August 29, 2023
Trish Arab

"Shelter" on Amazon Prime by Harlan Coban - Episode 4 "Phantom Threads" (2 minute read)

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Last week Amazon Prime droppeddddddddd...sorry, I fell asleep there for a second.

Yeah, this could have been a better episode.  Full of entirely unnecessary storyline with no real plot movement.  Let's break a bit of it down, but honestly, I can't be bothered to waste too much time on such a bland episode (I can't believe I had to wait a whole week for it).

Let's start with the first annoying aspect - Mickey still being pissed off at Spoon and Ema for not instantly buying into the ageless Nazi/paramedic story he told them in the previous episode.  Mickey - I know you are going through a lot, but you should be happy that your friends still want to support you, even if they naturally question the strangeness of what Bat Lady told you.  The fact that Mickey is still mad and still icing them out in this episode is beyond frustrating.

Speaking of frustrating, the whole Shera storyline is beyond boring.  I do not care about her late 90s high school girl crush or the quasi-lesbian sexual tension they are trying to create.  I don't.  This does not drive the plot in any remarkable way.  It is tedious and wasted a full 40% of this episode.  If you want to highlight a same-sex relationship worth telling, focus on Ema and the sweet crush between her and Whitney.  Better yet, give us more of Ema singing - although the whole Phantom of the Opera storyline is ridiculous, too.  How did we go from the first four episodes, where the show was fresh and exciting, to what feels like season 7 of a tiresome teen drama on network television?

As for the little plot points that worked, Mickey speaks to Ms. Friedman about the Butcher of Lodz and shows her the picture of him given to him by Bat Lady.  Friedman pulls out an actual textbook, shows Mickey that the real Butcher looked completely different, and wants to know where he got that photo.  Mickey sidesteps and avoids the question, then later goes to Ema, who confirms that the picture was seriously photoshopped.  The pair also find out that the ambulance service that Mickey saw remove his dad from the scene of the accident was a private company, who, when they contacted them directly, were told that they had no pickups the night of the accident in the area.

Spoon hears on the police scanner that Mrs. Kent has gone missing and shares the info with Ema but not Mickey (again, why is this threesome not working together suddenly?  This argument is ridiculous given what the group is dealing with).

Speaking of ridiculous, don't even get me started on the scene with Sherrif Dirtbag digging up a supposed body in Bat Lady's yard only to see a partial hoof so completely believes her story of giving a dead deer the proper burial "it deserves"  (eye roll) Also he's spooked out that Bat Lady knows his name (dude you're the Sheriff and have lived there your whole life, what's strange is that you don't know that lady's name).

At least the episode ended positively, with Rachel letting Mickey know that she has been helping Ashley from the beginning and that clearing the locker and the safety deposit box were all at Ashley's request as she has been hiding in Rachel's pool house the whole time.  Bad news for our hero, though: just as he is about to reunite with his girlfriend, Octoface comes out of nowhere, jams the cell phone service, disconnects the phone lines and the power and looks like he will reach Ashely before Mickey can get to her in time.

That's all she wrote for this week - I may have to bank a few episodes before I do another review if episode 5 is as bad as this one was.