It's been a year since they pulled up that van from the bottom of the lake and didn't find the body of Richie Fife. As Home Before Dark Season 2 Episode 1 opens, Matt and Hilde have spent eight months of the last year searching for Richie.
Hilde's stories received national attention, yet no one has found Richie. No one knows what happened to him after he fought his way to shore and ran.
No one knows why, and for Hilde Lisko, that's unacceptable.
Hilde believes that answers about Richie, or Richie himself, are out there somewhere, and she's determined to find them no matter how long it takes. But has her drive to solve this mystery turned into an obsession?
Her recurring nightmares point to that possibility.
Bridget: She never even used to blink when something scary happened in New York. I used to think she was like a sociopath or something. I’m serious.
Matt: Look, she was younger then. I think maybe she understood less.
I agree with Matt. When Hilde was in Brooklyn, she was too young to understand most real danger. Now, with age and experience, she's gained the ability to comprehend risk and consequence, and she's smart enough to be scared.
But Hilde isn't about to back down. She won't quit because her parents are worried about her or because what happened to Richie Fife frightens her. Hilde has a passion for finding the truth. Her desire to uncover the story runs deep.
If I stopped reporting every time something scared me I would never get a story.Hilde
You'd think that solving Erie Harbor's most famous mystery would make things easier for Hilde, but that's not the case. Fitting in is just as difficult as it's always been, maybe even more so.
Before getting national recognition, many in power just saw Hilde as an annoying kid who got in the way. Now they realize she can make real trouble, and not only does that mean she can't fly under the radar, but it's put even more roadblocks in her way.
And it may put her in even more danger.
The last thing Hilde expected was to lose Trip as a source once she became Sheriff, but Trip is in a tough spot.
It's clear that Agent Rutherford doesn't like Trip, and he showed complete disdain for Hilde. But why should Trip fear losing her job?.
I mean, I get that they may want to target her to get her out, but Sam's conviction took place before Trip ever took office. It actually was the other guy's fault, and that's a large part of why Trip was elected.
First time I get any real power and they hired a guy who looks like the other guy to come in above me.Sheriff Trip Johnson
But Erie Harbor still has its secrets, and some of them are in Hilde's home.
Sylvester may not be able to remember his youngest grandchild, but he still knows where he's hidden stuff, and I'm sure that newspaper clipping with the story about a local man dying in a plane crash will play into things somewhere down the road.
Bridget now has her own office in town, but it appears that the Lisko family continues to be not well-liked by many in Erie Harbor.
But small towns can be like that. Once you're on someone's black-list, it's difficult to ever get off of it, and unlike a large city, it's impossible to blend in with the crowd and remain anonymous.
This season's primary secret has to do with why Wott Management is so determined to own Trip's family farm, which seems to be unremarkable, other than it's being used as an animal rescue site, which is cool but not worth anything monetarily.
Dead birds dropping out of the sky hints at something environmental, but there's also a creepy old mansion tied into this riddle, so where this is all heading is anyone's guess.
Although cracking the latest case is intriguing and enjoyable, it's the personal interactions that keep me drawn to Home Before Dark.
Hilde and Izzy come across like real sisters. They poke fun at one another, they fight, and at times they can be downright furious with each other, but the love is always there just under the surface, and when it makes its presence felt, it is truly heartwarming.
Matt's distress over Izzy's first big high school party was credible. Dropping your teenage daughter off at a large party with strangers, drinks, and likely too little supervision is the thing of parental nightmares.
And it only took one small scene to feel Principal Kim Collins' pain thanks to the extremely capable hands of actress Joelle Carter.
Kim's mother was wrapped up in Richie's kidnapping, and Kim's reputation is now tarnished by nothing more than association. As if the poor woman wasn't suffering enough, some of the parents are passing around a petition to have her fired for "harboring a criminal and endangering the lives of our children."
And I loved Principal Collins picking up on Hilde's wordplay of "I promise to try" rather than simply, "I promise."
As passionate and driven as Hilde is, she may be too smart for her own good at times. Her parents need to take her skipping school a little more seriously.
Not only is it affecting her grades, but having a 10-year-old run all over town searching for kidnappers, murderers, and other stories linked to possible criminal activity can lead Hilde to real trouble.
It always makes me feel better to know that no matter what, I’m a journalist. No one gave that to me so no one can take it away.Hilde
With all of our favorite characters firmly entrenched in the latest Erie Harbor mystery, or perhaps a continuation of the last mystery, it's time to dive into the unique intrigue that is Home Before Dark.
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C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.