The Gas Station
Episode 2 of To The Lake begins with a revelation; it turns out Yuri and the other soldiers are at the wrong village. The two gunshot victims were not Sergey and Anna.
Back at Lyonya’s house, Ira is paranoid as a man and his pregnant wife arrive looking for salvation. As Boris joins Ira and holds his gun up, they force the pair to head back on their way.
With the pair gone, the ragtag group of survivors band together and form a caravan as they start driving toward a village nearby.
On the way, the group run into trouble when Anna’s car starts smoking up. Stuck on the side of the road, they’re sitting ducks as Yuri closes in on them. This is only made worse by Lyonya heading back to grab a towline from the house.
It turns out that’s a lie and his selfishness deceives the group. With Marina and Polina with him, he intends to drive his family up to Finland and across the border.
After finding the dead man on the ground in Lyonya’s house, Yuri starts searching through the family tablet. As we soon find out, that man on the floor is actually Yuri’s brother. Yuri spies pictures of Lyonya and the family, giving him a solid lead to go on along with a registration plate too.
The armed soldiers arrive up by the side of the road where they find Lyonya’s car parked. Thankfully the trio manage to get away just as the soldiers show up, hiding out in the woods.
With the car gone and the license plate matching that from the house, Yuri orders the guards to comb through the woods and find the family.
As they get searching, mutiny grips the family as the soldiers turn on Yuri and shoot him dead. Lyonya, Marina and Polina manage to narrowly avoid being killed and breathe a sigh of relief when they leave. Thankfully the group have their radio but not much else.
Stuck 5 kilometers away, they radio through to Sergey and claim to have the towline, asking for their assistance.
When Sergey and the others show up, Lyonya apologises for lying but Ira is having none of it. She’s not happy and figures out that Lyonya and the others were going to leave them to their fate.
Conflicted over what to do, Sergey begrudgingly squeezes them into the car as they drive up to a nearby gas station and drop them off.
As the family look around in vain for a ride, Misha pleads with his father to show compassion and let them squeeze in. Eventually he decides to do just that but as he exits the car, the gas station is consumed by panic. One of the men starts coughing and he’s shot dead.
The crowd scurries away and everyone is convinced the infected are among them. With a dead man on the ground, Sergey and the others race away while Lyonya manages to find salvation with the gas station attendant.
After some bribing, he agrees to let the family in. Unfortunately it doesn’t take long before they come to a disagreement and are forced out into the cold again. Thankfully, Sergey returns and picks up the group.
Together, they outsmart the attendant and break in, stealing the jerrycans and resources for the ride ahead. As they pack up, Misha realizes that the infected man lying on the floor isn’t actually infected after all. This gives them an extra car but also a glimpse of the human horrors of paranoia gripping the nation.
Out on the road, the two cars communicate via radio but a man called Igor hijacks their transmission. He’s coughing quite badly and asks them for a prayer, prompting Misha to speak up and offer his words.
The Episode Review
While not quite as thrilling as the first, this follow-up does a great job keeping up the energy with an episode honing in on the paranoia and tension within the group.
There’s some lovely bits of editing too, namely with the cars driving in the woods at night. The gas station scene is a clever one too, reinforcing those ideas of paranoia.
Already you can sense fractures growing between Sergey and Lyonya (or Leonid? They interchange his name so I’m not sure which is correct!) that could cause problems going forward.
On a side note, surely Lyonya and the others could have walked 5km through the woods. That’s not that long of a distance and it could have kept them warm rather than freezing to death.
It’s a minor point though in what’s otherwise been a really compelling series so far. Let’s hope this one keeps it up!
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