Off The Grid
Episode 1 of The Mosquito Coast begins with a simple question – how do you make ice from fire? Well, the solution is an ice machine, which our inventor Allie has created. However, these inventions come at a heavy price. Allie receives a foreclosure letter; bills are piling up, and advances on wages have caused him some serious financial distress. His partner Margot does her best to keep things stable, but it’s clear the trouble is afoot.
Allie also has two kids too, with teenager Dina in her rebellious phase and talking to her boyfriend Josh on the phone. Allie bursts into the room and immediately berates Dina for using her mobile. He’s not happy with her using electronics, as it becomes clear that he’s living off the grid. In fact, to prove a point he even throws the phone out the window.
Allie’s younger son, Charlie, is less rebellious. The pair head off together to various different areas and begin siphoning gas. A police officer arrives though and asks him what he’s doing, eventually leading to Allie confronting law enforcement.
When the officer eventually stands down and walks away, Allie heads back to his car. Only, Charlie happens to have read the letter about the foreclosure and is evidently concerned.
Margot takes this opportunity to ring her Mum, struggling to keep her emotions in check. Living off the grid is obviously affecting her too, and she declines an invitation to head over there for something to eat.
After 9 years and 6 different identities, Margot eventually approaches Allie and pleads with him for some leeway. She wants to get her family involved so they can help them. They’re going to lose the house but Allie is adamant they’ll just pack everything up and move again. In fact, Allie has decided they’ll make a boat instead.
Out on the road, Charlie and Allie notice the same car from before tailing them. In order to try and lose them, the pair drive down to the dump. There, Allie encourages his son to look for gold. Not literal gold but actually something tangible they can use.
However, this search is broken up by shadowy men chasing after them. It turns out these are the exact people the family are keeping off the grid from. Allie can’t understand how they found them until Margot admits the truth. Her phone call to her Mother is the reason why they’re closing in.
As the family scramble around to pack up their things, Dina pushes back and demands to know what Allie has done that’s so bad. Margot refuses to answer and tells her daughter they have 10 minutes to get ready
Allie stalls for time and heads out in his car. Unfortunately that hits a serious snag when Dina leaves a note and sneaks out without them. She’s staying behind, and there’s no time to go and find her.
Allie meanwhile, evades capture and outsmarts his captors. He eventually reconvenes with Margot and Charlie. When he learns Dina is still out there, she decides to take the truck and find her. This job is likely to take a whole lot longer given police are currently meticulously searching Allie’s house.
Dina phones her Grandmother though and asks for help. Not long after, Allie rings the same number and now realizes where Dina is heading. Allie heads into the bus station, eventually finding his daughter in a really slick rotating camera movement that pans across the room.
Allie sits with her and admits he has a problem. He doesn’t get a chance to finish though, as police officers eventually head inside and arrest Allie. He’s taken outside and makes a big scene in front of everyone. Dina happens to be in his pick-up truck from afar, watching as her Father is tasered to the ground. She makes a big decision and drives off, cursing out her Father.
At the last second Dina turns around and ploughs into the side of the police car, knocking the officers back and saving Allie from being arrested. As he bundles into the passenger side, the officers are left stunned – as is Allie.
The Episode Review
The Mosquito Coast sets off its journey in a pretty good way, with the ending to this first episode setting things up nicely for the season ahead. The whole escape from the authorities was really nicely orchestrated, especially after a rather tepid opening half.
Allie’s character is one that’s a little questionable so far, with him actually quite unlikable to begin with. It’s not until late on that we finally start to understand why.
Something has happened to Allie in his past and the poster of him with NASA (or any other space-outfit) seems to be connected. After all, there’s clearly a reason he’s so knowledgeable with these different tools.
Living off the grid is clearly something that’s difficult to do but it seems like the family have been forced into this rather than doing it willingly.
The ending certainly intrigues enough to jump into the next episode though, and with some good action and thriller vibes, Mosquito Coast definitely leaves lots of questions unanswered leading into the next episode.