court if he didn’t like Murphy’s bail? He’s a civilian!
Josh going out of his way to tamper and infringe on Murphy having a due process is so deeply disturbing. Regardless of his feelings, she’s entitled to a fair trial, but nothing he’s doing is just and fair.
Maybe deep down, he realizes that in reality, their case is circumstantial, and there is enough evidence, including his very existence and insistence, that support that Murphy is getting railroaded and could at least lead to a mistrial.
At this rate, the only thing that can make Josh and his obsession with Murphy interesting are if we find out that somehow he’s involved in all of this and a criminal, too. Otherwise, he continues to drag down the series.
Unfortunately, we’re stuck with Josh for the foreseeable future, and Murphy isn’t getting out of jail anytime soon.
How will Felix (because it’s mostly just going to be Felix, right?) come up with at least $200k to bail Murphy out?
How much dirty work will she have to get involved with before she gets out of prison? And how scary is Paula?
Murphy must get out at some point because otherwise, what was that opening scene with her and Darnell, and what does it mean? Do you have any theories?
Over to you, In the Dark Fanatics. It’s good to have Murphy and the gang back, and we’re in store for another stressful season.
Sound off below with all of your thoughts.
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.