In keeping with our ongoing Halloween theme, Admin and I thought we should revisit one of our favourite (and most Halloween-y) characters, Jack Turner, doing what he does best: committing impulsive (and messy) murder and hastily covering it up.
Admin: Good ol’ Halloween Jack is very suitable for Halloween. He looks really imposing and dashing in black at the very least. 😉
RF: In episode 4, “Kismet“, of 2012’s “Hunted“, mobster Jack Turner evades Byzantium’s best surveillance efforts by sending out his faithful majordomo Bingham (Tom Beard) as a decoy in Jack’s usual car, wearing Jack’s signature trilby and overcoat, on a mysterious nighttime errand. However, nanny/undercover spy Sam Hunter (Melissa George) uncovers the ruse when she accidentally runs into Jack (wearing a particularly fetching black leather jacket for the occasion) still in the house. She (improbably) manages to keep from being discovered by him and then, since she’s the best of what Byzantium has left, has to find out what Jack’s really up to. Sam then (improbably) tails Jack to his real destination, Relton University, by (improbably) riding a BMX bike faster than Jack can drive a Range Rover through downtown London. But the night’s entertainment is only just beginning, as she watches Jack meet Lewis Conroy (Richard Dormer) outside.
Admin: Jack really does need to make better use of his rear-view mirror. 😉 I like how barren the streets are. Perhaps it is highly improbable that London would ever be that bereft of traffic (I honestly don’t know), but it looks really cool.
[Seeing a light go on in the building (which coincidentally happens to be where the meeting is happening), Sam climbs up to the balcony outside economist Professor Vincent Cage’s (Michael Carter) office so she can eavesdrop properly – while not making much of an effort to hide herself otherwise. Thunder in the background sets the right sort of foreboding atmosphere as a storm begins to move in.]
Lewis: Please, Vince. At least consider it.
Cage: There is nothing to consider!
[Jack begins to prowl the room, silently.]
RF: Uh oh… It’s always a bad sign when Jack begins to get bored. He has a very menacing way of prowling, even when he’s not saying a word. I also like the way he’s letting Lewis do all of the begging and pleading, while he just observes what’s going on. He’s very enigmatic, but at the same time, very dangerous somehow. And we don’t yet know what’s behind Jack’s sudden interest in academia, let alone economics, that he’s willing to pay a lot of cash for.
Admin: Vince is at least sharp enough, though ultimately it doesn’t help him very much, to look briefly curious at the way Jack prowls off. Jack did a lot of prowling in this series. He was like a tiger in too small a cage half the time. Rather reminiscent of Mark Binney in The Singing Detective, but Jack is heck of a lot more dangerous. Yes, Jack is very enigmatic. He has a faint aura of ennui here which is never a good sign because although Jack is profoundly patient in terms of game plan, his patience does not extend to uncooperative persons.
RF: That’s true, Jack did spend a lot of time being cooped up indoors in this series – usually in his posh house – and he was always at his best and most interesting when he was let out. And the deal he’s trying to make here is part of his long-term game plan, although we don’t find that out until later.
Lewis: I’d say there is. Mr. Turner’s told you how much he’s willing to pay. It’s a lot of cash.
[Jack studies Cage’s bookshelf in a bored fashion. Cut to Sam, eavesdropping outside.]
RF: I’m sorry, but that bookshelf is just such a continual source of joy to me. 😀 I don’t know who dressed the sets, but I think they asked for “university-looking techie stuff” and instead, what they got were a bunch of extremely out-of-date software manuals – out of date even for a university! 😀 Are we meant to believe that Cage, an academic who has developed something ground-breaking Turner badly wants and is willing to pay big money for, did all his work with Excel 97, Lotus 1-2-3, Word 97, DB2, and other such gems? We see throughout the series that Jack isn’t exactly the most tech-savvy guy, but I think even he is scoffing at that selection of books.
Admin: That bookshelf was unintentionally hilarious. 😀 Granted, they had no way of knowing anyone would be taking screen-grabs of it, but what a doozy it was. If you can make a nice graph with Excel, try taking over the stock market with it. Jack doesn’t need Vince, he just needs to order a few books from Amazon and tell Bingham to get reading.
RF: “How to Pervert Pure Economics for the Purpose of World Domination… For Dummies”. 😉
Admin: It has a great chapter on using MS Access for knowing when to plot your next oil rig disaster.
Cage: You think this is about money? You have perverted everything I’ve taught you!
Lewis: I’m trying to help you. I know you need the money. Please, Vince. You have to do this.
Cage: No, I don’t. And neither do you.
Lewis: We’ll double it. Please, you’ve got to see sense!
[Jack picks up a bust of Karl Marx and silently scoffs.]
RF: Well, “perverted” seems rather strong for whatever it is that Lewis has been doing! Whatever has Jack been up to? 😮 And just what does he have on Lewis that makes Lewis so desperate to close this deal? What is the deal? As their argument grows more heated (and Lewis more pleading), Jack is still prowling Cage’s office, apparently completely unconcerned. Unsurprisingly, the self-made, clawed-his-way-up-from-the-docks mobster millionaire is unimpressed by Cage’s ideological hero, Marx, as shown by his amused, yet silent scoffing. Perhaps they’ll have a spirited debate about Das Kapital later, over coffee?
Admin: Judging from the “get a load of this guy” look on Jack’s face after Vince’s “perverted” line, I don’t think Jack was best pleased with Vince. And how lovely was the flash of lightening as he picked up the Marx bust? Jack is too much man for a mere lightbulb moment, it seems. He needs the full lightening and thunder effect when inspiration hits.
RF: I hadn’t thought of the flash of lightning as a lightbulb moment, but that is perfect. 😀 Jack did seem to take sudden inspiration from discovering that bust.
Cage: Lewis… You’re better than this.
[Lightning begins to flash outside as the storm moves in.]
Lewis: Just tell me what you want, Vince. Whatever you want, I’ll do it.
[Cut to Jack, looking alert, yet contemplative.]
RF: So what we have here is Cage trying desperately to keep Lewis from going completely over to the dark side (ie. Turner’s), while Lewis tries equally desperately to tempt Cage with money. Jack probably has more money in his pocket right now than Cage has seen in a month, but Cage refuses to compromise his principles. I love Mr. Malahide’s languid, yet alert gaze through the blinds as he listens to their argument. Jack is still enigmatically silent during the exchange; we know he’s paying very close attention, but we have no idea what might be going through his mind, or what he might do next. The storm moving in might be a bit of a hint, though. 😉
Admin: I love the way Jack’s pale blue eye lights up as if to say “oh really?” when Lewis promises to do *anything*. That is not a tactic Jack would take. The storm really adds a lot to the scene with the way it lights Jack’s face and enhances his already intense features.
RF: That’s exactly right – Jack would never promise an opponent (or even a potential business partner) he’d do “anything”, even if he was lying. And his suddenly alert gaze subtly ramps up the tension, even if Cage (who’s facing away from Jack) is completely unaware of it.
Cage: I want both of you to stop this, now, or I’m calling the police!
[Jack picks up the bust of Marx and, without any warning whatsoever, violently bludgeons Cage to death with it. Blood splatters everywhere: the window, the desk, and all over Jack himself.]
RF: And there you have it! Jack makes decisions quickly. 😉 The deed is sudden, vicious, brutally effective, and gruesome, with Cage’s desk, window, and Jack himself thoroughly spattered with blood. A sudden clap of thunder only adds to the horror. While most men might wipe their faces in disgust, Jack doesn’t even notice he’s splattered with gore; he’s seemingly completely unperturbed by this turn of events. But perhaps he’s done this a time or two before, since he also appears to be pretty good at improvising blunt objects on the fly.
Admin: Was that ever intense. The blood was incredible. Enough to be terrifying, but not so much as to be fully gratuitous. Jack looks sort of surprised that Lewis is so aghast. 🙂
RF: I’m sure Jack also appreciates the subtle irony of a cutthroat capitalist (him) using the bust of a Communist icon (Marx) to beat the heck out of a socialistically inclined, idealistic, and principled economics professor (Cage). The meta implications are delightful. 😉
Admin: The irony was a nice touch. Bludgeoned to death by an icon of your hero — what a way to go!
Lewis: Oh God! What have you done??
Jack [conversationally]: You were wasting your time. He was never gonna go for it.
RF: I love Jack’s offhand, conversational tone. 😀 His face still spattered with blood (the lighting highlights the contrast between the paleness of his face, the brightness of his blue eyes, and the startlingly dark blood droplets), he’s completely unconcerned about what he’s just done, while Lewis is in understandable shock. Apparently Jack didn’t tell Lewis there were only two options available for Cage: agree to Jack’s demands (and get substantially paid), or get brutally murdered. Jack merely picked the simplest, most direct solution to Cage’s stubbornness. If we didn’t already know how ruthless he can be, we know it now.
Admin: That’s right. Jack had a very good idea that the night would very likely end up with Vince being taken out of the frame completely. Jack doesn’t put up with obstacles whatsoever, and it rather boggles his mind that Lewis would. Compromise isn’t in Jack’s vocabulary, and he doesn’t understand why others bother with the concept. And of course he was also obviously disgusted with Lewis’ pleading tones, so that’s already putting Lewis in the Jack Turner Bad Books.
RF: True, I don’t think Jack was overly impressed by Lewis’ apparent willingness to give in to whatever Cage was going to demand. Nor was he impressed by Cage sticking to his principles. Honest, incorruptible men are so inconvenient!
[A sudden lightning flash illuminates Sam lurking outside.]
Lewis: Someone’s there!
RF: Speaking of things that bring me continual joy, I love that Sam, Byzantium’s so-called “Best Agent”, is so bad at eavesdropping that she stands right by the office window in plain sight, without even trying to hide her face. 😀 Okay, she was conveniently lit up by the lightning flash, but c’mon! Isn’t she supposed to be good at covert stuff? Wasn’t there anything in the Byzantium employee manual about concealment?
Admin: She’s even worse than those comedy secret agents who hide behind newspapers because she doesn’t even think to bring a newspaper.
RF: Her newspaper would have a couple of holes cut into it, for her to see through. And it would probably have a headline like, “Well-Respected Economics Professor Mysteriously Slain!” 😉
[Jack turns around and looks. Sam takes off running while Jack, who moves faster than Lewis, sets off in pursuit. Sam scales the university gates just ahead of Jack but rips her jacket in the process, leaving a fragment behind. Fowkes arrives just in time to save her.]
Fowkes: Fancy a ride?
Sam: Where the hell have you been??
RF: Jack is in pretty damn good shape for a grandad. He easily outpaces Lewis and nearly catches up to Sam at the gate; if Fowkes hadn’t conveniently arrived, he would’ve certainly caught her. He’s not even out of breath! (Lewis is, though.) I also like the way he smacks his hands into the gate, frustrated because he’s been deprived of his prey. So close! 😉
Admin: That scary lip curl he has when he turns around is pretty epic. And does he ever slip out of that room quick with scarcely a thought. And, yes, he can certainly run. He is very fast and forceful, and he keeps that determined expression. There is no doubt about it, Patrick Malahide does action incredibly well. And the bit where he smacked into the gate was again very reminiscent of an angry tiger at the zoo. Don’t tease the tiger, Sam!
[Jack gets to the gate just in time to see Sam get into Fowkes’ car and drive off.]
Jack [making a mobile call while Lewis stands around in shock]: Get Everett down here. We need a clean-up.
[Jack looks up and spies the fragment of cloth. It’s a clue!]
RF: And Jack once again proves how practiced he is at handling these sorts of situations. While Lewis is still in shock, Jack calmly calls someone on his mobile (he uses speed dial, so it’s probably Bingham) and says they need “Everett” for a “clean-up” – plainly, “Everett” is used to cleaning up a lot of Jack’s messes, no matter how difficult they may be. Then there’s a great top-down shot as Jack, still blood-spattered, gazes up at the gate and realizes the “spy” has carelessly left something behind. Could Jack possibly figure out who was spying on his secret deal (and take revenge) from a shred of cloth? It’s a great moment of suspense. 🙂
Admin: He has a nice growling rasp when he calmly demands Everett’s cleaning assistance. No reason for Jack to get any messier. We got a glimpse of what sort of state Vince was in when they went after Sam…it is a messy one. Ahhh, I hope Jack can make use of Sam’s left behind clue. I don’t care if Sam is meant to be the protagonist or not; I’m decidedly on Team Jack. 😉
RF: Well, the fact they made such a big deal out of pointing it out means it’ll likely come to something. And even though he just brutally murdered someone with a bust of Karl Marx, I’m on Team Jack, too. 😉
*Animated gifs courtesy of Admin (thanks! 🙂 ).