Episode 3 of Nowhere Man begins with Ah Quan finding some refuge in the humdrum of prison life. However, midway through his day he finds himself caught in another fight, this time with an inmate trying to take advantage of Fu Xing’s gentle nature. After several skirmishes, a musical montage starts up as our characters sing about prison life. This relative peace is shattered when Ah Quan receives a letter with details about Tian-You. Within the package are a series of photos of him and a final ominous one holding a key date and an empty set of stairs hints that his son has been kidnapped.
When Jong-Fang learns the same news, she immediately berates Ah Gui, who acts incredulous to her accusations. Heading to prison, Jing-Fang speaks to Quan and tells him that the kidnappers have their son. She pleads with him to cooperate before hanging the phone up, staring into space and contemplating what to do next. She mouths “I hate you” as tears well up in her eyes, forcing her to leave. As she does, Quan grits his teeth before he hallucinates again, this time back to his family home.
After singing Taiwanese folk songs together in prison, the warden steps up to announce they’re going to be going ahead with a concert for the inmates. While the scheduled group perform, a fire breaks out in the prison, prompting the lights to go out and all the inmates to break into rapturous applause. All of this happens to be a plan from one of the guards, who reveals himself, and the band, to be decoys in the backstage area away from everyone. As the officer takes to the stage again, they begin their obligatory head count but lose count as the inmates start fighting again.
As night turns to day, the true extent of the break-out plan is finally shown, as our trio begin digging out in the garden while dressed as the band members. With the lights switched back on, and the warden finally out of his office, we leave the episode with him eyeing the decoy officer suspiciously while our trio hide behind a sign.
With a cliffhanger ending and a clever plan in place to thwart the authorities, Nowhere Man does well to set the scene and tone of the piece,even if the pacing betrays the series’ exciting segments. There’s some really good acting from Jing-Fang and Quan in prison too and for me, these lingering lot shots work really well here and help to capture the anguish and strain these two characters have at this moment of time. The best actors are those who can express their feelings through their eyes and Quan absolutely typifies that here. Hopefully this can continue going forward but right now, Nowhere Man does a great job building things up for the season to come.