Once you step into Mac Conway's world, you'll realize there's no place you'd rather be on a Friday night.
It's not that it's a fun world. Not at all. Instead, Mac's world is a dark, complicated maze of emotions and actions and consequences that immediately grabs hold of you and doesn't let go.
You'll want to reach out and touch Mac. Give him a hug. Make him feel better. Maybe you'll want a hug too, because after watching Quarry Season 1 Episode 1, you'll be drained, but you'll be left wanting more.
From the minute we meet mac in the flash-forward opening sequence, we know he's a broken man. It's just something in his tortured expression when he comes out of the water. An exasperation that he's never going to get out of the situation he's gotten himself into.
It's in the way he stares down the tortoise when he realizes it just witnessed him killing a man in cold blood. You get the distinct feeling that maybe Mac was going to shoot the thing right between its eyes just for its seemingly silent judgment. For seeing Mac for who he really is. It's a haunting moment that quickly passes as Mac goes about his business.
But why is Mac killing people in the first place, and how did he get to this point? That's what the rest of the hour so effectively explains.
After the dismal lake scene, we find Mac in the bright light of the Memphis airport. He and his buddy, Arthur have just returned from the Vietnam War and are visiting the airport gift shop to buy something for their wives. But the brightness and seeming happiness at being home quickly turns sour when the two exit the airport to a crowd of protesters who attack them for allegedly taking part in a supposed massacre overseas.
It's a disturbing and jarring to watch as people shove burnt baby dolls in their faces. (It's even more disturbing to know this was really how Vietnam War soldiers were treated.)
Mac finds refuge in his wife's arms when he finally gets home, but there's still a brooding undertone about him. It's interesting, but not surprising, that he doesn't tell her about what happened at the airport when he gives her the flowers that are pretty much ripped apart from the protesters.
She doesn't care what they look like, she's just glad her man is home, unharmed.
But, we soon find out that's not the case at all. Mac may be unharmed physically, but the psychological effects of his war experience is weighing on him in ways he doesn't even realize yet.
You only last if you don't care.Quarry
It's the massacre incident that seems to weigh on him the most. It plays a significant part in the hour from his dad's semi-rejection of him (Mac isn't allowed to visit because his dad's wife is up in arms about the incident) to the guy at the repair shop who overstepped his bounds to The Broker's manipulation of Mac to join his cause.
We start to see these effects the first time Mac takes a swim in his pool. The guy is literally drowning in PTSD symptoms, and you can't help but start to feel the burden of what he's been through.
It has to be a shock to come home from a violent war and try to assimilate into civilian life. And, it has to be at least a little bit confusing that they (he and Arthur) are being treated like pariahs for their part in a war they didn't ask for.
Mac can't even get a volunteer position as a swim coach at high school where he was a star swimmer. And, even though it isn't spoken, it all has to do with the massacre incident.
When The Broker comes knocking, he too uses the massacre as a way to gain advantage over Mac. But Mac quickly rejects The Broker's offer and soon his underlying anger comes out full force, a sharp contrast to his cool and collected self up until that point.
You can tell he just wants to forget it all, but he can't. It's there haunting and taunting him, and it's not going to let go of him anytime soon.
It was a little surprising to find out Arthur took The Broker up on his offer, but who wants to work in a furniture factor their entire life?
Besides, what's the difference between what they did overseas and doing this? At least that's Arthur's justification. It's not that Arthur doesn't have a conscience. He just doesn't care anymore. He knows he's different. War has changed him.
Do you feel a fucking thing anymore? One human emotion? 'Cause I don't.Arthur
Mac can't accept it and storms off, but you have to wonder if Mac is rejecting it all because he really wants to fit into society or because he's trying to hide from the truth. He knew what he was even before The Broker came knocking. he just doesn't want to accept it.
When he goes off on the guy at the repair shop, it's the beginning of the end. He can't control himself at that moment, and I really thought he was going to kill the guy. And while he did pull back, that anger was still lurking underneath just waiting for its next opportunity.
That opportunity came a short time later when Mac helps Arthur with the Suggs job. When Arthur is killed, Mac loses control again, and this time he does kill. You can tell it's a natural reaction to the situation. You knew at that moment that this is what Mac's life would become. He stepped over the line and there's no turning back.
It takes a certain kind of man to do that kinda thing. Hollowed out from the inside. Hard as rock. Kinda like this place. Maybe I'll call you Quarry. It's gotta nice ring to it.The Broker
Mac getting his new nickname is the final step in his transformation from soldier to civilian to paid hitman. He now has a new mask to wear. And, while he's still somewhat rejecting it, it's those final scenes of the hour that cement that mask into place.
If we thought Mac was a cold-blooded murderer before when he suffocated Suggs' friend with the sock, it was nothing compared to when he kicked the car jack out and killed Cliff. There was no hesitation, no thought process. He just did it.
It was truly shocking.
While both murder scenes were pretty cold and violent, it's hard not to feel for Mac. He lost his best friend and cohort in Arthur, a guy who understood everything he went through, and he kinda, sorta lost his wife, the woman he looked to for refuge and salvation.
In a way, he's a victim in all this.
All in all, the hour was a fascinating look into the effects of war and Quarry's descent into his own personal hell because of it. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next. How is he going to confront his wife for her betrayal (that final scene was over-the-top intense)? It's going to be interesting indeed.
- I absolutely loved the shot of the tortoise looking at Mac at the beginning of the hour and wonder if it was planned out that way or if the tortoise just showed up.
- The funeral scene was incredible. The way it was shot with mac being all alone in the church was a powerful way of showing how alone he truly is now, or maybe how alone he's always been.
- Buddy singing in the motel was a much needed light moment in all the dismalness of the hour.
- The hug Buddy gave Mac before sending him out after Cliff was poignant. Everybody knew Joni's secret except for Mac.
- There's elements of racism touching the corners of Quarry. In the interview scene with Arthur, the foreman refuses to shake his hand. It's a crazy thought that here's a guy who served his country and can't even get the respect of a handshake (even if it is the 70s).
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Remember if you missed anything, you can watch Quarry online right here via TV Fanatic.
Lisa Babick is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.