I Know This Much Is True has been an excellent tour-de-force in acting for Mark Ruffalo and HBO’s latest series has done a really good job showcasing how talented this man is. With a more Dom-centric episode this time around and big themes showcased around acceptance and forgiveness, HBO’s latest drama continues to deliver the goods even if this week’s episode isn’t quite as strong as what we’ve seen previously.
Episode 4 of I Know This Much Is True begins with the fallout from Thomas’ freshman year, as Ray goes ballistic when he learns how bad his grades are. His Mother suffers the consequences of this though and despite Ray playing the hero and signing a check to give him one more chance, Dominick vows to leave Thomas to make it or break it alone without his help.
That Summer, Dom prepares to get away from his family but on the cusp of doing so, he’s forced to admit to Thomas that he’s going to share a room with Leo instead. The news doesn’t go down well and Thomas brandishes a knife and threatens to stab himself. As the fight subsides, Thomas giggles while slumped against a wall, repeating ominously to Dom, “You’re me.”
In the present, a beaten and bruised Dom visits Leo and Neil but their joking doesn’t go down well with him and he takes his leave. Studying himself in the mirror, it’s plain to see that Dom is not in a good way. Ray picks him up though and after exhibiting some genuine concerns, turns his attention to Thomas and begins grilling his step-son, prompting Dom to zone out.
Back in the past, the lottery draft for Vietnam sees the changing fortunes for both Thomas and Dominick shown in stark contrast. While Dom manages to get off scot-free, Thomas ends up in the lottery. Both drink alcohol to drown out their emotions but Thomas struggles to keep a level-head, ignoring Dom’s pleas that he’s not crazy.
In the present, a beaten and bruised Dom returns to work and starts performing manual labour while fighting through the pain. Propping a ladder up, he reaches the top but fragmented memories from the past of Thomas knocking on his door and revealing gleefully that he’s dropped out of school is enough of a distraction (coupled with the old man inside shooting himself) for him to slip and fall to the ground with a sickening thud.
As we cut forward in time, Dom lies in hospital in a bad way. He manages to reach Sheffer on the phone though and learns the Board went ahead with the hearing and have moved Thomas to Hatch. Having heard enough, he decides to numb the pain and hits the green button for morphine.
Sheffer arrives at the hospital and visits Dom, reassuring him that what happened with Thomas wasn’t his fault. Apparently Thomas kept saying “Dominick’s hurt,” and then proceeded to lash out and strike Sheffer. The bruise on her lip says enough as a shocked Dom learns that because of the public perception the board needed to act and that’s why Thomas was rushed through this hearing.
As Dom reads the transcript for what happened that day, we cut back in time and see the moments from the hearing as Thomas is told to speak up while reciting scripture from the bible. The camera pans round the table and shows the concerned expressions of the different men and women who listen as Thomas reveals that he cut off his hand to atone for America’s sins.
Unfortunately this leads him down a line of inquiry that ends in him admitting he would kill in the name of Jesus; a confession that spells the end for Thomas as he’s incarcerated for at least a year.
In the wake of this, Dom relinquishes his anger and bitterness he’s been holding and doesn’t lash out at an apologetic Sheffer. She admits to getting personally involved in the case and he looks her in the eye, genuinely telling her to have a good day with her daughter as she struggles to hold back tears.
After falling asleep again, Dom awakens to find Joy standing before him. It’s here he reveals the truth about him being sterile and how the baby isn’t his. Instead of lashing out though, he sinks further into self-pity as he mutters how he’d be a terrible Father. Unable to face this, Joy distracts him with a doctor visit and leaves while he’s being seen to.
After hitting himself with another morphine injection, Dom has a dream that sees him head to the bathroom and as he looks up in the mirror, Thomas stares back. When he awakens, Dom learns he’s been asleep all day and tries to deal with what’s to come in the wake of these big revelations, which is where the episode ends.
Two of the bigger themes of this episode revolve around acceptance and forgiveness. For a fair while now we’ve seen Dom cling to the memories of the past and overcome with the weight of his choices and what’s happening with Thomas. Seeing him fight through all of this and struggle to piece together the fragments of his life has certainly been difficult to watch and a lot of the time Dom has lashed out aggressively against those closest to him or those trying their best to help.
With Thomas’ fate now sealed and his own body physically broken (ironically reflecting how he’s feeling mentally), a lot of this episode revolves around Dom facing these demons and coming to terms with the gravitas of what’s happened. It’s certainly something that makes for a really engaging episode and although the plot itself doesn’t push the overarching narrative forward that much, seeing more of Thomas and Dominick’s past helps to give a good overview of what’s happened to these two brothers and the very different paths they’ve taken.
While not quite as gripping as the opening few episodes, I Know This Much Is True continues to deliver the goods and produces another excellent piece of drama that leaves the door wide open for next week’s episode.
Published: 01 June 2020 at 12:45pm on TheReviewGeek.com