High Desert – Season 1 Episode 6 “A Nod is not a Hello” Recap & Review

A Nod is not a Hello

Episode 6  of High Desert starts with two contrasting pictures. Bob is once again harassed by Heather and her father. They have been at his throat for the fake he sold them and want their money back. He tells them about Peggy, who is relishing the purple vein in her life. Not only has she secured the Pioneertown security contract (by talking to Owen’s mother), but she has also potentially found Dona’s finger. Bruce seems to respond to what she is doing for their business and agrees that the reward for Dona would be huge for them.

Now, they must get the finger DNA tested to be sure. But Peggy has another idea. She takes Dona’s nail to Tina, the lady who owns a nail salon near the Scarboroughs’ tanning centre. Mary confirms it as her nail but refuses to “dish out” any more secrets about Dona’s life. She expertly takes Nick’s (Dona’s brother) DNA sample and lies about a book deal detailing their missing siblings. The DNA processing will take a week due to the backlog.

Peggy also informs Bruce of Dona and Bob’s fake art scam, which makes him anxious. Carol, Peggy’s best friend, completes her surveillance of Bruce’s client – the blonde woman – and confirms that she is having an affair with a woman. Peggy’s supply of her dosage is running low. But until she passes a urine test, (which she will fail given her current situation) she won’t get more pills.

At work, Owen pushes Peggy to stage her play by the next week. She deduces that Owen wants to “win his mother’s love” back by making the entire thing a big show. Meanwhile, she is bombarded with calls by Bob every minute of the day but Peggy doesn’t pick up one of them. Owen also informs her that he has “Written the cannon into the play,” the cannon that his mother brought, misinterpreting Peggy’s suggestion.

She has an epiphany where she realizes that her mother, Roslyn, is truly gone and there will be no bringing her back. It seems to be the effect of her not compensating for lack of the drugs in her body. Bob’s voicemail says he has pills that Peggy could use and she gleefully takes the bait, only to be wrestled to the ground by Heather. She is tied to a chair and Arman, Heather’s father, interrogates her about the buyer and the painting.

Peggy turns the tables on him by correctly speaking out loud his home address and recognizing that Heather is breaking her parole terms. Arman now just wants the money and threatens to do damage to Peggy if she doesn’t get him it. Peggy emails James Kachel, someone she knows from her past, to get in touch. He FaceTimes her and she shows him the painting, which he greatly likes. He promises to touch down at her location to complete the deal.

In further developments, Tina reports to Nick next door about Dona’s missing nail. He realizes Peggy duped him. Nick Gatchi notices the missing painting in the washroom. He instructs Leo Gatchi, his associate, to track down “this Sylvia Plath” or “not come back at all.”

The Episode Review

Despite the late flourish in episode 6 of High Desert, this felt like a filler episode. By now, I have a lot of experience in gauging how the creators try to downplay progression and get stuck with immaterial plot details. Even though it was still charming, High Desert is desperately in need of a lift. The story has kind of died down. The early momentum it gathered has withered away and we are moving ahead too slowly and without conviction.

Peggy’s “mourning” of Roslyn was reignited randomly and briefly here but it was disappointingly ineffective. That was a crucial tangent of her character arc but it has not materialized yet in season 1. Arman and Heather also popped up inorganically in the storyline and Peggy’s dealing with Bob’s issue does not imbue confidence for the upcoming episodes.

High Desert is losing its grip. We have another two episodes to go and that might not be enough time to wrap up its unresolved conceits.

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