Such an innocuous-sounding title for such a great scene! First, a little background, or you can read the full recap if you prefer. In “Hunted“, Stephen Turner (Stephen Campbell Moore), son of mobster Jack Turner, has been remarkably blind to his father’s more nefarious activities for quite some time. However, in episode seven, “Khyber”, Stevie begins to realize Jack might be involved in more serious crimes than he’s ever suspected, including the murder of Stevie’s best friend, Lewis Conroy (Richard Dormer). His suspicions are initially sparked by the not-so-subtle hints dropped by Sam Hunter (Melissa George), alias Alex Kent, nanny to Stevie’s son Eddie and Sooper-Seekrit Undercover Agent™ for the Byzantium organization – which, coincidentally enough, happens to be out to get Jack. So, Stevie has been gathering evidence against Jack and decides go to the police with what he’s found.
[At the police station]
Stevie: Been waiting for an hour.
Desk Sergeant: Yes, Mr. Turner, I just got the call. I’ll take you back now.
RF: Tsk tsk, Stevie, not very polite! Are you perhaps more like your old man than you care to admit? 😉
Admin: That was pretty rude. Police stations are busy places, Stevie.
RF: D.S. Chisholm would make him wait an extra fifteen minutes, just on principle. 😉
Admin: He certainly would make him wait just to tell him what for, although Chisholm would never be in the pocket of the likes of Jack Turner!
[Stevie’s shown past several rooms absolutely crawling with cops. He goes into an office which has one man in it – revealed in close-up to be Jack Turner, his own father. Jack turns around and Stevie looks stunned. Meanwhile, the desk sergeant stands guard outside so they won’t be disturbed.]
RF: Three things I really liked about this: first, Jack’s power and reach is such that (1) the police notify him when his son unexpectedly drops in for a visit; (2) only Jack would be able to have a sensitive meeting like this in the middle of a police station absolutely stuffed to the brim with cops; and (3) the nonchalance of the desk sergeant as he guards the door. It’s obvious who he takes orders from, and he knows Jack is not to be disturbed. I also liked the confirmation that Jack has bought off more than just one incompetent police stooge/fixer/cleaner-upper: namely, Everett. But the best part is Stevie’s absolutely stunned expression when Jack turns around – the first of many great pay-offs in the scene. By contrast, Jack seems completely unsurprised and remarkably calm about the whole thing.
Admin: And it is a fantastic shot. The way the camera focuses on Jack’s half face is electrifying. You can tell he totally owns the place from the expression alone. Stevie looks a bit like he’d just rather run away.
RF: Too late for that now, Stevie!
Jack: Call yourself a son? Call yourself my son?? Betray your own father!
Stevie [brandishing his cell phone]: You had Lewis murdered and I can prove it!
RF: So much for Jack’s initially calm demeanour. He still doesn’t seem too surprised, though. His glare at Stevie should be a warning, but Stevie seems pretty confident he can pin Lewis’ murder on Jack – never mind that he’s just seen Jack effortlessly infiltrate a station full of cops. Stevie has a lot of confidence in that cell phone evidence of his.
Admin: I love Jack’s expression there. Before he speaks he kind of pulls his head back like he’s just taking in the sheer disappointment that is Steven.
Jack: Who’s listening?? [Charging at Stevie] You treacherous little shit!
[They wrestle briefly for the phone and Jack wins, of course.]
Jack: You wanna call the police?? [Flings phone against the wall, where it shatters.]
RF: We’ve seen it before, but here’s Jack once again proving he’s a very dangerous man, even towards his own son. I like his wild-eyed look as he demands, “Who’s listening?”, and there was never any doubt who’d end up with the phone. Jack only becomes more crazy-eyed and scary-looking when he taunts Stevie about calling the police, but he smirks in satisfaction as he flings the cell against the wall. I wonder if Mr. Malahide threw a few phones first to practice? 😉 I was slightly surprised by Jack’s abortive swing at Stevie, but it certainly showed how furious he was. At least he didn’t connect.
Admin: Isn’t that just the craziest look? It is like dynamite going off. And he’s right. Who is listening? Obviously not the police. The grin before he threw the phone was quite fetching. Seems Stevie’s move to dodge the punch quickly reminded Jack that it was his son (however undeserving he thinks him) so he quickly downplayed it.
RF: You’re right, it is like dynamite going off. Jack’s anger is a big burst of energy in the room. Can’t blame Stevie for dodging the punch.
Stevie [shouting]: You’ll answer for everything!!
Jack: Whatever you think I’ve done, you don’t betray your own blood.
Stevie: He was my friend!
RF: Jack actually calms down pretty quickly after his initial outburst. I like his amused forbearance as Stevie smacks his pointing finger out of the way; he obviously doesn’t find Stevie the slightest bit intimidating. As I’ve mentioned to Admin, Jack sees far more scary things than Stevie in his breakfast cereal every morning.
Admin: Right before he calms down he kind of puffs his cheeks and breathes out as though he’s letting off steam. I like that little touch.
RF: I also find it interesting that Jack reinforces a key mobster tenet: you don’t betray your own blood. Family loyalty is everything. But I think he realized a long time ago that Stevie would never make a very good mobster. Such a disappointment to a father!
Jack [doubtfully]: Lewis? Good friend, was he? He was knobbing your wife, I know that.
Stevie: You’re disgusting.
Jack [scoffs]: I reckon the guilt was too much for her. That’s why she offed herself.
Stevie: Eddie and I are leaving.
[Stevie tries the door and finds it locked. He smacks it in frustration.]
Jack [offhandedly]: Taking the tart with you?
RF: Jack switches tactics from outright scariness and violence to goading, needling Stevie just where he knows it’ll hurt the most. He’s casually amused, almost nonchalant, as he pokes holes in Stevie’s confidence and emotions, casting doubt on Lewis’ friendship and Stevie’s wife Rebecca’s fidelity – although he’s careful to strut out of the way first. He also throws in a knowing eyeroll as he mentions Rebecca’s suicide. Jack can’t resist a jab at “Alex Kent”, Stevie’s newest paramour, as well. We’re never quite sure if he’s telling the truth about Lewis and Rebecca’s affair, but he’s actually right about “Alex’s” motives, even if he puts it rather crudely. He’s trying to provoke Stevie as much as possible. It’s kind of like watching a cat play with a mouse.
Admin: It seems like Jack can’t help himself with a lot of that dialogue. It is like he just naturally enjoys rattling cages. He obviously knows a lot more about Stevie’s private life than Stevie even knows of himself which is unsettling.
RF: Good point! Jack has obviously had Stevie (and his wife, and Lewis) under surveillance for quite some time. And I think you’re right that he enjoys rattling cages; he certainly seems to be good at it. Under other circumstances, he’d probably take Stevie’s aggression as a positive sign that Stevie actually has some fight in him.
[Stevie grabs Jack by his coat lapels and slams him against the door.]
Jack: Careful, son. You don’t like violence. [Pauses] She is a tart, you know.
Stevie: Say that again, and I will break your neck!
Jack: She’s being paid to screw you. She is screwing you, isn’t she?
RF: Jack has my favourite line of the entire episode: “Careful, son. You don’t like violence.” 😀 We know it isn’t Stevie’s violence he’s referring to, and the line gives us a tiny peek into what it must have been like growing up in the Turner household. But Jack’s voice has a distinct warning tone to it; he’s telling Stevie he’d better watch himself if he wants to take it further. I don’t think there’s any question who’d wipe the floor with who in an all-out fight, but Jack carefully keeps both hands completely clear of Stevie in a “not laying a finger on you… yet” gesture. Then Jack smoothly switches to fatherly concern, regarding his son with an oddly sympathetic, knowing smile, despite being pinned against the wall. His eyes soften as he tries to warn Stevie about what Sam (“Alex” – whatever) is really up to. Ironically enough, Stevie and Sam have only had sex once so far, but Stevie doesn’t mention that.
Admin: Stevie’s reaction to Jack’s bit of name calling actually struck me as overkill. I mean, he’d just accused his good friend of sleeping with his wife who then killed herself, but that only warranted a “you’re disgusting” and an attempt to leave. So, then he calls Sam a “tart” (ooooooh) and that makes him explode with murderous rage. But, yeah, his reaction to Stevie’s aggression is wonderful. He just makes it totally obvious that he has no doubt that he can regain control of the situation at any second, so Stevie may as well lighten up and listen.
RF: That’s true, Stevie has a far stronger reaction to Jack’s calling Sam a “tart”. Unfortunately, I think that was part of “Hunted’s” overall tendency to Mary Sue Sam’s character. Jack’s slandering Rebecca rates only a retort, but I think they’re trying to show Stevie has actually fallen in love with Sam (because she’s so amazing and lovable, I guess) by his aggressive response. Or it could be that the last thing Stevie wants to hear is that Sam only slept with him because she was paid to. Either way, his reaction does appear out of proportion. You’d think it would be the other way around.
Stevie [letting go of Jack’s coat]: You turn everything to filth.
Jack: She’s a plant. A professional. Eddie’s kidnap. She staged it with that bloody bag of shit we had down in the basement, to win your trust.
Stevie: You’re lying.
Jack: I wish I was. We know about the fingerprints, Stevie. Bingham found cameras in the library. Who’d you think put them there? Hmm?
RF: I absolutely loved this part because it proves that Jack, the canny mobster and ultimate survivor, hasn’t been nearly the dupe he seemed to be up to this point. He knew what Sam’s game was all along! He’s utterly assured as he explains Byzantium’s scheme – correctly, as it happens – to Stevie. He’s also switched from goading to persuasion, trying to sway Stevie over to his side. Stevie still accuses Jack of lying, but he’s beginning to sound just the slightest bit doubtful…
Admin: You can really see that Stevie has been thrown for a loop because he starts backing up when Jack approaches him. And you can just the cheerful confidence returning to Jack as he lists off Sam’s little espionage tactics. I quite like the rhetorical question and “hmm” at the end too. It is as though he doesn’t want to tax Stevie’s mind too much. 🙂
RF: The “Hmm?” is a nice touch. Jack’s ever so gently pushing Stevie to come to the obvious conclusion. He’s got Stevie off-balance (good point about Stevie backing away), and he’s using the advantage to bring him around.
[Puts hands on Stevie’s shoulders] I know this hurts, but you’re still my son. You’re still my family. These are powerful people we’re up against. They will use anybody, do anything, to destroy me!
RF: Jack maintains intense, direct eye contact as he tries to convince Stevie they should unite in the face of their enemies, reinforcing it by grasping Stevie’s shoulders in a forceful, yet far more friendly form of contact between them than we’ve ever seen. Jack is also being very sincere and emotional, probably a rare experience for Stevie. Jack’s entire face eloquently pleads for Stevie to listen, trying to make him realize how serious the situation is. Jack’s clever and ruthless enough that it still might be a swerve, but I don’t think so. Going by Stevie’s shocked expression, I don’t think he’s ever seen his old man like this before.
Admin: That is a pretty good grip he has on Stevie there and he is almost shaking him. I think we do see a little of the narcissist in Jack with the way he says “to destroy me.” Notice that he doesn’t say “destroy us.” The plaintive, slightly desperate way Mr. Malahide drags out the word “me” is really good. And Jack’s eye contact: Could it be more intense. You can almost see the rays pulling Stevie back towards his side.
RF: True that there’s some narcissism in Jack’s “destroy me”, but he probably figures (correctly) that no one would ever consider Stevie much of a threat, in the unlikely event he took up the mobster business. 😉
Stevie: Alex was… my mistake. I’ll get her out of the house.
Jack: That’s the last thing you’ll do.
Stevie: She’s a spy.
Jack: We don’t want her employers suspecting we suspect them. Just carry on as normal and when all this is over, I’ll deal with it.
Stevie: Whatever she’s done, don’t hurt her.
Jack: I promise I won’t hurt her. Now, come on, son. [Kisses Stevie’s cheek] Let’s go home.
RF: And here we see Jack already has a contingency plan. 😉 As soon as Stevie admits “Alex” was “[his] mistake”, Jack knows he’s won, and he’s very practically planned what should happen next. His relief shows in his almost-instant reversion to his usual self, telling Stevie they should just “carry on as normal”. In fact, Jack has already been doing this for months for the benefit of Byzantium’s cameras, and they still don’t have the slightest suspicion he’s onto them. There’s also a nice veiled ominousness to Jack’s “I’ll deal with it” and “I promise I won’t hurt her”, which begins to play out in a following scene. What Jack says is technically true, but…! And he follows up the reconciliation with a fatherly kiss on Stevie’s cheek – again, probably more affection than he’s shown Stevie for years. The prodigal son has returned! Could this newfound alliance last?? 😉
Admin: It is a perfect gangster scene there. Jack has everything lined up according to plan. His only real task was getting Stevie back on board and he accomplished that beautifully. Well, at least for the time being. 😉 Notice Jack’s finger twitch as he puts his hand on Stevie’s shoulder. That must be a little telltale sign that he doesn’t intend for Sam to come out of this unhurt. 🙂
RF: I thought there was a slight possibility that Stevie could just be saying what Jack wants to hear, intending to placate Jack while he warns Sam, but that turned out not to be the case. Well-spotted on the finger twitch – maybe Jack has a bit of a “tell”.
RF: This was simply a great scene. It was almost worth the previous six episodes’ worth of plot holes and improbable actions (on Byzantium’s part, not Jack’s!) to get here. Both Mr. Malahide and Stephen Campbell Moore do an excellent job with the material; in particular, I love Mr. Malahide’s portrayal of Jack’s tactical progression from aggression, insult, and goading, to actually confiding to his son what he’s known about Byzantium all along (extremely satisfying, because Byzantium is staffed by incompetent boobs and I hated the thought of a canny mobster like Jack being taken in by them), to gentle persuasion and fatherly affection – even if his motives are a wee bit narcissistic. I also like Mr. Malahide’s hint of menace when Jack mentions “tak[ing] care of” Sam. Considering how Jack has taken care of previous problems, it doesn’t bode well. As for Stevie, there was really no way he’d be able to stand against his father for long, and Stephen Campbell Moore does a great job portraying Stevie’s anger, bewilderment, and finally, reluctant acceptance. Just a totally fun scene to watch.
Admin: Absolutely a fantastic scene. Well, pretty much all of Jack’s scenes were excellent throughout the series (except maybe that final tragic one at the end), but this was one of the very best. It was so enjoyable watching Jack in such top persuasive form.
*Animated gifs courtesy of Admin (thanks! 🙂 ).