Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Frequency gives us a somewhat surprising Nightingale twist

Illustration for article titled Frequency gives us a somewhat surprising Nightingale twist

The problem/fun of mysteries in TV and movies is that A plus A will probably never equal B, because where’s the fun in that? So while everything appeared to be steadily leading us toward Deacon Joe as the Nightingale, as many of you predicted, he, while a horrible person, is not the actual culprit.

Well, not the actual culprit of everything. Deacon Joe did kill his wife, and then forced young Robbie to play a part in his weird death cleansing ritual. After learning that Frank is on to him in 1996, Joe pulls out the memento box and turns himself in. There are souvenirs in the box of other victims other than his wife. But did Deacon Joe kill them too? Or is he just covering up for Robbie, who would have been still pretty young at the time? Although, walking in on your dad hovering over your dead mother and helping him dispose of the body has got to fuck somebody up pretty quick o matter how old they are.

Or what about this: Deacon Joe is the Nightingale, turns himself in, and then Robbie picks up where his father left off. Robbie’s obsession with Julie certainly leads us to believe that things are headed that way, and now that Frank believes Julie is no longer in danger, will she actually be in more danger than ever?

I like that on Frequency everything isn’t as easily spelled out, and not so cut and dried. We still don’t know the “messes” of Meghan’s that Deacon Joe referred to last episode. Gordo’s revelation about Julie picking him up that day appears to come out of nowhere, and he also has had a traumatic childhood that could be affecting him more than we realize. And where has adult 2016 Robbie been hiding all these years? It’s a time-travel series that takes a bit of effort, and isn’t afraid to go as dark as it needs to to delve into these various horrible histories.

That said, Raimy’s waterboarding of Deacon Joe knocked this episode down a bit for me. Obviously, she hates the guy she believes murdered her mother; we’ve already seen her kill him once. But the swirly scene was tough to watch, and she has a much more successful interaction just by asking him what he wants: He gives up the location of the body so that he can hang himself with Raimy’s shoelaces. As they find the body in 1986 (man, that ham radio really comes in handy), I was fully expecting the Deacon’s hung body to disappear.

But it doesn’t, because even if the Deacon didn’t kill anyone but his wife (which is still pretty terrible), he knows that he created at least one monster in his stead. The Deacon’s only redemption comes from accepting the fact that he is just as responsible for the deaths of those other women, because he made Robbie what he is.


It’s a really dark story: You can’t help but feel horribly for Meghan and Robbie who grew up the way they did, having basically no chance for a normal life. Young adult Meghan’s glee at finding Robbie is heartbreaking once we discover what he really is (although he didn’t run away from Frank by the train tracks for no reason). Even the joy of Raimy finding her mom in her house, which apparently is meant to help dispel the gloom of the Deacon Joe family, already carries an element of despair because of Robbie’s creepy closet.

Because from the looks of it, hugging her mom and that ring on her finger, Raimy has accomplished what she so ploddingly sets up for us at the beginning of every single episode: To get back what she lost. But we know with one episode to go, everything she has remains tenuous.


Stray observations

  • These people eat a lot of cold pizza.
  • My favorite ham-radio conversation had to be Frank patiently explaining Raimy that even tough she’s in a world made of do-overs in the future, he doesn’t have that kind of luxury in 1996.
  • Second favorite ham-radio conversation is Gordo’s supposition that Raimy is a “ham radio sex worker.”
  • Riley Smith tweeted that he actually tore a hamstring chasing after Robbie at the trainyard.
  • No Daniel, but the reemergence of the ring on Raimy’s finger probably means that he’s back in the picture, because Julie was alive to be his nurse in the E.R. after his accident.
  • Again, sorry for the lateness of the review: I just got back from the Television Critics Association press tour yesterday, and an entire day of travel took its toll. But I promise to be right of top of it next week for the cliffhanger finale, which I definitely will not miss!