Episode 3 of Them begins on day 4 of this move from hell. Lucky awakens to find the house empty. Outside, she finds a young boy urinating on her washing, eventually leading Lucky to race across the neighbourhood and chase him with a stick.
With the other Mothers watching on, she drops the stick and walks back to her house. When she does, Betty gives her a murderous look as she passes.
Back home, Lucky phones her sister Hazel, admitting that she needs to get out of East Compton before she does something she’ll regret. Well, this eventually sees her head off to her house. As they sit around and drink together, they toast Lucky’s new life as the close-knit family tell her she needs all the luck in the world.
Contrasting this is Betty at her place, complete with a blue aesthetic and some Dutch-tilt camera work. Anyway, Betty brings in Tommy’s Mother as a spokesperson to help convince the other women in the neighbourhood to rally together. However, they’re all – except Betty of course – having reservations.
Hopefully a new TV set will distract the Emory household woes, at least if Henry has anything to do with it. He heads to the store and signs off on a new set. With installation T-minus 2 hours, Henry arrives at the diner and enjoys an ice-cream float with the girls.
When he eventually heads home, one of the engineers tells Henry to watch himself while in Compton. It’s an ominous sign, but one that’s quickly followed up by Clark and the other men antagonizing Henry while he’s setting his satellite up.
Henry holds his own though, threatening them all and eventually leading to the men having second thoughts and walking away.
That evening, Betty and the others (minus Clarke) gather in the town hall and discuss the current situation. Betty encourages them all to keep up the pressure, standing up and disguising this racism as “protecting their family.”
An erratic Lucky starts hallucinating again on the bus. On her way back from Hazel’s, she’s dragged back along the floor to the back of the bus. However, when she awakens she finds the bus driver has called the police.
The officer in question warns her that her current mental outbursts around the neighbourhood are doing her no favours. He wants to be on her side but warns she also needs to make sure she doesn’t step out of line.
Lucky heads inside and immediately switches off the TV set, sitting with Henry and telling him all about the visions from the bus. She’s convinced there’s something supernatural going on, but Henry is not so sure.
Outside in the garden, Clarke and the others (under the watchful eye of Betty of course) write out “Nigger Heaven” on the garden with gasoline and light it up with a match. The flames lick hungrily across the grass as they watch it burn.
The Episode Review
The third episode of Them starts to slow things down a bit, as we see the Emory household forced into facing the very real, racist threat of the neighbourhood around them.
Interestingly though, the show has managed to add some much-needed shades of grey here as some supporting characters don’t share the mentality of Betty and the neighbourhood racists.
There’s a distinct lack of horror this time though, which is quite a big contrast to the opening duo of episodes. The only “scary” moment here comes from the incident on the bus but there’s not much more beyond this vision.
Despite that, Them continues to deliver decent drama, propped up by some excellent acting from all involved.
With no explanation for the blood oozing from the dog’s grave last time (was this also a hallucination?) and no clarity around this Mrs Vera debacle, Them leaves the door open for lots of answers to these questions.