CF: And since I am watching this as well, Rachel said it was okay if I throw in my two cents–probably more–on each episode.
THE KETTERING FOREST, TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA. August 31, 2000.
So the scene is set at the start of Episode 1 of The Kettering Incident. Two girls riding their bikes through the forest. One is looking like red riding hood (Gillian, played by Miranda Bennett), while the other (Anna, played by Maddison Brown) is making comments like “You’re not going home,” that seem like they may be thinly veiled threats. But then the sound starts, a humming, siren-like sound that is the indicator — along with flashing lights — that something bad is about to happen. So, of course, Gillian runs off to investigate and that’s how this bloody great mess started.
CF: This cold opening sets the tone for the series right away. Yeah, the “You’re not going home” statement was ominous enough, but what I really liked was how the camera pulls up and away giving us a tremendous panorama shot, and because it looks like they ran it through some kind of digital filter the scenery becomes brilliantly sharp. (The series does the same thing for the opening credits.) It’s little touches like this that instantly grab my attention, and I even said, “Oh, that’s a great shot.” It’s little touches like this that, at least to me, speak to the viewer.
RT: I agree. The cinematography in this whole series is just divine. Besides the actors capturing the small-town eeriness of this story, the camerawork backs it up 100 percent.LONDON, ENGLAND. August 17, 2015.
Anna (Elizabeth Debicki) gets woken by a cop and she has no idea where she is or how she got there. Shrugging off the help from the police she heads home, has a shower and makes a note of the massive time hole that just happened. “Crimson and Clover” is playing on the radio. This will become a common theme throughout The Kettering Incident. Not only the song, but the references to the colour red, and plants, nature, in general.
When she turns up for work later on, she discovers she was at work during her blackout. They have proof, video footage of her tap-dancing in the hallway. She is so screwed over this. But before she is put on notice, she manages to get an MRI done for her blackouts and nosebleeds. A few small legions, but nothing serious, apparently.
CF: I used to tap dance and I immediately noticed the move Anna was doing while waiting for the lift.
KETTERING, TASMANIA. August, 2015.
But there is not time to worry about that because she blacks out again and ends up at the arse-end of Australia. Anna is not impressed this blackout has been long enough for her to purchase a ticket from London to Tasmania and actually get there. Before she can really freak out too much, a guy stops and she hitches a ride into Kettering with him. Kettering is beautiful, remote, closeted.
CF: This scene actually freaked me the hell out ’cause I’m like, “I know how long it takes to fly from London to Sydney and then to Tasmania–” I couldn’t imagine being in a fugue state that long that you’re blacked out for almost a couple of days.
RT: Yep. And, to get to Tasmania, she would have taken connecting flights, so she probably lost a day in flights alone, not including the booking and waiting part.Being such a small town, even though Anna lies about where she is from, it doesn’t take long to work out Anna Macy is back in town. This piques the interest of the local drug dealer, Chloe (Sianoa Smit-McPhee). Chloe also happens to be the daughter of Max Holloway (Damien Garvey), the owner of the Mill and the main employer for the town. She also happens to be besties with most of the Greenies trying to stop the Mill from logging the Kettering Forest. Once she finds out Anna is standing right there in front of her and needing a lift to her broken down car, she is all over Anna because she has “seen the lights” too.
CF: Chloe was really trying hard to channel Nancy from The Craft. I did like that she’s wearing a “The Kettering Incident” tee shirt. And there was something else in the scene: as Anna walks up to the cafe the lase name is “Clover”, but the lights in first two letters are burned out and the last four are blinking… I see what you did there, show.
RT: Loved that bit with the sign! And, yes, Chloe is channeling Nancy pretty hardcore.
Mostly, people think Anna is back for her father’s retirement — he used to be the main cop in town. Anna doesn’t correct them. She doesn’t correct them about a lot of things. She also doesn’t really recognise a lot of what should be familiar faces, which is weird. Although, it has been fifteen years.Everyone else in town is not really impressed Anna is back. Mostly because they are either related to Gillian or because they think Anna murdered her. Even Anna’s own father, Roy (Anthony Phelan), only offers her the basics when it comes to good hospitality. At least she can use her mother’s old car. But where is her mother? That is not revealed in this episode of The Kettering Incident, but she appears to be alive and a fan of “Crimson and Clover.”
CF: Mom’s car is a Jaguar, so it’s pretty much shite. Probably why Anne got to use it. 🙂
Once the niceties of hospitality are meagerly applied, Roy rushes over to Renee’s (Suzi Dougherty) place to tell her Anna is back. She needs to know this because she is the mother of Gillian. Being such a small town, she is also the sister in-law of Max Holloway, who owns the mill.
Anna is writing down the deets of her latest blackout and checks out the file her father kept on her after the incident and this when we learn Lofty Sullivan (Nathan Spencer) was arrested in relation to Gillian going missing. This leads to yet another blackout from which she wakes when Chloe blasts her horn. Time to pick up her car because Chloe has all angles covered with petrol and jump leads. Although, at first, I thought she said Jubbly and I couldn’t work out why Tasmanians wanted to eat icy poles in the middle of a winter so cold the locals have to wear earmuffs.When Chloe arrives to drive Anna back to her car, they discover the car is missing. So a trip to the cop shop is required, along with a trip down memory lane. The newest senior constable, Fergus (Henry Nixon) seems to be the only one happy to see Anna. Before their history can be revealed too much, her car is phoned in. The good news is, it’s been found. The bad news is that the Greenies set it alight in protest against the Mill logging the forest.
CF: I had to laugh when I saw the car burning. It’s like, “Hey, there’s an abandoned car, let’s light it up.” Also, the cop who took the call, Brian Dutch: smug bastard. I hate him already.Meanwhile, Chloe has dropped her bestie, Eliza (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) off to work. She works for Renee’s husband, Travis (Kevin MacIsaac), and while they wait for him to arrive they discuss Anna. Namely, the fact Eliza’s mum thinks Anna murdered Gillian, thus reinforcing what the whole town thinks. Except for Chloe who is crushing pretty hard over Anna.
So, later on, Chloe tracks down Anna and invites her to a rave in the forest. Anna, being a doctor and so much older than Chloe, says, “Yes, why not,” after Chloe promises to show Anna where she saw the lights, and you can practically smell the bad thing coming.
At the rave, Chloe offers Anna some of the pills she filched from the latest batch her and her ex, Dane (Dylan Young), picked up from a shady vessel out at sea. Anna drops it and then starts dancing with Jens (Damon Gameau), one of the Greenies. Eliza is getting shitty at Chloe for making a new bestie and watches as Chloe staggers off into the bushes. Anna staggers off after her and that weird humming starts up again. Anna watches as Chloe walks towards the lights and then screams.
Weird Shit That Might Be Important Later
- Dutch (Matthew Le Nevez) having sex with Max’s wife, Barb (Sacha Horler), while someone records the whole thing from outside. So is this what blackmail looks like?
- The dead, frozen animals falling from the sky.
- Nosebleeds. All the best people are getting them. Namely Anna and Chloe in this episode of The Kettering Incident.
- Max getting hate mail in regards to the mill.
- The head Greenie, Jens, living high up in a tree, researching the crap out of some giant moths while looking at a map of Mother Sullivan’s Ridge, the same place where Chloe saw the lights.
- Even though this is a tight-knit community who obviously loved Gillian, they are not above turning her into a niche market in order to keep the tourist dollar rolling in.
For those who aren’t as into the paranormal as I am, the story pulls from two local events that are famous in UFO lore. (Just so we have full disclosure: when I was a kid I knew a whole lot about UFOs. Even today I remember most of the big cases.) The first part of this pulls from an actual reported landing that happened near Kettering, Tasmania in February, 1976. A man saw lights which led him to a dome-shaped object sitting on the ground that hummed–and both the lights and humming play a big part in the show. The craft left and a scorched circle remained behind. In UFO parlance this is known as a Close Encounter of the Second Kind: an event that produced and/or left behind physical evidence.
The second event is the Frederick Valentich disappearance which occurred the night of 21 October, 1978. Frederick was flying a single engined Cessna 182 L across the Bass Straights from Moorabbin Airport just south of Melbourne, Australia, to King Island just north of Tasmania. Near Cape Otway he began asking Melbourne ATC about aircraft in the area as he was being follow by lights. Which flew alongside. And seemed to play with him. And then hovered closer–whereupon Valentich said there was a large object directly above him–
At which point the sound of metal scraping came over this radio and nothing else.
Valentich vanished and no trace of him or his Cessna were ever found. Until this day no one has an explanation for his disappearance, which is classified as a Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind: an alien abduction of a human.
Valentich’s disappearance will come up in a rather big way in a future episode: all you got to do is listen for it.
RT: Thank you so much for all this additional info Cassidy, I really appreciate it 😀 I actually didn’t know the mayday call was based on a true story as well.
Also, I’m just putting it out there now that this series will end with many, many unresolved issues. But, I’m telling you know because one thing I have discovered is that those who didn’t know this were more disappointed with the series ending than those who knew about it.
To be entirely honest, I was pissed with the last episode the first time I watched it. Second time round, not so much, though. And the reason is, I really think the show has maintained the overall slow burn and kept it going with the finale. While Season 2 hasn’t been confirmed yet, this show has been a huge hit for Showcase in Australia alone, so I can’t see why it wouldn’t be renewed. So, if this is the case, I am now totally okay with the way the season finale unraveled (or didn’t).
What did you think of Episode 1 of Showcase’s The Kettering Incident? Let us know by commenting below!
The official synopsis for Episode 2 (entitled “The Lights”) of Showcase’s The Kettering Incident is below.
“When Dr. Anna Macy wakes up the night after her return to Kettering, another young woman is missing after being in the woods with her. 16 years are the disappearance of Gillian, Anna may be on the hook again.”
Season 1 of Foxtel’s The Kettering Incident is now available for purchase here.
[Image via Showcase]